Tag Archives: user experience Blog

Scrolling Redeemed

Page scrolling was once shunned — a design feature to be avoided because the physical act of moving a web page with a mouse disturbed users’ “cognitive flow” (otherwise known as “patience”). But that was before mobile. Now, due to the predominance of small screens that provide tiny portions of page content at a time, users have no choice but to scroll through pages in order to read or find something. This would be bad, except for the fact that mobile screens can be scrolled much faster using a finger than a mouse on a computer. The overall user experience is actually better since with little effort a whole page can be browsed in a few seconds.

Now that scrolling is being embraced, best practices have arisen to support scrolling in design. In fact, designing for scrolling opens up new possibilities for creating engaging websites:

… once you start approaching the long scroll as a canvas for illustrating a beginning, middle, and end (through graphics, animations, icons, etc.), then you start to see it’s film-like power in capturing user attention.

The following is an update that describes current thinking about scrolling, and provides some tips on how to incorporate scrolling successfully in modern website design.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2pO2m7N

IBM Embraces Design, Puts Customers First

IBM has embraced design as a core value to the extent that they’re retraining the entire company to “think design.” This is an interesting transformation of corporate philosophy that puts customers first in an effort to create more value.

“Designers bring [an] intuitive sense … and understand the power of delivering a great experience and how to treat a user as if they were guests in their own home,” says Phil Gilbert, chief design evangelist. The design program allows the $143 billion company to be more strategic and shift away from the engineering-driven “features-first” ethos towards a more “user first” mentality. “It allows us to solve real problems for real people …”

This is a massive effort that involves retraining the entire company as well as hiring reams of design talent to lead the “design first” initiative. But if you believe the notion that companies that provide the best experience for customers will win, a commitment to a sound 21st century strategy like this should pay off well.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2cinCfw

Type, and Digital Design

Designing for digital requires efficiency, consistency, and clarity — all to make it easy for people to do things. This makes sense when you consider that digital interfaces need to work at the speed of thought. That’s why people prefer clicking to scrolling. It’s also why movie cuts work, since they mimic eye movements. Digital interfaces need to be designed so that people can glance, scan, feel for hierarchy, and find things in expected ways. It’s what we mean when we say a digital experience is ‘intuitive.’

Typography is a huge part of visual communication. A small but important part of typography is ‘letter case,’ which is how capital and small letters are used to convey meaning. This article looks at Title Case vs. Sentence Case, and provides some nice insights on how each can be used. Hope this helps enhance your next design!

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2aGLV4b

Understanding Users

When it comes down to it, we’re all users. No, not the manipulators who want to steal someone’s time, money or ideas. Rather, the everyday people who use technology. Those of us that create solutions from tech often take users for granted or consider them with disdain when we see the ‘mistakes’ they make while ‘using’ our latest product. But we all know what it’s like to be left adrift by technology that hasn’t been well thought out, or whose developers have made assumptions about us that are ill-founded at best. This article sheds light on tech from the users’ end, which can serve as a guide when we’re designing something that has the goal of having someone do business with us online. The quick take-aways? Make it easy, put yourself in their place, and never call your customers ‘dumb.’

Read full article: http://bit.ly/1ORqWOQ

Questioning the Value of Apps

We all know it’s an ‘app world’ now, and that users love the simplicity of one-trick apps that elegantly do things they want to do. But the following article brings up a lot of reasons why apps aren’t always so great. It begins by questioning why the majority of apps are even created in the first place. It also touches on the many problems that come with app development versus developing for the web for mobile platforms — problems that usually result in frustration due to greatly reduced feature sets and restrictive interfaces from what users are accustomed to on websites.

Have you ever tried actually using the Amazon app on iOS, Android, and Windows? … the Amazon app is a frustrating morass of missing and incomplete functions from the website. Sure, maybe you don’t need the full breadth of Amazon functions on your phone, though that’s debatable on a tablet. But natural web conveniences like opening links in new tabs, sharing links, the back button, searching within the page, and zooming in and out are available inconsistently, if at all.

And of course there’s the issue of privacy. What exactly are some of these apps accessing on your device? And how much additional data can they collect when users choose an app over the website?

Ultimately people will choose the best experience. Just because you offer an app doesn’t mean anyone will want it. App strategies must offer something totally unique, or so useful that users can’t live without it. Convenience on mobile devices is a good reason for creating an app, but not if it is so ill-thought out that users become frustrated.

Personally, I use lots of apps — mostly clever utilities that allow my devices to do cool or useful things like photo editing, FTP or synchronized note taking. But I usually reject apps and just use websites when it comes to information, e-commerce and search. I even resist mobile versions of websites, since I find most of them so feature-restricted and inconsistent with their full web counterparts. In fact, my favorite link on most mobile websites is the ‘view desktop version’ link, usually found at the bottom — present if the website owner understands that  users want to decide how to interact with them.

It may be an ‘app world,’ but that doesn’t mean that every app is necessary or even good. My advice is to not create an app for its own sake. But do create one when you can offer something so good that there’s no other way to deliver it.

Read full article: http://blog.codinghorror.com/app-pocalypse-now/