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This article looks at how and why we have to restructure content, but not eliminate it, and why responsive web design qualifes for the future. (RT @transfuture: Not all clients understand the difference between Responsive Design and a Mobile version.
This article explains the challenges of complex navigation on large sites.
A nice alternative to one large navigation for large sites!
In this article, I will detail the process we took, including some of the changes we made along the way, as we worked to build a better responsive website.
Interesting article that outlines a solid approach to responsive design.
Over the years, I have read probably hundreds of usability tips and tricks. They all seem to give generally decent advice that are all blanket statements about usability.
Over the years, I have read probably hundreds of usability tips and tricks. They all seem to give generally decent advice that are all blanket statements about usability. Such things as “Use a sans-serif” or “Make sure to minimize scrolling” are common among these lists.
I am not here to tell you these are wrong, but relying on general usability guidelines without context, understanding, or goals can be a horrible pitfall when designing. Usability is not about the shortest route between two points. It’s also not about being so simple it’s insulting. Usability should be about comfort, enjoyability, familiarity, and positive recall.
Simple is actually an extremely subjective concept. For instance, Windows file management is simple to me. On the other hand for my parents, it is quite daunting. The main idea is that we must realize as designers that we are inherently experts at using interfaces. This means that our concept of what is simple can be horribly out of sync with our audiences. The result of this is that when we try to make our interfaces simple we either overcompensate and make the design insulting or we overestimate what elements are obvious.
The common user is not dumb. Instead, they are generally just more ignorant of technology than designers or techies. For example, my father is a builder. He can look at any house or structure and immediately point out problems, weak points, and issues. However, he constantly has questions and problems with Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Word.
This doesn’t mean that the programs need to be mind-numbingly stripped down or that he needs giant buttons to complete tasks. I know this, because on a car website, he is blazing through it: saving and e-mailing pictures, bookmarking and so on. The common user just has a different context. The faster we can address the confusing or unfamiliar elements and make them feel good about using our interface the more successful we will be.
Why we need to forget the idea of a mobile Internet and start thinking about how to create seamless online communications instead, irrespective of device.
It’s time to stop thinking about the Internet and online communication in the context of a device, be it desktop, tablet or mobile. Advances by Google and Apple have heightened consumer expectations, which now require stricter focus from us to create seamless online communications — communications that work everywhere and that get their point across. We need to embrace a device-agnostic approach to communicating with connected consumers and forget the idea of a “mobile Internet”. There is only One Web to experience.
A Quiet Change
At the beginning of June, Google published on its Webmaster Central Blog its “Recommendations for Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites.” Its recommendations are that responsiveness — or, where necessary, device-specific HTML — is the way to build websites for today. Both methods are based on all devices accessing one URL, which in Google’s words makes it “easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to…”
Following the recommendation means making most of your Web content accessible across devices. It ensures that each link shared across the Web leads back to the same place and that, irrespective of the user’s device, everyone gets the same design experience. It aims to standardize Web design approaches, but also to standardize user experience expectations.
Shortly after, Apple announced a lot of thrilling updates to iOS 6. One of the least talked about was Safari’s iCloud tabs. This syncs your open browser tabs and allows you to continue browsing from where you left off on another device. Google’s recent version of Chrome for iOS has the same feature. The result? The ultimate cross-media surfing experience, a digital doggy bag.
Mobile Web Design: This article contains a set of rules which in our opinion should be kept in mind when developing the mobile version of a website.
Mobile Web Design | Despite the fact that there are approximately 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide, some websites are still a usability nightmare when accessed via mobile devices. The fragmentation of the mobile device market – with a relatively wide array of device – resolution – operating system combination has further complicated matters.
There can be many reasons that explain why usable websites become unusable when accessed via mobile devices. This article contains a set of rules which in our opinion should be kept in mind when designing and developing the mobile version of a website. These rules are by no means exhaustive but they should lead to you key areas for further research. So, here we go ….
The mobile version of your website should be adapted for your user and not the other way round! A recent article on this blog highlighted this by explaining how to know your readers and write usable blog posts for them. Knowing your users is essential as otherwise it is practically impossible to design a mobile website which provides the best platform for interaction. There are many ways which can help you build a profile of your typical user. I particularly find useful traditional methodologies such as conducting online questionnaires and polls. However, I have also obtained valuable user information via web analytics and usability testing tools. I consider knowing your user and identifying what your typical user wants from you as the first step in any web development project.
An article on why we have to deliver work that not only meets the needs of end users, but also satisfies the personalities of the clients themselves.
