A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

UI Design Newsletter

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The Art of Icons

Being "minimalist" and "streamlined" is not always most effective. Have you ever written yourself a quick, shorthand note, only to find later that you had no way to unpack your own great idea? Icons work similarly. They are pictures – meant to provide a visual shorthand to users moving through a task. While research indicates that icons are best when initially paired with text to increase recognition and learnability, users experienced with a given set of icons will begin to ignore the text, scanning for and acting from the image alone.

Michaels, Mary M. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>User Interface


Designing for "Mature" Users

According to a study by the Annenberg School at USC, American Internet users include: 75% of adults aged 56-65 and 41% of adults over 66. If we want to design for the bulk of our users, we had best consider the more mature user groups.

Hall, Mark D. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly


Meta-Usability: When the Method is Not the Message

There is a necessary connection between theory and practice. But there is also a difference between the two. And that difference, as van de Snepscheut said, is larger in practice than it is in theory.

Straub, Kathleen. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Usability>Research>Publishing


Playing Doctor? Trends in Health Information Seeking on the Web

Evolving and improving technology can improve health and healthcare in a myriad of ways. Equipment that is designed with the user, task, and environment in mind will reduce errors and improve outcomes. New designs make it possible for patients to do things for themselves that previously only doctors could.

Straub, Kathleen. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Information Design>Scientific Communication>Biomedical


Thin Slicing: Inside or Outside the World of User Experience?

People make decisions based on extremely small amounts of information, and very quickly. They call this "thin slicing". A significant amount of information is building in research journals such as the Journal of Consumer Psychology about what thin slicing is, how it takes place, and when it is active.

Weinschenk, Susan. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>User Experience


Understanding the Persuasive Flow

Wiggly, distracting, or poorly placed ads irritate users. Worse, they teach site visitors to ignore whole sections of layout. Yet some online ads work. They capture visitors visually, and present an engaging hook. They get visitors to click. Even, at times, from the home page. So what's the difference?

Michaels, Mary M. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Web Design>Marketing>Persuasive Design


Why "How Many Users" is Just the Wrong Question

Every day in offices around the world usability professionals ask and are asked this question: How many users do we need for our usability test? Its an important question. We want to find most of and the most severe problems. So, we need to test enough people. But usability testing is so expensive, and the cost of testing increases with each participant. So, we don't want to test too many, either.

Straub, Kathleen. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Usability>Testing>Methods

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