Posts Tagged ‘Usability’

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Usability’.

10 Useful Techniques To Improve Your User Interface Designs

Web design consists, for the most part, of interface design. There are many techniques involved in crafting beautiful and functional interfaces. Here's my collection of 10 that I think you'll find useful in your work. They're not related to any particular theme, but are rather a collection of techniques I use in my own projects. Without further ado, let's get started.

Twitter's hover controls

Links (or anchors) are inline elements by default, which means that their clickable area spans only the height and width of the text. This clickable area, or the space where you can click to go to that link's destination, can be increased for greater usability. We can do this by adding padding and, in some cases, also converting the link into a block element.

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A Short Story About “Back To Top” Links

Often it is the close attention to small details that makes a design outstanding. During the development of a website, designers tend to quickly forget about small details and focus on major design elements, such as navigation, typography and layout. If done properly, the result is usually a solid, impressive and highly professional design that communicates information. However, it is not memorable. The reason is that such designs often do not have a memorable voice: they may look visually appealing, but they don't provide a vivid anchor for users to remember a website after leaving it.

Screenshot - Top Link

In this post, we showcase the design of "Back to top" links, a forgotten and rarely used link that helps users jump to the top of a given page. A visitor can achieve this effect by pressing the "Home" button on his or her keyboard; however, not every user is aware of that shortcut, and most probably use the vertical scroll bar in the browser for that purpose. As designers, we can help our users out by adding a stand-alone "top" link to our designs.

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Don’t Follow Trends: Set Them!

Your website represents your brand. New visitors will form a first impression of your service or product within seconds of arriving at your website, and the visuals, layout and aesthetic will play a large role in shaping that impression. Sure, your website may be very usable and have great content, but it's the aesthetic that will evoke feeling, and it's the aesthetic that will be used to judge the quality of your website in those first few seconds before the visitor has had time to browse around.

Unique

Use this to your advantage and fashion a unique style that will set your website apart from the rest — a style that will impress and delight your users.

Throughout history, great artists always found new ways to express themselves and create new techniques to set their work apart from the rest. Think about the styles of Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollock. Think about the different movements of art, from Impressionism and Expressionism to Surrealism and Minimalism. These styles couldn't be more different from each other — and that's the point. The artists' names live on because their art is unique.

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Strategic Design: 6 Steps For Building Successful Websites

Web design isn’t art. It involves a whole collection of different skills — from copywriting and typography to layout and art — all fused together to create an interface that not only features a pleasant aesthetic but that communicates function and facilitates easy access to its content.

The jQuery website redesign

But in order to combine all these elements of Web design together and achieve successful results you must have a clear direction, a direction that will guide each and every aspect of your design towards common goals. You must think strategically.

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Web Form Design Patterns: Sign-Up Forms

If you want to maximize the revenue of your service you need to maximize completion rates of your web forms. Unless you have some revolutionary ideas to impress your visitors at first glance, it is not enough to simply enable users to sign up on your site. To make it possible for the service to reach a maximal exposure we, designers, need to provide users with a good user experience. We need to invite them, describe to them how the service works, explain to them why they should fill in the form and suggests the benefits they'll get in return. And, of course, we should also make it extremely easy for them to participate.

However, designing effective web forms isn't easy. And it has one simple reason: nobody likes to fill in forms — neither offline nor online. Therefore, as designers, we need to figure out sound design decisions to make the form completion easy, intuitive and painless.

Web Form Design Patterns

But how exactly can we figure out these decisions? Where should the link to the form be placed in the layout? How should we design it? How should we highlight the labels and how should we align them? How do web form design patterns look like in modern web-sites? These were exactly the questions we've asked ourselves. And to get the answers we've conducted a survey.

Below we present findings of our survey of current web form design patterns — the results of an analysis of 100 popular web-sites where web-forms (should) matter. We have decided to start with sign-up forms first. We present the first part of our findings below; the second part of the survey results will be published next week.

Update: the second part of the survey results is now also published: Web Form Design Patterns: Sign-Up Forms Part 2.

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Should Links Open In New Windows?

No, they shouldn't. At first glance the decision to open links in new windows or not depends on the given site and the preferences of its visitors. Visitors of the sites with heavy linking are more willing to have links opened in new windows than open dozens of links in new windows manually. Visitors of less-heavy-linkage-sites are more likely to open some specific link in new window to remain on the site and continue to browse through it afterwards. However, this is not true.

Open links in new tabs

Users also don't like to deal with dozens of opened tabs and some visitors tend to quickly become angry with the disabled back-button. Furthermore, some visitors may not even realize that a new window was opened and hit the back-button mercilessly — without any result. That's not user-friendly and that's not a good user experience we, web designers, strive for.

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Five More Principles Of Effective Web Design

Web design has significantly improved over the last years. It's more user-friendly and more appealing today — and there is a good reason behind it: over the years we've found out that design with focus on usability and user experience is just more effective. Modern cut-edge design isn't filled with loud happy talk and blinking advertisements. We've learnt to initiate the dialogue with visitors, involve them into discussions and gain their trust by addressing their needs and speaking with them honestly and directly.

Signalfeuer

Few weeks ago we've presented 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design — a comprehensive article about effective Web design and provided you with insights about how users actually think as well as with some examples of how effective designs can be achieved.

This article highlights 5 further principles, heuristics and approaches for effective Web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.

Please notice that you might be interested in the following usability-related articles:

  • 10 Usability Nightmares showcases usability nightmares you should avoid when designing functional and usable web-sites,
  • 30 Usability Issues explains important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood.
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