Nice insight on how to pitch your work to clients of all types!
Leading a team of talented UX professionals is no easy task. Managing all that creative energy and the egos that go with it; figuring out ways to give everyone their desired level of input while keeping it relative to the project at hand; and having the success of the team define your job security are all part and parcel. Despite how insurmountable this all sounds, there’s another profession with similar challenges on an exploded scale: the NBA coach.
NBA coaches have to wrangle prima donna players, crazed fans, owners who views championships as the only measure of success, and a staff that will never be the same two seasons in a row. In addition, if a season isn't going well the coach might get fired midway through. Can you imagine getting axed in the middle of a project because your team missed a deadline? Youch!
Despite this wild myriad of obstacles, there's one coach who has been successful over and over again: the great Phil Jackson. Jackson is widely considered the greatest coach ever, and his 11 championships (three of them three-peats and another two back-to-back) and 13 NBA Finals appearances back that reputation up. So what can UX leads learn from the great Zen master?
When your teams consist of Hall of Fame talent like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal there are bound to be chemistry issues. Where most coaches would solve this by implementing mandatory meetings for players to learn to enjoy each other, Jackson did it best by taking indirect approaches.
I can remember conversations that became close to heated when trying to develop button text. This offers some excellent guidelines based on linguistics and, as it turns out, a good dose of common sense.
What's the best way to train Content Developers to add value to your organization? Answering this question with your business goals in mind will impact how you hire your Content Developers, how you define their success, and how you communicate their value within your organization.
Check out this scholarly article by Ayantek's own Ena Arel. Not only does she do great work on behalf of our clients, but she supports her community of colleagues as well.
The release of Windows 8 has disturbed the current ecosystem of designing for device-specific platforms. Fortunately, instead of asking users to learn three different digital experiences (phone, tablet, browser), the latest operating system attempts to bridge that gap by creating a hybrid space that users can explore as a single unit from different devices.
As is typical with a system revamp, there’s been confusion among both consumers and third-party designers. These two groups must commit to learning new rules and tools in order to quickly acclimate.
In theory, this move by Microsoft lowers the user’s burden by creating one standard location for many important tools that traditional websites have placed in different areas and hierarchies. However, in practice, the implementation of a universal tool set in a consistent location has not been entirely successful.
Another major shift is the introduction of a primarily horizontal layout, which disrupts the current mental model for users accustomed to a primarily vertical space on smartphones and e-readers. This affects more than the aesthetics. It also introduces challenges to the way users interact with content across different platforms. Careful consideration should be given to how much room there will be to interact with smaller touch spaces with on-screen keyboards and, conversely, what parameters should be set for larger monitors in order to reduce user burden in the distance it takes for the eye or hand to travel between targets.
This article looks at what spam actually is and why email marketing can be a wonderful tool not just for you but for your subscribers, too.
Spam! Monty Python may love it, but the rest of us are not so convinced. But what is spam? Are you spamming users without realizing it? And is there any place in the world for email marketing?
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with email. Its one of those necessary evils. Nowhere is our relationship with email more confused than when it comes to spam.
For a start, spam is hard to define. Google defines it as:
Sending the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet.
But what does that actually mean? The truth is, what one person considers acceptable, another could hate with a loathing.
Without a clear definition of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, it becomes easy for email marketing to alienate users, rather than win them over.
Done right, email marketing can be a wonderful tool, not just for you but for your subscribers, too.
When we first wrote about Polar, an addictive app that invites you to make and take “this or that”-style quizzes, we called it “an object lesson in mobile design done very, very right.” Luke Wroblewski, the mobile-first...
Some interesting new ideas about engaging users. Throws a lot of industry best practice on its head.
Simple. That is the rule here and should be the mantra for all: keep it simple.
Developing a custom mobility app that is fit for your business is one of the most effective strategies corporations are embracing to take advantage of the increased access to workers that the mobile internet has provided.
In this article we'll explain how to create fully interactive wireframes and prototypes with InDesign.
Awesome article for designers who want to create consistent, easy wireframes in a program we all already know (and love).
As a front-end designer or developer, managing today’s complex web, mobile-web, and multi-device digital ecosystems can become a nightmare. Since you’re often responsible for keeping your designs and code base in line for reuse over the duration of a project (and probably long after its completion), it is important to consider building a UI pattern library – one that makes developing apps and websites easier and allows for consistency across multiple devices.
Is a UI pattern library right for me?
