This category features quality articles on usability, information architecture, interaction design and other user experience (UX) related topics – for digital (Web, mobile, applications, software) and physical products. Through these articles, experts and professionals share with you their valuable ideas, practical tips, useful guidelines, recommended best practices and great case studies. Curated by Chui Chui Tan. Subscribe to the RSS-Feed.
An "affordance" is a perceived signal or clue that an object may be used to perform a particular action. A chair sits at around knee height and appears to provide support. It affords sitting. A toothbrush has a handle a little longer than the human palm. It affords gripping.
All of the objects that surround us have affordances: some are explicit (the “Push” sign above a door handle), and others are hidden (a chair could be used to break a window or used as a weapon). The term was first coined by psychologist James G. Gibson, then introduced to human-computer interaction by Donald Norman in his book The Psychology of Everyday Things, required reading for budding industrial and product designers everywhere.
How do you balance the creative control you give to the users, the usability of the product they make with your tool and the flexibility of that tool? We designers have always had a problem of handing over creative control to the general population — the basic users. There are two reasons for this.
The true power of the web has always depended on the open nature of its technology. Anyone who’s interested can create a website, and anyone with an idea could turn out the next Facebook. Technology takes no heed of gender, creed or race, but is reduced down to code and the desire to create.
This great power has produced unbounded enthusiasm, and everyone you meet has an idea for the “next great website or app.” Buried within this enthusiasm, however, is the harsh reality that many new products fail. But what should you do if your product does fail? How do you close a product with dignity, so that both you and your users leave on good terms?
As a UX researcher, I'm always looking for novel ways to present information to the different audiences I work for. My collaborators and clients aren't limited to UX designers, software developers and UI visual designers.
I regularly conduct studies for executives who are responsible for business strategy, product planning, operations, sales and marketing, and professional education. At the conclusion of each study, my challenge is to create a final deliverable tailored to a specialized audience.
How do we make navigation as simple and predictable as possible? As explained in part 1 of this series, the first two steps are to structure content in a way that naturally narrows the navigation options, and to explain those options in a way that minimizes the cognitive load on users.
However, two more steps are required — namely, to choose the right type of navigation menu, and then to design it. The second part of this series addresses the third step and discusses which type of navigation menu is best suited to which content.
How robust is your user experience design process? We all have our favored methods and techniques, but the general process is similar: Conduct research, prototype, then present to stakeholders and users.
We’ve delivered projects successfully, rectified problems and honed our ability to deliver in different scenarios. However, we all know that every project is unique, and every once in a while something will take you by surprise.
Our users are precious about their time and we must stop wasting it. On each project ask two questions: “Am I saving myself time at the expense of the user?” and “How can I save the user time here?” What is the single most precious commodity in Western society? Money? Status? I would argue it is time.
We are protective of our time, and with good reason. There are so many demands on it. We have so much to do. So much pressure. People hate to have their time wasted, especially online. We spend so much of our time online these days, and every interaction demands a slice of our time. One minor inconvenience on a website might not be much, but, accumulated, it is death by a thousand cuts.
SmashingConf isn't the eighth wonder of the world, but we are pretty close. Join us at SmashingConf Oxford on March 16–19 or meet us at the shores of Santa Monica for SmashingConf LA on April 27–30. You won't be disappointed.