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Users ignore decorative images

In this article, Jakob Nielsen shows how eyetracking studies reveal that user pay close attention to images on websites that contain relevant information (such as product images), but completely ignore "fluffy pictures" that are purely decorative.

What Jakob forgets to mention is that eyetracking equipment only records eye fixations and not peripheral vision, that is, what we are able to see outside the center of gaze. So the studies don't prove that "feel-good" imagery fail their mission.


  • Photos as Web Content Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 01, 2010

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See also: Research (129)  Emotional design (10)  E-commerce (27)  Web page design (40) 



How persuasive design is misapplied

According to Colleen Jones, there are three things wrong with how persuasive design is currently applied:

1. It focuses on changing actions and behaviors though we all know that decisions are more or less based on opinion, attitude and emotion.

2. It doesn't address content which can influence people's thinking and motivate them to act

3. It focuses on optimizing design for conversion by pushing people along with sneaky tricks instead of motivating those with true interest


  • Three Reasons Why Persuasive Design Isn't Enough to Influence Change Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 21, 2010

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See also: Persuasive design (21) 



Designing for happiness

Dana Chisnell has done some research into what happiness is and how to design happiness into user experiences. According to Dana, there are three levels of happy user experiences:

- Mindfulness: The feeling of being paid attention to, that the designer is being considerate of our needs and wants.

- Flow: The feeling being of fully focused in a task to the point where we loose track of time.

- Meaning: The feeling of fellowship, making a difference and being involved in something bigger than yourself.

In the article, Dana gives example of sites that have accomplished to build these types of happiness into their designs.


  • Beyond Frustration: Three levels of happy design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 22, 2010

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See also: Emotional design (10) 



Adding fun to the user experience

In this article, Jared Spool looks at how four businesses made their products more fun and engaging by adding elements of play to the user experience.


  • Designing with the Elements of Play Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 19, 2010

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See also: Persuasive design (21)  Emotional design (10)  Cases and Examples (28) 



Testing visual designs

Over at UX Matters, Michael Hawley writes about a quite interesting take on how to measure the viability of an visual design: Ask people to describe their experience of a design by selecting adjectives such as "busy", "fresh", "clear" and "trustworthy" from a predefined list. Then asses how these adjectives align with the goals you have set for the design.


  • Rapid Desirability Testing: A Case Study Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 22, 2010

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See also: Visual design (19) 



Graphics on websites - helpful or harmful?

According to Jared Spool, research by his company UIE shows that well-done navigation and content graphics help users. Ornamental graphics, on the other side, doesn't prove to benefit the user experinece. In their research, they can't find any evidence that they help users trust a site or make it seem more professional or friendly. On the contratry, ornamental graphics can be distracting and annoying to users.

Jared recommends that teams focus on delivering helpful navigation and content graphics and resist the temptation for ornamental graphics.


  • Deciding When Graphics Will Help (and When They Won't) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 06, 2009

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See also: Visual design (19)  Research (129) 



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: Simplicity vs. capability (7)  Information architecture (15)  Usability testing (68) 



Web usability has improved, but people are still getting lost

According to Jakob Nielsen, web usability has taken hold in recent years. His tests show that success rates have increased 15% from 2004 to 2009. But people still can find their way around websites. From 2004 to 2009, user failures cased by bad information architecture has only decreased by 4%.


  • IA Task Failures Remain Costly Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 20, 2009

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See also: Navigation (63)  Information architecture (15)  Research (129) 



Don Norman on designs that makes us happy

Donald Norman is always worth listening to. Here, he gives a short talk on how design can make us happy.


  • Don Norman: The three ways that good design makes you happy Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2009

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See also: Emotional design (10)  Talks and presentations (18) 



How removing a button can make you $300,000,000 a year

In this article, Jared Spool tells a story of how his company helped an e-commerce site increase purchases by 45%.

The site lost lots of purchases because the required customer registration frustrated people. Usability tests showed that they resented having to register and repeat customers couldn't remember their account login.

The designers fixed the problem simply. They took away the Register button and made customer registration optional. With an increased sale of $300,000,000 the first year, the client was happy.


  • The $300 Million Button Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2009

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  E-commerce (27)  Shopping Carts (9)  Forms (30)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Usability testing (68) 

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