In usability we trust

UX and all things web

Category: Articles (page 1 of 2)

Stop Building Single Applications and Start Building Eco-systems

Building and designing software used to be a whole lot easier. Historically we’ve only had to deal with one platform, the desktop computer. At this day and age where most of us have multiple devices and are always connected to the Internet this no longer holds true. Building software have become more complex – way more complex!

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Future Proof Your Methods With Options Objects

Having methods that takes a lot of arguments can be a real pain. You not only need to remember which arguments to pass but also in which order to supply them. Things gets even worse when you need to add more arguments to an existing method. This article will show you a better way of doing this by using only one argument.

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The Power of Combinators

cssWhen working with CSS it’s easy to get stuck with just the basic selectors. Yes, you can get by using only those but you will write better and more efficient code if you know some of the more advanced ones. In this article I will show you the power of CSS Combinators – A toolkit that lets you combine the basic selectors to create more powerful CSS selectors.

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Click Areas for a Brave New Multi-Device World

Have you ever been browsing a web site on your smart phone or tablet and found that on some sites, the links are so tiny and so tightly packed, that it’s near impossible to click the right one?

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Design for Clickability

Making things clickable is done for a single purpose, to get people to click on them. Yet, a lot of times, designers fail to make links or buttons look clickable. In fact, while this might seem like a no-brainer, a lot of sites get it wrong.

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Lean Tribe Gathering 12

front-160bI was giving a talk on Agile UX at Lean Tribe Gathering 12 the other day. It was a nice event which included several great talks that inspired lots of interesting discussions. In my talk, named UX ♥ Agile, I shared some of my experiences trying to incorporate UX work into an Agile environment.

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CSS in the Head

When optimizing a page you’re obviously thinking about where to add different assets on it. Stuff that is needed up front is placed at the top and stuff that is needed later can be placed further down. After all, we want the page to show something as fast as possible!

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Separation of Concerns

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have a site where the HTML, the CSS and the JavaScript are all tangled together and it becomes a nightmare to make even the tiniest site-wide change?

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Is your site mobile friendly?

Google has recently launched a new site to encourage Mobile Friendly Websites. It’s called GoMo and contains, among lots of useful information, also a test to see how mobile friendly your site is. I tested In usability we trust on it and I’m happy to report that it scored 4 out of 4 on the mobile-friendliness scale.

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How to balance different interests within a project

In every web and software project it’s important to find a good balance between different interests in order to produce a successful product or service. My biggest takeaway from reading A Project Guide to UX Design was the idea of maintaining a good tension between different interests in a project group.

In this article I will describe what those interests are and what will happen when any of them becomes too dominant. I will also share my thoughts on how to overcome imbalances.

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4 Books on UX that I’ve read recently

I’ve recently read a few books on User Experience design and this is a run down of them.

Although they’re all about UX Design, they’re still very different in their approach to the subject. I list them here, from the most practical to the most theoretical.

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Action-Confirm Design Pattern

Inspired by the User Interfaces of mobile apps on the iOS and Android platforms, I created a delete button using a design pattern that I’ve named the Action-Confirm design pattern. I created this for a web application that I recently worked on.

In a nutshell it’s an Action button that transforms into a Confirm button when clicked. It’s a compact solution that provides the user with a way to confirm a possibly destructive action without interrupting the flow of the application.

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45° imagery view in Google Maps

In the latest version of Google Maps API 3 (version 3.4) a new exciting feature is introduced: 45° imagery in selected cities around the world. This feature will let you see the world from a whole new angle. This change also calls for new properties and controls for the Map Object which will all be explained in this article. As a bonus I will also introduce you to another new feature, the brand new Map Overview Control.

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Extending Google Maps API 3 with libraries

Google Maps API 3 is streamlined to include just the core functionality needed to create basic maps. It’s architected that way too ensure that the API will load as fast as possible. It’s unnecessary for the browser to download and parse functionality that’s not needed. If, however, you need to use specific functionality such as being able to measure distances or display ads, you can get this additional functionality by including a library in the API.

This article will describe how to do just that and what libraries that are currently available.

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Dancing markers

The Google Maps API team recently added an eye catching new feature to the Google Maps API v3 which makes it possible to animate markers. This feature has been available in v2 for quite some time and occurs when you drag and drop a marker. It rises the marker up when you drag it and then bounces it into position when you drop it.

The API team however, wasn’t satisfied with just adding what was available in v2. They also added a drop animation similar to the one found in Google Maps on the iPhone. It looks like the marker is being dropped into place from above and then ends with a small bounce.

But they didn’t stop there either. They also added the ability to animate the markers at will. So now we can trigger the animation whenever we feel like it using the setAnimation() method of the Marker object.

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Google Maps API 3 – Mobile devices

A lot of the web browsing these days takes place on mobile devices. Therefore it’s important to know how to design web pages and maps for these. When it comes to incorporating Google Maps on a web page, it’s done pretty much the same way as for desktop browsers, at least for advanced devices like the iPhone and Android based phones. There are however some things to consider. In this article I will explain what these things are and how it’s done.

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The difference between add(), find() and filter() in jQuery

There’s a few methods used for traversing the DOM-tree in jQuery that is confusingly similar, well at least they were for me. This article will explain the difference between them and when you should use which one.

