Articles

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

    Jared Spool explains the Three Approaches to Delight.

  • Becoming a UX Unicorn in 5 Easy Steps Apr 02, 2014

    Jared Spool shares the strong connection between UX unicorns and they UX skills they acquire and hone.

  • New Rule: Every Desktop Design Has To Go Finger-Friendly - Part 2 Mar 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 Mar 12, 2014

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

  • Code Sketching - A Stretch Goal for Your Design Superpower Mar 05, 2014

    Jared Spool discusses the benefits of sketching in code and why you shouldn't fear it.

  • Responsive Design for Apps Feb 25, 2014

    Jason Grigsby tackles the concept of responsive design for mobile apps. He looks at widgets for desktop and mobile and explores the idea if phones are really different platforms than tablets.

  • Content Marketing Sustains the Conversation Feb 19, 2014

    Ever wondered why no one knows the true business value of your content? That's where content marketing comes into play, and Ahava Leibtag knows which techniques you can use to make it work across organizational silos.

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

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

  • A Bias For Making Feb 05, 2014

    Jared M. Spool looks at the communication process designers and developers follow to bring designs to life.

  • Designs and Deliverables are Haikus, Not Epic Poems. Jan 29, 2014

    Chris Farnum talks about design deliverables and their role in an incremental approach to your design.

  • Group Improvisation Jan 23, 2014

    Ben Callahan explains why you should invest in your people over your process.

  • Atomic Design Jan 15, 2014

    Brad Frost explains Atomic Design.

  • Taxonomy-driven Content Publishing Jan 07, 2014

    Stephanie Lemieux & Michele Ann Jenkins explain how taxonomy-driven design can manage content sprawl.

  • Design is the Rendering of Intent Dec 30, 2013

    Jared M. Spool explains design as “the rendering of intent.” Simply put, this is when the designer imagines an outcome and puts forth activities to make that outcome real.

  • The Redesign of the Design Process Dec 10, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses how to build great team collaborations by applying design skills to the act of designing.

  • Designing for Breakpoints Dec 04, 2013

    In an excerpt from his book, Stephen Hay shares his expertise on how to deal with breaking points within your text, navigation and tables.

  • Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach Nov 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.

  • LiRPPS: Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios - Part 2 Nov 14, 2013

    In Part 2, Jared M. Spool explains how to create principles, personas, and scenarios in one day.

  • LiRPPS: Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios - Part 1 Nov 06, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses how to use a lightweight, research-based approach to create usable decision-making references for designers.

  • Meetings: The Canary in the Culture Coal Mine Oct 16, 2013

    Kevin Hoffman discusses how the culture of a group or a project team plays a significant role in meetings.

  • Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques: Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios Oct 09, 2013

    Adam Connor discusses setting the foundation for meaningful critiques.

  • Perspectives over Power: Habits of Collaborative Team Meetings Sep 25, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses what makes meetings more effective than others.

  • Designing with Remote Teams Sep 11, 2013

    Jeff Gothelf discusses designing with remote teams.

  • Building a Cohesive Design Team Sep 04, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses team characteristics that lead to successful designs.

  • Feedback Illuminates the Rules Aug 28, 2013

    Dan Saffer discusses Designing with Details

  • The Top 20 Data Visualization Tools Aug 14, 2013

    Brian Suda lays out the top 20 data visualisation tools.

  • Designing Intuitive Microinteractions Aug 01, 2013

    Jared M. Spool talks about designing better microinteractions.

  • Hiring a UX Pro - 4 Techniques from Smart Teams Jul 18, 2013

    Jared Spool talks about how to hire great UX Pros.

  • A Typical UX Team of One Job Description Jul 02, 2013

    Author Leah Buley talks about being a UX Team of One.

  • Replacing "Requirements Gathering" with Something That Works Jun 25, 2013

    Jared Spool talks about requirements gathering.

  • Designing Microinteractions Jun 19, 2013

    Jared Spool talks to Dan Saffer about microinteractions.

  • What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative? Jun 12, 2013

    Jared Spool explains what makes an experience innovative.

  • Why Lean UX? Jun 05, 2013

    Authors Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden lay out their rationale for why Lean UX is something new and why it’s important now.

  • Experience Rot May 29, 2013

    Jared M. Spool explains the dangerous effects of experience rot on user experience.

  • Incorporating Content Strategy into Your Information Architecture May 22, 2013

    Margot Bloomstein shares examples of how organizations are successfully incorporating content strategy into their information architecture.

  • How Content Strategy Can Help May 14, 2013

    Margot Bloomstein discusses the strategies content producers should take to optimize their writing.

  • UX Design, Role-playing & Micromoments May 07, 2013

    Stephen P. Anderson discusses micro-moments in design.

  • Five Prevalent Pitfalls when Prototyping May 02, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses five of the most common pitfalls of prototyping.

  • Genius Design's Little Secrets Apr 17, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses the sophisticated approach of genius design.

  • Embracing the Medium Apr 09, 2013

    Richard Rutter discusses why you need to consider the medium you're working with and how it ties into your users' environment.

  • APIs: The Future Is Now Apr 04, 2013

    Jared M Spool discusses APIs to integrate technology and capabilities into almost any design.

  • Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies Mar 20, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses three radical redesign approach strategies.

  • Applying Comics Mar 13, 2013

    Kevin Cheng discusses how to communicate ideas using comics and sketches.

