We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. upcoming SmashingConf New York, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.
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.
We’ve come a long way since the days of the first Macintosh and the introduction of graphical user interfaces, going from monochrome colors to millions, from estranged mice to intuitive touchscreens, from scroll bars to pinch, zoom, flick and pan. But while hardware, software and the people who use technology have all advanced dramatically over the past two decades, our approach to designing interfaces has not.
Advanced technology is not just indistinguishable from magic (as Arthur C. Clarke said); it also empowers us and becomes a transparent part of our lives. While our software products have definitely empowered us tremendously, the ways by which we let interfaces integrate with our lives has remained stagnant for all these years. In the accessibility industry, the word “inclusive” is relatively commonplace; but inclusive design principles should not be reserved for the realm of accessibility alone, because they apply to many more people than “just” the lesser-abled.
Product pages for e-commerce websites are often rife with ambitious intentions: Recreate the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Provide users with every last drop of product information. Build a brand persona. Establish a seamless checkout process.
As the “strong link in any conversion,” product pages have so much potential. We can create user-centric descriptions and layouts that are downright appropriate in their effectiveness: as Erin Kissane says, “offering [users] precisely what they need, exactly when they need it, and in just the right form.”
For designers, it’s easy to jump right into the design phase of a website before giving the user experience the consideration it deserves. Too often, we prematurely turn our focus to page design and information architecture, when we should focus on the user flows that need to be supported by our designs. It’s time to make the user flows a bigger priority in our design process.
Design flows that are tied to clear objectives allow us to create a positive user experience and a valuable one for the business we’re working for. In this article, we’ll show you how spending more time up front designing user flows leads to better results for both the user and business. Then we’ll look in depth at a common flow for e-commerce websites (the customer acquisition funnel), as well as provide tips on optimizing it to create a complete customer experience.
As I sat in my local co-working space, shoulder-deep in a design problem on my MacBook Air, I could hear him. He was on the phone, offering screen-by-screen design recommendations to his client for the project they were working on. When this acquaintance of mine arrived at the subject of a particularly hairy task flow, he said, “Well, these aren’t going to be very savvy users, so we should probably put some instructions there.” He followed this by rattling off some dry, slightly too formal line intended to clear up any confusion about the page.
It was an act that reflected his apparent belief that some savvier type of user is out there who would immediately understand the screen and could live without the instructive text. I cringed. I’ve heard the same suggestion on far too many phone calls, and it’s been wrong every time. To shed light on my reaction to it and to illustrate why such a suggestion is problematic, let’s consider a quick tale of two users.
Microsoft’s new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7 (WP7), introduces a fresh approach to content organization and a different UX, based on the Metro design language and principles that will be incorporated into Windows 8. It also targets a different market than its predecessor: instead of being designed mainly for business and technology workers, WP7 is targeted at active people with a busy life, both offline and online, and who use social networks every day, whatever their background.
First, it’s a new interface, so you have space to create and develop some new ideas for it. We are still at the beginning of its growing curve, so it’s an interesting challenge. When I saw a WP7 presentation for the first time, I thought, “I want to design something for this.” Exploring is a great way to learn how to build a new exciting experience for users.
In this article, we’ll explore a scoring system for rating and comparing websites, we’ll visualize those ratings using infographics, and we’ll see what data and structure this method provides for reviewing websites. We are all reviewers. We review many websites every day without even realizing it. In fact, many of us are experts at it. We don’t realize it because the whole process occurs in moments.
That’s how it is. We use websites; we judge websites. Even if we don’t know we’re doing it, we make judgements about trustworthiness, credibility, competency, reliability, design and style within seconds of arriving on a Web page. After looking around, we also get a pretty good feel for the user experience and usability.
￼I hear a lot of people talking about the importance of sketching when designing or problem solving, yet it seems very few people actually sketch. As a UX professional, I sketch every day. I often take over entire walls in our office and cover them with sketches, mapping out everything from context scenarios to wire frames and presentations.
Although it’s sometimes easier to start prototyping on a computer, it’s not the best way to visually problem solve. When you need to ideate web site layouts, mobile applications or story board work flows and context scenarios, sketching is much more efficient. It prevents you from getting caught up in the technology, and instead allows you to focus on the best possible solution. Giving you the freedom to take risks that you might not otherwise take.
Redesign. The word itself can send shudders down the spines of any Web designer and developer. For many designers and website owners, the imminent onslaught of endless review cycles, coupled with an infinite number of “stakeholders” and their inevitable “opinions,” would drive them to shave their heads with a cheese grater if given a choice between the two. Despite these realities, redesigns are a fact of any online property’s life cycle. Here are five key indications that it’s time to redesign your website and of how extensive that redesign needs to be.
The first and most important indicator that your website is in need of a rethink is metrics that are beginning to tank. There certainly could be other reasons for this symptom (such as your product not fitting the market), but once those are eliminated or mitigated, a constant downward trend in conversions, sales, engagement activities and general user participation indicates that the efficacy of your current design has worn off.
Ah, the love of a client. That is indeed what we all seek as professionals, is it not? If we lived in a utopia, then that’s all there would be. Openness. Honesty. Passion. Flowing in both directions, client to service provider and vice versa. We want our clients to be right behind us in our ideas and open to new ones. In order for this to happen, there has to be trust.
Clients that deal with large agencies tend to place their trust in the big brand names of these shops. Freelance designers and small agencies do not always inspire the confidence in clients that large shops do, which means that trust has to be built, nurtured and never taken for granted.