Nice little experiment from Honest Tea. If you came across a store where you were expected to be honest, and pay a dollar a bottle, would it work in your town or country?
Just checking out the Engadget site specifically the “Motorola Atrix 4G, HD multimedia dock, and laptop dock hands-on” post and what can say but WOW.
I think this looks like a dream come true and if they have put a decent camera in there I think I’m in love…
The laptop dock is basically a screen with full size keyboard that pretty much turns it the phone into a laptop!
The phone dock allows you to plug in mouse, keyboard and hook up to a full HD screen !
Check out the engadget video that shows it all working and much more. It is really impressive if that is the type of experience that can be expected on the final version…
I was impressed with the Droid / Milestone but this is just great…
The User experience that is shown in the video and the amount of ways it can be used plus all the functions available through the WebTop application is just amazing.
PS: when are we getting this in Europe and moreover in France???
You may have recently seen articles that explain how Google will be checking the speed at which your pages load and will be using it in their page ranking system. I had read about it on the Register’s article “Google tweaks search results with mystery site speedometer“.
I then realised that a company I have worked with in the past has a tool that allows you to test this type of issue for your site and even allows you to record the results over time…
Check out Gossamer Threads GTMetrix Site Performance Analyzer. They have just added a new system that allows you compare up to 4 reports/URLs. Oh and it’s free, oh yeah…
…oh and the cat’s friend who seems to know a little bit more than the cat does about the iPad and is probably the one that bought the iPad for his cat
Don’t usually like stuff videos with animals in it, yes I’m talking about the cat
A very interesting study over at UsableWorld illustrates how images used in articles that have faces can have unusual effects on what people look at. Depending on the direction the faces are turned it changes the way people read the page.
In this first example the face of the baby is looking straight forward. You can see people spend a lot of time on the actual face of the child to the detriment of the actual content to the right.
In the second example the baby is looking towards the content on the right. You can see that this layout produces a more evenly dispersed set of hot areas.
Just came across a great post over on the Made by Many blog that provides an insightful history of wireframes and how designing webpages has evolved over the years to see the convergence of information/experience architect and designer ‘savoir-faire’ and far better wireframes in the process
Yes the article is called the future of wireframes but it’s also the history of how we got where we are now…
The importance of experience architects in creating or updating a web site is often underestimated. There is a general tendency to fudge the initial user experience phase (sitemaps, personas with their specific user journeys and wireframes) or even skip it and jump straight to concept designs that are then fleshed out to ‘wow’ the client. The whole rationale that consists in understanding what functionalities and services are required on the site and structure them in a coherent manner, hopefully even test them before designing commences, is omitted. Defining the main functionalities of a site, then having an experience architect (who worked on that first phase) to sketch it out and analyse it should precede the functional specifications but most of all the design phase. Designers that have extensive web design knowledge as well as experience architecture knowledge are few and far between so you are unlikely to obtain the optimum result by starting with the design.
The initial phases, when analysing the structure and organisation of an existing site in view of updating it ‘can’ benefit from card sorting. This consists of taking the different sections and seeing how users sort the different sections / areas into groups. It can help you understand how users would expect these different areas to be organised and therefore, where they would expect to find them. Different logical taxonomies may appear following the analysis as different user groups may sort cards in different ways. There are also 2 different types of card sorting, ‘open’ where no structure is predefined and ‘closed’ where participants are asked to place the cards in a pre-defined structure. Card sorting is not recommended to simply test a current site but should be considered as part of the process involved in defining the structure of a site that is being created or updated / redesigned. It can also help when adding or updating a new area to a site. As Nielsen explains more users are required in card sorting than in usability testing though. A fair amount of analysis is required to obtain useful findings.
Sitemap, user journeys, wireframes
By creating the recommended set of ‘sitemap / user journeys / wireframes’ you are capable of seeing black on white the optimum route a person will take. The organization and categorization of content blocks should be logical but can be modified to optimise the user journey outcome. A site should usually provide several optimised user journeys for the different types of target users / personas that have been identified.
Simplify the site and structure
Generation Y as opposed to generation X and the baby boomers are more net fluent and savvy online, capable of delving through content until they find the information they feel relevant and trustworthy. Their experience and knowledge provides near instantaneous gut feeling about a site. Uncluttered, simple pages with straightforward navigation principles just feel good. A pleasant experience on a web site that easily allows you to find what you are looking for is memorable simply because it is unfortunately a rare experience. This new generation and generations to come are a primary targets, neglecting them is not an option.
Simplify the design and content
Simple ways of communicating, avoiding the “noise” traditional designers want to apply in order to personalise or own their design can complicate things. Twitter, like SMS are two extremely simple ways of communicating, their restrictions simplify the communication.
Now is this to say that design is just powder in your eyes? Well, when applied by talented designers that know their target audience, how to play and innovate with the chosen medium and how to further optimise the previously crafted user journey, then obviously no.
A friend of mine works at the “Musée des Arts Décoratifs” in Paris, we discussed this concept when applied to modern decorative art. I was comparing the concept to artists capable of choosing specific material(s) and their ability to amplify the user experience and overall design through the selection of specific material(s). The technology but also the interfaces mechanisms of web sites are in this perspective key elements that a great designer will know and use to further his / her design.
Accessibility, standards, usability and web 2.0
Web applications are becoming more and more complex to the extent that they are starting to compete with desktop applications (ex. Google Maps and Mail, Flickr etc.). The interaction provided as well as both usability and accessibility when relying on standards are far better. Although the ‘web 2.0′ term is often used as a buzz word (see Zelman’s web 3.0 article) the term has undoubtedly helped spread the idea of more savvy websites, thought through and help improve user experience.
Designing sites is a great opportunity, especially when you are lucky enough to be surrounded by clever and experienced people. When you can combine extremely talented people at all the different levels you require to build a website the results can be amazing. Although traditional advertising agencies are starting to learn that they need to further integrate the technical implications of the production of a website into projects, user experience is just as important and often overlooked by so many agencies. Design is considered the Holy Grail but this can hide some ugly surprises when the user experience aspect of the website is overlooked. Experience architecture when used in a rigorous way can really help to understand what will help the end-users of a site will be looking for, how and where to include it in your website.
While reading an article on SearchEngineLand I was happy to see that the experience architecture aspect of a site build was nicely touched upon. First impressions count. It really does give you an extra insight into the way the site can be successful when you try to understand how people will react to a site, what they are looking for and how designing it differently can help you help them find what they are looking for quickly without compromising the design.
The gut feeling is an important factor with today’s fast moving generation Z, the same gut feeling can be tested with various personas you have identified as your key target population to make sure that you don’t alienate your other personas from previous generations.