January 19, 2021 Smashing Newsletter: Issue #284
This newsletter issue was sent out to 181,475 subscribers on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
User experience is everywhere. Every decision everybody on the team ever makes has a consequence on how customers will perceive the product. While we often talk about interfaces and user flows and onboarding and personal and wireframes in the context of UX, usually it’s much broader than that.
Every interaction has to be designed, every error message and web font reflow count; every marketing message and wording on calls to action will leave a customer happy or annoyed. So in this issue of our newsletter, we focus on all things UX: from better landing pages and disabled password pasting to loading spinners and push notifications. Let’s get them right.
And if you are interested in more stuff around UX, we have Adam Silver’s Web Form Design Masterclass online workshop coming up later today — and we’d be happy to welcome you.
So, off we go — designing better user experiences everywhere!
— Vitaly (@smashingmag)
- Designing Better Landing Pages
- Getting Push Notifications Right
- Alternatives To Spinners On The Web
- Improving Security With Password Pasting
- Upcoming Front-End & UX Workshops
- Custom Enter Key Action Labels
1. Designing Better Landing Pages
Persuading someone to take an action isn’t always about convincing them with arguments. Sometimes it’s enough to describe clearly what pain points a product addresses, make the pricing transparent and explain what audience the product is addressing well (perhaps backed up with some social proof).
In a Twitter thread on Landing Page Hot Tips, Rob Hope, a passionate UX designer from Cape Town, South Africa, lists 100 useful tips to keep in mind when designing a landing page (or any other interface really). Each tip has a visual and a little cheatsheet — along with a few quick pointers of things to do and things to avoid. All tips are also collected in a lovely eBook as well.
If you need a bit more landing page inspiration, Rob also runs OnePageLove Landing Pages, a growing repository of well-designed landing pages, as well as Land-Book and Landingfolio. (vf)
2. Getting Push Notifications Right
Many users genuinely dislike push notifications because many websites abuse them for the mere purpose of increasing engagement. But instead of forgoing them completely, Stéphanie Walter suggests a different approach — after all, if done right, notifications have good use cases that can improve the user experience.
In her guide to push notifications Stéphanie shares valuable advice on how to stop ruining push notifications and get the trust of users back. The two pillars that a good notification is built upon: Give your users a chance to understand what they gain from notifications and ask for permission in context, not on page load. This could be an e-commerce site that asks customers if they want to receive notifications about parcel status and delivery after completing a purchase or an airline notifying users when their flight is delayed, for example. A must-read. (cm)
3. Alternatives To Spinners On The Web
Animated spinners are a frequent sight, but the question about the real value they offer to users gives a lot of room for discussions. Simon Hearne even goes so far as to call spinners “lingering legacies of the 1990’s web”. But what better alternatives are there?
To help you assess if a spinner is the way to go for your project, Simon dedicated an article to spinners, the psychology behind waiting, and alternatives you might want to consider. Simon’s conclusion in a nutshell: Replace ambiguous spinners with better progress indication and add dynamic explanatory text. If you do need a spinner, make sure it uses CSS and SVG (rather than GIF) that are branded to your site and relevant to the task at hand. A small detail that can make a real difference. (cm)
4. Improving Security With Password Pasting
When it comes to passwords there’s a critical question: Should users be allowed to paste them or not? Often deemed to be insecure, pasted passwords even make your site more secure, not less, as UK’s National Cyber Security Centre points out.
The main reason for this is because pasting passwords makes it much easier to have different, more complex passwords and work with password managers to keep track of them. The risk of brute force attacks using copy and paste is also very small as there are more efficient ways for attackers to guess a password, as the National Cyber Security Centre points out. If you want to dive in deeper into why disabling password pasting might do more harm than good, Troy Hunt also wrote an article on the topic some years ago which is still gold today.
If you are looking for more practical advice on designining a better password input UX, Safe and Sound – How to Approach Password UX highlights a few interesting points and examples, incl. the show/hide pattern, simple security rules and passphrases. (cm)
5. Upcoming Front-End & UX Workshops
CSS is awesome, and we can get better at it by learning together. So as it happens, we have some friendly online front-end & UX workshops dedicated to CSS, form design, SVG animation, design systems, HTML email and front-end in 2021.
Our workshops are packed with practical examples, video recordings and friendly Q&A sessions. Each and every workshop has been a truly smashing experience with wonderful folks from all over the world. There are still some early-birds left, with a lil’ friendly discount. Perhaps you’d like to join us and recommend to others — just sayin’! ;-)
6. Custom Enter Key Action Labels
It might be a tiny detail, but it’s definitely one that sparks delight when typing on a virtual keyboard: an enter key that gives the user more context depending on the task they are about to complete. The
enterkeyhint attribute makes it possible.
Be it a checkmark as a cue for the operation “done”, a paperplane representing “send”, or the term “next” to jump to the next page in a form,
<input enterkeyhint=“…”> allows you to specify action labels or icons to present for the enter key. Nice! (cm)
Useful front-end & UX bits, delivered once a week. Subscribe and get the Smart Interface Design Checklists PDF — in your inbox. 🎁
You can always unsubscribe with just one click.
- Design Systems
- Web Typography
- State Of The Web 2023
- UX and Interface Design
- Front-End Tooling
- CSS in 2023
- Useful Figma Plugins and Tools
- Web Performance
- Useful UX Templates
- Web Accessibility
Looking for older issues? Drop us an email and we’ll happily share them with you. Would be quite a hassle searching and clicking through them here anyway.