Hierarchical folder structure: notional pyramids

We are just not smart enough to deal with notional pyramids. Trying to picture notional systems with several levels is like thinking three moves ahead in chess. Everybody believes that they can, but only a few skilled people really can do it.

Oliver Reichenstein: Mountain Lion’s New File System

Lessons learned …

… from participants in a user experience study about airline websites;

  • Openness
    Give honest and open information, especially with prices
  • Clarity
    Important information, like alerts, should be clearly visible
  • Relevance
    Ensure content is relevant to most users; don’t crowd the page
  • Priority
    Prioritise the page; common elements should be high on the page

Usabilla Report: The UX of 18 leading travel websites

UX strategy and agile process

UX strategy can provide the strategic guidance that agile doesn’t attempt to provide. As Liam Friedland, Senior Director, User Experience at Informatica, puts it: “Agile is a process; ergo a set of tactics. Agile is not a strategy. Sun Tzu provides us with a good understanding of the relationship between these two: ‘Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.’”

Paul Bryan: Is UX Strategy Fundamentally Incompatible with Agile or Lean UX?

Navigation is meaningful

Kalbach presents one of the most convincing arguments in favor of web navigation. The problem with removing navigation is that “people wouldn’t have a sense of beginning or end in their search for information, and orientation would be difficult” (p.6). Without the hierarchy of a table of contents, users would lack a sense of the whole, the beginning to end structure of the content. Kalbach then says, “Navigation provides a narrative for people to follow on the Web. It tells a story–the story of your site. In this respect, there is something both familiar and comforting about web navigation. The widespread, seemingly natural use of navigation to access content on the Web reflects its strength as a narrative device” (p.10). In other words, your navigation, which presents a hierarchy of information to the reader, gives users clues about the meaning of the content by mere fact of its organization.

Tom Johnson quoting from James Kalbach’s book ‘Designing Web Navigation’