Links on Interaction Design

The BBCi Redesign Process- Understanding, Concept & Build

In setting out to redesign the BBCi homepage, the team knew they were tackling a hard task. Many people use and love their homepage, so they knew that any changes we make will evoke a strong reaction. They needed to balance the needs of these users with the needs of their own business. They needed to satisfy a large number of people with a range of different objectives, both inside and outside the BBC. Any solution required them to make decisions, but they believed that they had at least made informed choices to ensure a sensitive evolution of the page.

They wanted to make a clear step change with the design of the page without alienating the users. To begin with they looked at the way people use the current page using click-throughs and the way they feel about it through emotional response testing. They looked at how people build up relationships with the services and objects they use on a daily basis. This helped them address the issues they saw in all elements of the homepage, including the main story.Throughout the process, they benefited from continual user testing and internal feedback.

They believe that the resulting page will feel familiar to their existing users, but through digital patina, balanced design and excellent functionality, they also believed they gave it soul. The Glass Wall which gave them the title of this book was the center of the project. Most of their discussions were visualized on the wall and its location at the entrance to the studio ensured everyone could see what was going on and contribute. This book aims to give some background on the process they followed and covers the redesign from its early stages in May 2002 up until launch in November 2002.

 

The BBCi Redesign Process- Understanding, Concept & Build (PDF, 8mb)

Opinion- There Is No Mobile Internet

It’s time to stop thinking about the Internet and online communication in the context of a device, be it desktop, tablet or mobile. Advances by Google and Apple have heightened consumer expectations, which now require stricter focus from us to create seamless online communications — communications that work everywhere and that get their point across. We need to embrace a device-agnostic approach to communicating with connected consumers and forget the idea of a “mobile Internet”. There is only One Web to experience.

There Is No Mobile Internet

The Design Of Effective Online Help In Web Applications

The usability and ultimately the success of web-based services are partly due to effective user support. Although the use of online support tools is now more prevalent in Web applications, these often overwhelm the user with information poorly organized, or are simply ignored (Parush and Kaporovsky Parush, 2001). This paper proposes a guide for the appropriate choice and design of task support tools based on user profiles, tasks and characteristics of help tools.

An increasing number of applications are being developed on the Web, and their usability is considered as being critical for success (Donahue et al., 1999). One important aspect of Web application usability is its capacity to successfully support users while they are completing their tasks. The best way to support users is to provide task support tools that are embedded in the application. Very few guidelines have been proposed to help designers choose the appropriate tools based on users types, needs and tasks.

The main purpose of this paper is to explore the different ways of supporting users electronically, the current trends in task support, and the effectiveness of the different tools available. It provides a guide that could be useful to anyone interested in developing online help to improve the usability of their Web applications.

The Design Of Effective Online Help In Web Applications

Top 5 posts at The UX Bookmark in 2012

I wish you, all my readers, a wonderful 2013. These are the five posts which people read the most in 2012.

  1. A huge list of Style Guides and UI Guidelines
  2. Free User Experience books (Interaction design, HCI, web accessibility & Information Architecture)
  3. Download IDEO’s Human Centered Design Toolkit
  4. Ergonomics for Interaction Designers
  5. Mobile Prototyping Essentials

The best Interface is No Interface

Creative minds in technology should focus on solving problems. Not just make interfaces.

As Donald Norman said in 1990, “The real problem with the interface is that it is an interface. Interfaces get in the way. I don’t want to focus my energies on an interface. I want to focus on the job…I don’t want to think of myself as using a computer, I want to think of myself as doing my job.”

It’s time for us to move beyond screen-based thinking. Because when we think in screens, we design based upon a model that is inherently unnatural, inhumane, and has diminishing returns. It requires a great deal of talent, money and time to make these systems somewhat usable, and after all that effort, the software can sadly, only truly improve with a major overhaul.

There is a better path: No UI. A design methodology that aims to produce a radically simple technological future without digital interfaces. Following three simple principles, we can design smarter, more useful systems that make our lives better.

  • Principle 1: Eliminate interfaces to embrace natural processes
  • Principle 2: Leverage computers instead of catering to them
  • Principle 3: Create a system that adapts for people

The best Interface is No Interface

Design for mobile first, then desktop

More often than not, the mobile experience for a Web application or site is designed and built after the desktop version is complete.

Here are three reasons why Web applications should be designed for mobile first instead:

  1. Mobile is exploding
  2. Mobile forces you to focus
  3. Mobile extends your capabilities

Best Practices for Designing Faceted Search Filters

Some of the important best practices for designing filters for faceted search results are:

  • Decide on your filter value-selection paradigm—either drill-down or parallel selection
  • Provide an obvious and consistent way to undo filter selection
  • Always make all filters easily available
  • At every step in the search workflow, display only filter values that correspond to the available items, or inventory
  • Provide filter values that encompass all items, or the complete inventory

Best Practices for Designing Faceted Search Filters

Ergonomics for Interaction Designers

The topic of discussion is the increasing value of ergonomics knowledge to the interaction designer. Ergonomics is necessary for 3-dimensional, tangible product design where issues of physical fit and comfort are critical. But for interaction designers in the 2-dimensional world of the display screen, ergonomics has largely been…irrelevant. For example in most cases, interfaces are designed for existing, defined hardware that are out of the control of the interaction designer. But things are changing.

The continuing convergence of digital interfaces with physical products is putting interaction designers in a position where knowledge of anthropometrics, kinesthetics, and other non-cognitive human capabilities is valuable for creating effective design solutions.

Ergonomics for Interaction Designers: Part 1
Ergonomics for Interaction Designers: Part 2
Ergonomics for Interaction Designers: Part 3

Mobile Prototyping Essentials

As the presenter puts it, designers new to mobile interaction design don’t have the domain specific skills or heuristics to lean on. The best way to develop those skills is to prototype early and often. This presentation makes a great 101.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be the author’s line of work. He had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which he is a little skeptical of, given that he has actually tried them and the animators presumably haven’t. But that’s not his problem with the video.

His problem is the opposite — this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It’s a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible.

This matters, because visions matter. Visions give people a direction and inspire people to act, and a group of inspired people is the most powerful force in the world. If you’re a young person setting off to realize a vision, or an old person setting off to fund one, you really want it to be something worthwhile. Something that genuinely improves how we interact.

In this rant, he does not talk about human needs or technology. He talks about a neglected third factor that is human capabilities- what people can do, because if a tool isn’t designed to be used by a person, it can’t be a very good tool.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design