Archive for the ‘User Centred Design’ Category

The what, when and why of wireframes

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

wireframe_icon.psd

I recently presented at a conference on the humble wireframe and thought it would be a good idea to run through some key points. I have also noted that some feel the wireframe is dead, though if anything its more alive now than ever. Pay heed to 37 signal’s take on the subject…

If a wireframe document is destined to stop and never directly become the actual design, don’t bother doing it. If the wireframe starts as a wireframe and then morphs into the actual design, go for it.

User paths for conversion – elements in engagement

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

 

 

clip_image002   This image was shown during Peter Moville’s talk about IA 3.0. What is interesting about it is how he linked this to Christopher Alexander’s text about design in architecture and also Peter Merholz’s essay Metadata for the Masses. In which he highlights ‘desire lines’ how paving is built once you see the paths that people tread.

If we look at online behaviour, user paths give us a solid idea of routes to content, where they return to and where they tend to go next. Human behaviour tends to follow patterns, see this article about mobile phone usage for an example of how predictable we tend to be. (more…)

Design principles for building user engagement

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

luke   Luke Wroblewski – Content Page Design Best Practices
One of the talks at the IA Summit was by Luke Wroblewski, author of two books and various resources published on his site. If you can see/hear the presentation at this location, I would urge you to do so. There will be something in there I have missed! The content he shared, was an insightful window into how we design pages and how the business requirements of a page may actually work against it. It really reminded me about the mechanics of persuasion, and he highlighted some insights explicitly. The following observations were made by Wroblewski. (more…)

Raising hackles at the IA Summit 2008

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

jared   Jared Spool: Journey to the centre of Design
Jared Spool’s opening keynote was perhaps deliberately inflammatory. If you go into a room of IAs and say UCD is dead you probably run the risk of losing half the audience within the first two minutes.

However, provocations aside, Spool raised some important issues that we need to figure out if we are working in a commercial environment where IA and usability are often questioned as being expensive luxuries.

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User stories or Personas?

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Some have a dislike of personas, as they are too much of a cute fit, a caricature, nothing more than stereotypes of your user base. I agree with this in some respects, personas that are not grounded in qualitative, ethnographic research are misleading and potentially damaging to a project. (more…)

Living Wireframes using Office Live

Monday, February 11th, 2008

 

wire_live   The challenge that faces any design project that uses wireframes is that they can easily be snapshots in time and become static. As soon as they are printed or circulated around a stakeholder group they become a moment in the site development’s life cycle. They often can be made redundant due to forces outside of the design project. This can be a potential point of weakness for this valuable deliverable.

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Wireframes – illustrating design strategy

Monday, January 7th, 2008

 

page_sketch  

The powerful thing about the wire frame is that it removes many emotive aspects of design that will cause division amongst clients. There are no uses of branding , colours or elements of graphic interest on a good wire frame. When they are stripped back to absolute functional essentials it is much easier to explain exactly why key elements are placed in certain areas on the page.

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ComputerWeekly.com- An IA case study

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

cw_screen_old
The old computerweekly.com

This was not so much a redesign, or even a relaunch, but more of a resurrection of a site that had become tired, old and ineffective. Its many shortcomings were highlighted with the onslaught of the new generation of sites from competitors that used user-generated content and a more social networking approach to their presentation layer.

As this site represented the best of computer related business journalism, it was apt that it should be the company’s first site that underwent a complete overhaul from the ground up.

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Inclusive, collaborative, Agile UCD

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

 

boundary-spanner   When thinking about how teams work very often there needs to be a person who can become the glue that holds it all together.

A person who can do this has a special talent, not only can they motivate a variety of personalities but they can bring it all together for the common good.

They are given the name boundary-spanner in a white paper on the subject (paid for content) by Rizal Sebastien. (more…)

Apple.com

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Just had a look at the Mac section on Apple’ site and the new slider widget at the top of the page that helps a user see all the products.

 This makes me laugh a bit as it seems to be a throw back to the time of frames and horizontal scroll bars.

Wonder why we don’t see horizontal scroll bars on web pages? Oh yes because they go against user screen use, ie although the eye scans down a page and across the screen it somehow feels awkward to do the same with the mouse.

Thanks to David Malouf for making me aware that successful companies with years of design experiences still get things wrong….weird.