design thoughts by rohan sandeep



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Jared Spool – Anatomy of a Design Decision

Category : Blog, UX Resources Jul 12th, 2011

Jared Spool – Anatomy of a Design Decision from User Interface Engineering on Vimeo.

Thought provoking presentation providing insight into five types of design methods -  self design, unintentional design, Genius design, Activity focused design and Experience focused design.

 

Dunning-Kruger effect

Category : Blog, Interaction Design Jul 11th, 2011

In my career i have often come across a question. How do you rate yourself? This is where the Dunning-Kruger effect come into play. Want to know more?

” it’s the observation that novices suffer from the illusion of superiority and tend to rate their skills much higher than experts because they don’t fully understand the breadth of the field they need to master. Or to use a much quoted aphorism, “they know what they know, but they don’t know what they don’t know”. By comparison, experts tend to know more, but are also more conscious about what they don’t know, hence making them less sure about their expertise.”

Source: AndyBudd.com

Eye Tracking in User Experience Research

Category : Blog, Interaction Design Jul 9th, 2011

Google+ and its circles

Category : Product Reviews Jul 9th, 2011

How cool is the new services launched by Google – Google Plus. I spent the afternoon experiencing the UI and itching to write about it. I should start with what’s primary that distinguishes it from the earlier attempts – Orkut made by Google.

  • The circles
  • Good visual design
  • Amazing integration of Picasa

The circles,

I had read a few articles before complaining about the lack of ability to set levels of sharing in Facebook. Some of my friends also don’t like the idea of having to share everything with everyone all the time. They say it would be better if they had an ability to share their personal updated and messages with only some of the people. Now Google plus does this well!

I still have a concern that in the long run, you might not have any clue about who is on which list. The system requires some method of letting users know who have access to a certain piece of information that is shared.

Good Visual Design

Google plus looks fresh and is full of ‘lots of white space’. I just love the use of whitespace and getting away from the Google branded blue and white environment.  I think this new initiative has also inspired the change in the top band Google banner, that displays other services of google.

Amazing integration of Picasa

I was glad to see Picasa already in tune with the application. It took only a few clicks to view all my albums on Picasa here. And what’s better it had a better UI to display the feeds making my average album look superb.

Google Plus has a lot of stuff going its way but lacks a few things that might come in way of it becoming popular. I will cover that in a later blog. But for now i think the lack of ability to import facebook or other service friends might be a problem. I also think the circles concept in th elong run might actually become  achore as people find it difficult to remember who is on which list. BYE for now.

Seven Management and Planning Tools

Category : Blog, UX Resources Jul 7th, 2011

The Seven Management and Planning tools share its roots from Operations Research work done after World War II and the Japanese Total Quality Control (TQC) research. In 1979 the book Seven New Quality Tools for Managers and Staff was published and in 1983 was translated into English. (Sourced from Wikipedia)

Affinity diagram is widely used in User Experience design for brainstorming. I recently thought about looking at the other tools listed in the Seven New Quality tools.

  1. Affinity Diagram (KJ Method)
  2. Interrelationship Diagraph (ID)
  3. Tree Diagram
  4. Prioritization Matrix
  5. Matrix Diagram
  6. Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC)
  7. Activity Network Diagram

 

Affinity Diagramming,
Affinity diagramming is used to sort large amounts of data into logical groups. Existing items and/or new items identified by individuals are written on sticky notes which are sorted into categories as a workshop activity. (From Usability Net)

Interrelationship Digraph (Relations Diagram)
An interrelationship digraph is a visual display which maps out the cause and effect links among complex, multivariable problems or desired outcomes. It can be utilized to examine specific issues or general organizational concerns and problems when it is difficult to identify the interrelationships between the concepts and it is unclear if the issue is the problem or the solution. It is also known as a “relations diagram.” (from it Toolbox)

Tree Diagram
A diagram used in strategic decision making, valuation or probability calculations. The diagram starts at a single node, with branches emanating to additional nodes, which represent mutually exclusive decisions or events. In the diagram below, the analysis will begin at the first blank node. A decision or event will then lead to node A or B. From these secondary nodes, additional decisions or events will occur leading to the third level of nodes, until a final conclusion is reached. (from investopedia)

