Thought Leadership

Making error messages less error prone

One of the easiest ways to improve the usability (and perceived usability) of a web application is to improve the text that appears on the screen specifically around labels, embedded assistance and error messages.

In many web applications, there is a false assumption that all of the users are already experts. In many situations, the placement of a simple bit of embedded assistance will help the novice and intermediate users know exactly what to do.

Gimme some feedback

One of the most annoying things about many web-based applications is that they do not give the information that users need when they need it. Did my action “take?” Did I “do it right?”

In the 21st century “real-time” world users expect information presented to them that is timely, updated and accurate. In our multitasking, impatient, twitterverse, instant gratification culture not immediately providing the most up-to-date information could give a false indication that everything is fine, or even a false indication that something is wrong.

Internationalization (I18n) and usability

For some US companies or agencies internationalization of their User Interface may just seem like a lot of unnecessary extra work. They may believe that because they have no current plans to expand beyond the United States they have no reason to internationalize their web-based application.

Social Media and the theories of Distributed Cognition

We see a direct connection between what is going on in social media and many of the communication models that have been described within the Distributed Cognition framework (see, for example on the research by team at UCSD, James Hollan, Edwin Hutchins, and David Kirsch: