A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Wroblewski, Luke

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AJAX Interface Design

AJAX enables faster, more responsive Web applications through a combination of asynchronous Javascript, the Document Object Model (DOM), and XMLhttpRequest. What this means for Web interface designers is that a DHTML-based Web application can make quick, incremental updates to a user interface without reloading the entire screen.

Wroblewski, Luke. LukeW Interface Designs (2006). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Ajax


Business and Design

As the number of designers interested in owning a seat at the corporate decision-making “table” grows, the number of business strategies advocating design solutions expands as well. Designers keep asking: “how can we convince business owners that investments in design processes are money well spent?” Simultaneously, a number of business publications (most notably Fast Company) are telling corporate decision makers that “design matters.” It’s useful for both sides to view the discussion from each other’s perspective.

Wroblewski, Luke. Functioning Form (2005). Articles>Management>Design>Collaboration


Common Visual Design Misconceptions

Though visual designers might face different hurdles in particular product domains and at different points in their careers, there are three common misconceptions that surface quite frequently.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2008). Careers>Graphic Design


The Complexity of Simplicity

Though many business strategies and publications continue to trumpet the power of simplicity in the design of digital products, for lots of companies and product teams, simplicity doesn't come easy.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2006). Design>Usability>Methods>Minimalism


Developing the Invisible

During my years as an interface designer, I've worked with lots of different development teams. From big companies to small startups, the interactions between me--the product designer--and developers have been pretty consistent. We work through what interactions and features are possible given our timeframe and resources. We discuss edge cases and clarify how specific interactions should work. We debate product strategy, information architecture, target audience, front-end technologies, and more. We also frequently encounter the same issue: the need to consider what's not there.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2006). Design>User Interface


Dynamic Help in Web Forms

Many Web application designers strive to reduce the amount of instructional text that appears in the user interfaces they create. A likely part of their motivation is the perception that, if explaining how to use something requires too much instruction, it probably isn't that easy to use and, therefore, has room for improvement in its design. Another motivating factor might be the tendency for people not to read any on-screen instructions, just like they tend not to read product manuals. This type of thinking also applies to Web forms. When possible, designers strive to utilize a minimal amount of text to explain how users should fill in the different input fields in a form.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2007). Design>Web Design>Forms>Help


Enhancing User Interaction With First Person User Interface

First person user interfaces can be a good fit for applications that allow people to navigate the real world, “augment” their immediate surroundings with relevant information, and interact with objects or people directly around them.

Wroblewski, Luke. Smashing (2009). Articles>User Interface>Usability>3D


Influencing Business Strategy Through Design

The great divide between the business side and the design side of organizations is shrinking. What started out as an internal training course for a group of Yahoo! designers has since touched hundreds of designers seeking to break free of design pigeonholes, striving to make a greater impact on business strategies within organizations and in agencies.

Wroblewski, Luke. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>Management>Business Communication>User Experience


Influencing Strategy by Design: Design Skills

Many design organizations seek to impact strategic decision-making by learning how to speak the language of business. But until they master these new skills, they are likely to be the least qualified people to discuss business strategy at the corporate decision-making table. Yet no one else at the table besides the design team has a complete set of design skills.

Wroblewski, Luke. Functioning Form (2008). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Persuasive Design


Informed Design: Understanding Your Web Audience

Although there are lots of elements to consider when designing compelling Web experiences (writing style, look and feel, information organization--to name just a few), there is one 'knowable' element that can be used to appraise the rest: audience.

Wroblewski, Luke. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design


Inline Validation in Web Forms

Inline validation gives people several types of real-time feedback: It can confirm an appropriate answer, suggest valid answers, and provide regular updates to help people stay within necessary limits. These bits of feedback can be presented before, during and / or after users provide answers.

Wroblewski, Luke. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Web Design>Forms>JavaScript


An Insider's View of Mobile-First Design: Don't Make These Mistakes

Our PC-driven instincts are often very wrong for mobile. Yet they’re so deeply ingrained, we apply them anyway. That’s why I want to share these common mistakes. I hope designers, product managers, and entrepreneurs can learn something from them — not just about how to design for mobile, but about how to think differently about mobile design.

Wroblewski, Luke. Wired (2013). Articles>Web Design>Mobile>User Centered Design


International Address Fields in Web Forms

As enablers of online conversations between businesses and customers, Web forms are often responsible for gathering critical information—email addresses for continued communications, mailing addresses for product shipments, and billing information for payment processing to name just a few. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked about Web form design is: “How do I deal with international addresses?”

