Usability


Dark Patterns Revisited

Posted on February 9th, by Heath in Success Metrics, Usability, User Experience, User Hostile. No Comments

I ran across another great post on dark patterns by Harry Brignull on A List Apart a few days ago.  I first learned about dark patterns back in December 2010, and I was immediately intrigued by the concept of consciously using psychology & UX methodology to mislead the user.

Mr. Brignull not only provides clear illustrations and real-world examples of how dark-patterns like hidden costs, trick questions, and forced continuity are utilized but, more compellingly I think, he explains that despite whether dark patterns are implemented intentionally or via misadventure they are often hard to eliminate.  Dark patterns often perform well in A/B and multivariate test because their (more...)


The IPad’s disruption of PC & DRAM chip sales, and what it means for UX practice

Posted on December 5th, by Heath in Mobile, Mobile First, Usability, User Experience. No Comments

The movement towards mobile and tablet technology is moving along much more quickly than I, (and most PC and DRAM manufacturers) imagined.  I saw this on the Apple Insider blog and it blew my mind:

In the last calendar quarter, Apple shipped 11.1 million iPads, which not only expanded the computing market with less need for DRAM, but also held back sales of conventional PCs. Apple actually sold more iPads than rival Dell sold in all its PCs together (10.6 million).

That statistic is staggering, and further proof that those of us in the UX universe need to be prepared for this shift in how users are getting their … (more...)


Future Friendly

Posted on October 24th, by Heath in Mobile, Mobile First, Usability, User Experience. No Comments

Luke W, Brad Frost and several other developers have tackled the problem of how to maintain sanity and clarity while trying to design for compatibility on the dizzying array of connected devices. They’ve written a Future Friendly “manifesto” of sorts and it’s nothing short of awesome. After describing the problem with maintaining standards across an ever-growing number of devices they offer hope, and not just any hope, but hope in an easily digestible form. The future-friendly designer can:

  1. Acknowledge and embrace unpredictability.
  2. Think and behave in a future-friendly way.
  3. Help others do the same.

They also offer more in-depth explanation of future friendly thinking and provide  … (more...)


Good advice from Tog

Posted on October 7th, by Heath in Inspiration, ROI, Success Metrics, Usability, User Experience. No Comments

If you are demanding registration before checkout, you need to cease this practice immediately. It is costing you a fortune.

Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini

Links:

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Bigger is not always better

Posted on October 7th, by Heath in Mobile, Usability, User Experience. No Comments

iPhone 4's 3.5" screen vs. Galaxy S II's 4.21" screen

Dustin Curtis makes an interesting observation about the screen sizes of the iPhone and some of its competitors. Newer  Android and Windows7 models have larger screens which look more inviting, and some would assume that the extra real-estate would improve the user-experience (by either allowing more context to the data on the screen, or allowing more white-space around individual objects on the screen for easier visibility, larger movies, etc) .

Mr. Curtis started using a new Samsung Galaxy S II phone, which has a 4.2″ screen as compared to the iPhone 4‘s 3.5″ inch screen. After using the Galaxy S II for a few weeks he noticed that, when … (more...)


mobile moment, mobile first

Not that “mobile” was in any danger of fading away, but I’m excited that the next two CHI Atlanta events are mobile focused, first with Coleen Jones’ “Mobile Moment” this Thursday May 19th,  and then Luke Wrobeleski’s “Mobile First” on Monday June 13th.

Coleen Jones,  author of Clout:The Art and Science of Influential Web Content, will be discussing the “mobile moment”, which she describes as:

Whether you’re trying to market a product or change the world, you can no longer ignore mobile as a medium for influence. Of particular power is the mobile moment–the instant a user connects with the right content at the right time. Though this moment

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Easy fix for HTTPS error message

Posted on March 14th, by Heath in ROI, Usability, User Experience, User Hostile. No Comments

Just saw a post on Paul Irish’s Blog explaining the “protocol relative URL”, which appears to be a great way to eliminate this confusing (or possibly even scary for some) error message in IE: “This Page Contains Both Secure and Non-Secure Items”.

Microsoft IE Error Message "This page contains both secure and nonsecure items"

Who wants to deal with this dialog box? No one.

The code is a relatively simple change and there are very few caveats, so this seems like a fix that could significantly increase user confidence when browsing in environments that move from HTTP to HTTPS .

HTTPS Goes Mainstream

HTTPS usage has recently moved beyond the e-commerce and banking/financial sectors:

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Avoid Cargo Cult Usability Testing

Posted on March 7th, by Heath in Usability, Usability Testing. No Comments

Cargo Cult PlaneWhen I was 15 or so I bought an album by the band Cargo Culton the recommendation of a friend. I didn’t know what the band name meant, and since this was assuredly pre-Google, I had to go to the library to find out that cargo cults were the result of contact between indigenous tribes and technologically advanced cultures.

In an article about the John Frum Cargo Cult in Smithsonian Magazine,  anthropologist Kirk Huffman explains:

You get cargo cults when the outside world, with all its material wealth, suddenly descends on remote, indigenous tribes.” The locals don’t know where the foreigners’ endless supplies come from and

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United Airlines on How To Build A Crappy Survey

Posted on February 28th, by Heath in Usability, User Experience, User Hostile. No Comments

Jared Spool explains how to build a crappy survey that will produce suspect, if not misleading, results. And that’s in addition to frustrating/alienating your users/customers, which is never a good idea.

Links

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Google Map Legibility

Posted on January 6th, by Heath in Usability, User Experience. 1 Comment
A link to and discussion of Justin O'Beirne's post Google Maps & Label Readability, a comprehensive and illuminating investigation into why and how Google Maps are, in general, much more legible and easy to use than Bing Maps, Yahoo! Maps, or MapQuest.