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Envisionments are idealized scenarios that show how future products can change our daily lives. They demonstrate ideal experiences of how imagined features of imagined products can change the way things are done today.

According to Jared Spool, envisionments can inspire teams to produce improved experiences for their users and help them get on the same page.

There are many creative techniques for rendering envisionments, such as video, stop-motion animations and simple comic strips. In his article, Jared shows examples of envisionment videos created by Apple and Nokia.


  • Knowledge Navigator Deconstructed: Building an Envisionment Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 20, 2007

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See also: Envisionments (4) 



Online card sorting tool

Optimal Usability has released a new online card sorting tool. You can set up tests, let users categorize information using a drag-and-drop interface and generate reports with the results. It supports both closed sorting, with fixed categories and open sorting, where the participants can name their own categories.

Unfortunately the tool doesn't allow participants to subcategorise items and to put items into multiple categories.


  • The online card sorting tool OptimalSort Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 18, 2007 - via DonnaM

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See also: Card sorting (13)  Tools (106) 



Book review: Sketching User Experience

Business Week has published a review of Bill Buxton's book Sketching User Experience.

To quote:

"Sketching User Experience is, nominally, a book about product design. But it would be just as accurate to say that it's a book about software development, or, more generally, about the often broken process of bringing new products to market..."

"For Buxton, the need to rethink the development process by inserting design into the front-end is all the more urgent because new technology ... introduce new levels of complexity to the challenge of product design."

"Buxton takes pains to distinguish sketches from prototypes, which are more detailed, more expensive, and more focused on testing or proving a single idea. If sketching is about asking questions, prototyping is about suggesting answers. Sketching takes place at the beginning of the development process, prototyping only later."


  • Business Week review of the book Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 03, 2007 - via Putting People First

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See also: Books (47)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



Don't rely on interaction designers

According to Jakob Nielsen, having a good interaction designer doesn't eliminate the need for a systematic usability process. It's true that you're better off hiring a good designer over a bad one. But it's wrong to rely solely on the genius of a designer for several reasons:

- It's hard to get hold of a top 100 interaction designer
- Even superb designers can have bad ideas
- Usability tests provide empirical data on which ideas work and which don't
- User research provides insight into what customers need
- Even a very good design can be improved though iterative design and testing


  • The Myth of the Genius Designer Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 29, 2007

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See also: User research (23)  The design process (24)  Usability testing (68) 



Interview with Jared Spool

InfoDesign has published an interview with Jared Spool. As always, Jared has interesting and provoking views to proclaim:

- Customers don't care about usability and design. Instead, they care about things like increased revenue, reducing expenses, bringing in more customers, and getting more business out of customers.

- The techniques usability professionals use are deeply flawed. We ignore the evidence that there has been no discernable relationship between investment in user-centred design practices and the regular production of usable products. The ones who design the best products don't follow the standard processes that we promote.

- Jared doesn't believe in design guidelines. Instead, his philosophy is to use an iterative approach. "Take a design


  • Jared Spool: The InfoDesign interview Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 12, 2007

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Usability testing (68) 



Watch users navigate websites with ClickTale

ClickTale is an online service that allows you to watch movies of visitors interacting with your website.

The tool records visitors' mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes and scrolling actions. From the recordings, it generates movies of individual visitor's use of the site.

The tool can be used to gain insight into how visitors interact with websites, to find flaws and enhance navigation and overall usability. As such, it can serve as a good complement to existing statistics services and usability tests.

ClickTale is currently in closed beta, but you can register for an invitation.


  • ClickTale Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 08, 2007

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See also: Tools (106)  Web traffic analysis (12)  Usability testing (68) 



There is no reason to study people from different cities

According to Jakob Nielsen, there's no reason to expend resources travelling to multiple cities and conducting the same usability study. As long as we're testing within a single country, we'll simply observe the same behaviours and learn nothing new.


  • Location is Irrelevant for Usability Studies Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 30, 2007

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See also: Usability testing (68) 



How to validate the success of navigation

Card sorting is excellent for finding patterns in how people categorize information. Iain Barker offers a simple and low-cost method for validating proposed classifications schemes.


  • Measuring the Success of a Classification System Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 25, 2007

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See also: Card sorting (13)  Navigation (63) 



Personas are useless when it comes to design

Leisa Reichelt asks "...are personas actually useful or should we stop wasting time and ditch them?"

Her answer is yes, personas are useful, but not to guide design decisions. They are rather a means of establishing a user centred design process and helpful guides during requirement definitions.


  • Yes, you should be using personas Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 24, 2007 - via Usability In The News

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See also: Personas (19) 



Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun (3rd edition)

The Q2 2007 issue of GUUUI is a third edition of an article on using Visio for rapid prototyping for the web. The new edition includes a minor update of the GUUUI Web Prototyping Tool that eliminates a major shortcoming: the inability to create scrolling pages. The update also includes brand new sketchy interface widgets.


Henrik Olsen - April 08, 2007

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Tools (106) 


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