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.
Our objects are becoming increasingly connected. My watch is connected to my phone, which is connected to the speaker in my living room, which I can also connect (or not) to the speaker in my bedroom. When I go out to dinner with friends, we have to make a concerted effort to keep our handheld and wearable devices silenced or otherwise placed “in the background” of our social experience, so that we can focus on each other.
As our artifacts and everything around us become more connected, we run the risk as humans of becoming increasingly disconnected from each other — not in a tragic, dystopian kind of way per se, but in a real way that we need to take into consideration when designing for these experiences.
What is the best UX pattern to display products on an e-commerce website: pagination, a “Load more” button or infinite scrolling? At Baymard Institute, we’ve conducted several year-long large-scale usability studies of more than 50+ leading e-commerce websites. We tested (among other things) these three design patterns for loading products, both on desktop and mobile.
Pagination is still the most popular way to load new items on a website because it ships by default in almost every single e-commerce platform. However, our usability test sessions found “Load more” buttons combined with lazy-loading to be a superior implementation, resulting in a more seamless user experience. We found that infinite scrolling can be downright harmful to usability — in particular, for search results and on mobile. However, it’s not black and white, because the performance of each method varies according to the context of the page.
Maxwell is a researcher at a design firm that is working on a mobile payment app. He wants to learn more about how users currently interact with point-of-sale terminals. Maxwell contacts a local grocery store to coordinate times to observe customers as they are checking out. He then asks every fifth customer who checks out to complete a brief survey. Maxwell is engaging in intercepts as part of his recruitment of research participants.
We often want information on what users and potential users of our designs think and how they behave in the context of where they will use our design. For example, if you are designing a new interface for an ATM, you would benefit from understanding how current users engage with ATMs in the context of spaces where ATMs are located. Intercepts allow you to engage users in a variety of settings to collect data to inform your design. It sounds simple, but there is a right way to ask people to stop and participate in a study. This article shares a method to design and carry out effective intercepts as part of your user research.
Have you ever wondered why your users do not interact with your product the way you hope? Persuading people to perform a particular action, like signing up or buying a product, is a challenge in most industries, especially when you want that action to be performed repeatedly.
As UX practitioners, we try to create the best conditions for users to complete their tasks, and yet even the most usable interface is sometimes not enough to engage users. Why is that? To understand the reasons behind what drives users to certain behaviors, we need to look at the psychology that underlies the process of initiating and performing a behavior.
Every morning, designers wake up to happily work on their products, be they digital or physical, with an inner belief that people will want to use their products and will have a blast doing so. Perhaps that is a slight generalization; however, as designers, we tend to have a natural desire for each project we work on to be the best it can be, to be innovative and, most importantly, to make a difference.
Here is a little revelation. People are not really into using products. Any time spent by a user operating an interface, twisting knobs, pulling levers or tapping buttons is time wasted. Rather, people are more interested in the end result and in obtaining that result in the quickest, least intrusive and most efficient manner possible. And these are two fundamentally different concepts — usage versus results — which, at the very least, differentiate good product design from poor product design or, on a smaller scale, a good feature from a bad one.
Product teams in startups and mid-sized and large companies are all implementing
usability testing and prototyping as a way to de-risk product development. As the focus shifts from engineering to prototyping, it is becoming increasingly important for anyone who creates prototypes to understand the differences between a prototype and a product build.
By optimizing the prototyping process, you can produce mockups that deliver the most actionable user insights, while being as efficient as possible with design time. Regardless of which prototype tools you use or whether you test wireframes, clickable mockups or coded prototypes, what’s most important to focus on is what you want to test and what you want to learn from it.
A user’s account on a website is like a house. The password is the key, and logging in is like walking through the front door. When a user can’t remember their password, it’s like losing their keys. When a user’s account is hacked, it’s like their house is getting broken into.
Nearly half of Americans (47%) have had their account hacked in the last year alone. Are web designers and developers taking enough measures to prevent these problems? Or do we need to rethink passwords?
“Get out of the deliverables business” has become quite a mantra in the lean startup and UX movements. There’s much to love in that sentiment — after all, for every wireframe you make, you’re not shipping code to customers.
But I’m worried that, just like with the concept of a minimum viable product, we’ve taken this sound advice to an extreme that’s actually hurtful to the creation of good products. What follows is an account of my own journey in navigating these stormy design seas together with the community.
To attract motivated designers and user researchers, keep your eye on the why. What’s the why? It’s the underlying purpose that brings you and your employees together. Why the why? Because if you focus only on what you need, then you run the risk of filtering down merely to an adequate match for the list of skills needed for defined tasks.
However, if you lead with why a candidate would want to work with you each day, then you might just attract the best fit for executing your company’s mission. I’ve written job listings for a half-dozen organizations over the years and for all manner of user experience roles. When I wrote my first job description, I took other listings from my company as a base, looked around for some examples from other companies and ended up with what I see in hindsight as being the usual run-of-the-mill hodgepodge of bullet points.