Negative Space

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Negative space is the space around the subject of an image. For example, if you have a picture of a ball, the negative space in that picture is everything around the ball.

The clever artist can use negative space to communicate a supporting or secondary idea. With the ball example, that picture could have the ball smack in the middle of an otherwise blank image to convey the idea of a ball sport in Japan.

Actually, it’s useless to explain it in words. You get a better idea if you see for yourself.

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Making heaps of decisions makes you tired

Have you heard of decision fatigue?

It’s the tiredness you feel after having to make many choices over a short period of time. I guess the anxiety of choice eventually wears you out, making you less able to assess risk vs reward, and more prone to making impulse decisions.

For the more psych-nerdy among us, this is part of a bigger phenomenon known as ego depletion – the idea that willpower is a finite resource that needs to be recharged.

Get learned, Pepe:

So what about this in the context of UX – how can we strike a good balance between offering information and choice, and not overwhelming people to the point of fatigue?

Bad mobile UX will make people tired (and sore)

As a web designer, if you’ve ever felt your work is too virtual, too intangible, then find some solace in designing for mobile environments. Thinking about how users position themselevs while using a touch device, we grasp how our UX decisions can have physical, real world impact:

Every touch, every swipe, every pinch, and every zoom requires quite a bit of physical motion. Your hand moves while the rest of the arm is working to stabilize the wrist and you are holding the device steady with the other hand. That is a lot of physical exertion compared to using a typical mouse, where your hand moves less, your wrist is probably resting on a wrist pad, and your arm sits comfortably on a chair arm. Your other hand is not even needed. So, you can start to see how much more effort using a mobile device can be.

Read The Cost of a Touch for a bit of theory on how to make life – real, physiological life – easier for the guy at the other end of your project.

Tl;dr –

  • Remember the user’s prior selections
  • Make it easy to skip ahead
  • Take advantage of device sensors (light, movement, sound, etc.) to understand context
  • “Looks cool!” should never interfere with “Works well!”

Dyslexie – a font for dyslexics

Tl;dw –

Dyslexia causes the reader to see letters as real world objects, influenced by gravity, motion and mistaken identity (letters of the alphabet do look pretty similar!).

Working with this trait, the designers of Dyslexie use fat bottoms, longer necks and accentuated curves to make it easier for readers to recognise differences between letters.