Articles about Design Strategies

  • UX Strategy Blueprint 08/20/2014

    Jim Kalbach explains how to use the UX Strategy Blueprint.

  • Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type 07/30/2014

    Jared Spool talks about taking the time to learn Typography.

  • Content and Design Are Inseparable Work Partners 06/04/2014

    Jared Spool explores why content and design should be done hand-in-hand.

  • Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning - The 3 Approaches to Designing for Delight 04/24/2014

    Jared Spool explains the Three Approaches to Delight.

  • New Rule: Every Desktop Design Has To Go Finger-Friendly - Part 2 03/19/2014

    Josh Clark reminds us that the web can be accessed from any device, regardless of its input or output method.

  • New Rule: Every Desktop Design Has To Go Finger-Friendly - Part 1 03/12/2014

    Josh Clark reminds us that the web can be accessed from any device, regardless of its input or output method.

  • The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: Data and Design in Innovative Citizen Experiences 02/11/2014

    Cyd Harrell discusses the relationship between data, design, and the end user.

  • Atomic Design 01/15/2014

    Brad Frost explains Atomic Design.

  • Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach 11/20/2013

    In an excerpt from his book, Aaron Gustafson discusses how progressive enhancement can serve your users by giving them access to content without technological restrictions.

  • Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies 03/20/2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses three radical redesign approach strategies.

  • Tone and Voice: Showing Your Users That You Care 02/21/2013

    Kate Kiefer Lee explains why it’s important to pay attention and understand the difference between voice and tone.

  • Context-Aware Design: A New Frontier 02/14/2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses the concept of context-aware design and the possibilities of its future.

  • Making Content More Usable for both Designers and the End User 02/06/2013

    Adam Churchill talks with Steph Hay about making content more usable for both designers and the end user.

  • Anatomy of an Experience Map 08/14/2012

    Chris Risdon shares what an experience map is and the five elements that make them useful.

  • Making a Brand Investment Through Experience 06/07/2012

    Jared Spool looks closely at brand engagement and breaks it down into its component pieces.

  • Mobile Design: Content and the Great Web-based vs. Native Debate 01/10/2012

    Adam Churchill and Josh Clark discuss content for mobile web sites and native apps versus mobile apps

  • Developing a Designer's Sense of Touch 01/04/2012

    Jared M. Spool discusses insights about designing for touch from an interview with Josh Clark

  • Riding the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge 11/02/2011

    Jared Spool explores a simple visualization tool we invented to help teams and stakeholders see where their designs are too complex for their users and what they can do about it.

  • On UX Leadership 10/25/2011

    Kim Goodwin discusses how leadership skills can progress the user experience profession.

  • 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects 09/21/2011

    Jared Spool talks about ways that teams have sucked the value away from their persona projects.

  • A Snapshot on What Designers Should Know about HTML5 and CSS3 09/14/2011

    Jared Spool interviews Stephanie Rewis and Greg Rewis on why rounded corners and drop shadows are such a big deal for both the designer and the SEO specialist, what media queries are, and why so many designers are having a love affair with Modernizr.

  • CSS3 - Tools and Mobile Implementation 09/06/2011

    UIE's Adam Churchill interviews Dan Rubin on how to use CSS3 when designing for mobile, and what CSS tools and resources Dan relies on to save time and make designing easier

  • Visual Design Essentials for Non-Designers 06/28/2011

    Adam Churchill and Dan Rubin discuss how learning basic design principles can lead non-designers to create great designs.

  • Developing a UX Practice of Practicing 06/14/2011

    Practicing lets us step back and really look hard at how we do our job, not just what we produce. It’s a critical component to getting better and most of us don’t do it enough.

  • Accessibility with Derek Featherstone 05/25/2011

    See the rewards that come from these challenges and how they delight our users, improve our business, and make the world that much better.

  • Essential UX Layers for Agile and Lean Design Teams 05/11/2011

    See the rewards that come from these challenges and how they delight our users, improve our business, and make the world that much better.

  • Search as a Multi-channel Experience 04/26/2011

    Pete Bell breaks down search into 2 basic types: fact finding and discovery. He discusses how these two methods of search affect users' expectations and experiences and how multi-channels compound the issues

  • Mobile Strategy, Data Visualization, and Design Process - Big Challenges, Big Rewards 04/22/2011

    See the rewards that come from these challenges and how they delight our users, improve our business, and make the world that much better.

