David Lieb – Cognitive Overhead, Or Why Your Product Isn’t As Simple As You Think:
“Put your user in the middle of your flow. Make them press an extra button, make them provide some inputs, let them be part of the service-providing, rather than a bystander to it. If they are part of the flow, they have a better vantage point to see what’s going on.
[…] If your user has to wonder, “So, did it work?” you’ve failed. Walk people through using your product like a magician leads the audience through an illusion.”
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 23:40:16 +0200
Wed, 09 Jan 2013 10:23:47 +0100
Kas Thomas – Going on a Software-Design Feature Fast:
“Find out (via built-in analytics) what the least-used feature of your product is. Get rid of it.
[…] Replace [it] with API methods and helpful tooling (an SDK). Charge no money for the SDK.”
Thu, 20 Dec 2012 11:54:16 +0100
Gerry McGovern at CMS Wire – Empathy: The Web Professional's Greatest Skill:
“One very interesting technique Tomer uses to combat ‘stay in the building’ syndrome he calls Field Fridays. “Field Fridays are an excellent opportunity for software engineers to meet users face to face, see how they use their products, and learn about their behavior. During these events, a team of engineers moderates 20-minute interview sessions with real users, speed dating style, on a Friday morning once a month.”
Mon, 29 Oct 2012 15:12:29 +0100
Dave Winer – A message from developers to users:
“So the process is:
1. Users do something.
2. Users do other things.
3. They do more of some things than others.
4. Patterns emerge.
5. You see which way to go.
6. You make that way easy.”
Fri, 20 Jul 2012 22:51:53 +0200
Gerry McGovern at CMSWire – Web Experience: Designing for the Obvious, the Boring, the "Of Course":
“Often, making it easy for the customer means doing lots of boring, behind the scenes work. For example, you can make your search work much better by deleting old content. But that's the type of work nobody really wants to do.
[…] "Great design means that one look and the end user reacts by knowing what to do with a knob or a button, without as much as even thinking about it," Om Malik writes. "Of course this knob is what turns the volume up, or brings up the home screen. This "of course" factor is at the heart of every great design."
Fri, 15 Jun 2012 09:52:10 +0200
Sweep the Sleaze:
“Don’t worry. These buttons will vanish. The previous wave of buttons for Delicious and Digg and Co. vanished, Facebook and Twitter and G+ might vanish or they might survive, but the buttons will vanish for sure. Or do you seriously think that in ten years we will still have those buttons on every page? No, right? Why, because you already know as a user that they’re not that great. So why not get rid of them now?”
(Via Marco Arment.)
Thu, 31 May 2012 10:56:05 +0200
An interview by Jane Zupan on the Nuxeo Content Geeks blog – Is 2012 the Year of User Experience in ECM?:
“In the not-too-distant past, user experience (UX) was considered an annoying afterthought for enterprise application development and deployment. User adoption was often disappointing, and the disconnect between business and IT seemed like a deep chasm. In recent years, easy access to technology solutions such as Flickr, Dropbox, Google Docs, and mobile apps that require no reading of manuals or training, has changed the mindset of technology users.”
Jill Hart: “Today, we have multiple generations of people using technology, and users have much more confidence. If they're not able to complete a task, they realize that the problem isn't them, it's the poorly designed system they're trying to use.
[…] Listen to what customers have to say EARLY in the design process. Do some paper prototyping – put together some easy mockups of what your research has indicated that people want.
[…] No matter how I look at content management, in the absence of effectiveness and ease of use, the business value of the system cannot reach its full potential. This applies to any enterprise application.”
Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:07:33 +0100
Joel Spolsky – How Trello is different:
“The great horizontal killer applications are actually just fancy data structures.
Spreadsheets are not just tools for doing "what-if" analysis. They provide a specific data structure: a table. Most Excel users never enter a formula. […]
Word processors are not just tools for writing books, reports, and letters. They provide a specific data structure: lines of text which automatically wrap and split into pages.
PowerPoint is not just a tool for making boring meetings. It provides a specific data structure: an array of full-screen images.”
Mon, 09 Jan 2012 12:30:38 +0100
Ben Yoskovitz – Small Features:
“The first instinct is to build a configuration option to let people decide how they want it to work. That's more code, more complexity, more risk and potential points of failure. It also means more UI has to be designed, and once you go down that road it's hard to pull back. Suddenly, every feature needs configuration options.”
(Via Jason Cohen.)
Sun, 01 Jan 2012 21:45:00 +0100
Alex MacCaw – Asynchronous UIs - the future of web user interfaces:
“Move state & view rendering to the client side.
[…] The idea is that you update the client before you send an Ajax request to the server. For example, say a user updated a page name in a CMS. With an asynchronous UI, the name change would be immediately reflected in the application, without any loading or pending messages. The UI is available for further interaction instantly. The Ajax request specifying the name change would then be sent off separately in the background. At no point does the application depend on the Ajax request for further interaction.”
(Via Nat Torkington at O'Reilly Radar.)
Wed, 23 Nov 2011 21:00:33 +0100
Marco Arment – How to bring good design to a platform:
"Demonstrate from the top that high quality and attention to detail are prioritized and appreciated above everything else, including being the first to market, having the most features, or having the most aggressive prices."
