Blurred backgrounds with transparent widgets is a rising web design trend. What I like about this concept, except the elegant look, is the visual effect of multiple layers. This can be a great way to display content on gesture based user interfaces without risking the orientation, just like the notification center in ios7 slides down and blurs the background. You know where you came from and you know how to get back there. My only concern with blurred backgrounds is the noise factor since it's hard to focus on the content in some of the examples presented in this overall inspiring article.
Vision is the main perceptual system used on the web. How people scan content and decide where to focus their attention is essential to understand in order to create good UX. Eye-tracking research indicates that web users have developed patterns of visual perception. This article presents four design rules to consider based on those findings.
One of my favorite trends at the moment is websites with fullscreen background images in combination with big typography, mainly because it evokes great atmospheres, but also because it's catchy and and easy to read on mobile devices. However, visually striking designs are not for everyone so think twice before overwriting the minimalistic, clear and readable layout where focus is on the content. Because complex websites with a lot of functionality and information must use the landing page to provide an overview to frequently returning visitors so they easily can navigate and consume desirable content, and not getting struck by large fonts over and over again. Anyway, I think it's great for promoting brands and services online. GO BIG TYPOGRAPHY!
Flat web design clearly has a positive impact on the usability
since the light graphics load fast on mobile devices, the clean grid based layout is scalable and reduced noise makes it easier to scan. Personally I like this minimalistic approach where form follows function and content is king. However, I still have a major concern, does flat web design lack soul? Because we are still designing for humans with personalities and emotional needs. And it's not easy for me to enhance an identity or simulate an atmosphere with only text, boxes and colors. Summarized, I think it's great for the right purposes, that is, where features are more important than visual impressions.
We enter a generation of sensory based technologies that are supposed to improve our quality of life. Personalized web design is about interpretation and delivery, in other words to implement the right experiences for the right users in the right moments for the right devices. And according to this short but useful article that's best achieved by adapting designs to contextual data like demographics, historical behavior and situation of use.
Making web content available and suited cross devices is must these days. The mobile evolution has started and still there are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on. But the practice is not a complete animal yet and requires further interaction with the environment. People must try and evaluate a variety of solutions when technology is developing and contexts of use are still changing when the access to Internet is spreading. Many assumptions has been made because of technological constraints, but since we can't escape from true user needs there will always emerge ways to satisfy them. So let's think again, and ask ourselves if we can't do it differently?
This article from the Usabilla blog explores key concepts for mobile design. The mobile share of world wide Internet traffic is increasing continuously and the handheld revolution comes with new challenges. One crucial aspect is the range of Internet view ports, which are not compatible with a fixed layout anymore. We must therefore design user centered solutions that are applicable for a variety of interfaces. At the same time a mobile lifestyle will unchain us from stationary desks. We can walk freely and still have access to important content and functionality. Which is awesome, but it requires a cautious approach that is responsive, context aware and indulges mobile user behavior.
Lately, parallax scrolling has become a trend many design agencies use to show their web development techniques. But I can't really make my mind, do I like it or not... Sure, it looks pretty exciting the first time because I don't expect the web site layers to move with different speeds, just like the first Super mario game did to create a feeling of depth. But except that? Sometimes it's just a superfluous effect, which adds optical effort in order to find and consume content. A classic battle between usability and desirability in the UX honeycomb. In general, parallax scrolling is suitable for narrative sites and enhances the message when done correctly, but should be carefully designed or avoided for sites with returning visitors and frequently used features.
Launching a design isn't the end of the crative journey, it's just the moment when it meets reality. A designer sholdn't leave the project until all requirements are satisfied and the users' response is measured, analyzed and optimized. In the last of three articles in a series about UX for startups we learn why launching a new feature isn't a cause to celebrate, but an opportunity to optimize the solution.
Users are showered by digital impressions daily, and the flood of content is growing. As a result it's becoming more difficult to find relevant content, but with the right technology we can design solutions that make navigation easier for the users. One way to simplify the search for relevant content and improve the experience is through personalisation and recommendations.
I see design as the creative process where visions are brought to reality. As UX practitioners we are responsible for all aspects of the user experience, all the way from needs to visual impressions along with stakeholders and business goals. And we do whatever we are capable of to optimize the design based on the research and user input we obtain. But it's not enough to just release what we "think" is the best solution and never look back. Measuring the users' response is essential both for personal development and the design itself. This article explains why.
The web is more than a place for digital brochures today. Users expect more than static page views and linear journeys. Sites offer more advanced interactions and we are talking more about the surface than the hierarchy of information. Content is hidden, extended and visualized aligned with users' involvement. The importance of interactive wireframes are pretty clear with that in mind. It's beneficial to produce lo-fi prototypes in a rapid pace early in the design process to make sure the optimal content, concept and structure evolves as cheap as possible before generating code and applying graphic. But how to create wireframes that offers the same interactivity as the latest web technology?
