Saturday, 27 November 2010

Design bloopers - 2 books for websites & GUIs

I've just come across two books by Jeff Johnson: Web Bloopers and GUI Bloopers. They come with some prestigious recommendations and the majority is free to read via Google Books.

Your website's top tasks - McGovern

Gerry McGovern has been writing for a long time about how every site's visitors have a small number of tasks they want to complete above everything else. Here he explains his technique. It's something that's worked for me on a number of occasions. Well worth considering.

Appraising designs & providing feedback

Jared Spool's article on what goes into a well-done critique is, I think, talking to web development and usability professionals but there are some good tips in there for anyone required to give feedback on a website or application.

Design, IA & Content - Jared Spool explains

A really nice article in which Jared Spool leads us through an example of how a website's visual design, information architecture and content all contribute to the overall user experience. If you're not sure what any of these are, or how they differ, or how they should compliment each other, it's worth a quick read.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Visio prototyping templates

Visio is an excellent prototyping tool. Probably the one I turn to most. This is in no small part due to some great free templates that make generating mock ups so quick and easy. Here is a list of some of what's on offer - all free to download.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Prototyping with Powerpoint

Tips, tricks and free downloads to make prototyping with Microsoft PowerPoint quick and easy.

Prototyping book & resources

Todd Warfel's book - Prototyping: A Practitioner's Guide - is excellent. The first half covers the whys and hows, and the second half looks at 5 of the most common tools. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Content & navigation ordering options

Jakob Nielsen's title for this article - "Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die" - strikes me as overstating things somewhat, but I suppose it grabs the attention. It's a useful article with examples illustrating alternative listing approaches for different contexts, nonetheless.

Users' mental models impact interface usability

What users believe they know about a UI strongly impacts how they use it. Jakob Nielsen's article on mental models touches on the theory, but also gives some great examples of the strange (or should that be predictable?) ways people use interfaces based on what they believe is happening.

What users say vs what they do

What people say they want, and what they say they'd do doesn't always tally with reality. Gerry McGovern warns of the dangers of using focus groups to drive website content with a great example.

Website content management workloads

A great article by Paul Boag on the realities of effective website appraisal and redesign. Managers often focus on the design and the images, but what really matters in the content.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Persona podcast - Alan Cooper interview

Alan Cooper is acknowledged as being the inventor of personas as a user centred design approach. In this interview with Gerry Gaffney, he talks about how he came to develop the approach, gives some great tips on their use and rails against the contined existence of poor user experiences.

Photos as web content - Nielsen

An excellent article looking at different kinds of photos that appear in web pages. Jakob Nielsen uses eyetracking study examples to illustrate what gets looked at and what gets ignored.