Thu, 20 Oct 2011 08:44:35 +0200
Tim Bray on the death of Steve Jobs – Steve's Legacy:
"What were the Really Big Things?
Proving that user experience matters more than anything else in computer-based consumer products. Even more: that it matters more than everything else put together."
Thu, 06 Oct 2011 09:29:57 +0200
Joe Wikert of O'Reilly Radar interviews Flipboard's Evan Doll – The making of a "minimum awesome product":
"Every time you present the user with a non-essential decision to make, you have failed as a designer.
[…] Focus less on producing a "minimum viable product" and more on making it a "minimum awesome product."
Wed, 05 Oct 2011 22:43:09 +0200
Brad Feld on a Steve Jobs quote – Start With Customer Experience:
"I believe very strongly in the consumerization of IT – namely the notion that innovation in software is now being driven by consumer applications, and correspondingly by consumers, not by enterprise IT organizations and enterprise software vendors. If you accept this, it means that if you are working on enterprise applications, you also need to be obsessed with the customer experience.
[…] I completely buy the premise that the consumer experience trumps all technical decisions in any context."
Sat, 10 Sep 2011 23:00:51 +0200
"Features have a specification cost, a design cost, and a development cost. There is a testing cost and a reliability cost. The more features there are, the more likely one will develop problems or will interact badly with another. In software systems, there is a storage cost, which was becoming negligible, but in mobile applications is becoming significant again. There are ascending performance costs because Moore's Law doesnt' apply to batteries. Features have a documentation cost. Every feature adds pages to the manual, increasing training costs."
Tue, 16 Aug 2011 14:03:51 +0200
Jack Vinson – What are you solving?:
"Instead of pushing the tool/widget/change, figure out how it will make their problems go away. Be as specific as possible here, because it is the specific problems that people want to solve. Of course, you aren't done when you link your change to their problems. You need to show how your idea will resolve the problem."
Fri, 12 Aug 2011 09:18:33 +0200
Caridy Patino at the Yahoo! User Interface Blog – Making Search Direct Accessible:
"Search Direct also features a content panel, a.k.a. the rich panel, where suggestion-related content is displayed. The intention of the rich panel is to provide a direct answer to the user when a suggestion from the autocomplete list is selected."
Tue, 09 Aug 2011 09:16:00 +0200
Ryan Singer at Signal vs. Noise – What happens to user experience in a minimum viable product?:
"Features can be different sizes with more or less complexity, but quality of experience should be constant across all features. That constant quality of experience is what gives your customers trust. It demonstrates to them that whatever you build, you build well."
Tue, 28 Jun 2011 12:04:08 +0200
Stijn Debrouwere – The trouble with usability experts:
"Some engineers make unusable software because they're clueless about interaction design. Many others just make unusable software because we don't give them enough time to do a proper job. Hiring a usability expert won't solve that."
Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:17:45 +0200
Tim Bray – Reading Feeds:
"Speed and polish and good defaults win; how many times do we have to re-learn this?"
Sat, 11 Jun 2011 23:00:36 +0200
Ray Ozzie – Dawn of a New Day (his 2010 Microsoft farewell memo):
"Complexity kills. Complexity sucks the life out of users, developers and IT. Complexity makes products difficult to plan, build, test and use. Complexity introduces security challenges. Complexity causes administrator frustration.
And as time goes on and as software products mature – even with the best of intent – complexity is inescapable.
[…] In our industry, if you can imagine something, you can build it. […] And so, the first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly; to dream."
Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:07:42 +0200
Stijn Debrouwere – Context is not a bolt-on:
"Topic pages, story trackers and Q&As fail because they’re never an integral part of a news website. They’re Google landing pages, designed to poach traffic from Wikipedia.
[…] What no newspapers, online or offline, seems to have perfected is how this broad, topical information stream should mesh with the daily news that’s presented on our front page.
If somebody clicks on a story and is dazzled by an array of unfamiliar names and places and events, how do we turn that experience around?"
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:00:05 +0200
Tony Russell-Rose – Interaction Models for Faceted Search:
"Note that the facet values examined in the two-stage examples above are disjunctive (multi-select OR), e.g. the selection of a value for a facet such Make & Model does not preclude the selection of another value from the same facet. In this case, selecting multiple independent facet values has the effect of widening the search. However, if the facet values are conjunctive (multi-select AND), then the choice of which interaction model to apply is quite different. […] In this case, the only meaningful interaction model is the instant update, as this is the only approach which will ensure that facet values and the current result set stay in sync."
(Via Patrick Durusau.)
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 23:41:07 +0200
A List Apart – Faceted Navigation:
"The distinction between faceted navigation and parametric search is relevant. In parametric search applications, users specify their search parameters up front using a variety of controls such as checkboxes, pull-downs, and sliders to construct what effectively is an advanced Boolean query. Unfortunately, it’s hard for users to set several parameters at once, especially since many combinations will produce zero results. […] It’s a solution that’s hard on people but soft on hardware. In other words, it’s an unfortunate compromise that sacrifices immediate response to reduce the server load."
