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Category: UX Design
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.
Error pages for form-field validation are dreadful. You’ve just filled out 20 form fields, yet you get the same bloated page thrown back in your face because a single field failed to validate. I clearly recall the often loud sighs of despair during our last usability study each time a test subject encountered a validation error page.
We reflected on this problem and got an idea that we call “error fields only” — which is exactly what this article is about. Before exploring this idea, let’s look at three traditional types of validation techniques: “same page reload,” “optimized same page reload” and “live inline validation.”
Have you ever wanted your users to click a link but didn’t know how to get them to act? When some designers run into this problem, they’re tempted to use the words “Click here” on their links.
Before giving in to the temptation, you should know how using these words on a link can affect how users experience your interface. Not to mention that having proper link titles is a major accessibility requirement since the term ‘click’ is irrelevant to many assistive technologies and isn’t descriptive enough for screen readers.
Emergency car shopping is no fun. This past month was the second time I had to shop for a car in a short timeframe without advance warning. Like most informed shoppers, I went online to get a feel for my options, armed with knowledge of what I was looking for: apart from safety, gas mileage and reliability, it had to comfortably seat six and not require me to take out a second mortgage.
I felt like a persona out of a scenario that I had role-played a few years ago when our UX team conducted a global UX benchmarking project for General Motors. That year, a JD Power consumer satisfaction study revealed that 68% of GM’s US websites were below the industry average, with two in the bottom 10%. This time, though, the experience was personal and made me think about the lessons to be learned from the experience of shopping for a car online that could be applied to any website.
We’d like to believe that we use established design patterns for common elements on the Web. We know what buttons should look like, how they should behave and how to design the Web forms that rely on those buttons. And yet, broken forms, buttons that look nothing like buttons, confusing navigation elements and more are rampant on the Web. It’s a boulevard of broken patterns out there.
This got me thinking about the history and purpose of design patterns and when they should and should not be used. Most interestingly, I started wondering when breaking a pattern in favor of something different or better might actually be OK. We all recognize and are quick to call out when patterns are misused. But are there circumstances in which breaking the rules is OK? To answer this question properly, let’s go back to the beginning.
You cannot plan for and design a responsive, content-focused, mobile-first website the same way you’ve been creating websites for years—you just can’t. If your goal is to produce something that is not fixed-width and serves smaller devices just the styles they require, why would you use a dated process that contradicts those goals?
I'd like to walk you through some problems caused by using old processes with responsive design. Let's look into an evolving design process we've been using with some promising new deliverables and tools. This should provide a starting point for you to freshen up your own process and bring it into the responsive age.
The story of usability is a perverse journey from simplicity to complexity. That's right, from simplicity to complexity—not the other way around.
If you expect a "user-friendly" introduction to usability and that the history of usability is full of well-defined concepts and lean methods, you're in for a surprise. Usability is a messy, ill-defined, and downright confusing concept. The more you think about it—or practice it—the more confusing it becomes.
In my nearly two decades as an information architect, I’ve seen my clients flush away millions upon millions of dollars on worthless, pointless, “fix it once and for all” website redesigns. All types of organizations are guilty: large government agencies, Fortune 500s, not-for-profits and (especially) institutions of higher education.
Worst of all, these offending organizations are prone to repeating the redesign process every few years like spendthrift amnesiacs. Sadly, redesigns rarely solve actual problems faced by end users. I’m frustrated because it really doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s look at why redesigns happen, and some straightforward and inexpensive ways we might avoid them.
Interaction designers create wireframes in tools such as Adobe Illustrator, OmniGraffle and Microsoft Visio. However, emailing your old static designs will feel old fashioned once you see what these new tools can do. Going a step further, there are tools for the user review process, too. Just upload your ideas, from simple mockups to final layouts, link them together, and share them for comment.
This article walks you through the current selection of cloud-based tools and provides some recommendations. The number of offerings and amount of functionality are pretty vast. We’ll address two functions: prototyping and wireframing. But if you’re intrigued, you might want to explore cloud-based image editing, mind-mapping tools and other UX activities. These tools are already out there, and surprisingly good.