The Life Cycle of a Wireframe

Nick Finck’s Puget Sound SIGCHI lecture on the Lifecycle of the Wireframe discusses Nick’s IA process.

My overall strategy for IA is 3 step process; understanding the problem (note: not merely identifying the problem but really understanding it), find a solution (there may be more than one solution, but there is often only one right solution), and present the solution (a large part of your job as a IA is presenting your work so the client can understand the results).

Using Verbs As Nouns in User Interfaces

There's an interesting discussion in UX Matters prompted by a question regarding the use of verbs as nouns. This wording used in an enterprise context is the example provided, "Click here to view your views." Confusing and awkward.

A dialogue follows with several designers, who seem to agree that understanding the language of the business and context, and using that in the given situation is the right approach. It's a matter of unearthing the terminology, whether through contextual inquiry and exercises like card sorting, and using what's appropriate and familiar in the context, so users can "View sales reports" or what have you rather than viewing [insert meaningless label here].

Apparent usability vs. inherent usability

Occasionally the argument about the affect of aesthetics or beauty on usability seems to come up in UX discussion, and this CHI short paper from 1995 is referred to. This is an article by members of the Design Center, Hitachi discusses the team's research on determinants to apparent usability, based on tests of design and psychology students.

These results show that the apparent usability is less correlated with the inherent usability compared to to the apparent beauty. ... This suggests that the user may be strongly affected by the aesthetic aspect of the interface even when they try to evaluate the interface in its functional aspects and it is suggested that the interface design should strive not only to improve the inherent usability but
also brush up the apparent usability or the aesthetic aspect of the interface.

ACM members can download the short report at the ACM Portal.

ClickTale Scrolling Research Report

ClickTale makes observations about scrolling based on their research of users’ browsing behaviors around “the fold.” Their report on scrolling makes the following conclusions:

[I[t appears that visitors scroll in a relative way - about the same percentage of page views will reach the middle of a web page regardless of the actual page height in pixels.

Visitors appear to be using the location of the scroll bar but not the size of the tracker when scrolling, since the scroll bar location is a relative indicator and the scroll tracker size is an indicator of page height.

View their 2 part report.

Kickstarter: Fund your creative project

Kickstarter is a brilliant idea for creatives needing funding for projects. It’s a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, bloggers, etc. It works much like fundraising sites you may have used if you’ve ever had to raise money for events for non profit organizations. A few years ago I used a similar one for Team In Training.

You set up a page stating your mission and the need for funding. On this page you state the monetary goal, and a form allows users to pledge donations at different levels of support. The charges are made via Amazon payments. The project gets 100% of all proceeds minus Amazon’s fee for credit card processing.

A filmmaker I recently became acquainted with is shooting a documentary film and set up a fund raising page for the project with levels of support that include special bonuses as an incentive, from tickets to the premiere to inclusion in film credits. I remember Jill Sobule also did something similar to this a few years ago to fund an album, giving people bonus gifts and liner note credit for support.

Seems like a great way for artists to empower themselves by raising funds through peers and fans without the hassle of going to banks or finding angel investors and VCs. I would bet some investors will be watching this space if web app designer/developers start using it.

Typekit: Foundry-Approved Font Embedding

Jeff Veen announces Typekit, a solution for providing foundry-approved font embedding on the web. More info below from the Typkekit blog.

We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.

As a Typekit user, you’ll have access to our library of high-quality fonts. Just add a line of JavaScript to your markup, tell us what fonts you want to use, and then craft your pages the way you always have. Except now you’ll be able to use real fonts.

There's a sign up page for the release announcement.