Fri, 08 Apr 2011 14:11:46 +0200
Patrick Durusau – A Blogging Lesson For Topic Maps?:
"An emphasis on giving users an immediate sense of accomplishment, with results they can use immediately could lead to a different adoption curve for topic maps."
Fri, 08 Apr 2011 13:49:51 +0200
Seth Godin – Who's responsible for service design?:
"Make it easy for complaints (and compliments) about each decision to reach the designer (and her boss).
In my experience, most of the problems are caused by ignorance and isolation, not incompetence or a lack of concern."
Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:30:53 +0200
Richard Padley – Integrating taxonomies with search:
"Alongside a set of search results a search engine can provide a series of drill down categories which allow the user to refine their query and cut down the result set until they find the information they need. If properly structured faceted taxonomies have been used to tag the search documents then the terms from these taxonomies can be used to provide the drill-down categories for the search engine."
(Via all things cataloged.)
Sun, 20 Feb 2011 21:48:56 +0100
Fran – Serendipity and large video collections:
"Serendipity is rarely of use to the asset manager, who wants to find exactly what they expect to find, but is a delight for the consumer or leisure searcher. People sometimes cite serendipity as a being a reason to abandon classification, but in my experience classification often enhances serendipity and can be lost in simple online search systems.
For example, when browsing an alphabetically ordered collection in print, such as an encyclopedia or dictionary, you just can’t help noticing the entries that sit next to the one you were looking for."
(Via Digital Asset Management.)
Wed, 16 Feb 2011 10:08:16 +0100
Miles Kehoe – Make your search engine seem psychic:
"Autonomy, Exalead, Microsoft, Lucene, and even the Google Search Appliance, can all be improved with some custom code after the user query but before the results show up. Did the user type what looks like a name? Check the employee directory and suggest a phone number or an email address. Is the query a product name? Suggest the product page. You can make your search psychic."
Wed, 02 Feb 2011 20:55:18 +0100
Alex Payne – Shortchanging Your Business with User-Hostile Platforms:
"My team experienced a number of the usual problems one has with AIR applications: lousy performance, odd interface bugs, key combinations and UI elements that didn’t conform to our operating system. AIR apps exist in an uncanny valley between a web application and a desktop application, and the result is unsettling and annoying.
[…] Cross-platform solutions like AIR might be better for your business in the short term, but your customers probably hate it, and you could be shortchanging yourself in the long run. If there’s a market, spend the time and money to build proper native desktop and mobile apps. If you don’t think there’s a market but the demand is there, expose an API to your service, let inspired developers build native apps, and see what happens."
(Via Tim Bray.)
Tue, 25 Jan 2011 11:34:09 +0100
Phil Libin (CEO of Evernote) – Four Lessons From Evernote’s First Week On The Mac App Store:
"If Evernote’s desktop clients were written in Adobe AIR, I’d be worried right now. The immediate popularity of the Mac App Store, and the iPhone App Store before it, reinforces my belief that in a world of infinite software choice, people gravitate towards the products with the best overall user experience. It’s very hard for something developed in a cross-platform, lowest-common-denominator technology to provide as nice an experience as a similar native app.
As the CEO of a software company, I wish this weren’t true. I’d love to build one version of our App that could work everywhere. Instead, we develop separate native versions for Windows, Mac, Desktop Web, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, HP WebOS and (coming soon) Windows Phone 7. We do it because the results are better and, frankly, that’s all-important."
Fri, 21 Jan 2011 12:24:33 +0100
Tue, 11 Jan 2011 09:21:37 +0100
Andrew Stellman – Inflict bad UX on users you secretly hate:
"You’d be surprised at how often programmers are completely unaware that they have serious UX [user experience] and usability problems. Just a few days ago, someone told me, “Our users are using our software, so we don’t have any usability issues!”
One of my favorite sayings is that there are only a few ways to do something right, but a million ways to do it wrong. Usability is no exception. […] Good UX is designed in from the beginning; bad UX can show up at any point along your project."
Tue, 30 Nov 2010 11:20:19 +0100
Signal vs. Noise cites David Heinemeier Hansson – Quote: The number one competitor we have in our…:
"People are organizing through email. They’re keeping track of their notes through email. They’re doing all this stuff through email. And email is incredibly simple, basically just a text box that you can send to other people or receive.
We have to be just one step above that."
Wed, 24 Nov 2010 21:34:54 +0100
Gojko Adzic – Seven key ideas of real quality assurance:
"“You don’t get quality by testing it in, you get it by designing it in”, said [Tom] Gilb. Many business users never define what they actually want in a measurable way according to Gilb, which is why projects do not meet the expected levels of quality by design. “To do quality assurance, you need to be able to quantify qualities important for your business”, said he, adding that “you have to define robustness and intuitiveness, and to define it you need to define a scale of measure”. He gave an example of intuitiveness, which can be defined by how long it takes for new people to do a task."
Wed, 03 Nov 2010 12:51:23 +0100
Tue, 31 Aug 2010 11:45:55 +0200
Michael Hunger – On LEGO Powered Time-Tracking; My Daily Column:
"As a child I hated these one-rowers as they were not useful in building stuff. But here and now they seemed a perfect fit. Small enough and in the right sizes. I chose a time partitioning of a quarter of an hour. So I can use the lengths 1,2,3,4 to build 15,30,45 and 60 minutes worth of time in a row representing an hour.
