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Topic: Usability

  • Zebra Striping: More Data for the Case

    by Jessica Enders · Issue 267 ·

    As designers or marketers, we share a desire that our tables and forms be easy to scan, read, and use. Does the widely practiced shading of alternate rows help, hurt, or have no effect? A previous study proving inconclusive, designer and researcher Jessica Enders has tackled the conundrum again, coming up with statistically relevant data and a set of recommendations.

  • Look at it Another Way

    by Indi Young · Issue 267 ·

    Before you can solve a user's problems, you must see them as that user sees them. Once you understand what drives people’s behavior, not only do new ideas flow freely, but the ideas that flow are appropriate and useful. Indi Young tells how to get out of your own way and hear what your users are telling you.

  • Deafness and the User Experience

    by Lisa Herrod · Issue 265 ·

    Because of limited awareness around Deafness and accessibility in the web community, it seems plausible to many of us that good captioning will fix it all. It won’t. Before we can enhance the user experience for all deaf people, we must understand that the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, and big-D Deaf users are often very different.

  • How to Succeed With URLs

    by Till Quack · Issue 123 ·

    Dynamic websites rock. Dynamically generated URLs suck. Till Quack shows how to use PHP to convert those machine-friendly nightmares into dreamy, human-friendly web addresses.

  • Zebra Striping: Does it Really Help?

    by Jessica Enders · Issue 258 ·

    Just because a design convention exists doesn't mean it works. Our field runneth over with design patterns, but is low on evidence of their utility. Jessica Enders drops some science on the widespread belief that zebra stripes aid the reader by guiding the eye along a table row.

  • Sign Up Forms Must Die

    by Luke Wroblewski · Issue 255 ·

    You load a new web service, eager to dive in and start engaging, and what’s the first thing that greets you? A sign-up form. We can do better, says Luke Wroblewski, author of Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks. Via a technique of "gradual engagment," we can get people using and caring about our web services instead of frustrating them (or sending them to a competitor's site) by forcing them to fill out a sign-up form first.

  • Findability, Orphan of the Web Design Industry

    by Aarron Walter · Issue 255 ·

    Findability is to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as "web standards" is to "table layouts." In a web whose vastness exceeds comprehension, sites with findable content win. The good news is that everyone on your team can help make your site findable. Get a taste for this essential discipline from Aarron Walter, author of Building Findable Websites: Web Standards, SEO, and Beyond.

  • Version Targeting: Threat or Menace?

    by Jeffrey Zeldman · Issue 253 ·

    Version targeting shakes our browser-agnostic faith. Its default behavior runs counter to our expectations, and seems wrong. Yet to offer true DOM support without bringing JScript-authored sites to their knees, version targeting must work the way Microsoft proposes, argues Jeffrey Zeldman.

  • Put Your Content in my Pocket, Part II

    by Craig Hockenberry · Issue 245 ·

    Screen size matters. And now that Apple is embedding mobile Safari in more iPods than the iPhone alone, it matters even more. Concluding his remarkable two-part series, Craig Hockenberry covers the down and dirty details of designing and coding with the iPhone (and its brethren) in mind.

  • Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo

    by Aza Raskin · Issue 241 ·

    Are our web apps as smart as they should be? By failing to account for habituation (the tendency, when presented with a string of repetitive tasks, to keep clicking OK), do our designs cause people to lose their work? Raskin's simple, foolproof rule solves the problem.

  • Inside Your Users’ Minds: The Cultural Probe

    by Ruth Stalker-Firth · Issue 234 ·

    Drawing on the field of ethnography, Ruth Stalker-Firth introduces a method for studying user behavior and motivations outside the lab.

  • Where Am I?

    by Derek Powazek · Issue 221 ·

    It’s 2006 and we’re still messing up global navigation. Derek Powazek gets back to basics and offers a few simple guidelines for getting it right.

  • Ruining the User Experience

    by Aaron Gustafson · Issue 234 ·

    Anticipating your users' needs is the key to making a good impression; it's the little things that matter most. ALA technical editor Aaron Gustafson explains why progressive enhancement means good service.

  • Power to the People

    by D. Keith Robinson · Issue 208 ·

    Relentlessly simple solutions to complex design problems can be the difference between an average experience and a great one. D. Keith Robinson reminds web designers and developers that ease of use is more important than technological sophistication.

  • Web 3.0

    by Jeffrey Zeldman · Issue 210 ·

    Web 2.0 is a fresh-faced starlet on the intertwingled longtail to the disruptive experience of tomorrow. Web 3.0 thinks you are so 2005.

  • Sensible Forms: A Form Usability Checklist

    by Brian Crescimanno · Issue 209 ·

    Sometimes it's the little things that drive you nuts. As many of us have probably noticed during this season of holiday shopping, usability problems in online forms can be infuriating. Brian Crescimanno helps solve the problem with a checklist of form-usability recommendations.

  • Improving Link Display for Print

    by Aaron Gustafson · Issue 203 ·

    Some time ago, Eric Meyer showed you how to add URIs to the printed version of your pages using print styles. Sometimes, though, too many inline URIs can make pages hard to read. Aaron Gustafson comes to the rescue with a JavaScript add-on that'll have you loving your linkage again.

  • Design Choices Can Cripple a Website

    by Nick Usborne · Issue 207 ·

    Do you test your designs? If not, Nick Usborne wants you to take responsibility for your design choices and the very quantifiable effect they can have on websites that are built for business.

  • Flywheels, Kinetic Energy, and Friction

    by Nick Usborne · Issue 213 ·

    You want your users to do something, buy things, beg you to work for them, learn how they too can achieve inner peace. So how do you get them to do what you want? Try getting out of the way.

  • Ambient Findability: Findability Hacks

    by Peter Morville · Issue 205 ·

    In this excerpt from his new book, Ambient Findability, Peter Morville explains why findability is a required element of good design and engineering--and what that means for you.

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