  • The ROI of Mobile Content Strategy Mar 06, 2013

    Jared discusses the cost effectiveness of responsive design vs. creating a separate mobile version of a web site.

  • Conducting Usability Research for Mobile Feb 27, 2013

    Jared M. Spool speaks with Cyd Harrell on conducting user research on mobile devices.

  • Tone and Voice: Showing Your Users That You Care Feb 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 Feb 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 Feb 06, 2013

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

  • Devising a Strategy for Responsive Design Jan 29, 2013

    Jared M. Spool discusses some practices for adaptive design.

  • Being Real Builds Trust Jan 25, 2013

    Steph Hay discusses how trust inspires confidence, which in turn compels decision-making.

  • 6 Tips for Organizing Sketched Artifacts Jan 16, 2013

    Nathan Curtis shares 6 tips on storing and organizing sketches.

  • The Power of Sketches: How We Sold a Huge Project Shift with 5 Index Cards Jan 08, 2013

    Nathan Curtis explains how a limited number of sketches shifted a design project.

  • 3 Big UX Lessons Ripped from 2012 Tech Headlines Jan 02, 2013

    Jared M. Spool shares the 3 big UX lessons learned from the top tech headlines of 2012.

  • One Step at a Time Dec 12, 2012

    Derek Featherstone talks about integrating accessibility into your own work, no matter what it is that you do.

  • Mobile UX's Tsunami-Sized Ripple Effects Dec 06, 2012

    Jared M. Spool looks at how mobile technology affects our design and development decisions and how it changes the user experience.

  • Activity Analytics for Web Apps Nov 15, 2012

    Jared M. Spool talks about analytic tools and the insights of what they can capture.

  • All Content is Marketing Nov 07, 2012

    Des Traynor explains why everything you write should be crafted with the intention of selling, educating, or increasing customer loyalty.

  • The Hunt for Missing Expectations Oct 24, 2012

    Jared M. Spool discusses the difference between failed and missed expectations, and how to avoid them.

  • What Good Teaching and Meetings Share Oct 10, 2012

    Kevin M. Hoffman shares four simple, easy-to-remember guidelines about how to convey information.

  • Goods, Bads, and Dailies: Lessons for Conducting Great Critiques Oct 03, 2012

    Jared M. Spool explains how child magicians and Pixar Media have mastered critique and how you can incorporate this into your design process.

  • Collaboration through the Design Studio: An Interview with Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry Sep 26, 2012

    Jared M. Spool interviews Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry on using a design studio as a process to improve team communication and achieve design goals.

  • Exploring the Problem Space Through Prototyping Sep 20, 2012

    Jared M. Spool discusses the difference between mockups and prototypes and how the four stages of a prototype helps you understand a design problem.

  • Where are the Mobile First Responsive Web Designs? Sep 11, 2012

    Jason Grigsby looks at responsive web design and flips the process around to address some of the concerns raised about media queries.

  • Explaining the iOS and Android Mobile Browser Usage Disparity Aug 29, 2012

    Jason Grisby looks at why Android users browse less on the web than iOS users.

  • The User We've Left Out: The Content Governor Aug 22, 2012

    Jared M. Spool discusses the concept of including a content governor as one of your users.

  • Anatomy of an Experience Map Aug 14, 2012

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

  • Context-Rich Scenarios Make UX Projects Manageable Aug 08, 2012

    Jared M. Spool walks us through a scenario to improve the customer service reservation system for a hotel chain.

  • 8 Things You Need to Know About Taxonomy, Metadata and Information Architecture in SharePoint Aug 01, 2012

    Eight important things to keep in mind concerning taxonomy, metadata and IA when using SharePoint.

  • Design Studio Workshop: Adding Up the Benefits Jul 25, 2012

    Jared M. Spool explains how a design studio workshop can help your team work through various design challenges and the benefits these workshops bring to the team.

  • Multi-Device Adaptation vs. Optimization Jul 18, 2012

    Luke Wroblewski discusses multi-device adaption vs. optimization. He gives a great analogy of how responsive design and optimization relates to taking a trip and packing appropriately.

  • Designing What's Never Been Done Before Jul 10, 2012

    Jared Spool discusses how creating working scenarios and employing a studio workshop make for a great process to get to solid innovative designs.

  • In Defense of Lorem Ipsum Jun 27, 2012

    Karen McGrane talks about when it is appropriate to use Lorem Ipsum, and why you would use it.

  • Injecting the Big Picture into Daily Design Practice Jun 20, 2012

    Jared Spool talks about how some teams are working to inject the big picture of their experience into their daily design process.

  • 7 Frequently Asked Questions on Card Sorting Jun 13, 2012

    Donna Spencer answers some frequently asked questions on card sorting.

  • Making a Brand Investment Through Experience Jun 07, 2012

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

  • Unleashing the Power of a UX KPI May 23, 2012

    Jared Spool looks at how an unusual measure, tool time, made its journey into becoming a useful UX KPI.

  • The Magical Short-Form Creative Brief May 03, 2012

    Jared Spool talks about the Short-Form Creative Brief - a compact design artifact we found in use by a team we've been working with.

  • Starting Your User Research Apr 18, 2012

    Jared Spool talks about the different techniques available for starting user research. He shares what our favorites are and which ones we avoid.

  • 4 Tricks To Quick Intranet UX Improvements Apr 05, 2012

    Jared Spool shares four tricks weʼve found work well when looking to improve the user experience of intranets and internal systems.

