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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 - Q2 2005
Designing intersection flows

ISSUE 13 - Q1 2005
Navigation blindness

ISSUE 12 - Q4 2004
Server side usability

ISSUE 11 - Q3 2004
GoLive - the interaction designer's hammer and nail

ISSUE 10 - Q2 2004
Use Cases and interaction design

ISSUE 09 - Q1 2004
Accessibility humanized

ISSUE 08 - Q4 2003
Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

ISSUE 07 - Q3 2003
Personas and the customer decision-making process

ISSUE 06 - Q2 2003
Supporting customers' decision-making process

ISSUE 05 - Q1 2003
Business-centred design

ISSUE 04 - Q4 2002
InfoRomanticism on the Internet

ISSUE 03 - Q3 2002
Results from a survey of web prototyping tools usage
Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun

ISSUE 02 - Q2 2002
The Bottom-line of Prototyping and Usability Testing

ISSUE 01 - Q1 2002
Competitive Usability


Feedback

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Latest postings

Donald Norman's guidelines on writing manuals

"Is a manual important? Yes, but even more important is a well-designed product, one so well conceived and constructed that either the manual is not needed at all, or if it is, where the manual can be short, simple, and easy to understand and then to remember."

Norman suggests the following rules to accomplish this:
- Use excellent technical writers
- Make the writers part of the design team
- Let people get right to work with minimum reading by using short and simple explanations with illustrations
- Test the manual with people from the intended user community
- Get rid of the lawyers (or at the least, put their required warnings in a seperate appendix)

Links:

  • How To Write an Effective Manual

Henrik Olsen - January 03, 2006

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Help (2)  Text (14) 

 

Only experts use help

In usability tests Jensen Harris has observed that help in Microsoft Office is mostly used by experts and enthusiasts. While novices and intermediates click around and experiment, experts try to reason thing out and look them up in help.

Jensen suggests that reasons for the varied usage of help include:
- Only experts know the "magic" words to bring up what they're looking for
- Help doesn't help you become familiar with a piece of software - it's designed to troubleshoot, not to teach.
- The process of experimenting with the product is totally removed from opening and reading articles in the help window
- Experts use more of the powerful and involved features, and thus benefit from the help system more.

Links:

  • Help Is For Experts

Henrik Olsen - December 17, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Help (2)  Research (88) 

 

Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Jared M. Spool has made his presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness available online. Download a MP3 and a PDF, listen to the presentation in its entirety and see all the examples using the presentation handout.

Spool shares practical design strategies from effective web sites and shows:
- How the best teams allocate their resources by focusing on the most important content on the site and how this affects every page
- Proven design techniques, such as persona-based design, to help teams understand what users need from the site
- Why the most effective sites never relaunch, yet manage to always have fresh designs
- How we can utilize the scent of information and how people search for their content to give your site a huge advantage

Links:

  • The presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Henrik Olsen - December 09, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (44)  Personas (13)  The design process (14) 

 

Best bets - hand-crafted search results

Much can be done to improve the quality of search results. But according to James Robertson, no amount of tweaking search engines will ensure that the most relevant results always appear at the beginning of the list. This is where "best bets" come in.

Best bets are a hand-created list of key resources for common queries, presented prominently at the beginning of the search results. By analyzing search statistics, we can ensure that the most useful pages are listed right at the top of popular searches.

Links:

  • Search engine 'best bets'

Henrik Olsen - December 06, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (63)  Search (21) 

 

Designing pages listing links to content

According to Jared Spool, gallery pages - pages listing links to content pages - are the hardest working pages a web site. They separate those users who find the content they are looking for from the users who don't.

Studies by UIE show that when gallery pages don't contain the information that users will need to make their choice, they have to resort to "pogosticking" - jumping back and forth between the gallery and the content pages hoping they'll eventually hit the content they desire.

UIE also noticed that users expect the most important items to always be listed first in the gallery. If the first few items aren't of interest, they often assume the rest will be even less interesting.

Links:

  • Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site

Henrik Olsen - December 01, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (44)  Web page design (23)  Sections (5)  Persuasive design (12)  Research (88) 

 

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