  • iPhone App Design: When an Awkward Interface Makes Sense 03/08/2011

    Josh Clark explains different design interfaces that Apple uses on the iPhone to prevent unwanted mishaps.

  • Creating Great Design Principles: 6 Counter-intuitive Tests 03/01/2011

    Jared Spool reveals six tests that separate out generic design principles from those that really work for a team.

  • Beautiful Visualization: How To Make it Efficient 02/22/2011

    Noah explores the importance of making visualizations more efficient, plus tips to reduce visual noise and the quantity of text

  • Beautiful Visualization: How Do We Achieve Beauty? 02/16/2011

    Noah explains how to we achieve beauty in information design, and the distinction between visuals designed to show what the designer already knows, versus visuals intended to explain a new concept or idea

  • Equalizing Opinions: Two Simple Tricks for Meeting Facilitators 01/26/2011

    Jared explores two techniques he often uses to help get team ideas out and on the table.

  • Part 2 - Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings 01/26/2011

    In part 2, Kevin dives deep into a plethora of exercises to use in kickoff meetings including a design studio activity.

  • Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings 01/24/2011

    Kevin Hoffman explains the advance work that should take place prior to the kickoff meeting, and the type of questions you should ask your stakeholders.

  • Understanding the Kano Model - A Tool for Sophisticated Designers 01/18/2011

    Jared M. Spool closely inspects the Kano Model and to see what it can bring us

  • Responsive Web Design 01/11/2011

    Ethan Marcotte outlines and explains his concept of Responsive Web Design

  • What Makes a Good Deliverable 12/07/2010

    Dan Brown takes us through the characteristics of a good deliverable

  • Designing Great Experiences: The Gap Between Activities 11/30/2010

    Jared M. Spool looks at the differences among the terms User Experience, UX, and Experience Design

  • Playing Hard to Get: Using Scarcity to Influence Behavior - Part 2 11/3/2010

    Stephen Anderson concludes his two-part article on just one of the techniques we can use online: scarcity.

  • Playing Hard to Get: Using Scarcity to Influence Behavior - Part 1 10/27/2010

    Stephen Anderson discuss what happens when we promote scarcity in our designs in the first of a two-part article.

  • Rabbis, Tropes, and Visually Consistent Designs 10/20/2010

    Jared M. Spool explores some of the relationships between visual design and a particular type of creative writing: the joke.

  • Why We Sketch 09/22/2010

    Jared Spool discusses how great designers use sketching for notetaking, to convey their ideas in meetings, to record their conversations with their co-workers, and to support their design research.

  • How to Create a UX Design Library 09/14/2010

    Nathan Curtis walks us through the process of creating a library. He's broken it down into four doable steps (and even has a fabulous poster-grade visualization of the process).

  • Classification Schemes - and When to Use Them 09/07/2010

    Donna Spencer provides a great article on the different schemes for presenting information, such as when it's instructional, geographical, or time-based

  • Five Indispensable Skills for UX Mastery 08/03/2010

    Jared M. Spool explains five essential skills a UX designer needs to be really excellent at what they do.

  • Actually, You Might Be Your User 07/22/2010

    Jared M. Spool talks about how teams' designs can succeed even though they don't use the tried-and-true techniques for user research.

  • Capturing the Interesting Moments 07/06/2010

    Jared M. Spool talks about a technique that Bill Scott showed him for slowing down time. It's called the Interesting Moments Grid.

  • Baking Social Interfaces Into Your Design 04/28/2010

    Jared M. Spool discuss how to use a great resource -- the new book, Designing Social Interfaces, written by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone

  • Designing with the Elements of Play 03/31/2010

    Jared M. Spool explores some of Stephen Anderson's thinking with a fresh look at how the elements of game play can serve our business requirements.

  • Prototyping: Picking the Right Tool 03/08/2010

    Todd Zaki Warfel looks at what prototype tools people are using and what types of prototypes they are making.

  • Social Tagging and the Enterprise: Does Tagging Work at Work? 03/01/2010

    Stephanie Lemieux explores what tagging might look like inside of the enterprise firewall.

  • The Apple Store's Checkout Form Redesign - Part 2 02/09/2010

    In part 2, Luke Wroblewski continues his review of the newly redesigned Apple.com checkout process.

  • The Apple Store's Checkout Form Redesign - Part 1 02/05/2010

    Luke Wroblewski dissects the newly redesigned Apple.com checkout process.

  • Deciding When Graphics Will Help (and When They Won't) 11/01/09/2009

    Jared Spool talks about the three differet types of graphics commonly found on sites: navigation graphics, content graphics, and ornamental graphics.