  • Device Experience and Responsive Design Mar 28, 2012

    Luke Wroblewski shares two techniques to make the process of designing web applications and sites for multiple devices more manageable: classifying device experiences and designing/building responsively.

  • Cost Effective Approaches to Iteration in Agile UX Mar 21, 2012

    Jared M. Spool looks at what happens when we try to iterate in an Agile process and, with the help of InContext's Hugh Beyer, why that doesn't always work the way we'd hope.

  • Making Sense of Mobile Within the Enterprise Mar 14, 2012

    James Robertson shares some tips on planning and delivering enterprise mobility.

  • Prototyping's Resurgence: Communicating the Designer's Intent Mar 08, 2012

    Jared M. Spool explores how prototyping is coming back as an important design tool.

  • What The Karate Kid Can Teach Us About Agile and UX Feb 22, 2012

    Jeff Gothelf compares the lessons that the Karate Kid experiences to how you adapt Agile into UX.

  • UX and Agile Development: 2012's Challenges and Opportunities Feb 14, 2012

    Jared M. Spool explores some of this year's oncoming challenges and emerging opportunities that we're seeing when integrating a UX process inside Agile development.

  • UX and Mobile Design: 2012's Challenges and Opportunities Jan 31, 2012

    Jared M. Spool explores both the scary and the exciting that comes with mobile design.

  • Why Visualization Jan 23, 2012

    Noah Iliinsky explains why data visualizations are a useful and desirable tool.

  • Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding Jan 18, 2012

    Jared M. Spool shares two types of shared understanding we uncovered and how one of them is far more likely to end with a successful design

  • Mobile Design: Content and the Great Web-based vs. Native Debate Jan 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 Jan 04, 2012

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

  • Bending the Protocols: Useful Variations on Usability Tests Dec 20, 2011

    Jared M. Spool talks about five of our favorite usability test variations. You’ll see how we bend and twist basic techniques to discover new things about what we’re designing.

  • Is There Any Meat on This Lean UX Thing? Nov 30, 2011

    Jared M. Spool discuss what's been happening to our design processes and why Lean UX has real potential to change the way we approach our work.

  • The Flexibility of the Four Stages of Competence Nov 16, 2011

    Jared M. Spool shares an old model that has appeared on his radar over the last few years: The Four Stages of Competence.

  • Riding the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge Nov 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 Oct 25, 2011

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

  • Good Design Faster - An Interview with Brandon Schauer Oct 18, 2011

    Jared M. Spool interviews Brandon Schauer, Adaptive Path's Managing Director on how to get your teams to produce innovative ideas.

  • Why I Love Taking Teams On Field Visits Oct 13, 2011

    Jared Spool discusses the benefits of visiting your users.

  • 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects Sep 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 Sep 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.

  • 6 Epic Forces Battling Your Mega Menus Aug 24, 2011

    Jared Spool talks about the epic forces that are constantly in battle with any mega menu implementation, preventing the users from getting value.

  • CSS3 - Tools and Mobile Implementation Aug 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

  • Designing with Scenarios: Putting Personas to Work Jul 29, 2011

    Kim Goodwin focuses on 2 questions: Do you need data to effectively do scenarios and what's the difference between scenarios and storyboarding?.

  • Winning a User Experience Debate Jul 12, 2011

    Cennydd Bowles outlines his advice for winning a UX debate and explains what to do when you disagree with the feedback you receive on your design.

  • Five Factors for Successful Persona Projects Jul 06, 2011

    Jared Spool discusses five factors of what makes personas successful.

  • Visual Design Essentials for Non-Designers Jun 28, 2011

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

  • Building a Community through Stories and Data Jun 22, 2011

    Jared Spool and Kate Brigham discuss how PatientsLikeMe creates an online community by emphasizing data sharing.

  • Developing a UX Practice of Practicing Jun 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.

  • Who Is on the UX Team? Jun 02, 2011

    Jared Spool talks about an important difference between the best and not-so-best teams

  • Accessibility with Derek Featherstone May 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 May 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.

  • Mobile Strategy, Data Visualization, and Design Process - Big Challenges, Big Rewards Apr 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.

  • Search as a Multi-channel Experience Apr 22, 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

  • What to Expect When You're Not Expecting It Apr 04, 2011

    Steve Portigal takes a look at how some past participants took him outside of the business questions at hand, and how their life circumstances affected his client's business strategy.

  • Fast Path to a Great UX - Increased Exposure Hours Mar 30, 2011

    Learn how upping your exposure hours is the fastest path to enhancing the quality of your product or service’s user experience.

  • iPhone App Design: When an Awkward Interface Makes Sense Mar 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 Mar 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 Feb 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? Feb 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 Feb 01, 2011

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

  • Part 2 - Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings Jan 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 Jan 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 Jan 18, 2011

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

  • Responsive Web Design Jan 11, 2011

    Ethan Marcotte outlines and explains his concept of Responsive Web Design

  • What Makes a Good Deliverable Dec 07, 2010

    Dan Brown takes us through the characteristics of a good deliverable

  • Designing Great Experiences: The Gap Between Activities Nov 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 Nov 03, 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Sep 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 Sep 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 Sep 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

  • Google, User Experience, and Thinking Beyond Conversion Aug 24, 2010

    Jeffrey Eisenberg explains how Google's Quality Score helps designers produce a better site, while helping marketers get better search rankings.

  • Three Questions You Shouldn't Ask During User Research Aug 18, 2010

    Jared M. Spool talks about getting information faster when you avoid three types of questions during user research sessions.

  • Five Indispensable Skills for UX Mastery Aug 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 Jul 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.

  • Pros and Cons of Remote Usability Testing Jul 15, 2010

    Nate Bolt explores the pros and cons of remote usability testing.

  • Capturing the Interesting Moments Jul 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.

  • Gradual Engagement Boosts Twitter Sign-Ups by 29% Jun 29, 2010

    Luke Wroblewski discusses Twitter new sign-up process and how gradual engagement increased the conversion rate by 29%.

  • Are You Really Prepared for Your Usability Study? The Three Steps for Success Jun 22, 2010

    UIE alumni Christine Perfetti provides us 3 steps to ensure you're truly prepared for your usability studies.

  • The Discipline of Content Strategy May 26, 2010

    Kristina Halvorson introduces what content strategy is and how you can start to make it work for you.

  • Baking Social Interfaces Into Your Design Apr 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 Mar 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 Mar 18, 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? Mar 01, 2010

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

  • Browse vs. Search in Application Navigation Feb 22, 2010

    Hagan Rivers ponders if a search capability would work for finding commands in addition to data sets.

  • The Essence of a Successful Persona Project Feb 17, 2010

    Jared Spool shares the essence of successful persona projects -- the key factors teams should understand.

  • The Apple Store's Checkout Form Redesign - Part 2 Feb 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 Feb 05, 2010

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

  • Web Apps: Where Business Needs and User Needs Collide Jan 27, 2010

    Jared Spool discusses how the best web app designers come up with ingenious ways to meet the business requirements while producing a delightful user experience.

  • Spending Quality Time with Your Search Log Jan 06, 2010

    Jared Spool walks you through some of the questions we answer when we're studying a client's search log.

  • Three Perils with Search Landing Pages Dec 15, 2009

    Jared Spool talks about about some perils seen when users clicked on sponsored links, only to be disappointed by the results.

  • Deciding When Graphics Will Help (and When They Won't) Dec 01, 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 Nov 11, 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

  • Gerry McGovern Says "Manage the Tasks" Oct 28, 2009

    Jared Spool discusses with Gerry McGovern how users' performance on a site correlates strongly with their completion of tasks.

  • Moderating with Multiple Personalities: 3 Roles for Facilitating Usability Tests Oct 14, 2009

    Jared Spool explains the 3 personalities needed to moderate successful usability tests.

  • Breaking Up Large Documents for the Web - Part 3 Sep 29, 2009

    In part 3, Ginny Redish discusses when when to use PDFs on your web site. This article is an excerpt from her book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works.

  • Breaking Up Large Documents for the Web - Part 2 Sep 24, 2009

    In part 2, Ginny Redish discusses when one long page should be used versus several web pages. This article is an excerpt from her book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works.

  • Breaking Up Large Documents for the Web - Part 1 Sep 22, 2009

    In part 1, Ginny Redish explains how you should break up large documents for the web. This article is an excerpt from her book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works.

  • How I Draft an Information Architecture Sep 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 Aug 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 Aug 19, 2009

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

  • Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity Aug 12, 2009

    Dana Chisnell explains how you can easily conduct usability tests "in the wild."

  • Front End Concerns When Implementing Faceted Search - Part 2 Aug 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 Aug 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 Jun 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! May 20, 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 May 14, 2009

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

  • Designing for Faceted Search Apr 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 Apr 07, 2009

    Jared Spool discusses why designers should practice visual disorientation.

  • Harnessing the Power of Annotations -- An Interview with Dan Brown Apr 04, 2009

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

  • The Magic Behind Amazon's 2.7 Billion Dollar Question Mar 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 Mar 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 Feb 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 Feb 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 Jan 27, 2009

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

  • 5 Design Decision Styles. What's Yours? Jan 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 Jan 14, 2009

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

  • Components Versus Patterns Jan 09, 2009

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

  • A Recession Strategy for Web Apps Jan 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 Dec 29, 2008

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

  • Top Articles of 2008 Dec 19, 2008

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

  • Account Sign-in: 8 Design Mistakes to Avoid Dec 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 Nov 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Sep 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 Sep 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?

  • Five Techniques for Getting Buy-In for Usability Testing Sep 02, 2008

    In this popular article, originally published in April 2008, Christine Perfetti outlines the 5 best techniques for convincing management and key stakeholders of the benefits of incorporating usability testing into the formal design process. It's easier than you think.

  • Four Essential Skills for Information Architects: An Interview with Donna Spencer Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Jul 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 Jul 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 Jul 09, 2008

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

  • Avoiding Demographics When Recruiting Participants: An Interview with Dana Chisnell Jul 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 Jun 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 Jun 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 Jun 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 Jun 03, 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.

  • A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Evaluating Design Alternatives May 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 May 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 Apr 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Feb 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 Jan 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 Jan 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 Jan 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 Jan 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Nov 27, 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 Oct 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 Oct 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 Oct 01, 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 Sep 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 Sep 18, 2007

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

  • Making Personas Work for Your Web Site: An Interview with Steve Mulder Sep 06, 2007

    Jared M. Spool recently had the chance to talk to Steve Mulder about how to create effective personas based on user research as well as valuable tips for convincing your organization to adopt personas into the design process.

  • Thinking in the Right Terms: 7 Components for a Successful Web Site Redesign Aug 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 Aug 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.