[…] One last thing I have been thinking about is getting these daily columns recorded automatically. So using your webcam or phone camera, you just hold the “day” in front of it. After taking the picture it is processed."
(Via Nat Torkington on O'Reilly Radar.)
Mon, 23 Aug 2010 12:42:09 +0200
Kevin Kelly at Wired – Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything:
"On the design of a beach vacation home, the limitation may be your ocean-front footage. You have to make sure your whole team understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing.
[…] Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, once said that his method of design was to start with a vision of what you want and then, one by one, remove the technical obstacles until you have it. I think that’s what Steve Jobs does. He starts with a vision rather than a list of features."
(Via Signal vs. Noise)
Mon, 09 Aug 2010 21:32:32 +0200
Scott Adams – The Amazingness of Instant:
"I've discovered that 90% of its usefulness comes from the fact that it's speedy. Yesterday a fox walked by the window, and I was the only witness. Someone asked what type it was, and I was able to point to a picture on the iPad in less than 30 seconds. Some version of that situation happens continuously. Life comes at us in sub-minute chunks, especially in the kitchen. That's a lot of iPad opportunities."
Tue, 13 Jul 2010 07:07:43 +0200
Gartner RAS Core Research Note at Adobe.com – HTML5 and the Future of Adobe Flash [PDF]:
"The root causes for a suboptimal user experience consist of lack of appropriate process and governance, and lack of a genuine commitment to a quality user experience. Such a commitment would lead organizations to adopt a user-centered, usability-oriented development process. Rather than taking these steps, we see a lot of projects that are “stakeholder-driven” (i.e., driven by internal politics). […] Most enterprises don’t seem to care enough about the user experience to change their habits (in terms of processes that are developer-driven, vendor-driven and stakeholder-driven, rather than user-driven)."
(Via Mike Slinn at InsideRIA.)
Tue, 06 Jul 2010 21:52:39 +0200
Phil Gyford – Finishability:
"But those old-fashioned constraints of printing can also be a benefit. There’s something satisfying, predictable and achievable about a more-or-less fixed amount of stuff to read appearing on a regular schedule.
For example, when faced with most news websites one of the reasons I don’t spend much time reading them is because I know I can never finish, no matter how much I read. So, once I’ve read the front page headlines and realised the world hasn’t ended, why read much more? I’ll never finish it all anyway."
(Via Derek Powazek and Today's Guardian.)
Tue, 29 Jun 2010 11:48:25 +0200
Tim Bray – HTML5 and the Web:
"HTML-based software has historically provided a better user experience compared to what went before. Everyone in our profession knows that building a good user interface is maddeningly difficult. The discovery, in the early Web browsers, that reasonably-typeset text which embedded simple forms and hyperlinks, and came equipped with a “Back” button, hit the biggest 80/20 point ever in the history of User Interfaces, couldn’t have been predicted by anybody; but it’s as true today as ever."
Thu, 06 May 2010 22:57:13 +0200
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:43:02 +0200
Tim Bray – What’s New in Tablets:
"Speed Is A Feature · For a 1Ghz device with limited memory, the iPad is unreasonably fast. I suspect this accounts for a whole bunch of the “Wow!” reaction the iPad obviously provokes."
Tue, 06 Apr 2010 21:38:43 +0200
Theresa Regli at CMS Watch – Core application versus corollary applications in DAM:
"Where the confusion often starts is when, as is often the case with DAM products, #2 [the external or "self-service" application] looks completely different from #1 [the "core" application]. This is where it's important to note that most DAM products are a platform: that is to say, highly malleable and open to customization. That includes the interfaces. So when a vendor is showing the core application and then switches over to the external or as they sometimes call it (to further confusion) "portal" application, chaos ensues."
Mon, 29 Mar 2010 16:46:46 +0200
Joshua Duhl at We Speak Digital Media – The Importance of Usability in Digital Asset Management:
"By contrast the other DAM systems used an approach that took into account the user’s role, permissions or privileges to inform the UI what to display and what to hide. The user interface was tailored to the role, set of tasks or in some cases the user’s level of sophistication. As a result users only saw what they could do. Under the covers, such an approach is a complicated implementation; one that takes a lot of refinement over time to get right, but one which enables greater simplicity and ease of use."
Thu, 18 Mar 2010 21:35:50 +0100
Matt Gemmell – iPad Application Design:
"Most users need only a small set of features, and software is better when it’s focused. A nice side-effect of focused software is that the UI is easier to design and comprehend (because there’s less of it, and it’s more obvious why each thing is there). The trick is to figure out which small set of features are actually important, and implement only those.
[…] Be focused, targeted and comprehensible. You can add things later when it becomes clear what’s important, but you’ll never recover from a confusing first impression."
Sat, 06 Mar 2010 21:30:32 +0100
Morgan Adams at RoughlyDrafted Magazine – An Adobe Flash developer on why the iPad can’t use Flash:
"I’m a full-time Flash developer and I’d love to get paid to make Flash sites for iPad. I want that to make sense—but it doesn’t. Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen—and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about:
Current Flash sites could never be made work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware.
