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Topic: Interaction Design

Design products and experiences that delight people and change their lives. Where graphic design meets experience design meets interface design. Never use a warning when you mean undo. Move beyond human-to-computer interfaces and embrace human-to-human design. Designing navigation and exploration. Wireframing and prototyping on paper, in Keynote, and in the browser. Narratives of experience.

  • Communicating Animation

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    Consistent animation is crucial to both branding and UX. But because animation sits squarely at the intersection of design, development, and UX, achieving consistency presents unique communication challenges. Including animation in our style guides is a good place to start, but no “ultimate” animation style guide currently exists. Indeed, there may never be an animation-style-guide pattern that satisfies everyone. But Rachel Nabors maps out how we can create the ultimate animation documentation for our own teams.

  • OOUX: A Foundation for Interaction Design

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    Pivoting smoothly from action to action is all well and good, but when interactions seem abstract to users, a sense of context is probably missing. In this follow-up to Object-Oriented UX, Sophia Voychehovski takes us from big-picture OOUX frameworks to confidently targeting actions that meet the needs of users.

  • Web Animation Past, Present, and Future

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    Despite the rise and fall of Flash on the web, designing with animation has fiercely stirred us for decades. And yet nothing compares to its latest surge of evolution. Rachel Nabors lays out the array of tools and techniques that are fundamentally reframing our ideas about animation, and looks ahead to see where this path is taking us.

  • Motion with Meaning: Semantic Animation in Interface Design

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    Animation is fast becoming a mainstay of interface design, but one aspect of animation rarely gets discussed. Amin Al Hazwani and Tobias Bernard argue that adding animation to interfaces fundamentally changes them and necessitates a conceptual shift—an approach the authors call semantic animation. Individual screens shouldn’t be treated as separate entities if the transitions between them are animated; the entire experience is one continuous space.

  • Design, White Lies & Ethics

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    Most of us would say we’re honest in our designs—but what if tiny deviations from the truth made a design easier for users? What if usability testing showed that fibs in an interface actually helped users accomplish their goals? How can we keep design decisions from turning deceptive? Dan Turner shares the lessons learned from a recent design problem, and proposes a potential framework for working ethically with false affordances.

  • Object-Oriented UX

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    We know big, monolithic webpages won’t meet the needs of responsive sites and endless screens. But we’re often still quilting together design patterns and content modules, rather than truly thinking in systems. Sophia Voychehovski shows us how defining the objects our users interact with, and the relationships between them, opens doors to more interconnected—and successful—user experiences.

  • The Analog Revolution

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    Back in the day, when software was released (on physical media), it was considered done. In the present, some products could benefit from a limitation like that. To tie development to something immutable, such as a physical thing or a hard deadline, might just foster a sense of responsibility to design our product so it has what it takes to last a few years.

  • Hello, My Name is <Error>

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    Registering for school, paying bills, updating government documents—we conduct a significant part of our daily lives through web forms. So when simply typing in your name breaks a form, well, user experience, we have a problem. As our population continues to diversify, we need designs that accommodate a broader range of naming conventions. Aimee Gonzalez shows how cultural assumptions affect what we build on the web—and how fostering awareness and refining our processes can start to change that.

  • Designing Safer Web Animation For Motion Sensitivity

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    For millions of people with vertigo and inner ear problems, large-scale web animations can trigger nausea, migraines, and dizziness. To make websites accessible for everyone, we don’t need to eliminate animation; we need to apply it more thoughtfully. Val Head walks us through some of the challenges posed by vestibular disorders and provides guidelines for designing with motion sensitivity in mind.

  • Multimodal Perception: When Multitasking Works

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    Don’t believe everything you hear these days about multitasking—it’s not necessarily bad. In fact, humans have a knack for perception that engages multiple senses. Graham Herrli unpacks the theories around multimodal communication and suggests that we can sometimes make things easier to understand by making them more complex to perceive.

  • The Risky Business of Onboarding

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    Attracting—and keeping—new users is a delicate dance. Too many obstacles and people don’t sign up; too little interaction and they don’t come back. The ideal onboarding process turns potential users into loyal ones—by thoughtfully identifying new users, teaching them to use your product, and giving them a reason to return. Rick Pastoor shares his onboarding framework and what he’s learned about the difference between a good onboarding process and a great one.

  • Unsuck the Enterprise

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    The people who pay for enterprise software aren’t the ones who try to work in it day after day. How much has been spent on “Solutions” with an abundance of features that don’t help users get their jobs done? If design can alleviate some of that dysfunction, it doesn’t seem like a mere luxury anymore. Rian van der Merwe shares his four-step approach to redeeming the awkward rich kid no one wants to play with.

  • Designing for Post-Connected Users — Part 2, the Recommendations

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    Post-connected users don’t want to be in thrall to their communication tools all day (and then there’s the never-ending loop of updates, upgrades, and trending technologies to try). They want stable communication tools that work on their terms and adapt to their preferences. Antoine Lefeuvre urges us to see the web experience through their eyes and think about how classic, basic internet tech can be reimagined in fresh, user-pleasing ways.

  • Crafting a Design Persona

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    Every product has a personality—but is yours deliberately designed? Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek shows you how Weather Underground solved its personality problems by creating a design persona, and teaches you collaborative methods for starting a personality adjustment in your company.

  • Instant Web

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    For some, Facebook’s Instant Articles is a sign that the traditional web stack is incapable of giving users a first-class reading experience. But the sluggish performance of the web isn’t due to an inherent flaw in the technology. That particular problem originates between the seat and the keyboard, where builders make choices that bloat their sites. For Mark Llobrera, Instant Articles is a sign that we need to prioritize performance like we actually mean it.

  • Building Nonlinear Narratives for the Web

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    The web operates in ways that can conflict with our traditional view of what a “story” is. Content is chunked, mixed, and spread across channels, devices, and formats. How do we understand story lines, characters, interactions, and the role of the audience, given this information sprawl? Cue nonlinear narratives—Senongo Akpem guides us past basic “scrolly-telling” to immersive, sometimes surprising experiences.

  • The Illusion of Free

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    The number of predictions that algorithms can make about us from even minimal data is shocking. Although we’re offered privacy settings that let us control who of our friends sees what, all our information and behavior tends to be fair game for behind-the-scenes tracking. We simply don’t know everything that’s being done with our data currently, and what companies might be able—and willing—to do with it in the future. Laura Kalbag believes it’s time to locate the exits.

  • There Is No Data vs. Intuition

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    Heads/Tails, Left/Right, Church/State, Engineering/Design, Logic/Emotion. Oh wait—the flipside of logic isn’t emotion. It’s fallacy. Another fallacy is feeling obliged to join either the faction of the sensibly-clad engineers or the faction of the crayon-toting creatives. Nishant Kothary has found that research is on the side of trusting your gut (then backing up your instinct with testing).

  • Designing for Post-Connected Users — Part 1, the Diagnostic

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    How sustainable is a model where social networks take a central role in our daily routine? Antoine Lefeuvre believes there’s growing awareness that social networking tools don’t necessarily bring out the best in us. While we do want and appreciate tools that let us engage with others and do things together, we’re getting tired of the high price in attention and stress.

  • The Role of the Web, an Excerpt from Understanding Context

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    What place am I in? By giving us the ability to link to anything at any time, the web complicated this question and changed our concept of context. In this excerpt from Chapter 2 of his new book, Understanding Context, Andrew Hinton explores why that happened, and how our resulting “place confusion” affects the way we perceive and use the web.