  • Goal-Directed Design: An Interview with Kim Goodwin Aug 15, 2007

    In this interview, Cooper's Kim Goodwin provides an overview of the Goal-Directed Design method and discusses Cooper's groundbreaking user research techniques.

  • Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype Aug 07, 2007

    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.

  • Debunking the Myths of Innovation: An Interview with Scott Berkun Jul 26, 2007

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

  • Learning from the Facebook Mini-Feed Disaster Jul 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 Jul 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 Jul 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 Jun 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 Jun 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 Jun 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.

  • Field Research Fundamentals: An Interview with Kate Gomoll Jun 05, 2007

    UIE's Ashley McKee recently spent some time with Kate Gomoll discussing the immense benefits gained from performing field studies to understand users. While techniques such as focus groups, usability tests, and surveys can lead to valuable insights, none of them immerse design teams in users' natural environments to observe critical details quite like field research.

  • Three Important Benefits of Personas May 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.

  • The 3 Steps for Creating an Experience Vision May 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? May 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.

  • The Problem with Dirty Data May 03, 2007

    Gerry McGovern details the critical role content management plays in allowing your customers to quickly and efficiently complete tasks on your web site, and explores why many companies do such a poor job of managing their content.

  • Five Techniques for Getting Buy-In for Usability Testing Apr 24, 2007

    Christine Perfetti outlines the 5 best techniques for convincing management and key stakeholders of the benefits of incorporating usability testing into the formal design process. It's easier than you think.

  • Simplicity: The Ultimate Sophistication Apr 09, 2007

    Is simplicity a bad design goal?

  • Field Studies: The Best Tool to Discover User Needs Mar 13, 2007

    Jared M. Spool talks about why field studies are the most powerful user research technique for successful design teams.

  • Usability Testing. Oh, The Things You Can Learn. Feb 27, 2007

    Jared Spool sheds light on the aspects of usability testing nobody ever talks about, and catalogues some of the things a team learns when they put together their own usability tests, starting with recruiting and ending with analysis.

  • Streamlining the Design Process with Paper Prototyping: An Interview with Carolyn Snyder Jan 30, 2007

    UIE's Ashley McKee managed to get a bit of Carolyn Snyder's time to discuss the increased popularity of paper prototyping, what the technique is, who can use it, and how it's beneficial to the design process.

  • Taking Time to Tour Jan 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.

  • Watch and Learn: How Recommendation Systems are Redefining the Web Dec 13, 2006

    People love recommendations because they are a useful shortcut, saving us the time of doing our own research. Powerful web applications are now helping us do that online, recommending music, movies, and travel options. Joshua Porter delves into some of the benefits and drawbacks of these systems that are spreading like wildfire on the Web.

  • Designing Web Applications for Use Dec 11, 2006

    Larry Constantine, IDSA, of Constantine & Lockwood, describes several of the recurring problems with user-centered design and discusses how designing for use rather than for users is a way to focus design more sharply.

  • Tips for Designing Powerful RIAs: An Interview with David Malouf and Bill Scott Dec 06, 2006

    UIE's Jared M. Spool and Joshua Porter recently had the chance to talk with expert web application designers, Bill Scott and David Malouf, to discuss Rich Internet Application (RIA) development, AJAX, and other important issues surrounding the creation of sophisticated web apps.

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

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

  • Discovering Web App Structure: A Discussion with Hagan Rivers Nov 10, 2006

    UIE's Jared Spool recently managed to get a little of Hagan River's time to discuss her newly published report about finding a web application's structure.

  • Agile Development Processes: An Interview with Jeff Patton Sep 12, 2006

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

  • An Interview with Barry Schwartz Aug 28, 2006

    UIE's Jared M. Spool recently talked with Barry Schwartz, the bestselling author of the "Paradox of Choice." In the interview, Barry discusses his research on how people make choices.

  • Designing Powerful Web Applications: An Interview with David (Heller) Malouf Jul 27, 2006

    UIE's Joshua Porter recently interviewed David (Heller) Malouf, a premier Interaction Designer, to discuss the issues involved when development teams are thinking about designing web applications using AJAX and RIAs.

  • Building and Managing a Successful User Experience Team Jul 11, 2006

    UIE's Christine Perfetti recently interviewed Sarah Bloomer and Susan Wolfe, two premier User Experience experts, to discuss how organizations can make their UX practices a success.

  • Where Visual Design Meets Usability - An Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Part II Jun 28, 2006

    In part II of their interview, Luke Wroblewski and Joshua Porter discuss what makes a strong page hierarchy, what effect technology has on design, and the role of visual designers.

  • Where Visual Design Meets Usability - An Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Part I Jun 22, 2006

    UIE's Joshua Porter catches up with Luke Wroblewski about the intersection between visual design and web site usability. Here is what Luke had to say.

  • Lifestyles of the Link-Rich Home Pages Jun 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 Jun 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 Jun 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 Apr 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.

  • Interview-Based Tasks: Learning from Leonardo DiCaprio Mar 07, 2006

    In interview-based tasks, the participants interests are discovered, not assigned. Because each task is drawn from the experience and interest of each participant, no two participants perform exactly the same tasks.

  • The Elements of a Design Pattern Jan 23, 2006

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

  • The Road to Recommendation Jan 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Nov 30, 2005

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

  • Why eBay needs Standards-Oriented Design: An Interview with Eric A. Meyer Sep 12, 2005

    CSS expert, Eric A Meyer, discusses why organizations such as eBay should convert over to CSS and standards-oriented sites.

