What affects decision outcomes most is the actual context in which people make decisions. All kinds of things affect decision making—the type of decision someone is making, the decision maker’s level of expertise, the number of options available, the way and order in which options are presented, and many others. This column examines how the number of available options affects the decision-making process.
What started out as something people did via e-mail and bookmark-sharing services like Delicious, is now moving to Facebook, Twitter, and other social broadcasting services. It is just so much more efficient to share a link once with all your friends and followers than to send it to each one individually.
There is no single best way to have users sign up for an account online, because there are too many variables to be considered for this aspect of the user experience. Varying factors can include security, purpose of the account, understanding of the user at the time of signup, what information they must have ready and what they will have to do next, among other things. So to point to a cool new site – even a competitor’s – and say “I want a one-field signup process like that!” does not necessarily serve your needs or your user’s. In fact, there is an awesome site I recommend to people that suffers greatly from a confusing signup process because they tried to simplify it too much.
While the presence of many trust elements, aids, and cues throughout an ecommerce site contributes to customers’ perception of its trustworthiness, as UX designers, we can build greater trust by including and appropriately placing these identified trust elements on a site’s home page, as this article describes.
A number of organisations are experimenting with how the experience of reading a paper book or a magazine can be replicated when they are displayed on a screen. Underlying all of these, is an assumption that people can and want to read content online (or on screen) in the same way as they read paper books and magazines.
People often don’t know exactly how they want software to allow them to complete a task. They recognize how the existing software makes them work around what they want, and they understand vague ideas like “make it easy to use”, but they may not be able to translate that into interface design. And why should they?
Because each website appeals to its audience differently, the prudent user experience designer takes a measured approach when communicating, especially when they do so on behalf of their client. No matter what the vision and no matter how it’s executed, a design can always communicate more effectively.
We propose a case study outlining our efforts to create a user experience culture at a mid-sized financial services company. Four years ago there were no web application interface standards, only individual software engineers without usability backgrounds, working in different areas of the company. Every application looked and behaved differently!
For the most part, we create Web sites to get users to do something—for example, to make a purchase, donate to a cause, or sign up for our service. It is our expectation that users will make decisions about how to proceed. But are we designing for optimal decision making by users?
Despite all the talk about data-informed design, there is not much agreement on what data really means for a product or service’s user experience. That might be because teams don’t yet have a shared language for talking about data, or because access to data is uneven or siloed, or perhaps because team members have different goals for the use of data.
As we explore what social technologies can offer and the boundaries they can cross—boundaries that had confined the traditional Web—UX professionals must now take up a new design challenge. We must address the changing needs for social media and facilitate users’ taking better advantage of everything social media has to offer.
Until recently, Josh Clark’s charts of thumb-sweep ranges represented the state of the art in understanding touch interactions. In creating his charts, Josh surmised that elements at the top of the screen—and especially those on the opposite side from the thumb, or in the upper-left corner for right-handers—were hard to reach, and thus, designers should place only rare or dangerous actions in that location. Since then, we’ve seen that people stretch and shift their grip to reach targets anywhere on the screen, without apparent complaint. The iPhone’s Back button doesn’t appear to present any particular hardship to users. So the assumption behind those charts seems to be wrong—at least in the theory behind it. But are there other critical constraints at work? I am starting to think that it’s time for us to start designing for fingers and thumbs instead of for touch.
The key to creating great service experiences lies with uncovering data and using it in meaningful contexts that have real benefits to users. Recent advances in wearable tech, location-based data and sensors are driving greater interest by consumers in personalized data experiences. Google Glass and the Nike FuelBand are pushing boundaries on what users can expect inside the services of tomorrow. For designers, however, data presents a very interesting challenge: How can we better understand the value of data and leverage it to make digital experiences more meaningful?
As information architects, interaction designers, usability consultants, and developers, we don't have to change our careers to do something good for society. All we have to do is connect with the right nonprofit: One that shares our goals and whose mission we support.
When designing a client’s next big website, we like to think ahead of the best-practice curve. Technology changes fast and there is always a risk that what is great today will be so-so six months later, and positively tired in two years. So how can you design something that maintains lasting relevance? Accurately predicting the future is very difficult, but there are some good ways to provide a chronological perspective that can inspire your designs. This article will introduce the basics of trend analysis and highlight some observed trends relevant to technology design:
While earning points or miles has been a staple of loyalty programs for the last 30 years, few outfits make it easy to redeem the points. ThinkGeek not only makes it easy, but also uses the opportunity to highlight some of their lesser-known products.
From ATMs to Siri to the button text in an application user interface, we “talk” to our tech—and our tech talks back. Often this exchange is purely transactional, but newer technologies have renegotiated this relationship. Joscelin Cooper reflects on how we can design successful human-machine conversations that are neither cloying nor overly mechanical.
People often use professional talent to record the script for a demo video. These voiceovers can add credibility and using the right voice can even increase attention and engagement with the demo. Does the accent of the voiceover matter? Would a British accent or American accent improve or hinder the conversion rate?
Our latest ecommerce research revealed user-experience improvements to shopping sites such as large product images, robust reviews, and easy discounts. New designs suffer from hidden product information, poor site feedback, and crowded customer-service areas.
I dedicated my last Designing for Children column to exploring the effective use of color and graphics in interactive applications for toddlers and preschoolers. In this installment, I’ll continue my exploration of the use of color and graphics, but this time, in applications directed toward older children.
The Web was originally conceived as a hypertextual information space; but the development of increasingly sophisticated front- and back-end technologies has fostered its use as a remote software interface.
The industry has spent a lot of time defining Web 2.0 and mapping its DNA. But as we attempt to emulate the fast-growth success of the Web 2.0 darlings, we need to zero in on the parts of the DNA that actually create this noteworthy new value.