View more presentations from Nick Finck.

Nick Finck and Raina Van Cleave's presentation slides from the SXSWi talk are up. Here's a summary:

User experiences are your everyday experiences—anything from operating a car, to making a pot of coffee, to ordering a pair of shoes online. User experience is the result of your interactions with a product or service, specifically how it’s delivered and its related artifacts according to the design.

In this presentation Nick Finck and Raina Van Cleave will explore the ten characteristics of a great user experience. They will cover all aspects of user experience design such as user research, information architecture, information design, technical writing, interaction design, visual design, brand identity design, accessibly, usability and web analytics. Nick and Raina will also explain how following the ten commandments can boost your web sites, web app, or mobile app’s ease of use, appeal, conversion rates, and more.

Read more on Nick's site.

Mark Goetz makes a plea to save the baby kittens. Because every time you make a powerpoint, Edward Tufte kills a kitten... and David Byrne does a happy dance.

I love how the cats run off the side of the canvas. Oh, and how no one in that meeting is paying attention... Awesome.

I wanted to capture all of the slides and videos into one entry to compare each of the guys' approaches. The right way? There isn't one right way. That's the point. The one thread that does carry through, however, is a general process of discovery/research, sketching/ideation, selection/refinement, visual design.

Will Evans

Todd Zaki Warfel

Russ Unger

Fred Beecher

Jussi Pasanen of Volkside pulls out an HCI gem in Kent L. Norman's The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the Human/Computer Interface, and repurposes the list of guidelines from the Checklist for Menu Design to provide a set of suitable guidelines for information architects to use with today’s websites. Norman's book is available for free on the web.

Via @BozieZero

The BBC charts the top 100 Internet sites in terms of traffic (unique visits) using January 2010 data from Nielsen. Data covers the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, US and Australia.

The categories - such as retail, social networks, search/portal - were defined by the BBC. The maps were produced using the Prefuse Flare software, developed by the University of California Berkeley. You can mouse over the squares to see site names. Would be nice to have a ZUI to focus on a quadrant. A few comments in this Fast Company article point out that some of the data seems a little odd. I don't see MySpace in the social networking.

Via swissmiss

Luke Wroblewski reports on A-B tests performed by Ron Kurti and the team at, who note that Mad Libs style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40%. Read more and see the before/after screenshots at LukeW.


Shortly after posting this, David Kaneda pointed out his post, in which he observes that there is quite a bit more to that Kelly Blue Book form redesign than just switching from vertically arranged fields to inline fields. The increase in conversion can't necessarily be attributed to one thing in this case since there are many other variables from A to B.

Patrick McKenzie noted that you should test with your own users. He experimented with inline form fields in his A-B test and found that conversion rates decreased. His form design, however, was a bit harder to parse than the KBB example. Some argue that the agenda there seemed to be to disprove the effectiveness of the mad libs style.

There's even more discussion about issues with the A-B test at Hacker News. So this looks like one to implement with care and be sure to observe the results.

For what it's worth, I find short inline forms to be effective, and useful given space constraints. The login form on this site, for instance works within a short strip of real estate. It's not really the same as the longer forms--the mad libs style seems to take about a paragraph rather than sentence--but it's similar in that it departs from the typical quick parsing of a skimmable columnar layout to prose style reading.

Konigi inline login form

I've finally gotten around to checking out the Interaction Design Association (IXDA) site relaunch, which has been redesigned and migrated to the Drupal platform. The IXDA has one of the most impressive list archives for professional association that I've ever used, and the new features provided by this platform open up a host of new notification options. There are a few more browsing options in the discussion area, a resource library, and what looks like a redesigned job board.

Excellent work. Check it out if you haven't already.

This is going to be big.

I've been keeping a secret for a few months, that I'm finally able to share with my friends and colleagues who follow Konigi. Today I'll be bringing my love of interface design to the small team at Balsamiq. I will be joining Peldi, Val, Marco, Luis, Mariah, and Malcolm, my new family at the company that introduced software and web designers to the fun and easy way to create quick, sketch-style wireframes with Balsamiq Mockups.

This move is the right change for me at the right time. I'll be able to marry my experience at working in-house on an evolving product, with my love of creating tools that advance my craft and sharing that knowledge and toolset with the UX design community. The move also represents the need at this point in my career to find a small group of passionate people that feel like family, that share my values, and that have a commitment to delivering a fun, simple product that people love to use.

I've communicated with Peldi off and on in the past few years. We actually made contact initially because we both wrote daddy blogs a while ago. Every time I've spoken to Peldi since, it feels like talking to a brother, and his enthusiasm is absolutely infectious. We've ended some Skype calls giving high fives on screen, which felt at once nerdy and totally awesome. He's a natural leader, and I respect his commitment to transparency and doing good. When I've chatted with Val, Marco, Luis, and Mariah in the past few months, I felt that same kind of warmth and enthusiasm, and I knew I found my home.

I can't wait to start doing the work. I think we can expect that I'll be working on the user experience for Mockups Desktop and the myBalsamiq web app. My goal is to support the team in continuing to improve the overall experience with Balsamiq products, from providing support and fielding customer needs to bringing rigor to the design of every product feature. There's a clear vision for simplicity and quality in this team, and I want to help fulfill that. This is going to be big, and as you can tell, I'm having a hard time containing my excitement.

Read Peldi's announcement on the Balsamiq. You can also follow my new Twitter identity, @balsamiqMike, for Balsamiq related UX tweets.

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