UX references

Top 5 ‘UX hands-on’ books:

  1. Rosenfeld, L & Morville, P (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
  2. Kolko, J (2007): Thoughts On Interaction Design
  3. Scott, B (2009): Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions
  4. Morville, P & Callender, J (2010): Search Patterns
  5. Mulder, S & Yaar, Y (2010): The User is Always Right. A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web

Top 5 ‘UX essentials’ books:

  1. Garrett, J J (2003): The Elements of User Experience
  2. Bolter, J D & Gromala, D (2003): Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency
  3. Lakoff, G (1987): Women, Fire, and dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind
  4. Mc Carthy, J & Wright, P (2004): Technology as Experience
  5. Morville, P (2005) Ambient Findability

Top 5 UX blogs and Webzines

  1. Information design
  2. UX Booth
  3. UX magazine
  4. UX matters
  5. 37 signals


Everything appeared to be THE ultimate cross-media user experience: finding a flight, booking it, and receiving boarding pass automatically by email one day ahead of departure. Very well done, Air France.

From where was I flying again? Gatwick? Stansted and Luton most probably not. Heathrow more likely. Then, what terminal in Heathrow? It won’t be 5, but is it 1 or 2 or 4? Terminal 4 makes a huge difference, add another 20 minutes to your journey … Well, the email doesn’t tell me. And the boarding pass attached to my email?


Can it have more style?

Dieter Rams’ design principles

Dieter Rams (Industrial Designer *1932): 10 design principles

  1. Good design is innovative.
  2. Good design makes a product useful.
  3. Good design is aesthetic.
  4. Good design makes a product understandable.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive.
  6. Good design is honest.
  7. Good design is long-lasting.
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible.

From http://designmuseum.org/design/dieter-rams

Don Norman: How to make complex things easy to use (German)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Gibt es allgemeingültige Regeln, um das zu erreichen?

Norman: Klar! Teil die Dinge in Einzelteile auf, organisiere diese Teile, strukturiere sie. Gib Feedback. Ich will immer wissen, was gerade und warum passiert. Durch eine gute Struktur kann ich mich immer nur auf eine Sache konzentrieren. Letztlich geht es darum, aus einem scheinbar undurchschaubaren Technik-Kuddelmuddel etwas schlüssiges und verständliches zu machen.Sache konzentrieren. Letztlich geht es darum, aus einem scheinbar undurchschaubaren Technik-Kuddelmuddel etwas schlüssiges und verständliches zu machen.

Don Norman in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE

In summary:

  1. Break down into distinct parts
  2. Organise and structure these parts
  3. Give feedback

Persona definition

A persona is a realistic character sketch representing one segment of a Web site’s targeted audience. Each persona is an archetype serving as a surrogate for an entire group of real people. Personas sunmmarize research findings and bring that reserach to life in such a way that a company can make decisions based on these personas, not based on themselves.

Mulder/Yaar (2010) p. 19

Firefox UX principles

These are the UX principles currently being used by developers working on Firefox and other projects in the Mozilla community. (…)

  • ux-feedback Interfaces should provide feedback about their current status. Users should never wonder what state the system is in. [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-implementation-level Interfaces should not be organized around the underlying implementation and technology in ways that are illogical, or require the user to have access to additional information that is not found in the interface itself. [Source: Nielsen, Cooper]
  • ux-jargon Users should not be required to understand any form of implementation level terminology. (This principle is a special case of ux-implementation-level). [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-control Users should always feel like they are in control of their software. (This principle is often the nemesis of ux-interruption, especially in cases where developers assume users want more control than they actually want). [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-undo Actions should support undo so that users remain in control. (This principle is a special case of ux-control).
  • ux-consistency In general software should be internally consistent with itself, and externally consistent with similar interfaces to leverage the user’s existing knowledge. [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-error-prevention Interfaces should proactively try to prevent errors from happening. [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-mode-error Users should not encounter errors because the interface is in a different state than they expected it to be. (This principle is a special case of ux-error-prevention).
  • ux-error-recovery Interfaces should proactively help users recover from both user errors and technology errors. (A preferable case is to address through ux-error-prevention so that the error does not occur). [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-discovery Users should be able to discover functionality and information by visually exploring the interface, they should not be forced to recall information from memory. (This is often the nemesis of ux-minimalism since additional visible items diminish the relative visibility of other items being displayed). [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-efficiency Interfaces should be as efficient as possible, minimizing the complexity of actions and the overall time to complete a task. [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-minimalism Interfaces should be as simple as possible, both visually and interactively. Interfaces should avoid redundancy. (This principle is often the nemesis of ux-discovery since removing or hiding items deep into the interface forces the user to rely more on memory than recognition). [Source: Nielsen]
  • ux-interruption Interfaces should not interrupt the user. Interfaces should never ask the user a question that they are not prepared to answer simply for a false sense of ux-control. In general software should only speak when spoken to.
  • ux-tone Interfaces should not blame the user, or communicate in a way that is overly negative or dramatic.
  • ux-natural-mapping Controls should be placed in the correct location relative to the effect that they will have. [Source: Norman]
  • ux-affordance Controls should visually express how the user should interact with them. [Source: Norman]
  • ux-visual-hierarchy Controls that are more important or more commonly used should leverage visual variables such as size and contrast so that they have more dominance and weight relative to other controls. (This principle is an adaption of ux-discovery).

From Alex Faaborg: Quantifying Usability: How injecting usability principles into standard bug tracking software can reshape how your organization approaches UX design

Why UX matters for people

Probably one of the best articles explaining why UX matters for people. I added some notes (marked with //). The actual article gives (a bit) more detail about how that translates to UX practice.

  1. People Don’t Want to Work or Think More Than They Have To //Reduce the amount/complexity of information to digest/process
  2. People Have Limitations //See 1. People are not only lazy (see above), they have natural constraints (time, intellect, capabilities, background etc.). Assume users as human beings, not machines.
  3. People Make Mistakes // Provide alternatives/exits/Undos
  4. Human Memory Is Complicated // See 2 (cognitive limitations). Don’t let people remember things, memory becomes messy very quickly.
  5. People are Social // Not only relevant for social Web. Make use of it!
  6. Attention // Yes, attention IS the currency of the Web and there are many ways to let people pay…
  7. People Crave Information // Information seeking behaviour is peseudo-natural. Interesting point.
  8. Unconscious Processing // Neuroscience and UX is Susan’s actual business (expertise, book, etc) … not really convinced of the value of neuro-scientific UX, but interesting nevertheless.
  9. People Create Mental Models // There’s always a pre-conception of things in people’s mind. Deal with it …
  10. Visual System // Visual hierarchy and insights from Gestalt psychology. An evergreen and rightly so.

Susan Weinschenk: The Psychologist’s View of UX Design