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2008). Design>Web Design>Forms>Usability


Live by the Mockup, Die by the Mockup

Regardless of what you call it, the mockup can either sell your design or plummet you into a cyclical tunnel of churn. That's why, like it or not, interface designers often live and die by the mockup.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2006). Design>Web Design>User Experience


Natural Selections: Colors Found in Nature and Interface Design

The web is awash with sterile design solutions. IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and countless others are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Though one might say this makes browsing easier by virtue of a standardized interface, in reality such sites create mundane experiences for their users and fail to make a positive connection with their audience.

Wroblewski, Luke. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Design>Web Design>Graphic Design>Color


Organizing Mobile

When it comes to organizing the content and actions on mobile, solid information architecture principles like clear labeling, balanced breadth and depth, and appropriate mental models remain important. But the organization of mobile web experiences also needs to: align with how people use their mobile devices and why; emphasize content over navigation; provide relevant options for exploration and pivoting; maintain clarity and focus; and align with mobile behaviors.

Wroblewski, Luke. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>Web Design>Mobile


Refining Data Tables

Many articles have been written on what is probably the single most ubiquitous interface element within Web applications today: the form. Forms justifiably get a lot of attention because their design is critical to successfully gathering input from users. Registration forms are the gatekeepers to community membership. Checkout forms are how eCommerce vendors close deals. But what goes in must eventually come out, and the information users provide to Web applications often makes its way back to users in the form of tabular data.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2006). Design>Web Design>Forms>Databases


Scalable Design

Your seemingly elegant design begins to bloat with features, tear under the pressure of localization, and nearly keel over under the weight of new content that pushes it to its breaking point. Before long you give up. It's time to redesign--again. Could you have avoided this all too common cycle? Was there anything you might have done to anticipate these changes? One potential answer lies in scalable design considerations. Screen frameworks, user interface structures, and components that enable your product design to gracefully accommodate new features, new markets, and dynamic content--that can shrink or grow--are the cornerstones of a scalable design.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2007). Design>Web Design>User Experience


Selection-Dependent Inputs

Successful Web applications tend to grow--both in terms of capability and complexity. And this increasing complexity is often passed on to and absorbed by a Web application's forms. In addition to needing more input fields, labels, and Help text, forms with a growing number of options may also require selection-dependent inputs.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2007). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Forms


Sign Up Forms Must Die

You load a new web service, eager to dive in and start engaging, and what's the first thing that greets you? A sign-up form. We can do better, says Luke Wroblewski, author of Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks. Via a technique of "gradual engagment," we can get people using and caring about our web services instead of frustrating them (or sending them to a competitor's site) by forcing them to fill out a sign-up form first.

Wroblewski, Luke. List Apart, A (2008). Articles>Web Design>Forms>User Centered Design


Small Multiples Within a User Interface

Many software programs provide access to, and let users work with, large amounts of information. In addition to interactions that allow users to create, edit, and expand massive data sets, these information-rich applications must also support effective data interpretation. Data monitoring, reporting, and modeling applications require people to makes sense of large amounts of information quickly and easily. It should come as no surprise, then, that for such applications many interface design problems are actually information design problems. As a result, we can leverage information design solutions when tackling such problems. Using small multiples is one such solution.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2005). Design>User Interface


So the Necessary May Speak

Though carefully structured organizational systems and well architected interactions are key components of effective interface designs, it is ultimately the presentation of an interface--layout, look and feel--that tells users what a product has to offer and how they can make use of it. As a result, creating usable and engaging interactive products is dependent on our ability, as designers, to communicate with our audience. The better at communicating we are, the easier it is for our audience to understand our messages and intentions and the easier it is for them to use and appreciate the products we design.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2005). Articles>Web Design>Communication


Strategy with Design

What's changed in the last several years that gave designers a seat at the boardroom table and why do we have technology and information overload to thank for it?

Wroblewski, Luke. OK-Cancel (2006). Design>Web Design>Collaboration


Testing Accordion Forms

Web forms are the linchpins of most online businesses and applications. Whether they are responsible for checkout on e-commerce sites, communication on social applications, or any kind of data entry on the web, forms allow people to complete important tasks. And web form design details can have a big influence on how successful, efficient, and happy people feel about the process. Especially details like form length.

Wroblewski, Luke. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Forms>Personalization


Touch Gesture Reference Guide

The Touch Gesture Reference Guide is a unique set of resources for software designers and developers working on touch-based user interfaces. The guide contains: 1) an overview of the core gestures used for most touch commands 2) how to utilize these gestures to support major user actions 3) visual representations of each gesture to use in design documentation and deliverables 4) an outline of how popular software platforms support core touch gestures.

Wroblewski, Luke. LukeW Interface Designs (2011). Reference>User Interface



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