Thought Leadership

Gangnam Style trends in User Experience

Through popularity and imitation Gangnam Style videos, created by PSY the South Korean Internet sensation, became a viral phenomena. In much the same way, many current UX patterns have gained popularity through sharing and imitation. Do you understand what are the psychological foundations of social sharing and how do things “go viral”? Mass copying and imitation of some patterns can lead to the belief in a “Best Practice” even when the pattern is proved faulty. What are the trends that we have had to fight against, and what trends do we want take off like a cheesy horse dance.

Bad Defaults

Do you remember the Dan Akroyd series of sketches on the original Saturday Night Live (SNL) where he played a character named "Leonard Pinth Garnell" and introduced us to various forms of BAD performances? Leonard Pinth-Garnell

We came across a default action on a travel website that made us think about "Bad Defaults" and why user interfaces need to have "Smart" defaults.

7 +/- 2 Things the Software Industry should Know About Cognitive Psychology

The capacity of the human brain to process information has remained the same—even as the number of types of users for software-based Internet connected devices has increased at an exponential rate. The field of psychology, especially cognitive psychology has, among other things, focused on understanding the processes by which we store information, make decisions, and communicate with others. Understanding the research and the theories of cognitive psychology can help information architects to create better user experiences.

Add and Edit are NOT the same!

A while back when in a meeting with a client we were discussing the interactions of a system we were designing and one of our development leads spoke about an “Add/Edit” screen that can be used whenever the user wants to either add or edit their content.

ARGH.  I really went nuts inside.  Sure from a development perspective it might be a lot easier to use the same screen for both add and edit – it happens A LOT.

From the user’s perspective “add” and “edit” are two completely different actions. Each should have a uniquely designed interface!

The end user doesn't read the source code!

For way too many years we have used that phrase to explain to developers that it is important for them to try to understand their users. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

When it didn’t work, we tried to explain about users using most of the standard, and many of the non-standard techniques:

Lorem Ipsum or Content Strategy: Your Choice!

For years interface designers have been struggling with what sample text to use in many of the prototypes and wireframes that we present to clients. We know that our clients would likely become distracted by the readable content of a page when we want them to be looking at its layout, or navigational features. The point of using Lorem Ipsum text is that it looks like readable English text. It feels “normal” because it contains of a variety of letters, as opposed to using a single phrase such as 'Content here, content here’ over and over again.

How to write (and file) a usability bug

One of our founders once worked for an organization that created server software. They had very little interested in creating a usable interface. Following a few acquisitions, our founder was tasked with trying to unify the web-based administration consoles for the various aspects of the server.