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Top 10 UX myths

With a little help from his twitter friends, Keith Lang has complied a list of top 10 User Experience Design myths:

- If the Design is a Good One, You Don't Need to Test It
- People Don't Change
- Design to Avoid Clicks
- UX Design Stops at the Edges of the Product
- If you Have Great Search, You Don't Need Great Information Architecture
- Can't Decide? Make it a Preference
- Design Always with Implementation in Mind
- People Know What They Like
- People Read
- The Design Has to be Original


  • Top UX Myths Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 26, 2009

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See also: Information architecture (15)  Usability testing (71) 



Messy interfaces for repeated use and efficiency

Ryan from 37signals has written an interesting post on the trade-off between populating interfaces with many features to improve efficiency versus distributing them over more screens to make them easier to digest.

Referring to Edward Tufte, Ryan explains the dilemma as a question of having information displayed adjacent in space or stacked in time. He concludes that while screens with low complexity gives the eye less to filter through, separating elements onto different screens reduces the need for navigation and makes it easier to move attention from one element to another.


Henrik Olsen - September 01, 2008

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See also: Web page design (41) 



It's the features that sell products

According to Donald Norman, features always win over simplicity. Given a choice, people will buy the product that does more, even when they realize that it is accompanied by more complexity.

"Marketing experts know that purchase decisions are influenced by feature lists, even if the buyers realize they will probably never use most of the features. Even if the features confuse more than they help."


  • Simplicity Is Highly Overrated Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 10, 2006

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The complexity of designing for simplicity

Everybody demand simplicity in design of digital products, but simplicity doesn't come easy. In his pursuit to design for simplicity, Luke Wroblewski has frequently encountered the following problems:

- Perceived simplicity can often conflict with actual simplicity of usage.
- Actions that provide real value and drive revenue often have steep learning curves.
- Designing for gradual engagement (hiding away advanced features until users ask for them, also called progressive disclosure) is quite difficult to design and build

According to Luke, we should not think of these problems as reasons to give up on the pursuit of simplicity. "Being aware of these considerations is actually likely to make our jobs simpler."


  • The Complexity of Simplicity Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 04, 2006

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People buy the products with most features

Luke Wroblewski has looked at the dilemma of capability vs. usability. According to a Harvard Business Review article, people judge the quality of a product based on the number of features, if they have never used it before. After having used these products however, usability will start to matter more than features.

This puts product developers in a dilemma. In order to maximize initial sales, they need to add many features to their products. But in order to maximize repeat sales, they need to prioritize ease-of-use.


  • The Sweet Spot for Buying Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2006

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See also: Research (130) 



Users love link-rich home pages

Clients want their home pages to be simple. This is often translated into "has to hold as few links as possible."

Jared Spool from UIE argues that exposing people to the content of a site enhances simplicity. With a good design, the upper limit of links is much higher than one might think. Sites with up to 700 links on the home page have proven to work very well for its audience.

But populating a page with every possible keyword won't do the trick. The secret is clustering:

"Users look at each cluster and quickly decide whether the cluster is likely to contain their content or not. By focusing on just one or two clusters, the user winnows down their choices to just a handful of links."

If we don't make the clusters right, user won't succeed. Learning how users think about the content requires research, iterative design, and testing.


  • Lifestyles of the Link-Rich Home Pages Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2006

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Home pages (9)  Navigation (63) 



Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

For people with little experience in interaction design it's tempting to equate visual simplicity with usability. But there is more between heaven and earth than meets the eye. The Q4 issue of GUUUI takes a look at some common pitfalls, where studies have proven that what appears to be simple isn't always what is easy to use.


Henrik Olsen - September 30, 2003

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See also: Visual design (20)  Web page design (41) 


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