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Current issue

The promised land of prototyping

Realizing the full potential of prototyping


While some may claim that prototyping isn't one of the wonders of the world, it's definitely a wonder of web and software development. It can help us design better products and overcome many of the hurdles that tend to surface during a development process.

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Past issues

ISSUE 15 - Q3 2005
Balancing fidelity in prototyping

ISSUE 14 - APRIL 2005
Designing intersection flows

ISSUE 13 - JANUARY 2005
Navigation blindness

ISSUE 12 - OCTOBER 2004
Server side usability

ISSUE 11 - JULY 2004
GoLive - the interaction designer's hammer and nail

ISSUE 10 - APRIL 2004
Use Cases and interaction design

ISSUE 09 - JANUARY 2004
Accessibility humanized

ISSUE 08 - OCTOBER 2003
Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

ISSUE 07 - JULY 2003
Personas and the customer decision-making process

ISSUE 06 - APRIL 2003
Supporting customers' decision-making process

ISSUE 05 - JANUARY 2003
Business-centred design

ISSUE 04 - OCTOBER 2002
InfoRomanticism on the Internet

ISSUE 03 - JULY 2002
Results from a survey of web prototyping tools usage
Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun

ISSUE 02 - APRIL 2002
The Bottom-line of Prototyping and Usability Testing

ISSUE 01 - JANUARY 2002
Competitive Usability


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Latest postings

Drop-downs or radio buttons

Dissatisfied with guidelines from the old GUI days that tell us to use drop-downs for long lists and radio buttons for short ones, Donna Maurer has done some thinking herself:

- When users are unfamiliar with the items in a list, radio buttons can assist them by communicating the domain at a glance
- On forms that will be used frequently, radio buttons are far easier and faster because they don't have to be opened and are easier to take in a glance
- When designing for the web screen real estate isn't an issue because of "the magic gadget called a scroll bar."
- Since frequent users become familiar with placement of items on a screen, the spatial placement of radio buttons can help them fill them in quickly
- Experienced users might prefer drop-down list that allow them type the first letter to get to the target item

Donna concludes that it all depends on user context, not on size.

Links:

  • It's not about size, it's about context - radio buttons or drop-downs

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (61)  Forms (11) 

 

Global navigation is rarely helpful

According to Jared Spool from UIE, persistent global navigation isn't important to users:

"Maybe they'll click on the global navigation on the home page (however, probably not, if the page is well designed). Then they'll never click on it again, because, after all, they are now looking for local information - not global information"

"We've observed that it's almost always the case that if a user is clicking on global navigation, it's because they are completely lost."

"Having global navigation isn't a bad thing. It's just not something that should garner a lot of resources, as it's unlikely to be important in the user experience."

Links:

  • The article Global Site Navigation: Not Worthwhile?

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (83)  Navigation (40) 

 

User-centred design cuts support calls by 90%

Here's a great case on how prototyping and early involvement of users pays off. Because McAfee made user interface design of their ProtectionPilot a prime directive, they ended up with a great product and received approximately one-tenth of the support calls that the company would expect.

The article lists 23 tips gleaned from McAfee and their design team.

Links:

  • Clean, cutting-edge UI design cuts McAfee's support calls by 90%

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Cases and Examples (12)  Cost-justification and ROI (18)  Wireframing and prototyping (29)  Usability testing (26) 

 

Users' expectations of search

Based on a usability test of a system that allows people to search a large set of content Donna Maurer interpreted the users' expectations of search:

- It is better to put more than one word in as one word gives too much stuff
- Adding an extra word gives fewer results
- The first word in the search box is more important than the other words
- If the words make a sensible phrase the search engine should return results for the phrase
- If the words do not make a sensible phrase, the search engine shouldn't look for the phrase.

Links:

  • Regular folks searching

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Search (20)  Research (83) 

 

The promised land of prototyping

While some might claim that prototyping isn't one of the wonders of the world, it's definitely a wonder of web and software development. The Q4 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at all the good that prototyping can do for us:

- The product is designed rather than left to chance
- We can externalize and develop ideas
- Legalizes experimentation and revisions
- Can make the intangible tangible
- We can satisfy clients' wish to see quick results
- We can take the client for a test drive
- We can reduce scope creep
- Makes early usability tests possible
- Improves team collaboration
- Improves cost-efficiency

Links:

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: GUUUI articles (7)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 

 

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Browse GUUUI postings

Methods and the design process

Usability testing (26)  Wireframing and prototyping (29)  Cost-justification and ROI (18)  The design process (13)  Personas (12)  Requirement Analysis (11)  Card sorting (8)  Implementing user-centred design (7)  Expert reviews (6)  Web log analysis (6)  Eye-tracking (6)  Site and flow diagramming (3)  Use Cases (3) 

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