Well, it depends. On the plus side, a UI pattern library offers a one-stop asset and code shop for designers and developers, encourages collaboration between disparate teams, and establishes a common design language. On the other hand, it can be a large time investment if you’re starting from scratch, and may limit “out-of-the box” thinking in the future.
If you’re simply designing a single app for the Apple iPad paired with a marketing landing page for the web, a UI pattern library is probably overkill. However, if you have several large disparate teams designing a suite of apps, each having their own desktop web experiences associated with them, perhaps you should consider having one.
Choosing the right type of pattern library What, there’s more than one type? Actually, there are three. Developer-centric pattern libraries such as YUI Library and Prototype UI, focus on quick code production turnover. Designer-centric pattern libraries – including Welie Interaction Design Patterns, Endeca UI Design Pattern Library, Yahoo! Design Patterns, and Pattern Tap – emphasize problem solving through general UI recommendations. The third type combines both, allowing developers and designers to work in tandem (this is the type I recommend; try Foundation or Twitter’s Bootstrap).
To be clear, this post is not about whether functional testing is more important than usability testing, or vice versa.
To be clear, this post is not about whether functional testing is more important than usability testing, or vice versa. That’s like asking your parents whether they love you or your brother more; there’s no right answer. The better debate, in my opinion, is about which one should come first and why. And while some may throw the chicken and the egg debate into the argument, or argue that functional testing is the starting point of developing good software, I hope to convince you that usability testing should always come first.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I agree that you cannot ‘fully test’ usability without partially-written code that invokes user feedback. Using this argument of developing bits and pieces of the app first, you would then need to test its functionality prior to its usability and user experience – that makes sense. However, let’s borrow an analogy from the world of construction for a minute. Do construction workers lay out a building’s foundation before referencing a set of blueprints and guidelines? And do building blueprints stem from the whim of an architect? The answer to both is a resounding no.
So how does this analogy relate to testing? Well, just as specs are typically developed before a single line of code is written, usability testing should begin well before specs are developed – typically in the requirements-gathering phase of your SDLC. This type of usability testing, however, may not be what comes to mind when you first think of usability testing. Instead of interacting with a complete or partially-developed app, usability testing at this level can begin with digital or pen and paper wire-framing. It can also begin with A/B mockups and intended workflows that can be test-driven by a set of end users. Inputs from your users at this point in the SDLC can better inform where to even begin with design and workflows of your app. In other words, move your usability testing further upstream to minimize potential reworking of code downstream. This enables you to minimize time spent on reworking design and code, or even worse, sticking with poor usability because of time and cost constraints.
We all know that when it comes to developing enterprise solutions, good user experience (UX) doesn't happen by accident. In fact, it can be downright elusive.
We all know that when it comes to developing enterprise solutions, good user experience (UX) doesn't happen by accident. In fact, it can be downright elusive. The interesting thing about UX is that the better it is, the less likely you are to notice it — when is the last time you thought, “Wow, that was such a satisfying digital experience!”?
It is far more likely that you can recall a variety of frustrations — thousands of irrelevant results returned in a simple search or a site navigation that you’d have to be psychic to maneuver.
Why do so many enterprise solutions get UX wrong? And how can you make sure you get it right? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these two questions recently and over the next several months we will spend a lot of time talking about UX and the enterprise. Let’s take a look at some of these concepts around UX and getting started with a project.
While there are some universal principles of good UX (design should be simple and intuitive; similar objects should be grouped together; designs and navigations should be consistent; etc.), you can do all of these big things right and still miss the mark on the overall UX.
Why? Because it is very possible that you are focusing on solving the wrong problems.
Usability vs User Experience Design While many aspects of the Usability and User Experience are subjective, it is more science than art. It’s all about helping users to easily get things done in your web or mobile product.
While many aspects of the Usability and User Experience are subjective, it is more science than art. It’s all about helping users to easily get things done in your web or mobile product. While you cannot engineer a product to makes people happy, surprised, or curious, you can certainly optimize for consistency, accessibility, speed and simplicity. User experience can also address how users discover your product out in the wild, how they remember it, and any intangible/emotional impact that arises from its use. In other words, UX (user experience) requires you to think about both on and off-screen dimensions of design.
Usability plays a major role in determining the UX. Usability is nothing but how simple and more attractive the design is. It should not be cluttered and a frustrating one. Simply, the Usability and User Experience should relate the target audience of your product.
Looking for some reasons to run usability tests? Read this post for 10 top reasons you should be usability testing.