Prioritization Matrix
A simple technique for determining where to focus development efforts for the highest payoff

Matrix Diagram
(TBD)

Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC)
Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) is a technique designed to help prepare contingency plans. The emphasis of the PDPC is to identify the consequential impact of failure on activity plans, and create appropriate contingency plans to limit risks. Process diagrams and planning tree diagrams are extended by a couple of levels when the PDPC is applied to the bottom level tasks on those diagrams. (from Wikipedia)

Activity Network Diagram
The Activity Network diagram displays interdependencies between tasks through the use of boxes and arrows. Arrows pointing into a task box come from its predecessor tasks, which must be completed before the task can start. Arrows pointing out of a task box go to its successor tasks, which cannot start until at least this task is complete. (from Syque Quality)

Gamification on Stack Exchange

Category : Blog, Product Reviews Jul 5th, 2011

I found remarkable use of ‘gamification’ concept on ux.stackexchange.com.  The concept is presented with the user earning badges and points as he answers or puts up questions on the site. Points are awarded based on the quality of question or answers by administrators in the system.

  1. The user earns points on answering or putting up new questions
  2. Users can vote a question or answer up or down. This results in earning of points.
  3. The user earns badges as a result of answering questions
  4. The points lead to different level accesses within the site

I believe this adds greatly to the experience on stackexchange and especially ux.stackexchange. I have so far put up a 51 points and 2 badges having logged in three times answering and putting up questions.

 

CityVille – Review

Category : Blog, Product Reviews Jul 4th, 2011

Cityville is a wonderfull game on facebook that has captured people’s attention for quite some time. Borrowing its concepts from different games cityville is a fun to place game and keeps you immersed. I have been playing this game for a while and hence thought about looking at it for usability issues.

Methodology,

  1. Select a few tasks
  2. Expert walk through
  3. Selection of potential issues

Few of the Issues found,

  1. Friends component – No display of total number of friends.
  2. Friends component – No affordance for hidden items (friends).
  3. Friends component – Includes self for comparison?
  4. Goals component – Lacks a possible boundary or demarcation?

10 Usability tips based on research studies

Category : UX Resources Jul 2nd, 2011

Six revisi0ns has a list of 10 tips that you can incorporate in design taking advantage of research done. These tips are,

  1. Forget the “Three-Click Rule”
  2. Enable Content Skimming By Using an F-Shaped Pattern
  3. Don’t Make Users Wait: Speed Up Your Website
  4. Make Your Content Easily Readable
  5. Don’t Worry About “The Fold” and Vertical Scrolling
  6. Place Important Content on the Left of a Web Page
  7. Whitespace of Text Affects Readability
  8. Small Details Make a Huge Difference
  9. Don’t Rely on Search as a Crutch to Bad Navigation
  10. Your Home Page Isn’t As Important as You Think

Visit the page to learn more.

 

 

Banner blindness

Category : Interaction Design Jul 1st, 2011

According to the definition in wikipedia, “The term “banner blindness” was coined by Benway and Lane[1] as a result of website usability tests where a majority of the test subjects either consciously or unconsciously ignored information that was presented in banners. Subjects were given tasks to search information on a website. The information that was overlooked included both external advertisement banners and internal navigational banners, e.g. quick links. The placement of the banners on a web page had little effect on whether or not the subjects noticed them. The result of the study contradicted the popular web design guideline that larger, colourful and animated elements on a website are more likely to be seen by users.”

Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

Category : Blog Jul 1st, 2011

Is you design approach evolutionary or is it revolutionary. Frank Spillers in his article on the blog ‘Demystifying usability’ explains the difference between the two. And what holds good. In brief,

  • Evolutionary design tends to include only small updates to the design rather than major changes in the interface. While revolutionary design intends to change the design ‘overthrows the old order of design and interaction paradigms and introduces fresher, faster and easier ways to interact with the product.’
  • Companies tend to favor having small updates to existing design afraid of the fact that creating too many changes might drive a backlash from the users.
  • A design approach derived from a UCD methodology insures against such a backlash.

What approach you go for depends on real and in dept user input, high value changes that have a big impact on user productivity, Access the impact of redesign on majority of users.