  • Design - Exploring Options and Making Decisions 11/11/09/2009

    Leah Buley, Donna Spencer, and Dan Rubin share their favorite tools and techniques, showing that design exploration can be an easy tool for any team

  • How I Draft an Information Architecture 09/11/2009

    Donna Spencer goes through a process she uses when starting on an information architecture project.

  • Information Interplay: Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content 08/27/2009

    Jared M. Spool discuss the interplay that happens between visual design, information architecture, and content design.

  • Deriving Design Strategy from Market Maturity, Part 2 08/19/2009

    In part 2 of a 2 part article, Jared M. Spool explains the last two stages of the Market Maturity Model.

  • Front End Concerns When Implementing Faceted Search - Part 2 08/10/2009

    In part 2 of a 2 part article, Daniel Tunkelang concludes his discussion on building out the front-end of a faceted search system.

  • Front End Concerns When Implementing Faceted Search - Part 1 08/06/2009

    In part 1 of a 2 part article, Daniel Tunkelang discusses the concerns designers face when building out the front-end of a faceted search system.

  • Deriving Design Strategy from Market Maturity, Part 1 06/18/2009

    In part 1 of a 2 part article, Jared M. Spool explains the first two stages of the Market Maturity Model and shares how to identify which stage where team is in.

  • Components, Patterns, and Frameworks! Oh My! 05/14/2009

    Jared M. Spool explores three critical development tools, patterns, components, and frameworks. Read how these three items, the Re-Use Trinity, give developers a chance to increase the percentage of time they spend on the fun stuff, while delivering better quality results.

  • Great Designs Should Be Experienced and Not Seen 05/14/2009

    Jared M. Spool talks about how the goal of a designer is to make their site disappear.

  • Designing for Faceted Search 04/28/2009

    Stephanie Lemieux,from Earley and Associates, shares her tips on what facets are and how teams can implement them effectively

  • Hunkering: Putting Disorientation into the Design Process 04/07/2009

    Jared Spool discusses why designers should practice visual disorientation.

  • Harnessing the Power of Annotations -- An Interview with Dan Brown 04/03/2009

    ared Spool interviews Dan on his experience with creating successful annotations.

  • The Magic Behind Amazon's 2.7 Billion Dollar Question 03/17/2009

    Jared Spool discusses how reviews on Amazon contribute $2.7 of new revenue to Amazon every year.

  • In Which a Concept Model Makes Me Giddy 03/04/2009

    Dan Brown of EightShapes discusses his excitement over concept models and how they bring a more effective means of communication to your team.

  • Anatomy of an Iteration 02/09/2009

    Jared Spool dives deep into what it takes to conduct successful iterations. He explains the four iteration steps and shares some best practices.

  • Web Anatomy: Introducing Interaction Design Frameworks 02/02/2009

    Robert Hoekman talks about the differences between patterns and frameworks. He describes how a framework is a systemic view of a specific portion of the system.

  • Previous and Next Actions in Web Forms 1/27/2009

    Luke Wroblewski discusses the placement of actions in Web forms that span several Web pages.

  • 5 Design Decision Styles. What's Yours? 1/21/2009

    Jared M. Spool walks you through the five different styles we've found teams use to make design decisions

  • The $300 Million Button 1/14/2009

    How changing a button increased a site's annual revenues by $300 million.

  • Components Versus Patterns 1/09/2009

    Nathan Curtis of EightShapes discusses the difference between components and pattern libraries.

  • A Recession Strategy for Web Apps 1/06/2009

    In hard economic times, web-based applications are now an important element in an organization's survival and growth strategy. Recessions are all about cutting waste and focusing in on activities that will have immediate, positive outcomes.

  • Top Podcasts of 2008 12/19/2008

    Jared M. Spool recaps the top UIE podcasts of 2008.

  • Top Articles of 2008 12/19/2008

    Jared M. Spool recaps the top UIE articles of 2008.

  • Account Sign-in: 8 Design Mistakes to Avoid 12/09/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses 8 common design mistakes he's identified while watching users try to create accounts and sign into web sites.

  • Ideal UX Team Makeup: Specialists, Generalists, or Compartmentalists 11/17/2008

    Jared Spool shares some of UIE's recent findings in how teams are built: when should you hire a specialist and when will a generalist work better?

