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271

Market Maturity

Users' expectations of a product depend on the maturity of its market. In the article "Market Maturity" the usability research company User Interface Engineering (UIE) explains how software products go through four stages of maturity. This product evolution is comparable to the life cycle of many products and is similar to the development we have seen on the Internet until now.

Links:

  • The article Market Maturity Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 16, 2002

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27) 


 

272

Results of promoting Information Architecture survey

Louis Rosenfeld has put out a brief survey to learn a little bit about whom Information Architects are trying to promote IA to, what gets in the way, and what might help Information Architects to do a better job.

Some highlights from the survey:
- Hardest part of promoting IA: 27% don't get a chance until their projects are too deep into the design/development process
- What would help: 82% plead for ROI cases, 72% for case studies of successful projects
- Hardest audience: Our clients' decision-makers

Links:

  • Louis Rosenfeld's comments to the results Open link in new window
  • The results in full detail Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 14, 2002

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See also: Research (129)  Implementing user-centred design (9) 


 

273

Extraordinary prototyping tool

Group for User Interface Design has developed a quite extraordinary piece of software for prototyping called DENIM, which is free for download at their web site. With the tool you sketch sitemaps, storyboards and page layout by hand and work seamlessly between the different levels of detail by zooming in on items.

Unfortunately the tool is developed for pen interaction and is very hard to use with a mouse. But if you have a pen tablet or a touch screen you might find it handy.

But check out the video presentation anyhow

Links:

  • The prototyping tool DENIM Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 12, 2002

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


 

274

Personas: Matching a Design to the Users' goals

By trying to satisfy the needs of all users, designers often fail to satisfy the needs of any one user. The concept of personas - originally developed by Alan Cooper - suggests that we should rather focus on the unique goals of one archetypal user profile synthesized from a series of interviews with real people. By adhering to the goals of a specific persona, we develop a product that satisfies the needs of the many.

This article from UIE gives a short introduction to the approach.

Links:

  • The article Personas: Matching a Design to the Users' goals Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 02, 2002

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See also: Personas (19) 


 

275

Diagramming tool for information architects and interaction designers

Diagramming a Web solution's high-level structure and flow is an important initial step in Web development. Jesse James Garrett has developed a visual vocabulary specific to diagramming Web solutions. His article "A visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design" provides guidelines for the use of the vocabulary and links to downloadable shape libraries for OmniGraffle, Visio, Adobe InDesign, FreeHand, Illustrator and iGrafx.

Links:

  • The article A visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 16, 2002

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Tools (106)  Site and flow diagramming (6) 


 

276

Usability Toolkit

InfoDesign has a section with a lot of free usability toolkit materials including descriptions of usability techniques and downloadable tools such as guidelines, check lists, examples and software.

Links:

  • The toolkit at InfoDesign.com Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 09, 2002

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See also: Tools (106)  Expert reviews (11)  Card sorting (13)  User research (23)  Personas (19)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

277

The usability lifecycle

In this article Jakob Nielsen criticizes two common approaches to Web development - the waterfall model and the let's-just-throw-something-out-there-and-see-if-it-sticks approach. While the waterfall model fails because most people can't read requirement specifications, the outcome of a mud-slinging approach will drive the customers away.

What does work, according to Jakob Nielsen, is iterative design. In the article he outlines what he thinks is the best workflow for Web development.

Links:

  • The article: The usability lifecycle Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 29, 2002

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See also: The design process (24) 


 

278

Staples.com

In this article CTO of staples.com tells how they learned through experience that a top-down approach to Web development is doomed to fail.

Going through an iterative process with prototyping and usability testing, a makeover of staples.com resulted in an increase of the conversion rates (the percentage of visitors who make a purchase) by 75 percent.

Links:

  • The article How to make sure the customer comes first Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 26, 2002

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Cases and Examples (28)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

279

Macromedia Website Production Management Techniques

Lots of wise people have made development management frameworks for software and Web site production that covers everything form initial requirement research to site maintenance. Now Macromedia has started outlining their recommendations for the Web development process.

The framework is a joint effort by Macromedia and Kelly Goto, co-author of the book Web ReDesign: Workflow That Works and is available online at Macromedia's Web site.

Links:

  • Macromedia's Website Production Management Techniques Open link in new window
  • The book Web ReDesign (at Amazon.co.uk) Open link in new window
  • The book Web ReDesign (at Amazon.com) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 04, 2002

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: The design process (24) 


 

280

How Usability-Focused Companies Think

This article tells you what it really takes to design truly good user experiences. It's all about caring for and understanding your users.

Some of the differences between companies that are successful with usability and the ones that are not, are:
- They really put user fist, and relegate technology, implementation, office politics, and everything else to a lower priority
- They keep the users visible by keeping photos of their users posted in the offices
- They try to gather as much information about the users from as many sources as possible
- The require all new hires to go on a site visit within the first two weeks on the job

Links:

  • The article: How Usability-Focused Companies Think Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 23, 2002

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Implementing user-centred design (9) 


 

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Methods and the design process

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