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Showing posts from 2013

Improving your 404 pages – Creating well-made Error Pages

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If we talk about error message at all you should keep one simple rule in mind - Provide an error message that is clear and easy to understood in no time.
‘If your user can’t find it, s/he can’t use it, buy it or whatever’
Turn your 404 pages into opportunities..  Sending user to a 404 page without helpful information and links is like casting your user adrift.
Quite a lot of people recommend redirecting your 404 page just to your homepage, sure you can do this but it’s for sure the laziest option. There is so much more you can do.
How to deal with this problem?  Well first of all monitor and analyze your error pages. E.g. on the table of crawl error pages of the Google Webmaster Toolsyou can easily see your error pages and incoming links to these pages.  And as so often – it bears repeating - A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. And if you have a simple URL structure it’s no problem providing the user helpful links.
What you should do – first rule - Instead of just sa…

How to Make Better Decisions (BBC Documentary)

Our decisions are grounded on much more than we all too often think - generalization, laziness and prejudice, that’s what science proved.
This BBC’s Horizon documentary are presenting great examples of experiments that show how our choices can be distracted and be influenced by temperature, warped by post-rationalization and even manipulated by the future, BBC’s Horizon documentary presents a guide to better decision making, and introduces you to Mathematician Garth Sundem, who is convinced that conclusions can best be reached using simple maths and a pencil!

I pointed to this BBC’s documentary in an article (http://boxesandarrows.com/ux-design-planning-not-one-man-show/)5years ago, but I think it’s still worth to watch it – Especially if you haven’t watched it so far – or you never thought about the circumstances and tiny elements which might influence your thinking and decisions.

Enjoy!


Part 1 of 5 - How to Make Better Decisions - BBC Horizon



Part 2 of 5 - How to Make Better Deci…

Catching somebody's eye and attention

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Something what is mandatory communicating a message is ...
 ... getting attention
and
... holding  it.

One way getting attention is through surprise ...
 ... something unexpected,
 ... out of context,
 ... braking some rules.

When something is familiar there’s little reason to pay attention to it.
All the more if we talking about in-flight safety information - first of all it's uncool to listen and on the other hand we really think that we know everything in detail.
It’s unlikely to communicate something new to someone so the person can easily divert his attention elsewhere.
But if we can achieve it that something is unexpected, when it contains an element of surprise, not the same sermon we all heard again and again ,it draws our attention because there is something new and unknown in it that requires mental processing or just is braking rules and standards.
We have to breaking existing patterns, but in a way that reinforces the core of the message or idea.



The following safety …

John Cleese’s thoughts about creativity

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I think we all know John Cleese as British humorist who entertained millions of us with his unique brand of comedy, but it’s a real treat to see him getting serious about creativity.

I already posted a few of his talks (videos) http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.de/search/label/John%20Cleese and it more than worth taking the time to listen to John Cleese’s thoughts about creativity - today I'd like to share a few quotes:


John Cleese’s philosophy of creativity:
Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” 
John Cleese

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play
John Cleese “We don't know where we get our ideas from.
What we do know is that we do not get them from our laptops.” 
John Cleese

Nothing will stop you being creative more effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” 
John Cleese

This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward fro…

Growth in m-commerce today

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What we’re observing is a significant shift in the way people buy products online. As already mentioned in one of my latest articles: Shaping Future eCommerce

Customers are not only using their mobile devices looking for data and searching and comparing prices of products, they are using their mobile to buy when and where they want to. This means consecutive that your service and application or website needs to be optimized and responsive for this particular channel of mobile commerce, and that your information on your website is up-to-date and easily accessible for mobile use - easy to load - easy to read - easy to use..

The uses of mobile devices are continually on-the-go. And you will have to grow and change and adapt, much like the digital landscape continues to on a much greater scale. It is important to observe and understand the market, your customers, clients and user and act fast on them, in order to connect with consumers over a format and device that they are relying on at …

Breadcrumb - secondary navigation aid - safety buoy in distress

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If we talk about navigation elements we are talking about one of the top important element in web design, especially if we keep in mind that the navigation of a page is there to orient and guide the user.

To be oriented and to feel familiar and secure are the basement for a good relationship in the real world and the virtual. If users aren’t oriented on your site, they will quickly leave. Thus, designing effective navigation on your Web site is vital. There are some elementary things to keep in mind. For most of us it is for sure daily business but I see again and again that agencies, clients and even creative people thinking about rollovers or links, images or flash and the appearance of their site before planning the basics.


Information Architecture - taxonomy / structure of your site – Content Inventory, side maps,Organization – User Flows / Scenarios - mental model based on your users’, consumers’ and customers’ expectation and behaviorNavigation Design – Accessible, Meaningful, Und…

UX Quote of the day - My sickness is ...

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My sickness is 
that I'm fascinated by human behavior,
by what's underneath the surface,
by the worlds inside people.
by Johnny Depp

Be careful reading this quote.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before reading this quote. It might just inspire you to do things you dreamed of doing, and a side effect might be it might help you succeed and might even make you happier.

Shaping Future eCommerce

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I get asked a lot and I discuss a lot about what the shopping experience of the future will look like.
The global retail and business landscape remains uncertain: Traditional retail and direct-to-consumer companies are under ongoing pressure. Online and mobile commerce are becoming critical components of today’s multichannel customer experience - whether the customer buys online or not.

Even if we talk about the next few years it’s not that easy to say how the e-commerce environment of the future will look like . On the one hand it will depend on the line of business and on the other hand it will vary from target group to target group – that means it will develop different in many ways and different speed.