  • Failure Is Not an Option -- It's a Requirement 10/29/2008

    It's easy to conclude that teams should avoid failure at all cost. However, if you look at all the great innovation that's occurred over the centuries, one pattern quickly emerges: failure played an integral role. We need to fail to learn.

  • Quick and Dirty Usability Testing: Step Away from the Book 10/20/2008

    You don't have to do usability testing by the book to get useful data. But it is different data from what you get from a formal method. There are trade-offs to be made. You do have to understand where the data came from and what it means. You can conduct usability tests that are quick, cheap, and generate all the insights about your users and your design that you can handle.

  • The 3 Qs for Great Experience Design 10/06/2008

    For more than seven years, we've studied how the great user experience teams succeed. We've looked at a variety of variables to isolate what it takes. We've looked at management structure, employed methodologies, best practices, and hiring qualifications. In our research we found three key variables as being critically important; vision, feedback and culture.

  • Communicate Quick: First Impressions Through Visual Web Design 10/01/2008

    While many people still associate visual design for the Web with "making things look pretty", investing in the presentation layer of Web sites can quickly yield more significant returns.

  • What Goes into a Well-Done Critique 09/23/2008

    Receiving a critique is probably one of the hardest things we'll do in our work. Giving one is equally as difficult. It's hard to do well and easy to do poorly. As we've been working with teams over the last 20 years, we've accumulated an understanding of what goes into a successful critique. Here's what we've found.

  • To Refresh, or Not to Refresh 09/08/2008

    Ironically, removing page refreshes can make for a refreshingly interactive experience. However, eliminating the refresh doesn't come for free. When is it worth the investment?

  • Four Essential Skills for Information Architects: An Interview with Donna Spencer 08/27/2008

    Jared M. Spool recently had the opportunity to talk with Donna about the specific skills that separate the best information architects from the rest.

  • Design Cop-out #2: Breadcrumbs 08/21/2008

    Cop-outs happen when the designers focus on treating a symptom instead of addressing the root problem. This week, we look at a second common cop-out: breadcrumbs.

  • The Site Map: An Information Architecture Cop-Out 08/12/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses the tradeoffs in the design process and avoiding design cop-out with your site map.

  • Galleries: The Hardest Working Pages on Your Site 08/07/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses what UIE has learned about building successful gallery pages, including the problems introduced by poor scent. This article was originally printed in November 2005

  • 12 Best Practices for UX in an Agile Environment - Part 2 08/05/2008

    In part 2 of a 2 part series, Jeff Patton from AgileProductDesign.com shares the remaining 6 of his 12 best practices that result in the development of great experiences.

  • 12 Best Practices for UX in an Agile Environment - Part 1 08/01/2008

    In part 1 of a 2 part series, Jeff Patton from AgileProductDesign.com shares 6 of his 12 best practices that result in the development of great experiences.

  • The Long Wow 07/24/2008

    Adaptive Path's Brandon Schauer shares his thinking about what he calls the Long Wow, where he talks about techniques for ensuring long-term customer loyalty through systematically impressing customers again and again.

  • Producing Great Search Results: Harder than It Looks, Part 2 07/14/2008

    Jared Spool elaborates on the specific principles of the scent of information that play an important role when designing search results.

  • Producing Great Search Results: Harder than It Looks, Part 1 07/09/2008

    Jared Spool shares best practices for the most effective search results pages.

  • Avoiding Demographics When Recruiting Participants: An Interview with Dana Chisnell 07/02/2008

    Jared Spool talks with usability expert, Dana Chisnell, about what happens when teams try to use market research demographics as the basis for recruiting their participants and what the alternatives are.

  • Interaction Design: It's All About the Subtleties 06/24/2008

    Pop-ups have earned a bad reputation, mostly because design teams often use them to distract users with unwanted advertising. However, a well-designed pop-up with useful information adds real value to a web experience.

  • Hijax: Progressive Enhancement with Ajax 06/17/2008

    Jeremy Keith shares his strategy for creating applications with Ajax that do the right thing when JavaScript isn't available.

  • The Wheres and Whens of Users' Expectations 06/08/2008

    In our research, we've looked to see how the users' expectations played a role in the effectiveness of sign-in functionality.

  • How to Innovate Right Now 05/19/2008

    Scott Berkun, the author of the popular book, "The Myths of Innovation," talks about practical secrets to help you build new and innovative products.

  • Debunking the Myths of Innovation: An Interview with Scott Berkun 05/28/2008

    UIE's Christine Perfetti recently sat down with Scott Berkun to talk about his new book and his research in the area of innovation.