That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem."
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 11:32:56 +0100
: "I love Mac apps, especially for their attention to detail. CoreAnimation makes it so easy to create useful and eye-pleasing effects […]. Quicksand aims at providing a similar experience for users on the web."
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 12:24:28 +0100
"The developers of TinyMCE brings you Plupload
, a highly usable upload handler for your Content Management Systems or similar. […] Allows you to upload files using HTML5 Gears, Silverlight, Flash, BrowserPlus or normal forms, providing some unique features such as upload progress, image resizing and chunked uploads."
Wed, 10 Feb 2010 21:44:11 +0100
Matt Linderman on the Apple iPad at Signal vs. Noise – Computers shouldn't make people feel like idiots:
"For those of us surrounded by the minutiae of computers all day, it’s easy to forget there’s a world of people out there who just don’t get it. And it’s not their fault. It’s ours.
Apple has decided it’s worth throwing out advanced features in order to get these people onboard. Anyone who builds apps would be wise to consider taking a similar path."
Fri, 05 Feb 2010 12:38:08 +0100
Kas Thomas at CMS Watch – RFI as rich asset:
"I proposed a simple expedient: Require screenshots.
If a product supports a certain type of functionality via a graphical user interface, the vendor should have no qualms about showing the UI in question, doing the operation in question. It's one thing to be told "Yes, our admin interface supports restricting a user's right to Copy or Move a file" (for example), but a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand workarounds."
Wed, 18 Nov 2009 09:53:48 +0100
Jason Fried at Inc. – The Way I Work: Jason Fried of 37Signals:
"In the software world, the first, second, and third versions of any product are really pretty good, because everyone can use them. Then companies start adding more and more stuff to keep their existing customers happy. But you end up dying with your customer base, because the software is too complicated for a newcomer. We keep our products simple. I'd rather have people grow out of our products, as long as more people are growing into them."
Tue, 03 Nov 2009 22:21:31 +0100
Mark Sigal at O'Reilly Radar – iPhone Killers, Blackberries and Chicken Parts:
"I would submit that my experiences underscore a hard truth in the age of iPhone; namely, that successful device vendors can no longer deliver piecemeal offerings that 'mostly work.' Rather, they have to deliver complete product solutions that work consistently as expected."
Thu, 29 Oct 2009 13:56:25 +0100
Irina Guseva et al. – Things We Hate About Content Management:
"Interfaces need a comfortable lived in feel. Content management is something people work with every day, it is their interface to their job. You meet people who hate the interface, and that makes their work a heap of pain. I have seen people who describe the 44 clicks it takes to insert an image. You have a responsibility to these people, to make them love the content and make the tool disappear.
[…] “Power users” (those who use it all day long) of CMSs needed to have a “Desktop” experience. What does Desktop Experience mean? Well, it doesn’t really have to be on the desktop – these days it is perfectly possible to get very close to a hitherto Desktop experience in a browser or similar. these are qualities: very low latency from action to response, no page refreshes, modal and modal-less dialog boxes as appropriate, “push” notification."
Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:58:35 +0100
Theresa Neil at Designing Web Interfaces – iTunes Solves the Nested Clause Dilema:
"Now, to my delight, Apple has tackled the last remaining frontier of predicate editors- the nested clause. My design partner, Jessica, found this when trying to pull together a playlist for her birthday last week. She needed something more complex than a simple AND or OR (which Apple eloquently rephrased as “matching all of these conditions” or “matching any of these conditions”)."
Mon, 26 Oct 2009 10:28:16 +0100
Kas Thomas at CMS Watch – Usability still improving -- improvement still needed:
"Dialogs are annoying, in general, because there's usually very little actual "dialog" happening in a dialog box; it's more of a monolog. It's the programmer who wrote the software telling you what to do next, rather than the reverse."
Tue, 20 Oct 2009 13:48:24 +0200
Wed, 07 Oct 2009 20:59:34 +0200
Ryan Singer at Signal vs. Noise: "Unimportant things are easier to keep around when they are small."
Makes me wonder why there's so much stuff in very small font size in our application's UI…
Wed, 09 Sep 2009 10:31:15 +0200
Rich Rosen at O'Reilly Broadcast – Gmail's Labels Now More Like Folders: A Good Thing?:
"The common wisdom is that marking things with tags or labels (so you can later search for them by tag) is better than organizing them hierarchically into folders.
[…] The problem is that people don't seem to "get" labels or grasp what the inherent advantage is in not organizing things into folders. They WANT folders.
[…] Labels are much more flexible for organization and searching. It's a pity Google felt they needed to take a step backwards by saying "yeah, OK, these can be like folders, too, whatever." This is a failure resulting not from the feature's original design but from Google's inability to promote it and educate users about it."
Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:02:02 +0200
jQuery TOOLS – The missing UI library for the Web:
"What you really need are tabs, tooltips, accordions, overlays, high usability, striking visual effects and all those "web 2.0" goodies that you have seen on your favourite websites.
