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1

Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

DevSource has published a nice 8-minute online video interview featuring Dr. Jakob Nielsen.

Nielsen addresses a wide range of topics, such as proper attitude for programmers, the importance of prototyping in design, and the reasons why PDF, Flash, and local search engines can hurt more than they help.

Links:

  • Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2006 - via WebWord

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See also: Interviews (10)  Search (24)  Prototyping and wireframing (32)  Usability testing (30) 


 

2

Avoid links that scroll to sections of pages

According to Jakob Nielsen, we should avoid links that scroll to sections of a page, since users expect that links will take them to a new page.

Studies have shown that within-page links typically waste far more time than they save because users click back and forth multiple times to review the same material.

If you must use within-page links, tell the user that clicking the link will scroll to the page to the relevant section.

Only for very long pages, such as long alphabetized lists and FAQs, will the time saved be worth the confusion that within-page links can cause. Also, linking to a specific section on a different page is not as bad as using within-page links on a single page, since the users are taken to a new page.

Ideally, create separate pages for everything that serves as a link destination.

Links:

  • Avoid Within-Page Links

Henrik Olsen - February 25, 2006

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See also: Navigation (46)  Links (12)  Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

3

Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

Yahoo! has decided to share their Design Pattern Library with the rest of us. You can find inspiration for common design elements such as breadcrumbs, auto completion, pagination - and more to come.

Links:

  • Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

Henrik Olsen - February 14, 2006 - via IA? EH

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See also: Design patterns (4) 


 

4

Alphabetized lists are random lists

"Unless you can be absolutely sure that users will know the exact terms in your list, alphabetical order is just random order."

According to Jared Spool, alphabetized lists work for people's name, states, cities, car models, and teams. But they fall apart for things where users don't know the exact wording. Users must resort to the same behavior they need when links are randomly ordered. They must scan every link to make sure they can see what is relevant and what isn't.

Instead, we should use a divide-and-conquer approach by categorizing the items. Once broken up into small groups, it doesn't matter what the order of the links are.

Links:

  • Alphabetized Links are Random Links

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2006

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See also: Navigation (46)  Links (12)  Information architecture (12)  Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

5

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 (24) 


 

6

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 (24) 


 

7

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 (4)  Research (93) 


 

8

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 (13) 


 

9

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 (93) 


 

10

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 (46)  Personas (13)  The design process (14) 


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