  • A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Evaluating Design Alternatives 05/19/2008

    Jared talks about a team who wants to evaluate several design prototypes with their first test, resulting in far more work than they originally realized. Jared proposes a counter-intuitive way for them to get the necessary feedback without having users compare each alternative.

  • Doing More with Less: 4 Design Lessons from the Flip 05/14/2008

    The Flip video went from an unknown product to challenging an industry dominated by established big players, such as Sony and Canon, by focusing on creating a better experience.

  • Can I Trust You? How Anticipating Problems Can Help Your Brand 04/30/2008

    Jared M. Spool explores how simple problems can have a hugely negative impact on a customer's brand engagement.

  • Two More Usability Challenges for Designing Web Apps 03/11/2008

    Jared M. Spool shares two more challenges UIE's researchers have seen in usability tests. You'll want to look out for these challenges when users interact with your applications.

  • 3 Important Usability Challenges for Designing Web Apps 03/05/2008

    Jared M. Spool shares challenges UIE's researchers have seen in usability tests. You'll want to look out for these challenges when users interact with your applications.

  • Playful Data: 3 Inspiring Interactive Web Sites 02/11/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses how to design tools that help designers explore their own data in a fun and interesting way.

  • Getting the Most from Design Deliverables 01/28/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses how the best design teams go about successfully communicating their ideas to the development team.

  • 8 More Design Mistakes with Account Sign-in 01/14/2008

    Jared M. Spool continues his list of common design mistakes he's identified while watching users try to create accounts and sign into web sites.

  • Playgrounds for Data: Inspiration from NYTimes.com Interactives 01/09/2008

    Every organization sits on a ton of data. Making that data useful is a constant challenge for designers. By looking at what the NYTimes interactive team has done, we can see examples of what is possible.

  • Account Sign-in: 8 Design Mistakes to Avoid 01/04/2008

    Jared M. Spool discusses 8 common design mistakes he's identified while watching users try to create accounts and sign into web sites.

  • Taking the Netflix Experience to a New Level: An Interview with Sean Kane 12/17/2007

    Jared M. Spool recently had the chance to talk with Sean Kane, former Director of User Interface Engineering at Netflix, to discuss his initial efforts to bootstrapping his user experience team at his new start up, GetListed. He talks about how he's building the GetListed team and his initial strategy for creating a world-class design, much like he did at Netflix.

  • Assessing Your Team's UX Skills 12/10/2007

    Jared M. Spool describes the skills of successful UX teams and a simple method for assessing the skills of your UX team to identify areas of improvements for the team as a whole and individual members.

  • Five Usability Challenges of Web-Based Applications 12/04/2007

    Jared explains five of the toughest challenges facing designers of web applications: scalability, visual design, comprehension, interactivity, and change management.

  • 7 Critical Considerations for Designing Effective Applications, Part II 11/20/2007

    Based on research UIE has conducted on dozens of applications, we've assembled an essential set of questions teams need to ask about their design to ensure they are providing the best value to their users.

  • 7 Critical Considerations for Designing Effective Applications 10/22/2007

    Based on research UIE has conducted on dozens of applications, we've assembled an essential set of questions teams need to ask about their design to ensure they are providing the best value to their users.

  • Web Form Design in the Wild, Part II 10/10/2007

    Expert designer, Luke Wroblewski, shares tips for designing web forms based on his experience with the Boingo and British Airways sites.

  • Web Form Design in the Wild, Part I 09/28/2007

    Luke Wroblewski recently had a difficult experience with the Fairmont Hotel web site. He emerged from his experience with eight best practices for web form design.

  • The Power of Comics: An Interview with Kevin Cheng 09/26/2007

    UIE's Jared M. Spool recently had a chance to chat with Yahoo!'s Kevin Cheng about his work developing user experience concepts with comics.

  • Time for Content to Become More Scientific 09/18/2007

    Gerry McGovern, one of the world's experts on delivering successful content, discusses how to develop a systematic formula for

  • Thinking in the Right Terms: 7 Components for a Successful Web Site Redesign 08/30/2007

    Jared M. Spool details the seven essential long-term components to reach a successful redesign project, and avoid costly changes that don't enhance the site's user experience or help the business.

  • Five Survival Techniques for Creating Usable Products 08/21/2007

    Christine Perfetti details the five techniques crucial for design teams' success when creating designs and products that are truly usable, and looks at reducing the implementation time of the 4 stages every prototype must go through.

  • Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype 09/07/2005

    Jared M. Spool challenges the myth of Web 2.0, uncovering APIs, RSS, Folksonomies, and Social Networking, which suddenly give application developers a new way to approach hard problems with surprisingly effective results.

  • Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications and How to Avoid Them, Part II 07/31/2007

    Joshua Porter outlines more of the most prevalent mistakes designers make when creating social web applications, and explains how to avoid making them yourself.

  • Learning from the Facebook Mini-Feed Disaster 07/16/2007

    Jared M. Spool examines the Facebook disaster that occurred when Facebook suddenly introduced a new feature, called the Mini-Feed, to their site that lead to a massive user backlash. By reconstructing the sequence of events that lead to user protests, Jared discusses what happens when a product or feature launch goes wrong, and looks at how to avoid similar results with our own designs.

  • Communicating Concepts with Comics: An Interview with Kevin Cheng 07/12/2007

    UIE's Ashley McKee recently spent some time with Kevin Cheng discussing the increasing popularity of using comics in the design process, the five inherent properties of successful comics, the skills needed to create comics, and the best way to deliver comics to key stakeholders.

  • Ten Ways to Kill Good Design 07/03/2007

    Kim Goodwin explains the ten most common reasons designs fail, from lack of consistent project ownership to having the wrong people perform design, and offers some solutions to these problems that she's culled from years of conducting hundreds of design projects.

  • Web Application Form Design 06/26/2007

    Luke Wroblewski discusses how variations in the alignment of input fields, labels, calls to action, and their surrounding visual elements can support or impair different aspects of user behavior.

  • Knowledge Navigator Deconstructed: Building an Envisionment 06/19/2007

    Jared Spool discusses how a successful envisionment that focuses on the user's ideal experience can lead a design team's direction for years to come, and explores the many creative techniques for making that vision clear to everyone involved on the project.

  • Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications and How to Avoid Them, Part I 06/14/2007

    Joshua Porter outlines 4 of the most prevalent mistakes designers make when creating social web applications, and explains how to avoid making them yourself.

  • The 3 Steps for Creating an Experience Vision 05/14/2007

    How can design teams ensure they continue to focus on their users first? In our research, we've found that many successful teams are solving the problem by creating an experience vision.

  • Why Invest in Social Features for Your Web Site? 05/08/2007

    Joshua Porter investigates the trend to design socially-enabled web applications, and examines the core benefits of investing in social features that apply broadly across many areas on your web site.

  • Three Important Benefits of Personas 05/22/2007

    UIE's research has surfaced obvious benefits from the persona technique, such as better designer agreement on important features and an in-depth understanding of the user's motivations. But, it also unveiled some benefits that we don't see discussed anywhere. Read about these other benefits here.

  • Simplicity: The Ultimate Sophistication 04/09/2007

    Is simplicity a bad design goal?

  • Taking Time to Tour 01/11/2007

    The practice of designing web applications is so new that few formalized methods for studying them exist. In order to educate ourselves, we must take tours of various web apps to find out what works and what doesn't. Jared Spool explores why we tour web applications, which ones to tour, what to look for, and what we can do with the information we gather.

  • The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netflix Designs a Winning Web Site 11/14/2006

    UIE's Joshua Porter describes lessons learned by one of the best web application design teams in the world.

  • Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization 10/31/2006

    Luke Wroblewski discusses how a balanced visual hierarchy provides a clear path for your users to recognize and understand the information displayed on your web site.

  • Agile Development Processes: An Interview with Jeff Patton 09/12/2006

    We recently sat down with Jeff Patton to discuss how agile development processes can work with and enhance user experience design.

  • The Quiet Death of the Major Re-Launch 05/20/2003

    Sites re-launch all the time in spectacular fashion. But this is starting to change. Jared points out how the best design teams are slowly evolving their sites, not drastically overhauling them.

  • Folksonomies: A User-Driven Approach to Organizing Content 04/26/2005

    Organizing content is one of the most difficult challenges facing design teams. In this article, Joshua Porter discusses a new strategy called folksonomies that may help alleviate those challenges by letting users organize content all by themselves.

  • Lifestyles of the Link-Rich Home Pages 06/15/2006

    What's the difference between a helpful home page and a common site map? Jared suggests not much, and predicts that home pages with few links will soon become a thing of the past.

  • The Importance of a Customer-Centric Design Approach: An Interview with Gerry McGovern 06/08/2006

    Gerry McGovern discusses how most organizations aren't focusing enough on the customer. Their cultures are inwardly-focused and so their web sites are as well. The problem with this approach is that these sites fail. The customer-centric web sites are the ones that succeed.

