User Experience

Why Mental Models Must Inform UI Design

We spend a lot of time talking with development teams (and clients) about mental models. When designing a screen, especially if the item is a control of some kind where the user is asked to take action, it’s important that the UI’s conceptual model matches the user’s mental model.

In other words, speak their language, express ideas and directions in ways they’ll readily recognize and understand. That means symbols they’re familiar with, phrases they’d likely use themselves — even slang if appropriate. Not doing so means users have to spend additional time and mental effort to learn how

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User Experience

Apple UX: A Developer’s Viewpoint

My colleague Chris Goodman, a developer friend of mine, posted the following yesterday via Facebook on the failure of tech folks and tech organizations to take lessons from the Apple UX approach. Great rant, solid points and a quick read. Check out the post here or view the screen cap below.

cg_apple_post1

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User Experience

UX is what happens when engineers don’t rule

My colleague Kendall Miller of eSymmetrix has written a great post on the importance of UX in software engineering — please check it out and give him some feedback:

http://reliable.esymmetrix.com/development/what-happens-when-engineers-dont-rule

Found myself nodding and smiling throughout. Whether we like it or not, people’s expectations are being raised constantly by the plethora of online destinations and tools that offer sleek, intuitive and (dare I say it) sexy experiences. And what people see in that “personal” realm colors their expectations of what they see and use in the professional realm. As designers and engineers we don’t

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UI Design, User Experience

Login UX: stop the bait-and-switch

It was recently called to my attention that a certain Fortune 500 company – remaining nameless for our purposes – decided that in addition to its high-end technology products and services, its site visitors would be interested in their corporate-branded apparel and accessories. Shirts, hats, golf balls, keychain laser pointers. All the good stuff, to be sure.

I understand the logic at work here – you spend money producing all this junk, why not try to recoup a little? At worst maybe you create a small army of walking billboards. So I get how your login UX process

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User Experience

iPhone User Experience: Why Apple’s Winning

As any good Apple fanatic should, I recently purchased the almighty iPhone. And the more I use it, the more I think (OK, obsess) about something that’s always confounded (and astounded) me: Why, with so many examples of the power of user experience in the marketplace, do so many pieces of million-dollar technology look like they were designed by a 3-year old with a learning disability? How can a major software player with years of experience and customer feedback under its belt continue to churn out products that have too many buttons, too many features and require

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UI Design, User Experience

The Psychology of Color (a short primer)

Given the importance of accessibility and usability in the creation of successful applications and sites, I’m always really, really surprised at how little attention is given to color.

There’s no shortage of psychological and scientific studies proving that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress and tranquilize. They can affect appetite and physical perception of temperature. For those among you who share my geeky fascination with such things, this is known as chromodynamics.

In the world of UX, the psychology of color is one of the

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UI Design, User Experience

Oldie but goodie: The Cost of Bad Design

This is an article from 2001 I kept about the cost of bad design and inattention to the details of user experience (even though no one was calling it then). Why do I still have it? First, it makes some very powerful points that still hold true seven years later. Second, the last three paragraphs are funny as hell :-)

The Humane Touch: Bad Design Can Be Costly
(not to mention inefficient, demoralizing, and embarrassing)
Jef Raskin, Forbes ASAP, 05.28.01

Bad user interfaces may be

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User Experience

Why IT and Design need each other — now more than ever

I wrote the following nearly 15 years ago; this article spawned a lecture that was easily the most attended and most popular I’d ever done, before or since. I stumbled upon it recently and, after re-reading it, I think it’s every bit as relevant now as then — maybe even more so. Read on and judge for yourself.

WAKE UP AND DESIGN! A call to action for technology companies

First Things First

Let’s start here: 75% of everything you put in front of customers—potential or otherwise—is

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