design thoughts by rohan sandeep



Questioning the 3 click rule

Category : Blog Mar 27th, 2011

The 3 click rule has been around for a long time. I have heard strategy and business quote it more often than interaction designers. Is the rule really important guideline to follow or does it not matter how many clicks?

Wikipedia describes the rule as, ‘The three-click rule or three click rule is an unofficial web design rule concerning the design of website navigation. It suggests that a user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. It is based on the belief that users of a site will become frustrated and often leave if they cannot find the information within the three clicks.

Joshua porter in his article on www.uie.com – ‘Testing the three click rule’ gives us some useful points for instance the design suggestions – ‘putting global navigation on every page and making a navigation hierarchy shallow and wide’ he then quotes testing done that suggests that users do not leave after 3 clicks that is they don’t stop searching after the third page is loaded J

James Robertson from step two design quotes research done by jared spool from www.uie.com and implies that users ‘Overall satisfaction with the site is derived solely from whether they were able to find what they wanted, with little or no recollection of how many clicks were required.’

This is also supported by NNG groups  Hoa Loranger at the NNG usability workshop in Amsterdam. – ‘The number of clicks is not important, Loranger explained, as long as the content flow makes sense and is logical, leading the users in a way that they understand and expect to the information that they need’

We can safely assume from the research that this rule is indeed a good to hear J

Adaptive interfaces

Category : Blog Mar 27th, 2011

The usability glossary defines adaptive interfaces as, ‘user interfaces that change over time, in response to how they are used, to improve the quality of the interaction. Any adaptive interface has, at some level of detail, a model of the user’s behavior that is refined, and provides an interaction that fits the behavior as best as it can’

Stanford universities course on ‘Adaptive Interfaces, Personalization, and User Modeling (CS377D)’ describes adaptive interfaces as ‘Adaptive user interfaces are software artifacts that assist a user in accomplishing some task and, in the process, construct a model of that user’s preferences so as to serve him better in the future’

Joel Lumans in his blog describes – ‘The underlying concept of adaptive user interfaces, is to create a system that can learn from its users, ultimately, to improve the user experience for them.

Other mentions of adaptive interfaces
Lukew’s summary of Stephen Andersons – Creating the adaptive interface provides a useful summary and discussion points. http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?496

I would like to develop a list of adaptive interfaces. Create examples taken from the web and collate them into a list.

Examples of adaptive interfaces,
1.        Microsoft – displays most commonly used items on top and have seldom or less used items displayed below the fold
2.        A well-known book portal displays items of categories similar to users preference based on a previously made selection. For instance if a book is selected for cognitive psychology – results are displayed of similar books from the category

Android Patterns!

Category : Blog Mar 27th, 2011

Androidpatterns.com is  a set of interaction patterns that can help you design Android apps. Contributed by the community and supported Unitid group. The patterns are categorized intro dealing with data, getting input, navigation, notifications, personalization, screen interactions and social.

Indian Railways – Fare Details screen

Category : Product Reviews Mar 3rd, 2011

I was trying to book tickets and generally looking for schedules on the indian railways websites. I came across a few screens that let me with lot of difficulty. I realize many people must arriving at these screens and finding it difficult to use them. The biggest usability issues i came across are – ‘proper allocation of function’ and ‘help and documentation’.

How would you redesign the screen?

Some of the issues that i noticed include,

  • Train Number – Poor allocation of function
  • Date field – Manual entry should be possible and format should be universal
  • Source Station Code & Destination station – Poor allocation of function
  • Age should be titled ‘Age Range’
  • Notes for finding Train Number – error prevention

Possible solution:

  1. Easy selection of destination – the original screen displays train number. User is expected to remember and have the train number at hand.
    To make it easier for the user, we have provided ‘from’ and ‘to’ destination selectors which help come up with the available trains. The user can then select the train number. We have also provided a typeable space in the ‘from’ destination which enables users to type in the location name and select the station associated with it.