We need to be very careful when talking about contexts.

We need to be very careful when talking about contexts — design decisions related to context must be based on fact rather than assumption. For example, a context-based assumption would be to change the language of a Web page in response to the location of a device — a terrible idea because the reader might speak a language that isn’t native to the detected country.

Source: Responsible Considerations for Responsive Web Design via @smashingmag


Usability vs. User Experience

Usability answers the question, “Can the user accomplish their goal?”

User experience answers the question, “Did the user have as delightful an experience as possible?”

A great summary via The Difference Between Usability and User Experience.

Little nicety – custom share thumbnail


Do you read Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal? They have a little nicety where if you share the day’s comic using their social media buttons…


…they give you a side-joke as the preview thumbnail.


A nice touch to remind that their website is still cared for by humans. 🙂

The ROI of User Experience


Great video by the author of the article featured in a previous post.

Exciting take-aways:

  • Up to 15% of all projects are “abandoned because they are hopelessly inadequate”.
  • Programmers spend 50% of their time on rework that is avoidable.
  • Fixing an error after development is completed costs 100x that of fixing it before.
  • 3 of the top 12 reasons why projects fail are related to UX:
    • Badly defined requirements
    • Poor communication among customers, developers and users
    • Stakeholder politics
  • Factors that can measure return on investment:
    • Conversion rate
    • Users take the action you want them to take
    • Decrease in abandonment
    • Decrease calls to helpdesk
    • Reduce training required
    • Increase usage of an application or action
    • Save user time
    • Save development time
    • Reduce errors

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

E. F. Schumacher (mis-attributed to Einstein)

The Five Worst UX Mistakes Websites Make

From a design perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in internal squabbles (“No, no, THIS is the content that has to be front and center”) or distracted by tools or methods (“I say we use lean UX on this project”). When this happens, we often forget that at the end of it all waits a person who wasn’t in on all these decisions, and just wants to get the information they need, buy the product, or be entertained for five minutes while waiting for the train.

Read all about The Five Worst UX Mistakes Websites Make at UX Mag.

Tl;dr –

  • Paying too much attention to the Macro (eg. IA, layout, nav) and not enough to the Micro (buttons, interactions, UI elements).
  • Putting too much time into designing the homepage – and not enough on the other pages.
  • Relying too much on text, when audio, video and images can be much more persuasive.
  • Designing for the wrong generation.
  • Ignoring multi-screen behaviour (ie. taking a desktop-only approach)

Five HCI laws for UX design

From Measuring Usability:

Usability is hardly physics or chemistry. But there are some important principles from decades of research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) that apply to design and user research.

Read all about it: Five HCI Laws For User Experience Design

Tl;dr –

  • Miller’s Law of Short-Term Memory Load: People can only hold up to about 7 pieces of info in short-term memory.
  • Fitts’ Law: Users will hit a target faster if it’s big and close to where they start.
  • Hick-Hyman Law: Users will take longer to decide if you give me heaps of choices.
  • Power Law of Practice: Users do stuff faster the more they practice.
  • Pareto & Zipf Laws: The 80/20 rule – the majority of stuff will be addressed by a minority of things. (Eg. “A small portion of our site gets hit by a majority of our users.”)

Link via @higroup