Jun 022014

This is a great article on web accessibility. It covers keyboard, forms, contrast ratio, images, and links and buttons in detail, with a discussion of accessibility implications, usage, and coding in each area. Three case studies on the big 3 automaker’s mobile websites are also included.

This is a must read!

Mobile And Accessibility: Why You Should Care And What You Can Do About It | Smashing Magazine.

Jun 022014

This article does a good job comparing different ways in which desktop and mobile users approach tasks and how that effects behavior, needs, and the interface: desktop vs. mobile. For that alone it’s a worthy read.

Code examples are included if you’re wondering how to program specific functions  such as techniques for local storage, avoiding a browser crash when waking from sleep mode, and keeping data refreshed while preserving bandwidth.

The context is a case study on mobile efficiency and user experience.

Streamlining Mobile Interactions | Smashing Magazine.

Jan 132014

We’ve all arrived at search results pages where no results are found. If handled poorly these pages can harm your website’s goodwill, and if handled well they can increase site use by offering your visitors alternative suggestions and options. The author provides good examples and tips on best practices.

3 Guidelines for Search Engine "No Results" Pages.

Jan 132014

Nielsen distinguishes between intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load, and as implied by the label, the latter should be reduced on your pages so your visitors focus on the tasks and information at hand. Tips are offered on how this can be achieved. The article is a very short but important reminder on obvious ways to increase your website usability.

Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability | Nielsen Norman Group.

Dec 102013

Most of us have experienced running an app while offline, or losing connectivity while in an app only to receive an error message or helplessly watch the app crash or seize up. Connectivity is especially important in developing nations where Internet access can be unreliable and bandwidth limited. So designing for Offline-First is important and in many cases a necessity. Many apps that depend on synchronization are already doing this. Case in point, Evernote.

Designing Offline-First Web Apps on A List Apart

Nov 222013

There are many quotes pertaining to usability on this site and for good reason. Usability underpins good user experience good conversion rates and more. Case studies on usability are typically instructive and this one is worth noting because the author makes use of a remote testing service:usability testers for hire. It works out well in this case but on a cautionary note there is something I call “professional tester syndrome” where people whose job is usability testing may not represent the average user and your results may be skewed.

If you’re going to use a remote testing service it’s a good idea to mix in some actual user tests. You can also conduct effective tests remotely using services like join.me and gotomeeting.com. The user may not be in the same room but they are live tests which you can record.

How Usability Testing Drastically Improved My Clients App | Smashing UX Design.

Nov 052013

The last subheading in this article is “…Do make me think, sometimes”, an obvious nod to Steve Krug and one I agree with. The crux of the authors point is noted in the following quote.

We know that well-presented content and organized design makes information appear more credible. Unfortunately, this can also be true when the content itself is of low quality.

Actual interaction time and engagement may increase when information is actually slightly harder to decipher or digest easily. This suggests that simplification of content is not always desirable if we are designing for understanding over and above mere speedy consumption.

Sometimes, perhaps out of the fear of high bounce rates, we might be ignoring the fact that maybe we can afford to lose a percentage of users if those that stick are motivated to really engage with our content. In this case, the level of detail to support this deeper interaction needs to be there.

Good food for thought wouldn’t you say? Now read the full article.

Clicking Fast and Slow « Boxes and Arrows.

Oct 302013

Basic design elements can impact usability quite dramatically. Users often ignore the right column or right-rail on a page because it’s typically a place for ads or irrelevant information. As a result, if there are elements that appear “ad-like” at a glance it will cast a banner blindness spell over your right column causing it to be ignored. This article from the Nielsen group offers valuable tips and examples to help keep all columns of multi-column designs in the visual field of your visitors.

Fight Against “Right-Rail Blindness”.

Oct 242013

This article really caught my attention. The idea is to incorporate movement and animation into your user flow as a way to guide your visitors through a process or make layered content and it’s state (hidden/revealed) apparent. There are several examples with takeaway tips and reference links.

Smart Transitions In User Experience Design | Smashing UX Design.

Sep 182013

A must see for UI/UX designers or anyone interested in learning about the process involved in assessing and creating intuitive interfaces for the web or any other product for that matter. The video is from an Event Apart presentation. It’s an hour long but well worth it. I found the concept of bridging the gap between current and target knowledge particularly insightful. Warning, Jared drops a couple F bombs in this video – the resulting humor is worth it. He’s a funny guy.

An Event Apart News: The Curious Properties of Intuitive Web Pages by Jared M. Spool – An Event Apart Boston.