Dark UX

"What's Dark UX? Isn't that, like, a bad guy in Star Wars?" Dark UX, simply put, is using design to get users to do something that you (product designers, creators, owners, etc.) want, even if it isn't in the user's best interest. The classic example of Dark UX is the...

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The Basics of Color Theory

The Basics of Color Theory Colors are important to making things look good, whether it's the clothes you wear or the presentation you give at work. But not everyone instinctively knows that orange and blue is a perfect combination. If you can't trust your own...

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Color and Shape

Imagine, you wake up one morning with general red-green colorblindness... One of these circles is red, one of them is green: Can you tell which one? While this scenario is highly unlikely, the chances that our users have general red-green colorblindness is 1 in 20....

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Label Aligment

Label Alignment is often a topic of discussion debate arguments. Thankfully, there is research to fall back on instead of dueling opinions. It turns out, forms can cause a "cognitive load" on the user. The most common layout, left aligned labels to the left of the...

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Affordance

When the characteristics of an object or device invite interaction, this is called "affordance." For example, this lacks the appropriate affordance:   What's missing is something like this: The lever of the door handle "invites" the hand to take hold of it and...

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It’s the User’s Problem

Why are address forms like this?... And not like this?... You might say, "that's the way forms have always been done." But there's two problems with that. First, do you fill in boxes when you write on an envelope? Second, it isn't always wise to keep doing things the...

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Space and texture

Another way of drawing attention is to give content ample room to breathe. If there is substantial negative space left around a button, or the lines in a text block are widely tracked, these elements will be more readily visible to readers. As you see in the image...

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Size

This one is simple enough: people read bigger things first. If your eye goes to “performance” before “cracking” in the below ad for the Young Vic theater, then you should get in touch with a perceptual psychologist immediately: you can probably make some good money...

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Page scanning patterns

All cultures read from the top down and most cultures read from left to right. But while that knowledge is important for page design, designers know the task is much more complex. Recent studies have shown that people first scan a page to get a sense of whether they...

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Color and tint

Here’s another no-brainer: bright colors stand out from muted colors or grayscale, while lighter tints appear more “distant” and thus fall lower on the hierarchy than richer, darker ones. The website for Where They At contrasts highlighter yellow and color...

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Making technology more human

Many of you have heard me say that it is time for technology to be more human. Here is an example of ideas that move in that direction. It's a "technology preview" which means that it isn't real technology, it's a mock-up of sorts. Project Natal for XBOX...

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Time Tracker and Interaction Design

Well, beta 1 of the Time Tracker for deadsimplestuff.com is out in the wild. It was a long road and I still feel like we've just started.  I wanted to take this time to talk about some of the interaction design principles that we used in building the Time...

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Back in the saddle with a new project

I took a lot of time off from Blogging over the holidays. Now, I'm back and I started a new project during the holidays: the dead simple Task Tracker. The reason for starting this project was twofold. I couldn't find an application to track my time that was easy to...

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IxD Elevator Pitch

I absolutely loved this discussion post on IxDA from yesterday.  I was intrigued by the variety of answers, but I was most astonished with how difficult it is to describe what we do.IxDA Discussion: Interaction Designers: What is your elevator pitch?If you were me,...

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User-centered design

I recently had a discussion with someone about being cautious to letting users design the software. Without getting into the arguments about which design school is better and what kinds of user research is best, I wanted to briefly highlight the extremes of user...

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Patterns, Idioms and Metaphors

In conversation and in writing, I've used the terms "pattern," "idiom" and "metaphor" in the context of design. But what do these terms mean? Don't these terms pertain to language and not design? Well certainly, these terms are words about language, or a language...

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Style and Tone, part 2

The last time I discussed Style and Tone, I focused mostly on style. Today, I want to talk more about tone. Tone is kinda-like the tone of voice we use when speaking with each other. If I say, "you're the greatest" but I use a tone of voice that demonstrates that I...

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What the heck is Fitts’ Law?

Ok, so somebody asked me this question, which seems to remain unanswered in my blog, "what the heck is Fitts' law?"Fitts' (pronounced fitz-ez) Law is pretty simple.  The ability to reach or hit a target is a function of the distance to the target and the size of...

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Luke Expands on Design Misconceptions

In an earlier post I linked to a podcast with Luke Wroblewski and Jared Spool regarding common visual design misconceptions. (Visual Design is one of the many sub-disciplines of IxD.) Luke officially wrote and article for UXMatter.com that dives deeper into the same...

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Ethnographic studies

This article on Ethnography on My Customer.com is very interesting.  Interaction designers use ethnographic studies to generate better research data about user and people behavior.  This article isn't specific to IxD, but more generic business.  Give it...

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Style and Tone

I've spoken with several people here about style and tone. It is somewhat abstract theory and difficult to describe in words. I can simply say, "style is some adherence to a related set of forms" or "tone is like a tone of voice, only not using words" and people...

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Vocabulary

I was recently in a discussion with several team mates about design validation. I had the distinct impression that they were going to embark on design validation using old processes. I had this impression because they used terms like "testing the flow," "workflow,"...

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Ribbon Questions Answered

Some think that the ribbon pattern was intended to replace the traditional toolbars and so, have concerns about the way a ribbon works in comparison to a toolbar. This is only partly true, but it is better to think of the ribbon as a replacement to the menu pattern....

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