  • Innovation is the New Black 06/01/2006

    Apple and Netflix gained insight by investing in understanding the current experience of their potential customers. Those insights led to industry-changing innovations that have made an indelible impression on businesses everywhere.

  • Prioritizing Design Time: A Long Tail Approach 04/24/2006

    Does your homepage get too much attention from the design team or other parts of your organization? We find that is often the case. With a little help from The Long Tail, Josh finds ample evidence to suggest that other parts of your site might be more worthy of attention.

  • The Elements of a Design Pattern 01/23/2006

    Jared discusses how a well-built design pattern library makes the development process substantially easier for design teams.

  • The Road to Recommendation 01/06/2006

    For design teams to get recommendations for change, they need to slow down and go through the four steps of recommendation: Observation, Inference, Opinion, and finally Recommendation.

  • Reassuring Users with Inukshuk Content 12/14/2005

    In UIE's research, we've seen that users on the web want reassurance that others have shared their experiences. This is where Inukshuk content comes into play.

  • Intranet Portals and Scent are Made for Each Other 12/12/2005

    Organizations are becoming increasingly dependent (!) on their intranets. To lead users to the ever-growing available content and functions, intranet designers create Portal pages. In this article, Jared will talk about how the theory of information scent was made to help with the design of these pages.

  • Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site 11/30/2005

    Jared M. Spool discusses what UIE has learned about building successful gallery pages, including the problems introduced by poor scent.

  • Web 2.0 For Designers 08/25/2005

    In this column, Richard MacManus and Joshua Porter explore the new technologies that are making Web 2.0 happen, take a closer look at the new interfaces that demonstrate its power, and ponder the social effects it has on the people who both use and build it.

  • The Right Information 06/28/2005

    In our work, we often see many sites deliver information to the users, but it's not the right information. The absence of the right information takes many forms, but it always has the same results -- users can't accomplish their goals. To be successful, design teams must look beyond the navigation and links, and think about how users are going to use the information to accomplish their objectives.

  • Identifying the Business Value of What We Do 04/15/2005

    Resources in our organization are usually tightly constrained -- not enough time, money, or people to accomplish everything we want to improve. Knowing how to identify and communicate the business value of a project will substantially help it get approved and supported by the organization. Jared talks about the key five business value areas and how to relate design improvements into the overall success of the organization.

  • Getting from Research to Personas: Harnessing the Power of Data 04/25/2007

    Kim Goodwin, Director of Design at Cooper, explains the process of creating personas from research.

  • Designing Embraceable Change 03/28/2005

    Design is all about change -- hopefully changing for the better. None of us set out to make things worse from the get-go. Yet, as we know all too well, that isn't how it always works out. Jared M. Spool discusses how to introduce design changes that will be embraced, not resisted.

  • What Makes a Design Seem 'Intuitive'? 01/10/2005

    An intuitive interface doesn't happen by accident. It happens when one of two specific conditions are met. In this article, Jared describes the critical relationship between current knowledge (what the user knows when they encounter the design) and target knowledge (what the user needs to know to accomplish their goal), showing the two conditions that lead to an interface users will perceive as intuitive.

  • Putting Context Into Context 01/04/2005

    Design happens at the intersection of the user, the interface, and their context. It's essential for interface designers to understand the gamut of contexts that can occur, thereby ensuring they create designs that are usable no matter what's happening around the user. In this article, Jared M. Spool explores the various components of context and how to integrate them into the design process.

  • Preventing Usability Problems from the Get-go 11/19/2004

    UIE has been researching how designs are created in the first place. Our goal is to identify those places where usability problems are first put into the design and to come up with ways to prevent it from the outset. in the successful teams, the same three techniques pop up again and again: field studies, personas, and usability testing.

  • The Right Trigger Words 11/15/2004

    When dealing with information, A web page only does one of two things: either it contains the content that the user wants, or it contains links to get them to the content they want. In this article, Jared shows how, when creating new content, the designer's most important task is to identify the users' trigger words--clues that will get them to the content they desire.

  • Designing Products That Work the Way People Work: An Interview with Kate Gomoll 09/17/2004

    While techniques, such as focus groups, usability tests, and surveys, can lead to valuable insights, the most powerful tool in the toolbox is the field study. We talked with Kate Gomoll, a User Research expert, about how she and her team at Gomoll Research & Design conduct their Field Research.