  • CUE: A Usability Testing Bake-Off Aug 19, 2005

    In 1998, Rolf Molich held what we could call the first usability testing bake-off. He called it a Comparative Usability Evaluation or CUE. The CUE can help you improve your own usability practices by learning how others test their interfaces.

  • Deconstructing Web Applications Aug 11, 2005

    Hagan Rivers is a recognized pioneer in the area of Web Application Design. UIE's Christine Perfetti recently had the opportunity to talk with Hagan about some of the biggest challenges in the web application space.

  • Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping Jul 27, 2005

    Jared M. Spool discusses the lessons we've learned from practicing paper prototyping for 16 years. He'll share what's new about this valuable technique and what's still the same.

  • Using Ajax for Creating Web Applications Jul 14, 2005

    By combining the sophistication of screen-based apps to the relative ease-of-implementation of paged-based apps, Ajax is a solid alternative for new interface development.

  • The Right Information Jun 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.

  • Thinking Beyond Conversion Jun 17, 2005

    Jeffrey Eisenberg discusses how teams need to change their design strategies to see dramatic improvements in site conversion rates. They must recognize that while their goal may be conversion, their practice must be persuasion.

  • 5-Second Tests: Measuring Your Site's Content Pages Jun 09, 2005

    How can design teams be confident their content pages are understandable to users? How does a team ensure they've designed content pages that communicate the essential information effectively? A simple usability testing technique can help design teams quickly measure how a content page performs with users. We call it the 5-Second Test.

  • Web Standards in the Real World: An Interview with Molly Holzschlag Jun 01, 2005

    UIE's Joshua Porter interviews Molly Holzschlag on the Importance of CSS, the Difficulties with Workflow, and Passing the Acid2 test.

  • Streamlining Usability Testing by Avoiding the Lab May 25, 2005

    The usability lab, with its fancy cameras, one-way mirrors, and comfortable observation suites, is often considered a can't-do-without necessity for conducting serious usability tests. Even those who feel it's not required will jump at the chance to use a lab when available. However, while studying successful projects over the years, we've found that usability testing can often be more effective when the team eliminates the lab from the process.

  • Web Content Management is Not Data Management May 23, 2005

    Web content management and data/document management require very different approaches. Data management is about storage; web content management is about using content to make the sale, deliver the service, and build the brand.

  • Folksonomies: A User-Driven Approach to Organizing Content Apr 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.

  • Identifying the Business Value of What We Do Apr 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 Apr 05, 2005

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

  • Designing Embraceable Change Mar 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.

  • Home Alone? How Content Aggregators Change Navigation and Control of Content Mar 01, 2005

    Accurate search engines and other up-to-the-minute content aggregators are drastically changing the game of web design. It's turning into a situation where the information architecture that is most important isn't the one that's on your web site, but the one on everyone else's.

  • Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes Feb 15, 2005

    As we work with teams all over the globe, there are mistakes that we see frequently. These mistakes are very easy to prevent -- if only the team members realized they were making them. Here are seven of the most common mistakes.

  • Six Steps to Ensure a Successful Usability Test Jan 18, 2005

    Ginny Redish, a recognized expert in the world of usability testing, and author of the book, "A Practical Guide to Usability Testing", has written a fantastic article with tips for ensuring you get the most out of each usability test.

  • Perfecting Your Personas Jan 13, 2005

    Kim Goodwin has written an excellent article with great tips on avoiding the most common pitfalls of persona creation. Kim works for Cooper, a leading interaction design firm that has really brought personas to the forefront of everyone's attention.

  • What Makes a Design Seem 'Intuitive'? Jan 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 Jan 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 Nov 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 Nov 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.

  • Making Your Content Management System Work for You: An Interview with Jeffrey Veen Sep 29, 2004

    In this interview, Adaptive Path's Jeffrey Veen shares the reasons why many content management systems fail and what designers can do to avoid the common pitfalls associated with CMS installations.

  • Designing Products That Work the Way People Work: An Interview with Kate Gomoll Sep 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.

  • Honing Your Usability Testing Skills: An Interview with Ginny Redish Sep 09, 2004

    Ginny Redish, a recognized usability expert, shares her insight into usability testing best practices.

  • The Cost of Frustration Jul 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 May 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 Mar 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.

  • Conducting Inherent Value Testing Feb 25, 2004

    In a past article, Jared summarized the benefits of Inherent Value Testing, a simple usability testing technique that can help you measure how your site communicates your product's value

  • Inherent Value Testing Feb 19, 2004

    Is your web site chartered with encouraging people to buy or use your product or service? Is it succeeding? It turns out there is a simple usability testing technique that can help you measure how your site communicates your product's inherent value.

  • The CAA: A Wicked Good Design Technique Nov 19, 2003

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

  • Casting Your User Research Oct 01, 2003

    Peter Merholz talks about choosing research participants.

  • Iterative Design: The Power of Cascading Style Sheets Aug 08, 2003

    Read how you can use Cascading Style Sheets as a tremendously powerful prototyping tool. Jared M. Spool shares how CSS enables designers to make very fast changes of both the content and the control and flow of a page.

  • Design Patterns: An Evolutionary Step to Managing Complex Sites Aug 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.

  • Usability Testing Best Practices: An Interview with Rolf Molich Jul 24, 2003

    UIE's Christine Perfetti asked expert usability practitioner Rolf Molich his thoughts on the best practices surrounding usability testing. Here's what they talked about.