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 07:32:07 +0200
David Ascher – Getting insight into one’s own email:
"The “start page”, which makes a lot of sense in Firefox, never made a huge amount of sense to me in Thunderbird. In particular, it’s shown only when a folder is selected, and no message is selected. That’s hardly a logical time to show the (colorful, pretty, but fairly useless) page we show now. Instead, why not show information about the selected folder, and help people who clearly intended to select a folder, so most likely wanted to do something related to that folder!"
Sun, 17 May 2009 21:20:28 +0200
RJ Owen at InsideRIA – New York Times AIR reader released:
"As a whole, the application does a better job replicating the "newspaper" experience than reading in the browser. […] Clean design and great execution make this a stellar user experience, and something other companies should strive to emulate. Even more impressive, I've had this application running on my machine all morning and haven't noticed any of the performance problems people complain about with Adobe AIR. "
Tue, 12 May 2009 11:59:11 +0200
Scott Adams – Calendar as Filter:
"I think the biggest software revolution of the future is that the calendar will be the organizing filter for most of the information flowing into your life. You think you are bombarded with too much information every day, but in reality it is just the timing of the information that is wrong. Once the calendar becomes the organizing paradigm and filter, it won't seem as if there is so much."
Tue, 12 May 2009 11:02:19 +0200
violet – The Internet of Things starts here, fun objects using RFID and WLAN:
"Violet’s dream is therefore to make the physical space in which we live – our homes, offices, public spaces – a better place: rich, intelligent, connected, personalized, awe-inspiring, fun. Not a space that simulates 3D, but that naturally is 3D. A space that you don’t need a browser to explore, only your own two feet; that you navigate not with timid mouse clicks, but that you can embrace fully; whose icons are not little drawings, but true objects; that doesn’t need training, as it is able to comprehend your daily habits."
Thu, 16 Apr 2009 11:23:02 +0200
InfoQ interview – Tim Bray on the Future of the Web:
"When the web came along people shriked with glee and universally abandoned all those rich immersive responsive pre-internet applications and ran into the arms of the web.
[…] Over the years since then I have regularly and steadily heard them saying: "We need something that is more immersive, more responsive, more interactive". Every time without exception that somebody said that to me, they have either been a developer or a vendor who wants to sell the technology that is immersive or responsive, or something like that.
[…] On the other hand richness is a good thing but I would rather take an old fashioned point of view and if you look at the world's most popular actual real Internet applications you'll see things like Google and Facebook and Wikipedia, and so on kind of which I play all day web applications, and they are rich all right, they are rich because they expose you to lots of deep high quality content and allow you to communicate with interesting people and I think a dollar with that kind of richness is worth a thousand dollars of things that wiggle when you put the mouse over them So I tend to be highly cynical about this whole subject.
[…] The whole web runs on polling and the whole universe of RSS and feeds runs on polling. It scales beautifully it works perfectly with the existing caching mechanisms that are built into the web and the deployment mechanisms, and the load sharing mechanisms and all that stuff."
Fri, 27 Mar 2009 13:34:14 +0100
Jakob Nielsen – Mega Drop-Down Navigation Menus Work Well:
"Mega drop-downs make it easy to use icons and pictures when appropriate. And, even if you stick to text alone, you have richer typography at your disposal (letting you differentiate link sizes according to their importance, for example)."
Thu, 26 Mar 2009 22:18:07 +0100
Joel Spolsky – How to be a program manager:
"The number one mistake most companies make is having the manager of the programmers writing the specs and designing the product. This is a mistake because the design does not get a fair trial, and is not born out of conflict and debate, so it’s not as good as it could be."
Thu, 19 Mar 2009 21:19:20 +0100
Alistair Croll at GigaOM – 7 Questions to Evaluate SaaS:
"With software as a service, the focus has become whether the tool is good enough on day one and how well it will adapt over time.
[…] How effectively can your users accomplish their goals? How many cases-per-minute or entries-per-day can workers do, and how many errors do they make?"
Thu, 26 Feb 2009 10:50:25 +0100
Aaron Conran – Pixel Bender Explorer: Bending Ext AIR Apps:
"Pixel Bender is an exciting new technology by Adobe which brings video and image processing capabilities to the flash runtime. It allows you to create and apply filters to ‘bend’ pixels and create compelling animations which have never been possible in an HTML environment. Because Adobe AIR uses flash to load any HTML content, we can leverage these powerful filters on a standard Ext Application in the AIR environment."
See also: Mihai Corlan – BlackBookSafe: Anatomy of an AIR 1.5 application.
Wed, 25 Feb 2009 16:34:50 +0100
Tony Byrne at CMS Watch – The case against Flex-based application UIs:
Wed, 04 Feb 2009 21:47:48 +0100
Jeff Atwood – Speed Still Matters:
"What's more important? Getting flash after 5 seconds, or functional no-frills layouts in less than a second? Let's get our priorities straight. Speed still matters. And remember, the perception of speed is just as important as actual speed. If you can't be fast, be clever."
Fri, 30 Jan 2009 11:07:03 +0100
Atul Varma – Beautifully Documented Code:
"I wasn’t very pleased with the typography of the generated content—though obviously the aesthetics were customizable through CSS, none of the default stylesheets left me dying to read the documentation I created.