For all the tips I give on usability testing, explanations of how to get started, the reviews of different services I do, I get a very large number of people asking me why they should actually test in the first place (as if those examples weren’t enough!).
Today I’d like to present (in no particular order) a quick post on 10 reasons that everyone should perform usability testing. Read on to see a few reasons I think you should run usability tests, and be sure to add your own reasons in the comments below.
It (should) goes without saying, usability testing will improve the usability of your sites, apps, user interface, or whatever else you are designing. Imagine publishing a magazine or newspaper without having an editor read it first; that’s effectively what you are doing by launching a site without usability testing.
Usability testing will show up all those little navigation and ui problems, will help you discover all sorts of tweaks you can make, and will give you a whole new understanding of how users interact with your site or app – extremely valuable information to have at your fingertips.
Following on from improved usability is an improved user experience. If users have to spend too much time looking for your ‘add to cart’ or ‘subscribe by RSS‘ button they simply won’t bother. After implementing the results of your testing, you will remove the vast majority of these issues for the vast majority of your users, and they will enjoy using your site or app so much more because of it.
So, you’ve finally gotten approval on the budget you need to begin that long-awaited redesign of your corporate website – exciting news! Or perhaps your about to embark on your first entrepreneurial venture and you’re considering developing a custom website or mobile application? I know how tempting it is in cases like these to want to run straight to your interactive agency or web design team and start laying out your home page and choosing colors. In this blog I hope to convince you to take a deep breath before you jump, and go through a thorough process of requirements analysis.
Great article from Ena - I think thorough requirements analysis can be an important part of beginning any business process - it's always easier to try to work out problems in theory rather than try to go back and fix then once something is built.
People don't just want good content; they want the Cliffs Notes version of good content. Online readers have about an 8-second attention span, so if it takes 10 seconds to read about your business idea, then you're toast.
Don't be afraid to take out words or even paragraphs. Always be editing. Simplify your idea to a sentence, then shorten it. The plethora of ideas and fancy words about your company are probably awesome and wonderful; in fact, I'm sure I'd love to read about it, but not online. Please, save the minute details for your memoir.
Nothing's worse than landing on a page full of smashed-together paragraphs. If you've followed the first tip, then your paragraphs shouldn't be long to begin with, but also make sure that you give the reader's eyes a break. Double space some paragraphs, or add an image between ideas.
An interesting trend, especially in cause-based and fact-heavy sites, is allowing the user to complete an animated story by scrolling. The technique is effective in getting the user to read your content because they want to see what happens next, and they can set the pace.
Emphasize important points on your site by bolding them, putting them in a box, or making the font bigger. I am not suggesting that you have blinking or overly colorful text, these are website no-no's.
Say everything about the paragraph in your first sentence, then add the details in the body. You might consider having titles for your paragraphs or even a "learn more" button.
When it comes to building websites, organization is key. Help increase traffic and boost ROI by following these five tips for improving website usability.
Using the alphabet
Research has shown that website users typically read content in an F-shaped pattern. Placing the most important content in the upper left-hand side of each page will help make sure that readers view what you really want them to right away, instead of losing interest halfway down the page before they make it to the good stuff.
Page load time
Waiting a long time for a page to load is no fun. Sometimes an unreliable internet connection is the only thing to blame, but if your website is slow to load no matter where you are or what computer you are using, a more likely culprit is the content of your site. Getting rid of unnecessary music, videos, or banner ads can help decrease load time as well as visitor agitation.
While they can be useful on websites with a lot of backlog, search bars shouldn’t be the go-to means of navigation on a brand new website. Organizing content in a clear, logical way will have more visitors clicking their way through your site rather than depending on the search bar, a process that can ultimately boost your page ranking and visibility
Great tips if you are looking to improve your organizational skills with website usability. I believe organization is crutial when it comes to website usability so this page is excellent for beginners.
Five largely important tips for your website usability:1- design of your site, F-shape viewing is typically what most user tend to use. which means top left is wheree their eyes go first and lower down they begin to lose interest.2- fast loading times, so people dont get bored.
3- clear organization is way more important than having a search bar on your site.
4- three click rule, if it takes more then three clicks for a user to find what they want, its too hard to find.
5- make ALL your pages not just home page, interesting and eye catching because someone may stumble upon any of them.
Found some excellent information on website usability throughout this particular article! There wasnt as much key information as i would of liked to see but there was information in here that was different compared to other articles that I previously looked at. This articles main focus is organization, it belives that organizatiokn is key, and this is something that I agree with.