In the course of my research and evolving efforts to apply user-centered design to interactive media and especially e-commerce, I see a number of areas that will be impacted rather sooner than expected by many.


Cross-touchpoint solutionsComplex customer relation managementChallengin…

Essential tips (checklist) for e-commerce

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Launching or re-launching of an e-commerce store requires the execution and synchronization of a list of various tasks and interests: benchmarking, content strategy, information structure, informational didactics, target group research, SEO, CRM, CMS, payment requirements and back-end hosting … and the list goes on.

Designing an e-commerce store does not mean just to have something aesthetically pleasing at the end – yes it is more than supportive if your shop is visual pleasing – BUT more important is that your store is understandable and provide utility and usability – is easy to understand – easy to use – that the user can reach from the initial page, your homepage or a landing page, quick to the user’s aim and can complete his order in no time. The easier you create this flow – the more convenient the user experienced this work through your shop the more likely it is that he will come back and spread his positive experience with others by the social media channels.  Quality e-comm…

Elements of Best Returns Experience (How to reduce returns rates)

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This article can come across as follow up to two articles I wrote before - the article about the checkout process optimization (Shopping Carts + Check-out ... ... ... ... ... There is often no big single problem, there are "just" a lot of little problems) and the one about the conversion rate (The ultimate conversion rate or there is a world behind the buy-button).

As the e-commerce budget volume gain additional market shares and increases, so do the expectations and the use of consumer both by desktop interfaces as well as mobile and on the go.

This development has to be supported and accompanied by ...
Seamless cross-touch-point use and interactionHigh convenience and qualityBest possible security and controlStraightforward return processesGreat customer service and supportDemand for free shipping and returnsLinked social and multi-channel communicationMandatory networking of all retail channels 

It is crucial to understand the key factors that drive consumers’ shopping ha…

UX considerations about Parallax scrolling - also called parallax effect

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Since a while I observe the mainstreamed parallax scrolling trend.

A lot of the research comes from schools of cognitive science and media theory that we relate to objects and virtual environments. A parallax environment is eye-catching and involving because it behaves in a way that is familiar. It follows physical rules we already intuit and understand from real life: e.g. - things farther away/ in the background move slower than things in the foreground. It is nice and fascinating but it is still virtual, has to be interpreted. It’s not so easy or it is often difficult for users especially for non-power-users to navigate and to orientate within this virtual room.

If I am well informed Ian Coyle created the very first parallax website for Nike ‘Nike Better World’ in 2011.
Parallax scrolling basically involves various elements on a page, scrolling at different speeds, causing the elements vertical and / or horizontal position on the page to vary in relation to its surrounding elements…

Relation of success, decisions and experiences

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Have you ever thought about what thoughts are made of, what drives your creativity and your decisions? This following definition passed through my mind - It's still not the final one - but I think a first step:


Success is the result of proper decisions.  
Proper decisions come from experiences.  
Experience results from former decisions,  
and that means 
... avoiding false decisions and improving of successful conclusion.


There are these proverbs like ...
 "You have to learn from your mistakes" or "learning from the mistakes of others"
 OK - that's absolutely not wrong - but failures are NOT prerequisites for success.

Let's be honest - is that surprising? - I think not - It's just the way like mother nature works ...
Evolution does NOT waste time or abide by / with failures, 
flora and fauna is always building upon what worked, what was successful.
Shouldn't we too ? 
Yes - One shouldn't change horses in midstream - but at the next good point / at the v…

Temple Grandin - UXD vs AXD - Animal Experience Design

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I like to bring you close to a person you might never heard of - this person is Temple Grandin, Ph.D..
Why? Because I firmly believe that it is essential to have a holistic perspective, how users feel about using a system, and in general if we talk about users and their systems it doesn’t really matter whether we talk about humans or animals. And I also think that it's important to learn as much as one can - to study as much various systems, devices, touch points, interfaces and surfaces as possible - and as well everything about users neither they have two or more legs - because quite often you will discover things you can use in a total other situation.

Temple Grandin is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University. She is now for sure the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. Temple Grandin brings a unique perspective to animals’ environment and how to deal with animals - even if she mainly works in the slaughtering b…

Getting Attention - Having the nerve to do something different

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In the context of communication, the first hurdle for all of us is to obtain the attention of the user (consumer, buyer, etc or even a listener). This involves various aspects. 
It is important for us to know where a communication should be place to increase the odds of reaching a particular type of consumer; this is the media decision. Careful analysis of the consumer use of various media (to display this I love to develop swimlanes > http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.de/2012/03/swim-lane-diagram-great-tool-for.html ) allows us to identify those communication channels, devices and content to which target consumers are most likely to be exposed. 
Various characteristics of communication forms have been found to increase the likelihood that someone will attend to an ad, announcement or even information. Messages that include relevant information for the consumer, such as a product benefit that is important to the consumer, are especially likely to attract attention. Information that is new to…

Fujitsu’s Touchscreen Interface connects the real and virtual world

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Fujitsu has developed a great UI which can exactly notice the user’s finger and what it is touching, creating an ‘interactive touchscreen’, using items in the real word.
 This doesn't use any particular hardware; it needs just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector.
As far as I know up to now the technology also works on curved or uneven items, for instance when you opens a book.
As you probably already assume - the technology is still at a ‘demo level’ -  Fujitsu mentioned that they are going to have a commercial version by 2014.

UXD / UXP definition [ infographics ]

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