I’ve always had these kinds of hangups when it comes to design; a lack of it repels me from some software that might otherwise be interesting or useful, while good aesthetics is part of the reason I’m drawn to a handful of projects like TeX that are truly elegant out-of-the-box. With this in mind, I decided to play around with creating my own simple code documentation system."
Mon, 12 Jan 2009 11:43:43 +0100
Wed, 07 Jan 2009 21:02:16 +0100
Thu, 06 Nov 2008 09:39:00 +0100
Tim Bray – Branch Out:
"Developers of the world: real deep design skill is rare, but there are a few principles of design and color that, if you follow them, will keep you mostly out of trouble and produce something that may not seduce the viewer’s eye but on the other hand won’t revolt it. Bookstore shelves are full of books on the basics of online design, have a look."
Sat, 25 Oct 2008 21:29:57 +0200
Leslie Michael Orchard – Queue everything and delight everyone:
"And, in the end, that’s really the purpose of a web-based content creation interface—accepting something as quickly as possible to make the user happy enough to continue submitting more. The other part of the user interface, retrieval, serves simply to get the original content distributed as fast as can be reasonably expected."
Wed, 01 Oct 2008 15:03:36 +0200
Woork – 10 Handwritten fonts you can't miss:
"This is a list of my preferred Handwritten fonts I often use in my design projects. I included a link to download each font apart and some suggest about how you can use them."
Wed, 24 Sep 2008 14:55:48 +0200
Joel Spolsky – Don't hide or disable menu items:
"Instead, leave the menu item enabled. If there's some reason you can't complete the action, the menu item can display a message telling the user why."
Thu, 28 Aug 2008 00:46:23 +0200
makes it easy, quick and cheap for everyone to perform guerilla usability tests with no setup and no expense, using hardware already in your Mac."
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 15:42:44 +0200
is a fascinating browser plug-in by Cooliris, powered by Media RSS
: "Transform your browser into a full-screen, 3D experience for online photos and videos."
Wed, 23 Jul 2008 11:19:17 +0200
Scott Adams – Progress Bars:
"A minute of entertainment is better than 58 seconds of boredom even if you are in a hurry."
Tue, 22 Jul 2008 20:21:52 +0200
is designed to make desktop-like apps for the web. Imagine the possibilities by sampling some demo apps
Mon, 21 Jul 2008 21:22:40 +0200
Ryan Singer at Signal vs. Noise – Features are a one-way street:
"Whether the feature is good or bad, once you launch it you’ve married it. This changes the economics of feature additions. If you can’t destroy what you build, each addition holds the threat of clutter. Empty pixels and free space where a new feature could be added are the most valuable real estate on your app. Don’t be quick to sell it, because you can never get it back."
Wed, 02 Jul 2008 00:54:39 +0200
Alex Iskold – Semantic Search: The Myth and Reality:
"Probably the most striking revelation about the semantic search space is User Interface. First, to go on the tangent, Powerset got it right by realizing that semantics needs to be surfaced in the UI. After a user searches Powerset, a contextual gadget, aware of the semantics of the results, helps the user complete the search experience."
Tue, 03 Jun 2008 22:29:37 +0200
Robert D. Currier at linux.com – FusionCharts Free: Cross-platform charts that rock:
"If you've struggled with GNUplot, JPgraph or other charting applications, FusionCharts Free is a breath of fresh air. Have you dreamed of finding a charting and graphing application that is simple to install, easy to configure, and drop-dead gorgeous? Stop dreaming and download a copy of FusionCharts Free. You'll be producing professional quality charts and graphs in no time."
Wed, 07 May 2008 14:25:51 +0200
"“Seek” adds faceted browsing features to Mozilla Thunderbird and lets you search through your email more effectively."
Mon, 21 Apr 2008 13:05:21 +0200
"Safari 3.1 for Windows and Mac supports the embedding of “sfnt fonts” (TrueType, OpenType PS, OpenType TT) using the font-face declaration. Technically the fonts are not embedded in the website, but they are simply linked like an image file. Thus the fonts need to be stored on a public server. Since you cannot upload commercial fonts to a public webserver, you are limited to freeware fonts. FDI fonts.info believes in the future of web fonts
, so we decided to provide webdesigners with a set of high-quality web fonts supporting a wide range of character encodings. Graublau Sans Web regular and bold were designed by Georg Seifert."
Wed, 09 Apr 2008 22:43:53 +0200
Jon Udell - Ward Cunningham’s Visible Workings:
"This isn’t just an innovative approach to software testing and workflow visualization. It’s also a radical statement about business process transparency. For most of us, most of the time, business systems are black boxes whose internal workings we can only discern in the outcomes of our (often painful) interactions with them. But what if you could find out, before pressing the Save button, what’s going on in that black box? And what if your way of finding out wasn’t by reading bogus documentation, but instead by probing the system itself using its own test framework?"
Wed, 05 Mar 2008 10:29:47 +0100
Jason Fried - Feeling the pulse with Queen Bee:
"At the top of our Queen Bee admin screen we have a stream showing the latest activity across Basecamp, Backpack, Highrise, and Campfire.
[...] Everyone at 37signals has access to this stream of signups, upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations. It’s a great way to get a feel for patterns, how things are going in general, and where people are finding out about our products."
