User Experience

Prototyping towards a better user experience
Designing websites has traditionally been an expensive and laboured experience. Many hours have been spent pouring over information architecture, deliberating interactions, elaborating upon wireframes and creating pixel-perfect Photoshop and Illustrator compositions, only for those design artefacts to be archived neatly away, on a server, never to be seen again. Read more – ‘Prototyping towards a better user experience’.
Building a presence on mobile? Here are your options
With many competing business models, technologies and systems, a perennial topic of conversation is which approach is better for mobile: websites and webapps, written in HTML5 and related Web technologies, housed on the Web and run across multiple platforms, devices and browsers; or native apps, downloaded to devices and built upon and designed specifically for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. Read more – ‘Building a presence on mobile? Here are your options’.
What Smart TV might look like a few years from now
Gestural and touch interfaces, second screens, social interactions, personalisation...Unitid Interaction Designers have created an interesting video on the future of the smart TV. Read more – ‘What Smart TV might look like a few years from now’.
Nordstrom’s Innovation Lab: Sunglasses iPad app case study
By applying a healthy dose of Lean and Agile methodologies to projects, the waterfall model of software development has been replaced leading to rapid innovation and learning. Read more – ‘Nordstrom’s Innovation Lab: Sunglasses iPad app case study’.
The 22 Rules of Storytelling, According to Pixar
Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of “story basics” last year — guidelines that she learned from her colleagues on how to create appealing stories. Read more – ‘The 22 Rules of Storytelling, According to Pixar’.
Apple’s 27 Guidelines for Mobile User Experience Design
People appreciate mobile apps that feel as though they were designed expressly for the device. For example, when an app fits well on the device screen and responds to the gestures that people know, it provides much of the experience people are looking for. And, although people might not be aware of human interface design principles, such as direct manipulation or consistency, they can tell when apps follow them and when they don't. Read more – ‘Apple’s 27 Guidelines for Mobile User Experience Design’.
Disney’s Twelve Basic Principles of Animation
The Twelve Basic Principles of Animation is a set of principles of animation introduced by the Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their 1981 book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. Johnston and Thomas in turn based their book on the work of the leading Disney animators from the 1930s onwards and their effort to produce more realistic animations. The main purpose of the principles was to produce an illusion of characters adhering to the basic laws of physics, but they also dealt with more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal. Read more – ‘Disney’s Twelve Basic Principles of Animation’.
IBM’s Design Principles
Software can be designed to simplify tasks and to create a positive overall experience for users. Thoroughly understanding the goals of users and stakeholders and designing software with those goals in mind are the best approaches to successfully delivering products that will delight customers. Read more – ‘IBM’s Design Principles’.
6 Key Insights for Building a Successful Community
How do you ensure your online community is a success? Online community programs take a lot of thought, planning and work to get them off the ground, but if done correctly can bring so much value for members and brands. Read more – ‘6 Key Insights for Building a Successful Community’.
Dan Ariely on How We’re Gaming Ourselves
For some of the online world’s compulsions, we have only ourselves to blame. Think about email: In the past few years, we’ve arrived at an equilibrium point where everyone expects everyone else to be on email all the time. For most people, this isn’t a good thing. One of my friends, the business analytics expert […] Read more – ‘Dan Ariely on How We’re Gaming Ourselves’.
You’re Being Gamed
You, like many people, aren’t stupid, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that you can be fooled. Since the dawn of time, the best salespeople, rightly or wrongly, have been known to exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the human mind to their own gain. Read more – ‘You’re Being Gamed’.
11 Laws and Principles to Use in Design
Design elements, laws and principles, garnered over centuries of observation, describe fundamental ideas about the practice of good visual design that are assumed to be the basis of all intentional visual design strategies. The elements form the 'vocabulary' of the design, while the laws and principles constitute the broader structural aspects of its composition. David Hume described these as "the constant and universal principles of human nature." Awareness of the elements, laws and principles in design is the first step in creating successful visual compositions. While these universal design elements, laws and principles may not always be absolutes, understanding them can help you achieve success in a multitude of fields including graphic, industrial design and experience design, architecture and fine art. Read more – ‘11 Laws and Principles to Use in Design’.