  • The Quiet Death of the Major Re-Launch May 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.

  • Getting Confidence From Lincoln Apr 25, 2003

    In a pivotal user test a couple years ago we found out one of the secrets of great web sites: they inspire confidence in users. Jared explores how to measure it and use it to your advantage.

  • Testing the Three-Click Rule Apr 16, 2003

    Is all of your content available within three clicks? Does it matter if it isn't? We recently looked to see whether this popular design rule was really worth following.

  • Usability Myths Need Reality Checks Apr 01, 2003

    UIE's Will Schroeder evaluates some common Usability myths and investigated whether these beliefs are truly accurate.

  • Transitional Layouts in (X)HTML and CSS: An Interview with Eric A. Meyer Mar 11, 2003

    CSS guru Eric A. Meyer talks about some of the issues that face web teams as they transition their designs to the latest standards.

  • Guiding Users with Persuasive Design: An Interview with Andrew Chak Mar 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 Feb 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.

  • Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization Jan 20, 2003

    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.

  • Designing for the Multiple Personalities of Users Jan 09, 2003

  • iHotelier: Demonstrating the Potential of Flash for Web App Design Dec 10, 2002

    Read Christine Perfetti's article where she shows how one very innovative design built with Macromedia Flash gets past the constraints of HTML.

  • 5 Things to Know About Users Dec 02, 2002

    "Know Your Users" is the mantra of any good designer. Yet, what should you actually know about your users? How old they are? How much they make? Or something else entirely? A recent usability test helps identify the 5 things every designer needs to know about their users

  • The Search for Seducible Moments Nov 08, 2002

    If you offer something that is unique to your organization, (and chances are that you do--that's why you're in business) then how do you make the users aware of these benefits? Jared Spool discusses how to identify these "seducible moments".

  • Understanding Users through Brand Research: an Interview with Mitch McCasland Sep 18, 2002

    Mitch McCasland of Brand Inquiry Partners is an expert in brand strategy and Account Planning and has worked with such clients as Proctor & Gamble, Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up, and Verizon/GTE. UIE's Christine Perfetti recently sat down with Mitch to talk about how Account Planning techniques can benefit designers.

  • Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines Sep 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?

  • No Standard for Migrating to Web Standards Aug 29, 2002

    In this article, we talk with Eric A. Meyer and Molly E. Holzschlag about the importance of web standards and why web teams should invest the effort to convert their legacy sites over to standards-compliant sites.

  • Flash Strikes Back: Creating Powerful Web Applications Aug 20, 2002

    With the advent of Flash MX, developers now have the power to create web applications with more sophisticated client- and server-side interactivity. In this article, we highlight web applications that truly demonstrate Flash's benefits over traditional HTML-based applications.

  • Words Drive Action: An Interview with Gerry McGovern Aug 12, 2002

    UIE's Christine Perfetti and Joshua Porter recently talked with Gerry about the importance of an editorial perspective in a web development process.

  • Design For Community: An Interview with Derek Powazek Jul 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.

  • Why Amazon Succeeds--And Why It Won't Help You Jun 20, 2002

    Amazon is one of the best on-site search capabilities we've ever seen. But surprisingly, the reason why it works so well is likely to be the same reason why Search won't work well on your site. This article discusses how Amazon can take advantage of having "uniquely identified content", an advantage most sites don't have.

  • Strategies for Categorizing Categories May 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 Mar 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.

  • Determining How Design Affects Branding Feb 11, 2002

    Designers often tell us part of their responsibilities is to enhance the branding of a site, product, or organization. In recent years, we've focused our research on understanding how design can have a positive effect on a brand.

  • The Customer Sieve Jan 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.

  • Users Continue After Category Links Dec 04, 2001

    Over the last year, we've been looking at how to get users to find valuable content that they aren't aware of when they first come to the site.

  • Users Don't Learn To Search Better Nov 27, 2001

    When we watched 30 users trying to search various sites for content they were interested in, we noticed a peculiar phenomenon: The more times the users searched, the less likely they were to find what they wanted.

  • People Search Once, Maybe Twice Nov 20, 2001

    In a 2001 research study, we observed that users only found their target content 34% of the time with Search (less than with categories). We wanted to know why.

  • Users Decide First; Move Second Oct 25, 2001

    Designers use interactive design elements, such as fly outs, rollovers, and dropdowns, to conserve space, make the screen less cluttered, and enhance the users' experience. We were surprised when users succeeded more often when they didn't encounter these design elements than when they did.

  • Driving Innovation and Creativity through Customer Data Sep 01, 2001

    This article explores the foundations of designing for innovation. Karen Holtzblatt has created contextual inquiry, a practical, customer-centered approach that helps designers develop creative solutions that dominate the competition.

  • Flash + Information Visualization = Great User Experiences Aug 01, 2001

    By combining tools like Flash and the little-known field of information visualization, designers can dramatically improve how users work with large, multidimensional data sets.

  • Personas: Matching a Design to the Users' Goals Aug 01, 2001

    Learn how personas can help designers tackle the huge challenge of designing products and web sites for a large number of different users.

  • Learning from the Work of Others Aug 01, 2001

    Rolf Molich has conducted two experiments comparing the work of different usability teams, examining their practices, and looking for patterns and differences. His experiments provide extremely valuable material for sharpening individual usability practices.

  • Eight is Not Enough Jun 18, 2001

    How many users should you test? Christine Perfetti and Lori Landesman address this commonly-asked question.