Mon, 25 Feb 2008 21:03:51 +0100
Jason Fried at 37signals - Preview 3: Backpack Page Changes:
"When you have multiple people contributing to a page it’s handy to know when and what changed since your last visit. We’ve made this really easy with the new Backpack.
If you visit a page that changed since your last visit you’ll see a sticky note in top right corner of the page."
Wed, 13 Feb 2008 23:12:49 +0100
Tim O'Reilly at O'Reilly Radar - MarkMail Provides Amazing Search Capabilities:
"I love the way MarkMail gives me a bunch of drill-down choices in the UI, and as I choose them, rewrites the command-line in the search box. I'd love to see features like this in my other mail packages. With Mail.app on Mac OS X, for example, it's impossible to do a complex search. You can search for a text string in the from field, the subject line, or the entire message, but what if you want to say "I want a message on x, from Joe, to Mary, sent between April and June of 2006." Even on Gmail, where I can do this kind of search with Search Options, I have to go to another whole screen, out of the search flow, to do it. You can construct that kind of a search in MarkMail just by navigating around. Yumm. How long before regular mail vendors start doing this kind of thing? This is a really sweet search interface."
Mon, 07 Jan 2008 17:05:54 +0100
Jakob Nielsen - Feature Richness and User Engagement:
"Typically, when new prospects first visit your site, you're simply one of ten sites on the SERP [Search Engine Results Page]. The only way they'll shortlist your site is if you can convince them in two minutes.
Thus, websites should have almost no features: focus on the words.
To determine how much complexity you can afford in a user interface, you must analyze user engagement levels: Do they care deeply, or do they just want to get something done as quickly as possible? Typically, users care less than you think! You're not important to them. This is one of the main reasons companies need systematic usability studies: to make explicit the fact that outside customers don't find your design as important as you do (because you work on it all year)."
Wed, 02 Jan 2008 09:39:13 +0100
Joel Spolsky - Talk at Yale: Part 1 of 3:
"The old testers at Microsoft checked lots of things: they checked if fonts were consistent and legible, they checked that the location of controls on dialog boxes was reasonable and neatly aligned, they checked whether the screen flickered when you did things, they looked at how the UI flowed, they considered how easy the software was to use, how consistent the wording was, they worried about performance, they checked the spelling and grammar of all the error messages, and they spent a lot of time making sure that the user interface was consistent from one part of the product to another, because a consistent user interface is easier to use than an inconsistent one.
None of those things could be checked by automated scripts. And so one result of the new emphasis on automated testing was that the Vista release of Windows was extremely inconsistent and unpolished. Lots of obvious problems got through in the final product… none of which was a “bug” by the definition of the automated scripts, but every one of which contributed to the general feeling that Vista was a downgrade from XP."
Mon, 03 Dec 2007 22:09:28 +0100
Joel Spolsky - How to demo software:
"As you go along, be sure to accidentally bump into all the nice little “fit and finish” features of your product. Oh look, that column is halfway off screen. No problem. I’ll just drag it over. (“Wha!” the audience gasps, “you dragged a column in HTML?”) Oh, look, this feature is supposed to be done by next Tuesday. I’ll type “next tuesday” in the due date box. (“OMG!” they squeal. You typed “next tuesday” and it was replaced with “11/20/2007”). Those nice little touches you put so much hard work into are not the meat of the demo, so don’t talk about them, just act nonchalant. What, doesn’t every web app let you resize and drag columns?"
Sun, 18 Nov 2007 00:41:28 +0100
One of the best search experiences:
Really Strategies Blog -
"On kayak.com, you are offered a set of dials and levers for adjusting the query, such as eliminating airlines, changing departure time frames, or looking for the shortest trip. You want to leave between 10 and 12, just move the dial and the page is updated with results that match. You want to find the shortest trip. Move the lever.
Does your content, or its metadata, lend itself to this type of search? Is there a way to present options for your customers to refine search results in a more appealing way?"
Tue, 06 Nov 2007 09:40:08 +0100
Jason Fried - Why Enterprise Software Sucks:
"The people who buy enterprise software aren’t the people who use enterprise software. That’s where the disconnect begins. And it pulls and pulls and pulls until the user experience is split from the buying experience so severely that the software vendors are building for the buyers, not the users. The experience takes a back seat to the feature list, future promises, and buzz words."
Wed, 24 Oct 2007 22:51:27 +0200
Jason Fried - Ask 37signals: Is it really the number of features that matter?:
"It’s not so much about consciously saying “we have three too many features here” it’s about saying “let’s solve most of this problem with less code and simpler design.” If we need to solve more of the problem later we can, but let’s solve most of it now—and quickly. And most of the time the partial solution is the plenty solution.
So remember: Good software is about balancing value and screen real estate and understanding and outcome."
Wed, 10 Oct 2007 16:22:23 +0200
Jon Udell - Tagging and foldering:
"On the desktop as well as on the web, we’re in the midst of a long transition from container-based to query-based storage and retrieval. And really, transition is the wrong word, because the two approaches will coexist into the indefinite future.
Given that coexistence, how can we help people understand the relationship between these two approaches?"
Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:05:24 +0200