Game Dynamics, or Gamification to You and Me
In behavioural economics, gamification is the use of game dynamics for non-game applications, particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites, in order to encourage people to adopt the applications. It also strives to encourage users to engage in desired behaviours in connection with the applications. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, encouraging desired behaviours and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping or reading web sites. Read more – ‘Game Dynamics, or Gamification to You and Me’.
The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design
Inclusive design is well established in architecture and industrial design and the principles that apply to these disciplines are equally relevant on the web. It’s people that your website engages with, not technologies, so a user-centered approach is fundamental. Read more – ‘The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design’.
43 Things That Customers Think Are Fun
We’ve all played games as children. Today, millions of people ‘lose’ themselves in massively multiplayer games (MMPG) like World of Warcraft, strategy games like League of Legends and social media games like FarmVille. Games satisfy our need to interact, compete, and exercise our imagination. And they’re fun. Read more – ‘43 Things That Customers Think Are Fun’.
6 Rules for Designing Amazing Apps
Mobile design is an entirely new breed of design says Brian Fling; you need to think of your app as a great book; it has a clear beginning, middle and end. Read more – ‘6 Rules for Designing Amazing Apps’.
Robert Cialdini’s Six Universal Types of Influence
The human mind is an intriguing thing, capable of the most complex thought processes and ideas. Yet the brain is on automatic pilot for many situations. That allows the conscious mind to focus on other tasks. One potential drawback is that it is possible take advantage of our conscious inattention. Read more – ‘Robert Cialdini’s Six Universal Types of Influence’.
How to Make Design Thinking Part of the Innovation Drill
The myth of creative genius is resilient: We believe that great ideas pop fully formed out of brilliant minds, in feats of imagination well beyond the abilities of mere mortals. But Design Thinking is neither a sudden breakthrough nor the lightning strike of genius; it is the result of hard work augmented by a creative human-centered discovery process, followed by iterative cycles of prototyping, testing, and refinement. Read more – ‘How to Make Design Thinking Part of the Innovation Drill’.
A Design Thinker’s Personality Profile
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker. Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training. Many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock. Read more – ‘A Design Thinker’s Personality Profile’.
Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX
The visual principles of harmony, unity, contrast, emphasis, variety, balance, proportion, pattern and direction (and others) are widely recognised and practiced, even when they aren’t formally articulated. But creating a good design doesn’t automatically mean creating a good experience. In order for us to cultivate positive experiences for our users, we need to establish a set of guiding principles for experience design. Read more – ‘Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX’.
The Dimensions of a Good Experience
Good designs are useful, usable and desirable. But what is a good experience? While crafting the experience of her own startup, Foodspotting, Alexa Andrzejewski found answers in urban design. Asking the same question about urban experiences, Kevin Lynch, author of Good City Form, extracted a set of dimensions for evaluating experiences. By applying these principles to interactive experiences, you can identify what kind of experience you’re creating for users: Is it adaptable? Does it tell a story? Are there signs of life? You’ll leave with a set of guidelines that, unlike traditional heuristics, will enable you to evaluate the experiential qualities of your designs. Read more – ‘The Dimensions of a Good Experience’.
Hansen’s User Engineering Principles for Interactive Systems
The ‘feel’ of an interactive system can be compared to the impressions generated by a piece of music. Both can only be experienced over a period of time. With either, the user must abstract the structure of the system from a sequence of details. Each may have a quality of ‘naturalness’ because successive actions follow a logically self-consistent pattern. A good composer can write a new pattern which will seem, after a few listenings, to be so natural the observer wonders why it was never done before. Read more – ‘Hansen’s User Engineering Principles for Interactive Systems’.
Shneirderman’s 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design
To improve the usability of an application it is important to have a well designed interface. Shneiderman's "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design" are a guide to good interaction design. Read more – ‘Shneirderman’s 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design’.
User Interface Guidelines for Mobile and Tablet Devices
The official user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) guidelines from the manufacturers, links to which you can find below, are a source of inspiration for mobile web and application design. Here, you will find guidelines, samples, tips, and descriptions of common mistakes. Many of the guidelines focus on native application development, but we can apply most parts of them to mobile web design. Read more – ‘User Interface Guidelines for Mobile and Tablet Devices’.
Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction Seminars
Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (Seminar on People, Computers, and Design) is a Stanford University course that features weekly speakers on topics related to human-computer interaction design. The seminar is organized by the Stanford HCI Group, which works across disciplines to understand the intersection between humans and computers. Read more – ‘Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction Seminars’.
User Experience Books Free to Read Online
The truly worldwide reach of the Web has brought with it a new realisation among computer scientists and industry professionals of the enormous importance of usability and user interface design. In the last ten years, much has become understood about what works in user interfaces from a usability perspective, and what does not. Read more – ‘User Experience Books Free to Read Online’.
Dieter Rams' 10 Rules of Good Design
Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design. Many of Rams’ designs — coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment, consumer appliances and office products — have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York. Read more – ‘Dieter Rams' 10 Rules of Good Design’.
Jakob Nielsen's Ten Usability Heuristics
These are ten general principles for user interface design suggested by Jakob Nielsen. They are called "heuristics" because they are more in the nature of rules of thumb than specific usability guidelines. Read more – ‘Jakob Nielsen's Ten Usability Heuristics’.
IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit
IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit is a free innovation guide for NGOs and social enterprises. Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a process used for decades to create new solutions for companies and organisations. HCD can help you enhance the lives of people. This process has been specially-adapted for organisations like that work with people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. HCD will help you hear people’s needs in new ways, create innovative solutions to meet these needs, and deliver solutions with financial sustainability in mind. Read more – ‘IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit’.
Lund's Expert Ratings of Usability Maxims
Published in the "Ergonomics in Design" journal in 1997, Arnie Lund collected and created this list of 34 rules-of-thumb that were found particularly useful during the design process by colleagues working in the human-computer interaction (HCI) design field. Read more – ‘Lund's Expert Ratings of Usability Maxims’.
Three Dimensions of Emotional Design
Emotional Design is both the title of a book by Donald Norman and of the concept it represents. The main issue is that emotions have a crucial role in the human ability to understand the world, and how they learn new things. For example, aesthetically pleasing objects appear to the user to be more effective, by virtue of their sensual appeal. This is due to the affinity the user feels for an object that appeals to them, due to the formation of an emotional connection [with the object]. Read more – ‘Three Dimensions of Emotional Design’.
Ten Steps to Personas
Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions about a product, such as features, interactions, and visual design. Personas are most often used as part of a user-centered design process for designing software and are also considered a part of interaction design. Read more – ‘Ten Steps to Personas’.
Writing a Good Web Accessibility Statement
An accessibility statement makes a good addition to all web sites. It is not only a place to demonstrate that you are taking accessibility seriously, but more importantly, it should provide extra information for visitors to your site — particularly for those people with disabilities who need to know about the accessibility of the information and services you provide — and a mechanism to receive feedback on accessibility. Read more – ‘Writing a Good Web Accessibility Statement’.
BBC Appealing to the Facebook Generation
I’m not a big fan of the BBC’s recent website redesign! While I believe that a few structural and hierarchical elements could have been addressed better, the overall result of this redesign is too “Facebook” and Web 2.0 for my liking; exactly what an online news site does not need. Who are the BBC trying to appeal to? They have gone from being content centric to design and technology centric. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but I don’t understand the BBCs motivation for doing so. Read more – ‘BBC Appealing to the Facebook Generation’.
Website Success via Desire Lines
Desire lines are those well-worn ribbons of dirt that you see cutting across a patch of grass, field or park, often with nearby pavements, particularly those that offer a less direct route, ignored. In winter, desire lines appear spontaneously as tramped down paths in the snow. These paths are never perfectly straight but instead, they meander like a river this way and that, as if to prove that desire itself isn't uniform or linear and (literally, in this case) straightforward. Read more – ‘Website Success via Desire Lines’.
The Law of Demeter
The Law of Demeter (LoD), or Principle of Least Knowledge, is a design guideline for developing software applications, particularly object-oriented programs. The guideline can be succinctly summarised as "Only talk to your immediate friends." The fundamental notion is that a given object should assume as little as possible about the structure or properties of anything else, including its sub-components. Read more – ‘The Law of Demeter’.
The Law of Unintended Consequences
Unintended consequences are situations where an action results in an outcome that is not (or not only) that which was intended. The unintended results may be foreseen or unforeseen, but they should are the logical or likely results of the action. Read more – ‘The Law of Unintended Consequences’.