  • Are There Users Who Always Search? May 01, 2001

    Web designers often tell us that they spend a great deal of their time and resources working to improve their on-site search engines because, they believe, there are some people who always rely on the search engine to reach their target content. Here's what we found.

  • The Truth About Download Time Jan 31, 2001

    We hear all the time from web designers that they spend countless hours and resources trying to speed up their web pages' download time because they believe that people are turned off by slow-loading pages. What we discovered may surprise you.

  • Personas and Goal-Directed Design: An Interview with Kim Goodwin Jan 01, 2001

    UIE's Matthew Klee interviewed Kim Goodwin, VP of Design at Cooper. Kim discusses Cooper's design methodology, Goal-Directed Design, which emphasizes identifying goals of users before doing any formal design.

  • Five Paper Prototyping Tips Mar 01, 2000

    Paper prototyping is a highly effective tool for creating designs that involve an interactive user interface. We often hear questions about paper prototyping: How does it work for existing systems, or for teams proficient with HTML and rapid design tools? How can technology-driven design elements like rollovers be incorporated in paper prototyping? We have some tips.

  • Usability Labs: Our Take Jul 01, 1999

    Here at User Interface Engineering, we recognize that many people find usability labs to be valuable tools, but we have a different view. We're happy with our no-lab setup and confident that it gives excellent results.

  • Observing What Didn't Happen Jan 01, 1999

    During usability tests, everyone notices when a user fails because a feature breaks down. But when expected things don't happen, or illogical things do happen, it can mean that developers didn't understand what the users needed, or how they would use the product.

  • Docs in the Real World Nov 01, 1998

    When we watched users in their native habitats, we learned a lot about how they use documentation and some of the reasons they don't use it. Many of the issues we saw had little to do with the docs.

  • Six Slick Tests for Docs and Help Sep 01, 1998

    Usability testing isn't just for software and web sites. Testing documentation can ensure that it includes--and accurately conveys--all the information users expect and need.

  • Testing Web Sites with Eye-Tracking Sep 01, 1998

    Designers want their web site visitors to look over here, but, by following their gaze and analyzing their actions, we know that users more often were looking over there.

  • What is Eye-Tracking Good For? Sep 01, 1998

    We learned a lot about web users by bouncing light off their eyeballs, but this useful technique can't answer some questions, such as why users look at something.

  • As the Page Scrolls Jul 01, 1998

    Users say they don't like to scroll. As a result, many designers try to keep their web pages short. But one of the most significant findings of our research on web-site usability is that users are perfectly willing to scroll. However, they'll only do it if the page gives them strong clues that scrolling will help them find what they're looking for.

  • Seductive Design for Web Sites Jul 01, 1998

    We used to think it was impossible to design a web site that successfully supported both information retrieval and browsing. We now believe a site can do both--but only when designers know what their audience is interested in.

  • Paper Prototypes: Still Our Favorite May 01, 1998

    We've been creating paper prototypes and teaching others to use them for many years. In that time, we've learned a lot about what paper prototyping is all about and we're still pleased by what an effective and easy-to-use tool it is.

  • Scheduling Hard-to-Find Users Jan 01, 1998

    Developers may hesitate to start usability testing because they worry that their product poses special problems in finding, scheduling, or compensating the right users. This shouldn't stop them. We successfully find and test hundreds of users a year and about 10% of these require special tactics for scheduling. Here are some of the things we've learned.

  • How Usability-Focused Companies Think Nov 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.

  • Why On-Site Searching Stinks Sep 01, 1997

    Back in 1997, we watched users look for information on web sites. Users went to these search engines in almost half the tasks. As you'll read in this article, maybe they shouldn't have.

  • When to Develop a Wizard Sep 01, 1997

    Some wizards work really well, and others confuse users more than they help. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out when to develop one, and the traits we found that make one wizard better than another.

  • Market Maturity Jan 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.

  • Using Paper Prototypes to Manage Risk

    History is littered with the carcasses of failed products and the companies that built them--product development is indeed a risky business. Learn how we help companies create paper mock-ups of their product interface so that they can find out early on how to make it successful in the market.

  • Surprises on the Web: Results from Usability Testing Sep 01, 1996

    We recently conducted a research study to find out what makes a web site usable. Here are the results from our early research.

  • Bridging Conceptual Gaps Jul 01, 1996

    In the late '80s, WordPerfect owned the word processing market, but users needed significant training to master its functionality. Their mental model of the application didn't match how the application actually worked. We call this a conceptual gap. Learn to spot and repair conceptual gaps in your product.

  • Tabbed Dialogs: Semantic Minefields Mar 01, 1996

    Tabbed Dialogs are popping up everywhere. Since they're so popular, they must be easy to learn and use, right? Well, not so fast! Our observations suggest that they may be creating more usability problems than they solve. Here's why.

  • Making Online Information Usable Jan 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!

  • Branding and Usability Jan 01, 1996

    Many web sites exist primarily to create or strengthen the brand for a product or service. We're finding that a site's usability can dramatically affect branding. And the graphical aspects of the site--such as logos or evocative pictures--have much less effect on branding than we expected.

  • Harnessing the Power of Myth Jan 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.

Subscribe to UIEtips, our free email newsletter


  • Awesome UX insights delivered to your inbox
  • Access to our incredible content library
  • Podcasts that help to improve your UX skills
  • Learn about our in-depth live events