Archive for September, 2009

Cognitive appropriation: Blooms hierarchy of cognitive abilities

September 29, 2009

Bloom argued there are six levels of domain expertise, and his concern was that education systems at the time were rooted firmly on knowledge, the lowest level. (…) The objectives are a hierarchy showing your ability with a specific domain. Informally you can think of them like this…

  1. Knowledge — The ability to recite lists, rules, formulas, specific facts.
  2. Comprehension — The ability to understand the reasoning behind said rules/facts, and translate and re-state where necessary
  3. Application — The ability to apply acquired knowledge in new situations to produce solutions
  4. Analysis — The ability to recognize patterns, question reasoning, distinguish facts from inferences.
  5. Synthesis — The ability create new knowledge, methods, formulas, based analysis of problems.
  6. Evaluation — The ability to create multiple solutions and select the most effective in a given situation

Des on the contrast blog

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Search results best practices

September 28, 2009

For easy reference, here is a list of some of the best practices that have been gleaned from different search results pages:

  • User should have easy access to the search box for follow-up searches
  • Where possible, search terms should be clearly indicated at the top, and in context in the results
  • Related sponsored links can be included below the search box, near the bottom, or on the right
  • Titles should be clickable and clearly differentiated from details
  • Visited links should be indicated
  • Pagination units should be visibly block-shaped and have a hover effect, to easily differentiate from one another
  • Related products, tags, or keywords should be displayed in a non-obtrusive section
  • E-Commerce sites should allow the “view” to be toggled between “list” and “grid”
  • Advanced search options should be easily accessible
  • Should allow re-sorting or filtering of results
  • Where possible, results pages should have RSS feeds or “subscribe” options
  • For complex interfaces, clear, easy-to-access search tips or instructions should be provided
  • Sorting and Filters should be JavaScript or Ajax-driven, where possible
  • Popularity or star-ratings should be shown for individual results
  • Include an option to increase the number of results per page
  • To monitor future improvements, request feedback from users after searches are conducted
  • If results span different sections of the website, indicate this by sub-headings or other dividers

Louis Lazaris: Search Results Design: Best Practices and Design Patterns

UX principles for CMS Drupal:

September 16, 2009

UX design principles for Drupal 7:

  1. Make the most frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable.
  2. Design for the 80%
  3. Privilege the Content Creator
  4. Make the default settings smart

Drupal 7 User Experience Project

5 Core usability principles

September 15, 2009

Usability principles – it’s probably been said a thousand times, with far too many words. This is my take on it:

  1. Accessibility
    Interfaces that do not comply with average accessibility standards will most likely cause usability issues for everybody.
  2. Visibility
    In digital systems, everything is hidden by default. If something is not visible or made explicit, I cannot use it.
  3. Consistency
    Almost every visit of a site involves some learning (which is good). Within one site or application, however, I do not want to unlearn or re-learn the visual language, the labels, or the underlying structure.
  4. Hierarchy
    Visual hierarchy and semantic hierarchy allows me to quickly establish a logical system and to carry out tasks quicker.
  5. Recoverability
    It’s great to be able to do smart things. It’s essential, however, that I am made aware of any changes made (feedback) and that I easily can reset a default/previous state (recover).

Usable/user-friendly CMS

September 15, 2009

A usable CMS will:

  1. minimise the number of options
  2. be robust and error-proof
  3. provide task-based interfaces
  4. hide implementation details
  5. meet core usability guidelines
  6. match authors’ mental models
  7. support both frequent and infrequent users
  8. provide efficient user interfaces
  9. provide help and instructions
  10. minimise training required
  11. support self-sufficiency

James Robertson: 11 usability principles for CMS products

Faceted Search

September 10, 2009
  1. Decide on your filter value-selection paradigm—either drill-down or parallel selection.
  2. Provide an obvious and consistent way to undo filter selection.
  3. Always make all filters easily available.
  4. At every step in the search workflow, display only filter values that correspond to the available items, or inventory.
  5. Provide filter values that encompass all items, or the complete inventory.

G. Nudelman: Best Practices for Designing Faceted Search Filters