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.
As mobile designers, we have a stark decision to make: do we spend time learning new tools and changing our design processes to create our own transitional interfaces, or are the tools that we've been using good enough? There's an old writing adage that advises writers, whenever possible, to “show, don't tell” when bringing characters to life. The goal is to reveal the story through the character’s experiences instead of the author’s.
When designing mobile products, we share a similar burden. Dammed up inside our heads are creative waterfalls of fresh interactions, transitions, and animations. But how are we supposed to communicate them to our teams, our developers? How do we get them out of our heads? Through a game of charades?
Having addressed the information architecture and the various systems of navigation in the first two articles of this series, the last step is to efficiently simplify the navigation experience — specifically, by carefully designing interaction with the navigation menu.
When designing interaction with any type of navigation menu, we have to consider symbols, target areas, interaction event, layout, levels, functional context. It is possible to design these aspects in different ways. Designers often experiment with new techniques to create a more exciting navigation experience. And looking for new, more engaging solutions is a very good thing.
To you, modal windows might be a blessing of additional screen real estate, providing a way to deliver contextual information, notifications and other actions relevant to the current screen. On the other hand, modals might feel like a hack that you’ve been forced to commit in order to cram extra content on the screen. These are the extreme ends of the spectrum, and users are caught in the middle. Depending on how a user browses the Internet, modal windows can be downright confusing.
Modals quickly shift visual focus from one part of a website or application to another area of (hopefully related) content. The action is usually not jarring if initiated by the user, but it can be annoying and disorienting if it occurs automatically, as happens with the modal window’s evil cousins, the “nag screen” and the “interstitial.”
Aspiring to beauty in our designs is admirable. But it doesn’t guarantee usability, nor is it a product or marketing strategy. Like “simple” and “easy” before it, “beautiful” says very little about the product. How many people, fed up with PowerPoint, cry out in frustration, “If only it were more beautiful”?
Many of today’s hottest technology companies, both large and small, are increasingly using the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) as way to iteratively learn about their customers and develop their product ideas. By focusing on an integral set of core functionality and corresponding features for product development, these companies can efficiently launch and build on new products.
While the concepts are relatively easy to grasp, the many trade-offs considered and decisions made in execution are seldom easy and are often highly debated. This two-part series, looks into the product design process of Dropbox’s Carousel and the product team at UXPin shares our way of thinking about product design, whether you’re in a meeting, whiteboarding, sketching, writing down requirements, or wireframing and prototyping.
High school. I won’t lie: I did not have the highest grades in my graduating class. Some classes and lessons were so poorly designed and delivered that I would frequently become frustrated and fatigued and would ultimately shut down. The contents of the lessons would just wash over me. The experience wasn’t pleasant, and the results were obvious from my transcripts.
But I did well in a few classes. The major difference was the teaching style. Currently, I am a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designer of mobile and web applications. In a way, like a teacher, I need to present information in an easily understandable way to new visitors. I need to consider how my students (end users) consume the information that I provide. So, reflection on my high-school experience serves a purpose (aside from painful fashion memories).
Many modern software development best practices draw on influences from the industrial era and concepts like specialization, where individuals with specialized skills worked in an assembly line to mass-produce physical products. These practices from the world of manufacturing have come to influence how things are done when designing and building software products as well.
Lean thinking is one of the latest approaches software development companies have adopted to maximize value and reduce wasted effort and resources. It does so by breaking down an objective into a series of experiments. Each experiment starts with a hypothesis that is tested and validated. The output of each experiment informs the future direction. This is similar to the idea of “sprints” in the agile world, where the overall product roadmap is divided into smaller and meaningful bodies of work.
When e-commerce search works, it’s fast, convenient and efficient. It’s no wonder that so many users prefer searching over clicking categories. Unfortunately, our recent large-scale usability study and top-50 benchmark of e-commerce search finds that search often doesn’t work very well.
On-site search is a key component of almost any e-commerce website. That’s why we at Baymard Institute have invested months conducting a large-scale usability study, testing the e-commerce search experience of 19 major e-commerce websites with real-world end users.
How can designers create experiences that are custom tailored to people who are unlike themselves? As explained in part 1 of this series, an effective way to gain knowledge of, build empathy for and sharpen focus on users is to use a persona. This final part of the series will explain an effective method of creating a persona.
There are myriad ways to integrate user-centered thinking into the creative process of UX design, and personas are one of the most effective ways to empathize with and analyze users. There is no one right way to develop a persona, but the method I will share here is based on processes developed, field-tested and refined over the years at the interaction design agency Cooper. This process follows a logical order that begins with knowing nothing (or very little) about users and ends with a refined and nuanced perspective of users that can be shared with others.