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Google Maps API 3 – InfoWindows

Using InfoWindows is a brilliant way to display information about a certain location. Since they provides you with a space to put text or whatever HTML you please, they can be used in very interesting ways. In this article, which is the fourth in a series about Google Maps API 3, I will show you how to make good use of this great feature.

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Google Maps API 3 – Markers

Markers are the perfect way to put places of interest on a map and that’s probably one of the most used features in digital maps. In this article, which is the third in a series about Google Maps API 3, I will show you how to use them in Google Maps API 3.

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Google Maps API 3 – Map settings

In the first article in this series we discussed how to create a simple Map with Google Maps API 3. In this article we will explore the available properties when creating a map and see how we can change the look and behaviour of the map with the help of them.

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Google Maps API 3 – The basics

gmmlogoThe Google Maps API has evolved to version 3. This version is a complete rewrite and focuses primarily on speed. The new API also features new ways of using it. This article is the first in a series exploring version 3 of the Google Maps API. This first article will take a look on how to create a simple map and explain some differences from the previous version.

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The value of a holistic view

In development project teams there are often several specialized roles, like programmers, database designers, interaction designers, user researchers, business analysts and so on. Studies has shown that the more these different roles collaborate and are aware of the different aspects of the project as a whole as well as what the other project members are doing, the more successful the project is.

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The rise of Zooming User Interfaces

The first time I ever read anything about Zooming User Interfaces was when I was reading The Humane Interface by Jef Raskin, where he introduced the concept of Zoom World, a whole OS based on a Zooming User Interface (ZUI). Of course this wasn’t my first encounter with this type of user interface since I’ve, among other things, been using Interactive maps like Google Maps. But it was the first time that I started considering a Zooming Interface a viable alternative to the traditional interaction idioms.

In this article I will explore some of the Zooming User Interfaces out there today and also take a sneak peak of what’s around the corner.

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Twitter is exploding

Is it just me or is Twitter exploding right now? Apart from noticing that I got more followers the last days, I’ve also noticed that several Twitter services such as Tweetburner and Mr. Tweet has been down for maintenance. That might be a sign of overload!

At a seminar I attended last week on Social Media one of the speakers Johan Ronnestam said that the reason Twitter is exploding right now is Barack Obama successful use of it during his election campaign. Every marketer worth his salt has now studied the phenomena and is busy trying to get everyone at their companies to use Twitter.

Today I also learned that Dalai Lama is now on Twitter. Watch his profile at @OHHDL. Pretty soon everyone will be on board, I’m just waiting to find my mothers Twitter profile! 🙂

If you want to join the trend, follow me on Twitter!

Update

Dalai Lama is now following me on Twitter! Even though I realize that it’s probably not Dalai Lama himself following me but rather someone administrating it for him, I can’t help thinking that it’s pretty cool!

Update 2

Dalai Lama was apparently a fake. That’s too bad because he was quickly becoming the most popular person on Twitter. Read all about it at the Next Web.

How Spotify have changed the way I listen to music

SpotifyA while I go I wrote an article called Spotify is right on the spot where I described a service called Spotify that let’s you listen to music over the Internet. I was impressed of how well it worked and of how good the music player was.

I’ve been using Spotify for about four months now and that has been four month of more intense music consumption than usual for me. I’ve noticed that Spotify has made me listen to music in new ways.

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Most popular articles of 2008

2008 was the first year of this blog. It has been really interesting and it’s encouraging to see that the number of readers is steadily increasing. Thanks to all of you who has read and commented on my articles. A big reason for me running this blog is to learn more about the stuff I write about and your comments and feedback contributes to that goal.

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Page Load Times vs Conversion Rates

I recently read Andy B. King’s book Website Optimization and was surprised by some of the statistics in it. It shows that there’s a very clear connection between page load times and conversion rates. Statistics from Google and Amazon show that an increase in load time has a direct and profound impact on user engagement.

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Shopping for groceries in style

Conchango is developing a shopping system for the British grocery store Tesco. It’s supposed to help customers when buying/ordering food and has a graphically rich interface.

I’m for one hate shopping for groceries. If I could have a system like this that remembers what groceries I normally buy and suggests a shopping list according to my dinner plans, I would be more than delighted. In fact, if I didn’t even had to physically go to the grocery store, I would be even more delighted.

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jQuery + ASP.NET = true

jQuery is going to be a part of Visual Studio. This is a great, and I must say, an unexpected development of things.

For me personally, who’s already using jQuery along with ASP.NET, the main difference will be the intellisense annotation support for jQuery. This will be a welcomed enhancement of my development environment. Needless to say the asp.net team at Microsoft will also build ready-to-use controls in the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit that builds upon jQuery.

According to Scott Guthrie there will be a free download with the jQuery Intellisense support in a few weeks. The ASP.NET MVC download will also contain it and the jQuery library.

Read more about it on Scott Guthrie’s blog and in John Reisig’s blog post on jQuery.com.

Visualizing the age of content

How do one visualize the age dimension of content?

In the real world it’s not a problem. Physical objects, like paper, clearly wears the mark of time. Paper turns yellow and get torn. Other things get scratched or changes it’s appearance in some other way that makes it obvious that it’s not new.

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