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Did you know that we publish useful books and run
friendly conferences — crafted for pros like
yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona,
dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.
Dmitry Fadeyev is the creator of Usaura, a micro usability testing service, and the founder of UsabilityPost, a blog about good design and user experience. Additionally, you can read his thoughts on design, art and practical philosophy over at his personal blog.
The recently popularized “flat” interface style is not merely a trend. It is the manifestation of a desire for greater authenticity in design, a desire to curb visual excess and eliminate the fake and the superfluous.
In creating new opportunities, technological progress sometimes leads to areas of excess. In the 19th century, mechanized mass production allowed for ornaments to be stamped out quickly and cheaply, leading to goods overdecorated with ornament.
Misaligned interests create tension in the design process that can lead to bad, and potentially unethical, design decisions, that result in inferior products. In this article I will examine how the desire to build a large audience by giving away your products and services free of charge can cause conflicts of interest, which in turn can lead to dubious compromises in the design process that limit the full potential of your work.
The recently launched Twitter competitor, App.net, which has raised over $800,000 in the first month of fund-raising/pre-sales, has started its life as a simple premise: Twitter doesn’t work because the interests of the company and its users, along with the developers creating apps for its platform, are not aligned.
As a Web designer you're undoubtedly familiar with CSS, the style sheet language used to format markup on Web pages. CSS itself is extremely simple, consisting of rule sets and declaration blocks—what to style, how to style it—and it does pretty much everything you want, right? Well, not quite. [Links checked March/06/2017]
You see, while the simple design of CSS makes it very accessible to beginners, it also poses limitations on what you can do with it. These limitations, like the inability to set variables or to perform operations, mean that we inevitably end up repeating the same pieces of styling in different places. Not good for following best practices—in this case, sticking to DRY (don't repeat yourself) for less code and easier maintenance.
The standard approach to interface design is to craft a channel that allows you to easily and efficiently control hardware or software; it's all about the interaction between people and computers. But today, the two entities on each side of the user interface are changing: it's no longer about people interacting with computers, but rather about people interacting with people through computers. [Content Care Dec/12/2016]
This is the nature of the social Web. Social news websites, message boards, social networks, online stores and blogs all have some sort of user interaction going on, whether it's comments on a blog post or social games on Facebook. The critical issue here is that people are not interacting directly with other people; rather the interaction occurs through a user interface. The computer acts as a mediator.
In essence, we control the flow of user interaction on our websites. By crafting an interface to facilitate certain behaviors, we can influence the direction in which our community goes. In this article, we'll demonstrate the power of social interface design and what it can do for you, using several practical examples.
Everyone would agree that usability is an important aspect of Web design. Whether you're working on a portfolio website, online store or Web app, making your pages easy and enjoyable for your visitors to use is key. Many studies have been done over the years on various aspects of Web and interface design, and the findings are valuable in helping us improve our work. Here are 10 useful usability findings and guidelines that may help you improve the user experience on your websites. [Links checked February/09/2017]
A study by UX Matters found that the ideal position for labels in forms is above the fields. On many forms, labels are put to the left of the fields, creating a two-column layout; while this looks good, it's not the easiest layout to use.
Why is that? Because forms are generally vertically oriented; i.e. users fill the form from top to bottom. Users scan the form downwards as they go along. And following the label to the field below is easier than finding the field to the right of the label.
Shopping online can be a great experience. You don't have to leave the comfort of your home and you can quickly compare and read about all the competing products in order to pick the best one for you. But it can also be a little frustrating if the process isn't designed correctly.
Looking around for that checkout link, having to fill out registration forms and then being told the product is out of stock isn't going to make your day. Spend a little bit of time fine tuning your checkout process and polishing off the user experience and you'll be rewarded with happier customers and more sales. Here are 12 useful tips to help you do just that.
Last week we presented 8 Useful Tips To Help Your Website Convert – we discussed various rules and guidelines from marketing, such as subliminal suggestion, prevention of choice paralysis, AIDA-principle, attention guide and the Gutenberg rule. The main idea was to help designers and developers create a design that would help the site to grow and become a success the financial point of view.
This article presents further principles and rules that will help your site convert. Among other things, we cover A/B testing, footnotes, testimonials, feature lists, the sign-up process and typography. You may be interesting in the following related posts:
As we see more and more businesses move their services online, and even more that begin their life on the Web, a greater need arises for websites that are designed and built to sell. A great-looking website may achieve the goal of shaping and delivering a strong brand, but its good looks alone aren't enough to sell the products or services on offer. For that, you need to introduce the element of marketing.
Research shows that objects and images you see around you can prime you for certain behaviors. For example, a study on children showed that after being shown a Santa Claus cap, they were more likely to share candy with others. The cap embodied the concept of sharing and giving in their minds, and exposure to it primed them for regarding sharing more positively. The same study also exposed kids to a “Toys ‘R’ Us” logo, which had the opposite effect of the Santa Claus cap, making them less likely to share their candy.
You may want to take a look at the following related articles:
By now, all good designers and developers realize the importance of usability for their work. Usable websites offer great user experiences, and great user experiences lead to happy customers. Delight and satisfy your visitors, rather than frustrate and annoy them, with smart design decisions. Here are 9 usability problems that websites commonly face, and some recommended solutions for each of them. [Content Care Nov/30/2016]
Hyperlinks are designed to be clicked, so to make them usable, it makes sense to ensure that they’re easy to click. Why would we want a larger clickable area? Simple. Because our hand movement with the mouse isn’t very precise. A large clickable area makes it easier to hover the mouse cursor over the link. To ensure we get a large clickable area, we could either make the whole link bigger or increase the padding around the link using the CSS “padding” property.
Last week, we presented 10 Useful Web Application Interface Techniques, the first part of our review of useful design trends in modern Web applications. Among other things, we highlighted embedded video blocks, specialized controls and context-sensitive navigation. We also encouraged designers to disable pressed buttons, use shadows around modal windows and link to the sign-up page from the log-in page. [Content Care Nov/29/2016]
This post presents the second part of our review: 12 useful techniques for good user interface design in Web apps. We also discuss how to implement these techniques so that they are properly used. Please feel free to suggest further ideas, approaches and coding solutions in the comments below.
More and more applications these days are migrating to the Web. Without platform constraints or installation requirements, the software-as-a-service model looks very attractive. Web application interface design is, at its core, Web design; however, its focus is mainly on function. To compete with desktop applications, Web apps must offer simple, intuitive and responsive user interfaces that let their users get things done with less effort and time. [Content Care Nov/25/2016]
In the past we didn't cover web applications the way we should and now it's time to take a closer look at some useful techniques and design solutions that make web-applications more user-friendly and more beautiful. This article presents the first part of our extensive research on design patterns and useful design solutions in modern web applications. Below you'll find a collection of 10 useful interface design techniques and best practices used in many successful web-applications.
You may want to take a look at the following related articles:
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. [Content Care Oct/31/2016]
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.