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1

593 ways of spelling Britney Spears

People often mispel words when using search engines. Google has registered 593 ways of spelling Britney Spears.

Links:

  • 593 ways of spelling Britney Spears

Henrik Olsen - January 26, 2006 - via justaddwater.dk

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See also: Misc humor (3)  Search (23) 


 

2

Auto-completion in search interfaces

According to Jesper Ronn-Jensen from justaddwater.dk, live search will gradually replace traditional search on the web. In live search interfaces results are fetched whenever the user stops typing for a brief moment. An example of this is Google Suggest where the most popular results are presented as-you-type.

Jesper sees the following benefits:
- The search user interface is identical to traditional search
- Misspellings can be corrected immediately
- Relevant alternatives are presented as you type
- It's easy to refine your search: Just continue typing
- If the search is too narrow it's easy to press backspace and remove characters

Links:

  • Live search explained

Henrik Olsen - January 26, 2006

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See also: Search (23) 


 

3

How to build a design pattern library

Design patterns have become a popular method for teams to tame the consistent-design-management tiger. UIE have looked at how teams build and maintain design pattern libraries and what they punt into their design pattern description. The result is great inspiration for building your own design patterns.

Links:

  • The Elements of a Design Pattern

Henrik Olsen - January 24, 2006

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See also: Design patterns (3)  Research (91) 


 

4

Donald Norman's guidelines on writing manuals

"Is a manual important? Yes, but even more important is a well-designed product, one so well conceived and constructed that either the manual is not needed at all, or if it is, where the manual can be short, simple, and easy to understand and then to remember."

Norman suggests the following rules to accomplish this:
- Use excellent technical writers
- Make the writers part of the design team
- Let people get right to work with minimum reading by using short and simple explanations with illustrations
- Test the manual with people from the intended user community
- Get rid of the lawyers (or at the least, put their required warnings in a seperate appendix)

Links:

  • How To Write an Effective Manual

Henrik Olsen - January 03, 2006

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Help (2)  Text (14) 


 

5

Only experts use help

In usability tests Jensen Harris has observed that help in Microsoft Office is mostly used by experts and enthusiasts. While novices and intermediates click around and experiment, experts try to reason thing out and look them up in help.

Jensen suggests that reasons for the varied usage of help include:
- Only experts know the "magic" words to bring up what they're looking for
- Help doesn't help you become familiar with a piece of software - it's designed to troubleshoot, not to teach.
- The process of experimenting with the product is totally removed from opening and reading articles in the help window
- Experts use more of the powerful and involved features, and thus benefit from the help system more.

Links:

  • Help Is For Experts

Henrik Olsen - December 17, 2005

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See also: Help (2)  Research (91) 


 

6

Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Jared M. Spool has made his presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness available online. Download a MP3 and a PDF, listen to the presentation in its entirety and see all the examples using the presentation handout.

Spool shares practical design strategies from effective web sites and shows:
- How the best teams allocate their resources by focusing on the most important content on the site and how this affects every page
- Proven design techniques, such as persona-based design, to help teams understand what users need from the site
- Why the most effective sites never relaunch, yet manage to always have fresh designs
- How we can utilize the scent of information and how people search for their content to give your site a huge advantage

Links:

  • The presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Henrik Olsen - December 09, 2005

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See also: Navigation (44)  Personas (13)  The design process (14) 


 

7

Best bets - hand-crafted search results

Much can be done to improve the quality of search results. But according to James Robertson, no amount of tweaking search engines will ensure that the most relevant results always appear at the beginning of the list. This is where "best bets" come in.

Best bets are a hand-created list of key resources for common queries, presented prominently at the beginning of the search results. By analyzing search statistics, we can ensure that the most useful pages are listed right at the top of popular searches.

Links:

  • Search engine 'best bets'

Henrik Olsen - December 06, 2005

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See also: Tips and guidelines (63)  Search (23) 


 

8

Designing pages listing links to content

According to Jared Spool, gallery pages - pages listing links to content pages - are the hardest working pages on a web site. They separate those users who find the content they are looking for from the users who don't.

Studies by UIE show that when gallery pages don't contain the information that users will need to make their choice, they have to resort to "pogosticking" - jumping back and forth between the gallery and the content pages hoping they'll eventually hit the content they desire.

UIE also noticed that users expect the most important items to always be listed first in the gallery. If the first few items aren't of interest, they often assume the rest will be even less interesting.

Links:

  • Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site

Henrik Olsen - December 01, 2005

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See also: Research (91)  Persuasive design (12)  Sections (5)  Web page design (23)  Navigation (44) 


 

9

The eight types of navigation pages

Watching users search for content, UIE realized that there are essentially eight types of navigation pages a user can run into:

- Content pages
- Galleries, listing links to content pages
- Departments, used to list links to gallery pages
- Stores, used to segment content areas (e.g. World, Business, Sports etc. on a new site) and list links to departments
- Gallery-level search results, which are similar to gallery pages, except they are search engine generated results
- Department-level search results, used to divide search results into departments to assist in the winnowing process
- Search entry page, where the user enters their search query (frequently a section of a page)
- Home page (landing pages) tasked with orienting users in the right direction

According to Jared Spool, the most navigation failures are due to poorly-designed gallery pages that don't reveal what's on the content pages they link to.

Links:

  • The article The 8 Types of Navigation Pages

Henrik Olsen - November 29, 2005

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See also: Navigation (44) 


 

10

Explain icons with labels

Part of the user experience efforts around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems that were noticed was that non-expert users didn't use the toolbar at all. One change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons.

According to Jensen Harris icons can work by themselves, but the richness is just not there relative to human language.

Links:

  • The Importance Of Labels

Henrik Olsen - November 06, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (44)  Text (14)  Tips and guidelines (63) 


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