Here are some resources that I found during some recent persona research that I thought were decent enough to share.
Ever wonder how to beat your lame friends at rock, paper, scissors? Well wonder no more! I found this beaut at dailyinfographic.com. It drops more knowledge than you ever wanted about this perplexingly popular pastime. For far too much info about it and how you can become the next world champion click on over to worldrps.com.
I’m in the midst of creating a mobile strategy for my current employer and thought I would share some of the more interesting resources that I found:
Why is it, after so many years using personal computers, giving presentations, and generally being smart, some of us still disregard—what I now take for granted—good presentation etiquette?
Recently, during a presentation, I had to tell a colleague to maximize their window so that we could actually see the UIs that I had designed. Really? I need to tell someone to do this? Not only was the window not maximized but there was another window (Outlook, natch) peeking out from underneath creating this disorienting cascade of unrelated toolbars, window titles, and data. It was then that I knew I would be writing this.
Not only did he have too many windows open, but Skype was running and his status was set to available. And guess what. He got a call… twice. I actually had to tell him to shut it down.
Here are a few things to do before walking into a meeting where you’re running the show:
- Close windows. There is no reason to have all your windows open during a presentation. Facebook? Yelp? Pandora? Twitter? LOLCats? Don’t be a jackass.
- Ensure your statuses are set to do not disturb. Better yet, just shut them down.
- Close email. In most cases, you have no need to get into email when your presenting. If you do, open it on a need-only basis. But my guess is, you’re not that important.
- Turn off your screen saver! First of all, it’s an LCD panel. The original reason for screen savers was to prevent burn-in: something that went away more than a decade ago. Secondly, are you really going to run out of battery power within an hour? If so, get a new battery.
Wake up, be courteous, be prepared. Thanks.
Dear Adobe -
Offering crap like McAfee Security Scan Plus with an update to a completely unrelated piece of software makes you look like a bunch of aging, desperate a-holes. So, please stop before I come over there and kick your cane out from underneath you.
An interesting article from UXBooth offers some great take-away points about approaching complex interactions:
- Realize that just because everyone does something a certain way it doesn’t mean you should do it, too. Popular design choices may not apply to your particular use-case.
- Layout the objectives of the design from the user’s point of view. Listen to customers to understand their pain points.
- Make a list of all the elements you want to include. Make sure each element has a clear function. Don’t just add things for the sake of it. Get pragmatic.
- Put everything together and see how it “fits.” Can you remove anything without jeopardizing the function of the element?
- Launch, test, iterate!
This process opened our eyes to the fact that a lot of designers might just be recycling standard design patterns resulting in sub-optimal experiences. I know we’ve been guilty of this. Are there places in your web-app where you might be doing the same thing?
Worthwhile advice when approaching any interaction, no matter how complex.
Apparently, some still think that it’s ok to let you know that their site is best viewed in a browser that you’re too lame to use.
I, however, do not think this. Neither should you. New, and emerging technologies, while cool, are just that: new and emerging. So, don’t allow your first impression to be delivered with a slap across the face. Allow for graceful degradation among the most popular browsers. Period.
As with their cars, Ferrari has created a really fantastic experience with their 458 configurator. Not only is the 458 gorgeous, but it’s a technological marvel with a seemingly endless number of options. The configurator will keep even the most critical desk jockey occupied for an entire lunch break.
Overall, the configurator looks terrific, but it could use more contrast; viewing in my bright office made reading the text sometimes an eye-squinting affair. And while offering decent, and obvious, points of navigation—which is an important interaction that not all configurators do well—if I had to pick some nits, I would like the sections—both parent and child—to be more visually distinct from one another. As they are now, it’s not immediately obvious where a section begins and ends. Also, when clicked, a parent section expands horizontally to expose its children but in doing so the following parent section label is moved. Not a deal breaker, but not awesome.
As far as that red slider thingy at the bottom of the UI goes, besides being made taller, I’m not sold on the idea that it’s really necessary at all. I understand that it’s marking where the user is located within the work-flow, but since the user is able to navigate to any point in the flow at any time, an indicator of progress is not valid here.
Other than these small issues—that are easily ignored—the configurator is tons of fun, which after all is the real goal of these kinds of things. And for those of us who don’t quite (yet) have the scratch for the real thing, it’s nice that Ferrari throws us a bone with some cool online eye candy to kill some time until we do.
Related articles: Autopilot
Every once in a while I need to remind myself that interaction design is not just about making a new thing better than an old thing. It’s ensuring that the thing—new or old—provides a great experience in comparison to nothing other than itself. It’s either good or it isn’t. Judging that something is working well for your users based on how it’s better than it used to be is no guarantee that your design is any good.
When looking for a new home, do you think that it’s reasonable to make your selection based on the current home’s condition as compared to its old condition? What if it’s a dump but the agent tells you that it also used to be a crack house? Would you buy it because a dump is better than a crack house? Of course not. So, if you, your colleagues, or clients claim that the existing experience is good because it’s better than it used to be, please stop. You’re doing yourself—and, most importantly, all your users—a disservice.
Instead rely on user testing and heuristic evaluations that will provide you the concrete data you need to ensure that what you have created is truly great and not just better than it used to be.
So, I like me some infographics. Can you blame me when there are some nutty ones like this one created by mbaonline that does an apples to apples comparison of apples to… um… Apple? Brilliant! Click through to view full graphic.