The importance of context in user experience design

This morning I was hit by a severe door slam. I was checking my twitter stream on my iPhone and saw this tweet from @morgenthaler (translated from Danish):

“I have given @alternativet my signature
I think more people should do that”

I don’t know Jeppe in person, but from his tweets it’s clear that he is an idealistic person with high moral standards. So I wanted to see what he had supported.

A click on the link resulted in a pages that stated:

“We are sorry, but the digital petition doesn’t work on mobile and certain older browsers”

Door slam. And not a single explanation of what “Alternativet” is.

So I left. And I presume I won’t be the only user they refuse to let in.

We need to rethink affordances in interface design

Yesterday David Arno tweeted this:
“Use proper affordances — buttons should look like buttons” Why? How often do ppl press physical buttons compared with hitting touch areas? (source).

David hits the nail on the head. A touch area should look like a touch area – the button term in the “tactile transferred to touchscreen” is redundant. It’s redundant because the tactile button itself is pretty much extinct. Sure, there are physical buttons on kitchen devices etc., but many, many buttons today are placed on a digital interface.

An epiphany: Usability testing on high fidelity prototypes

I love usability testing. There is something extremely rewarding and challenging about interacting with actual users who will show you what works and what doesn’t.

And so, I was very excited to hear the last talk at the Future of Webdesign, the amazing conference I participated in recently. The talk was by Dan Rubin – and it absolutely blew me away. I had never thought to approach usability testing this way, so I’m very excited to share my epiphany with you.

FOWD #2: Paul Boag on 5 skills for webdesigners

Paul Boag – 5 new skills every webdesigner must know
Paul’s talk was highly inspirational, fun and provocative.
One of Paul’s statements that I really liked and agreed with was this: For most webdesigners, being a specialist is not an option. You need to be a generalist – because your clients will expect you to help them in many different areas.

The Future of Web Design conference – high points

It’s Friday morning on the 21st May 2010, the day after I returned home from the amazing FOWD conference in London.

I got to hear just about everyone on my Must-see list except for Denise Jacobs and Brad Haynes (because I decided to see Remi Sharp’s and Paul Boag’s talks instead). But the ones I missed I will be able to catch on video when I get home (if you missed the conference, you can buy a full video coverage from FOWD).

On this early, and very beautiful morning, I will give you my roundup on the highs and lows of FOWD. Actually, only the highs, as there really were no lows – Carsonified did a truly awesome :) job on this one.

Contrast is King

This post is inspired by two tweets made by a former students at The Nordic Multimedia Academy, Maarja Jullinen.

Maarja tweeted:

“of seeing all the “10 tips to better design” articles. Why, fellow designer, can’t you write something else? I’ll read it, I promise!”

“Don’t promise me no tips unless it’s an actual tutorial. While I realize ‘breaking it down’ is a marvelous idea, it does make my eyes bleed.”