Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading Not everyone has time to become User Experience Experts (yeah, I just made that up). But, we are all responsible for the user experience. If you find yourself scoffing at, wondering about, confused about, or behind-the-times on user experience,...

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How Do We Fix This?

  If you're like me, you aren't entirely sure which direction to go if you need to get to room 120. How can this sign be "fixed" to make it clearer? Here's another example of the same problem. Instead of diving into solutions here, I'd like to start a discussion....

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Edge is Merely IE 12

I've spent some time the past few months playing with Microsoft's new browser called, "Edge." Early on, it was announced as Project Spartan and was supposed to "feature an all-new rendering engine." Later, the product was renamed to Edge. There was significant hype...

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What is Information Architecture (IA)?

You've probably seen the book and you've probably heard the term, but do you know what it is? In the early days of the Web, there were a few people working diligently to bring the concepts of usability and good design to the Web. Among them are Louis Rosenfeld and...

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Security and User Experience

Following the basics of good User Experience (i.e. Don't Make Me Think and Cognitive Load), securing software makes it less usable. There's no way around it. Security is "friction" by design and "friction" is bad for user experience–it's a barrier to use. The more...

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Norman Doors

We've talked before of Affordance, a term created by the esteemed Donald Norman. He is also famous for a phenomenon called, "Norman Doors." They are unfortunately named after him because, once you recognize them, you'll see them everywhere and remember Donald Norman....

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What is Excise?

In Alan Cooper's About Face 3, there is an entire chapter dedicated to excise. I've used the word in passing before and it is often asked, "What is excise?" Simply put, excise is any action that doesn't directly contribute to a goal, but still must be taken....

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Recognizing Icons

Semiotics is Academic You can read a lot about Semiotics and the study of icons.  A lot of it is very academic and difficult to get through with high comprehension. But, it helps to understand some basics. Below is my reinterpretation and distillation of a lot of...

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Popular does not equal Usable

Aesthetics Aside Often, in discussion of usability, the argument is made that something doesn't need to be aesthetically attractive to be usable. Since usability is one element of user experience, it can narrowly be said that usability is a measure of "function" not...

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What is a Mental Model?

Feeling Mental? Have you ever been in a grocery store or a big box store and you can't find what you're looking for? Or, sometimes, you go to a different store from your usual and everything is hard to find. "Why is the Sriracha by spaghetti sauce?" Some stores just...

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Word Says What?

Open Dialog I've watched lots of users stumble on this dialog (and similar messages) in Microsoft Word for years. A similar dialog appears when a user opens an older *.doc file for editing and then saves the file. Say What? It is very common for users to click on the...

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Listen to Users

Don't Ask the User? Really? Surely, you read to the end of my last post when I said: But, don't hear what I'm not saying. I'm not saying "don't listen to users." Because knowing your users is extremely important. While last time I said, "don't ask users," I didn't...

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Don’t Ask the User

Don't Ask the User I know it seems counterintuitive for a User Experience Designer to say, but the biggest mistake in User Experience Design (and in fact, in general product design) is to ask the user what they want. Wait. What? Yes, I said it: don't ask the user what...

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BDUF: Good or Bad?

BDUF is: Big Design Up Front Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Design_Up_Front Big Design Up Front (BDUF) is a software development approach in which the program's design is to be completed and perfected before that program's implementation is started. It...

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Aesthetics and Usability

I love Don Norman's contribution to field user experience design. He's one of my heroes. His books The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design are an essential part of my library. After The Design of Everyday Things was published, Don Norman faced some...

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Fitts’ Law

I've talked about Fitts' Law before. But I wanted to create a very concise definition here, so that we can discuss things in meetings. Fitts’ Law Fitts’ Law is a model to account for the time it takes to point at something, based on the size and distance of the target...

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