"Sorry about this", I was told by an IT manager at a major financial institution, "It's just that our users are lazy and stupid".
Summary: Containership is a useful interaction design technique that can help you direct your user's attention and shape their experience by giving them visual boundaries. Containership indicates a separation of controls or navigation in an activity space so users know there is a control and it lives in relationship to that section or sub-section of your site or app.
The deliberate use of containership can improve your user experience. It can give users intuitive cues either visually or through proximity and hierarchy.
What is "containership"?
Containership is a visual grouping technique that shows spatial relationship of similar items or actions. Visually shaded areas contain the icon, information, or action a user is expected to perform.
Think of containership as the curbside of a road (the curb contains the road) or the edging of a garden (the edging contains the flowers).
'Getting in the mood' is the name of a paper I'll be presenting at Design and Emotion in Chicago 5-7th October 2010. Since I'm getting in the mood for the conference ;-), here are some highlights of my latest thinking on mood, product design and interaction.
1. Currently product designers are missing out on mood.
More attention is paid to design for emotion than mood. Much of this has to do with the current state of mood research in product design: virtually non-existent.
In the past few years toolbars have started to appear on popular social networking websites like Facebook; product review sites like CNET; news sites like Reuters and the Huffington Post and social tool services like HootSuite. Today, it seems more Web page-level toolbars are inhabiting our screens. The result: less control of the web page, the session or the redirect experience...and a more cluttered web browsing session.
Comscore just released a new study last month (June 30 2010) entitled Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet (download here).
The worldwide study adds some key insights into the growing research on gender differences on the Web and in particular around social networking usage. Why is this a big deal?
Summary: How well you get your customers to their destinations with your design, and help users do what they need to do, is the difference that makes a difference in customer experience. If you are not doing it well, you are guaranteed that your competitors are or are trying to find a way to. In this post, we cover 5 strategic patterns that you need to lead the pack.
What is Task-Centered Design?
Task-Centered Design or Task-Oriented Design is a technique used to design user interfaces with a high degree of usability. The approach follows a user's natural and intuitive workflow, rhythm and expectation. Screens are organized around what user's want and need to do. As a result confusion is minimized, errors are prevented and users feel more in control of the user experience.
"Imitation is the highest form of flattery"...so the saying goes. The problem with borrowing design and user interface metaphors from other applications, websites or brands is that what works in one place might not work in another.
In this post, we'll look at the pitfalls of copying design elements from other designs and what to do instead.
Today is Dr. Seuss's birthday!
Originally written in 2001, this is still timely and captures the consequences of poor user experience:
"One link two link, red link blue link,
Oh my gosh here comes a new link.
This click that click, here click there click
Huh? click HELP! click Who knows where click?
New rules new day, how you must play.
Who say? You say! I squeal "Oy-vey!"