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Category Archives: UX

Articles on User Experience development and design

In the last few weeksjQuery UI V1.8a has been released to coincide with the latest jQuery 1.4release.

While on the surface it would seem like only two new widgets have been introduced, what they do is, as it always is with jQuery, staggering.

Autocomplete

A common tool that can often been exhaustive to code up, autocomplete is bound to make many people very happy by applying a simple jQuery tag to a given input field.

It’s options set allows for a set of tags to be defined, this could easily be applied to an ajax function to query a database or xml feed.

Buttons

Quite how nobody has put this together in such a big a way is a mystery. Sooner than you think you will be questioning how you ever developed interfaces without this.

Buttons allows you to morph common form elements into stylish looking button controls. this is not limited to the de-facto <button> tag either. Assign the button function to form buttons, submit buttons, anchors, radios, checkboxes, even select boxes to create multiple value drop menus. This one will be a huge asset to most peoples UI toolbox.

This does require slightly more markup than most jQuery widgets, but the time saved in building these components is going to be quite expansive.

I absolutely love the use of storyboards, I always have. The value of having something laid out in front of you end to end is so vast that it confuses me when people appear to either fear it or feel that it is a waste of time.

Here is a great video show the sketchboard method for web design.

Today I discovered UXBooth, which is also where I found this video. The video is accompanied by a really nice article with photos of the design process as well. http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/telling-your-websites-story-with-sketchboarding/

Useful information over on Johnny Holland today, particularly the importance of we not I when it comes to design and story telling.

It was quiet last week as prototyping and structuring the development schedule became of the upmost importance, but I will be writing up on some things we have been looking at in the next week.

Really good video from HTC about the considerations and innovations they brought into the design and development of the Nexus Google Android handset.

Once again showing that working on paper first shines through to great design and even greater development.

Creating prototypes with a designated application is something I have not done before. After a day of quickly getting up to speed on our tool of choice Axure, which is astoundingly brilliant, we realised we had bolted before the gate was open and headed back to the trusted pencil and paper method.

It is very easy when you have time constraints to try and skip some of the early steps of spec’ing out a project thinking you will make gains later on, however I think we have learnt that it is often those first few baby steps that shape everything else in the project moving forward.

I’ve also grown the confidence in my convictions and desire to create the best user experience possible by simplifying any action but still retaining the ability to provide further control for anyone seeking it. It is a notion which I think deep down we all want whether it is when you are using a complex program such as Photoshop, or the remote control for your TV.

I headed to my Bible, or .net magazine as it is also known, and grabbed issue 183, 196 and 198 to start sourcing ideas.

After reading a feature with Andy Budd of Clearleft, (I will stop raving about them soon), I have fallen in love with the KJ- Technique. I love the idea of democratic decision making without discussion. The method provides the ability for a group to put their own opinions down relating to a topic without feeling coerced or influenced by stronger personalities within the room.

We’ve stepped past that point this time around, but I am very keen on trying it out the next time around.

This weekend I will be updating on how the final day of prototyping progressed, and whether showing things on paper had a positive impact.

I looked at this briefly the other day before attending the CSS3 Workshop with Clearleft on Friday (I will write a bit more on that later). After understanding what components have been used to create this sexy bit of CSS3 and jQuery I am even more impressed by it.

Pushing Pixels by Daniel Kurdoghlian

Pushing Pixels by Daniel Kurdoghlian

Daniel has utilised CSS3 box-shadow and border radius to create this interactive experience.

Flick the switch to turn on the light on and the title produces a shadow. Move the bulb or the title itself around the screen and you will see the shadow move in relation to the light source. Going one step further, moving the light further away from the title weakens the strength of the shadow and in turn, moving it closer makes a stronger harder shadow.

http://pushingpixels.at/experiments/dynamic_shadow/

User Experience

Heading down the rabbit hole into the cold waters of user experience development.

For the next month I will be researching and analysing web apps to further explore the fundamentals, principles and the art of UI Design and creating powerful UX based applications.

I have just read the first part of Better User Experience with Storytelling by Francisco Inchauste for Smashing Magazine which has provided a very strong introduction into the principles of story telling and how these can be applied to branding, and generating an interactive experience.

Other blogs which have caught my attention today have been UI-Patterns.com which has provided some great advice on using wizards and goal indicators effectively in applications and the psychological impact that this can have on a user.

Konigi in itself is a wonderful example of beautiful interface design, and regularly updates with examples across the web of both site design and application design. The real winner for me is that they tag each submission with specifics such as use of Header and Footer, or menu controls.