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Interaction design is an exercise in compromise

Designing a user interface is an exercise in compromise. According to Mike Padilla, every design decision has its costs and benefits. Using a drop-down box in a form has the drawback of hiding the available choices from the users. Radio buttons reveal the choices, but might take up a disproportionate amount of screen real estate.

Every design has its deficiencies. But the presence of deficiencies doesn't make a design bad. What makes one design better than another is the net usability - the good minus the bad - and educated compromises are essential to creating the best interface possible.


  • User Interface Design - Taking the Good with the Bad Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 31, 2006

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Usability Book of Knowledge

The Usability Book of Knowledge (BoK) is as site dedicated to creating a living reference that represents the collective knowledge of the usability profession. The of the project is to create a guide that contains core material supplemented by pointers to existing resources, and continues to evolve as the practice of usability evolves.


  • Usability Book of Knowledge (BoK) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 19, 2006

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See also: Websites (11)  Glossaries (3)  Tools (106) 



Projects should start with interaction design

Traditional system development starts with abstract system specifications and ends with interface design. To Jason Fried, this is backwards.

"Functional specifications documents lead to an illusion of agreement. A bunch of people agreeing on paragraphs of text is not real agreement. Everyone is reading the same thing, but they're often thinking something different. This inevitably comes out in the future when it's too late."

Instead we should start from the user interface and build out from there.

"...the interface is the functional spec. First with some quick and simple paper sketches, then directly into HTML. Unlike paragraphs of text that are open to alternate interpretations, interface designs are common ground."


  • The article Getting Real, Step 1: No Functional Spec Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 15, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



What is usability?

Donna Maurer has written a nice overview of what usability is


  • The article What is usability? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 03, 2004

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Primers (14) 



Usability basics

This article from the magazine IEEE Software is a nice introduction to usability, which covers core usability principles and common design techniques.


Henrik Olsen - April 21, 2004

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See also: Primers (14) 



User research techniques in comic book form

Dan Willis has created a condensed overview of some of the core techniques used in information architecture. The descriptions are in a comic book form and serve as entertaining reminders of some of our development options. Willis one-pagers cover sitepath diagramming, topic mapping, free listing, card sorting, and personas.


  • IA Classics: Tools of the Trade in Comic Book Form Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 28, 2003 - via Usability Views

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See also: Site and flow diagramming (6)  Posters (5)  Card sorting (13)  Personas (19)  Usability testing (68) 



Approaches to User Experience Design

George (interactionbydesign) Olsen has expanded on jjg's Elements of model.

The main addition is an immersion-orientated strand that runs through the middle which highlights creativity, choreography, mise-en-scene (arranging the scene) and the visual-sensory design.

This is accompanied by an Article on Boxes and Arrows.


ben hyde - March 11, 2003 - via InfoDesign (to surf the community)

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See also: Posters (5) 



Improve Web Development Lifecycle through RUP

The Rational Unified Process


Pieter-Jan Pruuost - February 10, 2003

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Usability requirements: how to specify, test and report usability

This web site provides a guide for how to specify, test and report usability requirements as part of a contractual relationship between a supplier and acquirer.

It includes the downloadable report, and case studies of four trials carried out in Europe by the EU-funded PRUE project.


  • The PRUE Project website Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - January 07, 2003

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Cost effective User Centred Design - Winning strategies

This resource describes simple user-centred methods recommended by the TRUMP project to improve the usability of end products and systems.

The TRUMP project has successfully raised the usability maturity of two large organisations and is providing information to help other organisations achieve similar results.

TRUMP provides methods, case studies, various resources, and even real humans one can get in touch with.


  • The TRUMP Project website Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - January 07, 2003

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