  • The Cost of Frustration 07/08/2004

    Clients tell us their frustration with trying to persuade their organizations to make a usability investment. They want to know the best way they can communicate the return on investment (ROI) of good design to their management. In this article, Jared M. Spool discusses how designers in successful organizations have convinced their organizations to launch and fund usability projects.

  • The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities 05/11/2004

    UIE's researchers have one favorite technique for helping designers collaborate better with each other: The KJ-Method. UIE routinely uses the KJ-Method to help teams find patterns in large amounts of unorganized data. It quickly helps groups establish design priorities and reach consensus.

  • The Top 3 Priorities of the Talking Horse 03/30/2004

    On your site, is everyone focusing on just "making it work"? Is it the only place people can accomplish their goals? Does making it easy-to-use seem like a low priority? If so, your site (or part of your site) may be a talking horse. Talking horses are important because they demand a different set of priorities than other types of designs. The three main priorities of a talking horse are: focusing on necessary features, reducing support costs. and looking for additional opportunities.

  • The CAA: A Wicked Good Design Technique 12/02/2005

    Category Agreement Analysis is a 'wicked good' technique to help designers arrive at a usable information architecture.

  • Design Patterns: An Evolutionary Step to Managing Complex Sites 08/01/2003

    Read Jared M. Spool's commentary on why design patterns offer important advantages over traditional template, style guide, and guideline approaches to web design.

  • Guiding Users with Persuasive Design: An Interview with Andrew Chak 03/01/2003

    Persuasive Design expert, Andrew Chak talks about how designers can create sites that go beyond being usable to being persuasive.

  • Information Architecture the Adaptive Path Way: An Interview with Indi Young 02/05/2003

    Read our interview with Indi Young, one of the co-founders of Adaptive Path, where she shares her insight into how to build an information architecture from user data and business goals.

  • Designing for the Multiple Personalities of Users 01/09/2003

  • Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines 09/08/2002

    Established design fields, like architecture, have time-proven guidelines. Web site design, on the other hand, is a new craft. While new rules seem to be emerging, few have been tested. Guidelines, such as "always include a Search box on the home page sound good, but do they actually produce better sites?

  • Design For Community: An Interview with Derek Powazek 07/29/2002

    UIE's Christine Perfetti asked Derek Powazek, author of the book, "Design for Community", how best to create effective online communities to impact a site's success. In this interview, Derek gives advice on designing for community features.

  • Strategies for Categorizing Categories 05/06/2002

    How does a site containing thousands of pages of content get users to the content they seek quickly? There are many different strategies for organizing content on sites, and we recently took a hard look at five of them. How should mid-level categories (or departments as we call them) be designed? Does the layout of the information matter? By looking at how a particular category of e-commerce (apparel and home goods) solves the problem, we gained some valuable insights.

  • Designing a New Information Architecture: An Interview with Peter Merholz 03/12/2002

    This is an interview with Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path. Last year, Adaptive Path, working with interactive media agency Lot21, took on a challenging project--the redesign of three PeopleSoft sites. The redesign involved over 40,000 pages as well as 40 divergent opinions from stakeholders! After four and a half months, the site's information architecture and navigation were transformed. Read about their redesign process.

  • The Customer Sieve 01/31/2002

    We've learned that using a web site is a progressive process. Each user transitions from one stage to the next, as they work to accomplish their goal. The most pronounced transitions we've seen are on e-commerce sites. When we watch shoppers focusing on buying a product, we can clearly see each stage and when the transitions fail or succeed. By understanding the stages and how they work, we can learn a lot about building better sites.

  • How Usability-Focused Companies Think 11/01/1997

    Some companies build usable products through the heroic efforts of one or two individuals. Others establish strict processes that are supposed to promote usability, but usually don't. But the companies that are most successful at designing usable products are those in which everyone actually thinks differently. Here's how.

  • Market Maturity 01/01/1997

    Users' expectations of a product depend on the maturity of its market. By identifying what stage your product is in now, you can anticipate some of the pitfalls that lie ahead.

  • Making Online Information Usable 01/01/1996

    In the course of our consulting work, we've conducted dozens of usability studies that focus on how people use a variety of printed and online documentation, including manuals, help, cue-cards, and wizards. Here's some of what we've learned!

  • Harnessing the Power of Myth 01/01/1996

    Every development organization has its own myths about its users' knowledge, experience, and needs. Learn to cheaply and effectively capture and explore these myths, with the payoff being fewer "opinion wars" and a better understanding of your users.

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