Archive for September, 2014

Behavioural economics

September 12, 2014

“Behavioural economics” attempts to predict the way that humans behave when taking choices that have a measurable impact on them – for example, whether to put the washing machine on at 5pm when electricity is expensive, or at 11pm when it is cheap.

We can take insight from Behavioural Economics and other techniques for analysing human behaviour in order to create appropriate strategies, policies and environments that encourage the right outcomes in cities; but none of them can be relied on to give definitive solutions to any individual person or situation. They can inform decision-making, but are always associated with some degree of uncertainty. In some cases, the uncertainty will be so small as to be negligible, and the predictions can be treated as deterministic rules for achieving the desired outcome. But in many cases, the uncertainty will be so great that predictions can only be treated as general indications of what might happen; whilst individual actions and outcomes will vary greatly.

Rick Robinson: 11 reasons computers can’t understand or solve our problems without human judgement


Responsive design

September 10, 2014

Responsive design (in the most “purist” sense of the term, that insists that the identically same functionality and content will be available on all devices) solves the capacity problem by chopping up the site into cells on a fluid grid and rearranging those cells on the smaller screen in a way that takes into account the relative priorities of the cells. Basically, it delivers the same content piece by piece through a narrower communication channel. As a result, all the content is available on smaller screens.


Mobile content is twice as difficult than desktop content

September 10, 2014

The smaller screen size is the main reason that mobile content is twice as difficult than desktop content: because the mobile screen is so much smaller, users must rely on their working memory to keep around information that exists on the page but is not visible in front of their eyes.


Cognitive Load

September 10, 2014

The total cognitive load, or amount of mental processing power needed to use your site, affects how easily users find content and complete tasks.


Homepage customisation

September 10, 2014

(…) This is consistent with other research that found that users typically don’t use customization tools; they leave the default setting as is. Users don’t like to spend their time figuring out how part of a website works or what the benefit to them is. They very rarely interact with fancy widgets or elaborate tools, because they want to get their information or complete their task as quickly and possible, and be done.


Search as navigation

September 10, 2014

With the trend of minimalist and clutter-free design, sometimes it is assumed that users prefer to search above all else. But often that’s not the case. Typically, people use search if they know exactly what they’re looking for, or if they cannot find something through browsing.

Search should only be the primary navigation for a website if the site’s main function is to be a search engine. For example, Google, Bing, and job search boards can all use this approach. But in the context of an information-heavy site like a university, browsing is essential for increasing discoverability of content.


Interaction cost

September 10, 2014

The interaction cost is the sum of efforts — mental and physical — that the users must deploy in interacting with a site in order to reach their goals.


Role-based navigation

September 10, 2014

But role-based navigation like this poses the same problems it does on other university sites. Users don’t necessarily self-identify, and they often don’t understand which audience category contains the content that they want. For example, many parents view the page for prospective students well before they view the page for parents. Evaluate whether topic-based organization might be more efficient for your users. And if you are using audience-based organization, be sure that each audience is specific and distinct, and include the information that is most relevant to that audience.

Katie Sherwin in:

Customer vs User experience

September 8, 2014

“User experience primarily focuses on the design and development of digital interactions. Today, this typically means Web sites, mobile phones, and tablets, but UX can also include touchpoints like kiosks, desktop software, or interactive voice response systems.

“Customer experience focuses on the design, implementation, and management of interactions that happen across the entire customer journey. This includes the interactions that take place as customers discover, evaluate, buy, access, use, get support, reengage, and leave.”

Kerry Bodine

Mobile First pays dividend

September 7, 2014

“Those kinds of enhancements you make from a [Mobile First] usability perspective, due to the constraints on mobile, ultimately, I think, pay dividends on the whole-screen ecosystem. But if you do the inverse, then you pay the price on mobile, which now, given the amount of use of mobile, is an exponential price to pay”

Luke Wroblewski: Mobile as a medium