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Posts Tagged ‘Usability’.

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Usability’.

Don’t Follow Trends: Set Them!

Your website represents your brand. New visitors will form a first impression of your service or product within seconds of arriving at your website, and the visuals, layout and aesthetic will play a large role in shaping that impression. Sure, your website may be very usable and have great content, but it's the aesthetic that will evoke feeling, and it's the aesthetic that will be used to judge the quality of your website in those first few seconds before the visitor has had time to browse around.

Unique

Use this to your advantage and fashion a unique style that will set your website apart from the rest — a style that will impress and delight your users.

Throughout history, great artists always found new ways to express themselves and create new techniques to set their work apart from the rest. Think about the styles of Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollock. Think about the different movements of art, from Impressionism and Expressionism to Surrealism and Minimalism. These styles couldn't be more different from each other — and that's the point. The artists' names live on because their art is unique.

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Strategic Design: 6 Steps For Building Successful Websites

Web design isn’t art. It involves a whole collection of different skills — from copywriting and typography to layout and art — all fused together to create an interface that not only features a pleasant aesthetic but that communicates function and facilitates easy access to its content.

The jQuery website redesign

But in order to combine all these elements of Web design together and achieve successful results you must have a clear direction, a direction that will guide each and every aspect of your design towards common goals. You must think strategically.

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Web Form Design Patterns: Sign-Up Forms

If you want to maximize the revenue of your service you need to maximize completion rates of your web forms. Unless you have some revolutionary ideas to impress your visitors at first glance, it is not enough to simply enable users to sign up on your site. To make it possible for the service to reach a maximal exposure we, designers, need to provide users with a good user experience. We need to invite them, describe to them how the service works, explain to them why they should fill in the form and suggests the benefits they'll get in return. And, of course, we should also make it extremely easy for them to participate.

However, designing effective web forms isn't easy. And it has one simple reason: nobody likes to fill in forms — neither offline nor online. Therefore, as designers, we need to figure out sound design decisions to make the form completion easy, intuitive and painless.

Web Form Design Patterns

But how exactly can we figure out these decisions? Where should the link to the form be placed in the layout? How should we design it? How should we highlight the labels and how should we align them? How do web form design patterns look like in modern web-sites? These were exactly the questions we've asked ourselves. And to get the answers we've conducted a survey.

Below we present findings of our survey of current web form design patterns — the results of an analysis of 100 popular web-sites where web-forms (should) matter. We have decided to start with sign-up forms first. We present the first part of our findings below; the second part of the survey results will be published next week.

Update: the second part of the survey results is now also published: Web Form Design Patterns: Sign-Up Forms Part 2.

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Should Links Open In New Windows?

No, they shouldn't. At first glance the decision to open links in new windows or not depends on the given site and the preferences of its visitors. Visitors of the sites with heavy linking are more willing to have links opened in new windows than open dozens of links in new windows manually. Visitors of less-heavy-linkage-sites are more likely to open some specific link in new window to remain on the site and continue to browse through it afterwards. However, this is not true.

Open links in new tabs

Users also don't like to deal with dozens of opened tabs and some visitors tend to quickly become angry with the disabled back-button. Furthermore, some visitors may not even realize that a new window was opened and hit the back-button mercilessly — without any result. That's not user-friendly and that's not a good user experience we, web designers, strive for.

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Five More Principles Of Effective Web Design

Web design has significantly improved over the last years. It's more user-friendly and more appealing today — and there is a good reason behind it: over the years we've found out that design with focus on usability and user experience is just more effective. Modern cut-edge design isn't filled with loud happy talk and blinking advertisements. We've learnt to initiate the dialogue with visitors, involve them into discussions and gain their trust by addressing their needs and speaking with them honestly and directly.

Signalfeuer

Few weeks ago we've presented 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design — a comprehensive article about effective Web design and provided you with insights about how users actually think as well as with some examples of how effective designs can be achieved.

This article highlights 5 further principles, heuristics and approaches for effective Web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.

Please notice that you might be interested in the following usability-related articles:

  • 10 Usability Nightmares showcases usability nightmares you should avoid when designing functional and usable web-sites,
  • 30 Usability Issues explains important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood.
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10 Principles Of Effective Web Design

Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site. Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has established as a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. After all, if users can't use a feature, it might as well not exist.

10 Principles Of Effective Web Design

We aren't going to discuss the implementation details (e.g. where the search box should be placed) as it has already been done in a number of articles; instead we focus on the main principles, heuristics and approaches for effective web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.

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Splash Pages: Do We Really Need Them?

Yes, sometimes we do. Should we use them? No, we probably shouldn't. Splash screen (or splash page) is a front page of a web-site that don't provide the actual content, but offers visitors some kind of intuition or background information for what the site is about. Designers use splash pages in their portfolios to impress potential clients with eye-candy. Companies tend to make use of them to draw users' attention to their latest products. And users literally can't stand them, because splash pages usually take a long time to load and provide (almost) no navigation options — except of "entering the site".

Splashpage Screenshot

Depending on designers' creativity, splash pages use more or less attractive visual elements, sometimes with interactive Flash-movies which sometimes start to play automatically. Splash pages usually have a very simple structure — mostly just an image with few text lines and links. The design of these pages sometimes isn't related to the overall site design. And although most sites don't use them, splash pages are sometimes necessary and therefore remain popular. In fact, there are some situations in which we might want or might even need to use them. Even although we shouldn't — for our visitors' sake.

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30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of

You don't have to agree upon everything. As a professional web developer you are the advocate of your visitors' interests and needs; you have to protect your understanding of good user experience and make sure the visitors will find their way through (possibly) complex site architecture. And this means that you need to be able to protect your position and communicate your ideas effectively — in discussions with your clients and colleagues. In fact, it's your job to compromise wrong ideas and misleading concepts instead of following them blindly.

In this context nothing can support you more than the profound knowledge of fundamental issues related to your work. But even if you know most of them it's important to know how to name these concepts and how to refer to them once they appear in the conversation. Furthermore, it's always useful to have some precise terms ready to hand once you might need them as an argument in your discussions.

Eye-Tracking
Eye-Tracking: Source.

In this article we present 30 important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood. What is the difference between readability and legibility? What exactly does 80/20 or Pareto principle mean? What is meant with minesweeping and satisficing? And what is Progressive Enhancement and Graceful Degradation? OK, it's time to dive in.

Read more...

10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of

Sometimes you just want to get the information you're after, save it and move along. And you can't. Usability nightmares — which are rather the daily routine than an exception — appear every now and again; usually almost every time you type your search keywords in Google. In his article "Why award-winning websites are so awful" Gerry McGovern points out that "the shiny surface wins awards, real substance wins customers" and that is absolutely true.

Nevermind what design you have, and nevermind which functionality you have to offer — if your visitors don't understand how they can get from point A to point B they won't use your site.

In almost every professional design (except from special design showcases such as, e.g., portfolios) you need to offer your visitors

  • a clear, self-explanatory navigation,
  • precise text-presentation,
  • search functionality and
  • visible and thought-out site structure.

And that means that you simply have to folow the basic rules of usability and common sense. You want to communicate with your visitors, don't drive them away, right?

Real Player

In this article we take a look at some of the usability nightmares you should avoid designing functional and usable web-sites. At the end of the article you'll also find 8 usability check-points you should probably be aware of.

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