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Category: UX Design
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.
I’ve travelled 2517 miles to try to solve 50 problems in 50 days using design, a journey that challenged me to fundamentally rethink my understanding of the user-experience design process.
I set myself a challenge. I wanted to test the limits of design’s ability to solve problems — big and small. To do this, I left the comfort of my computer chair and set out into the unknown. Every day, I had 24 hours to observe a problem, attempt to solve it and then communicate the solution.
Research wall, design wall, research board, ideation wall, inspiration board, moodboard, pinboard — Working walls are known by countless names. Underlying them all is a single idea: that physically pinning our sources of inspiration and work in progress, and surrounding ourselves with them, can help us to rearrange concepts and unlock breakthrough insights.
In their 2009 paper on creativity in design, human media interaction researcher Dhaval Vyas and his colleagues coined the term “artful surfaces” to refer to “surfaces that designers create by externalizing their work-related activities, to be able to effectively support their everyday way of working.”
When a group wants to generate ideas for a new product or to solve a problem, you will usually hear the clarion call, “Let’s brainstorm!” You assemble a group, spell out the basic ground rules for brainstorming (no criticism, wild ideas are welcome, focus on quantity, combine ideas to make better ideas) and then have people yell out ideas one at a time.
Brainstorming is often the method of choice for ideation, but it is fraught with problems that range from participants’ fear of evaluation to the serial nature of the process — only one idea at a time. Brainwriting is an easy alternative or a complement to face-to-face brainstorming, and it often yields more ideas in less time than traditional group brainstorming.
In chess, the psychological dimension that springs from a dialogue between two brains, two ideas, two strategic conceptions that depend on the personality of each chess player has long been somewhat of a romantic mystery. How do Grandmasters think? What strategies do they use?
More often than not, the most successful strategies are rooted in our very own nature. And common to most Grandmasters is that they almost never take the easy way out. A different, better alternative is always available, and they go looking for it. That creativity, that compulsion, that drive to look beyond what comes instinctively is what fuels successful strategies and explains why so few Grandmasters are out there.
Navigation, as crucial as it is to the user experience, is merely a means to an end — the end being to consume content. This is why users have very contrasting expectations about content and navigation. While content is supposed to be unique, surprising and exciting, navigating to it is supposed to be as simple and predictable as possible.
This series of articles, divided into two parts, is a four-step guide to efficiently simplifying the navigation experience, by analyzing the type and amount of content as well as choosing and carefully designing the right type of navigation menu.
Most designers spend too much time with their designs to be objective about them. The best thing any designer can do is to collect feedback from real users. Testing uncovers pain points and flaws in a design that are not otherwise obvious.
Recently, I had an opportunity to experience this firsthand when iterating on HelloSign, the iOS app that enables users to scan, sign and send documents from their phone using the built-in camera. Thanks to testing, the app went from four stars to a solid five stars after a redesign.
Product findability is key to any e-commerce business — after all, if customers can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. Therefore, at Baymard Institute, we invested eight months conducting a large-scale usability research study on the product-finding experience. We set out to explore how users navigate, find and select products on e-commerce websites, using the home page and category navigation.
The one-on-one usability testing was conducted following the “think aloud” protocol, and we tested the following websites: Amazon, Best Buy, Blue Nile, Chemist Direct, Drugstore.com, eBags, GILT, GoOutdoors, H&M, IKEA, Macy’s, Newegg, Pixmania, Pottery Barn, REI, Tesco, Toys’R’Us, The Entertainer, and Zappos. The pages and design elements that we tested include the home page, category navigation, subcategories, and product lists.
Some websites outperform others, whether in their content, usability, design, features, etc. Details of interaction design and animation make a fundamental difference on modern websites. We’ll share some lessons drawn from various models and analyze why these simple patterns work so well.
When we design digital products, we often use design applications such as Photoshop and Sketch. Most people who have been in the business for a few years obviously know that design is more than just about visual presentation.
Ever since I’ve been involved in the Web, I’ve been fascinated by little things that make a big impact. It’s one of the reasons why I started collecting and blogging about these details, which could in some way help others grow an audience.
One recurring topic early on was launch and landing pages and the strategies that creators use to expand the reach of their websites, which led to a Smashing Magazine post titled “Elements of a Viral Launch Page.” In this post, you’ll learn what to look out for when creating your own small campaign and how these elements fit together in existing campaigns around the Web.
Behind every successful design is a dynamic creative team, and it takes all kinds of personalities and skills to get the job done. However, the culture and expectations of a design agency are often largely centered on one outspoken, gregarious personality.
Things such as group brainstorming, on-the-fly presentations and open workspaces have become the norm in most design agencies. But the stereotypical extrovert is just one of the personalities that make up a successful team. A lot of people who excel at and are passionate about design — specifically UX design — are actually introverts.
Axure is a powerful tool for creating software prototypes quickly. Getting started with it is really easy; however, therein lies a danger. The tool is so intuitive that many users can be productive without undergoing any formal training. What they might not be aware of is that they probably aren’t using Axure optimally.
In my experience as a UX designer, I seldom draw a page and get it right the first time. Most of the time, I go through five to ten iterations. When your UX design is used as the blueprint of an agile project, you might need to keep the entire project up to date with the scope of development. Sometimes these changes will affect a dozen or more other pages. It is at these times when some of the less evident features of Axure can become huge time-savers.
Like many great ideas, ours was born of a problem. When I was a graduate student at MIT, I sat next to a classmate who is visually impaired. He would whisper to me to ask the time, even though he wore a watch — which prompted me to wonder how the blind tell time.
I later learned from my classmate that he had a talking watch that announced the time out loud when he pressed a button, but he rarely used it in public because he found it disruptive and embarrassing. After that conversation with my classmate, I went home and Googled "watch for the blind". I couldn’t believe what I saw.