I'm not sure if parallax scrolling is such a usable innovation. I get a bit confused by the inconsistency when elements are moving around in different pace. Who cares, the dynamic way to present content adds a touch of life, and it can look awesome - I agree. But, I think it's more suitable for simple entertainment and expositions than complex information structures.
Based on well conducted research there shuould be a large set of requirements describing what the users want to find on a website. And this is a good starting point, but before the content is arranged so people can consume it, it has no value. Consequently I think a good layout is a key aspect of good accessibility. Here are some stepts to follow in order to design perfect layouts (or at least a few as most steps are actually not directly related to layouts but rather design in general IMO).
Ethnographic research is an essential phase in the creative process since this is the moment when user needs and wants will set the foundation for crucial design decisions. On the other hand, theory is not always working in practice, so in my opinion the best way to make the most out of ethnography is to make broad studies with many participants and loose requirements as outcome. Because, hopefully this will lead designers in the right direction, but leave space for evolutionary development in an iterative testing phase where actual users have the opportunity to contribute with important input to the decision makers.
We already know it, the future of digital design is in the context. Users will experience adapted and personalized solutions based on stable sensors, large amounts of behavioral data and advanced computing power. Imagine that when you listen to music the device already knows what songs and volume you desire, when you turn on the tv it identifies your finger print and plays your favorite show on demand, and when you browse the tablet on the run it displays content according to your motion. Contextual design in "Internet of things" comes with great opportunities, that's for sure - now we just need to figure out how to make use of it in the best possible way.
One distinction between web and print is the ability to present multimedia. We have seen designers trying to figure out ways to incorporate this in home pages for several years, and so far most attempts have been made with debatable usability. Back then people asked: What can the developers do for us? Ok, great let's find a way to use it. So websites became reflections of the technological state rather than reflections of users' needs. But lately I witnessed an emerging web design trend that actually adds value to the users. Single page layouts with big images, animated backgrounds, music and smooth scrolling are everywhere. Did designers finally learn how to master the multimedia sandbox? Applied in the right way video can evoke attention, create emotional atmospheres, entertain audience and tell empathatic stories. This article explains how to do it in a user friendly approach with some practical examples.
Here is a fantastic set of free UI components from Designmodo. The style is inspired by modern web design languages, with a modular layout and distinct typography. I think it's both visually pleasant and easy to understand, which is a combination we can't get enough of today. Large interactive areas for small screens and gesture based interfaces along with high contrasts, subtle tool bars, clear symbols and wisely used colors definitely support an intuitive and exciting experience.
When HTML5 and CSS3 met each other magic happened, and the duo became a buzz among web designers. Suddenly browsers could render visual effects in new ways like advanced interaction and animated content - without any plugins required. Looking through these exciting examples of HTML5 based web sites made me question the usability aspect. Several of them has attractive graphical interfaces which are FUN to interact with and the response is satisfying for the eyes. But it's actually not that easy to do the basics: accessing content in a usable way. The orientation doesn't suit my mental models, I don't understand the feed forward while navigating and the intuition is lost. This is understandable though. Technological innovations must allow some experimentation in order to find best practices, and this is where we are now - trying to adapt HTML5 to the users while they are getting used to it.
I think we reached a time when usability has evolved into a successful field with crystallized methodology. For example, we are no longer talking in revolutionary terms about agile development, UCD, remote user testing or web page analytics. It became a standard, and the next step is to tune up the skills and aim for perfection. This article describes the essence of conducting well planed usability tests, in short version: Ask the right questions to relevant people in realistic environments without influences.
Once upon a time Internet was simply experienced through a stationary display, keyboard and mouse. Move the pointer, click and type - that's all a computer could understand. Today we use far more sophisticated devices with camera, microphone, accelerometer, touch screen and GPS among other sensors. Designing software for a new generation of technology requires an approach that can capitalize on new opportunities, and I'm eager to find out how.
"Don't make me think" is not only the title of a great book, it's actually the desire of most users. The more complex systems we build the more intelligence we must implement to minimize the users' cognitive load. Let the design do the thinking, so the users don't need to. This article gives ideas on how to design adaptive system, smart devices and context aware applications that can enhance the user experience.
Over the past few years, the market of mobile applications has grown significantly, which, in part, was contributed by the rapid development of online stores like App Store and Android Marketplace. This article explores trends and presents examples.
Designing banking websites must be one of the most crucial challenges for UX practitioners, at least in the commercial domain. The more expensive something is, the more reliable you must be as a seller. Banks are not only expensive - sometimes customers trust them with all their savings. Consequently, there are no margins for mistakes and both front end and back end must work smoother than a purring cat. Users are not looking for an emotional experience that will tease the senses. Just a simple, clean and reliable solution without surprises. Here are three useful ways to improve UX for banking websites.
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