At this year’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Los Angeles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took home the NALIT/LINCS Online Democracy Award for the best legislative website in the country. Tallan has worked hand-in-hand with the Massachusetts General Court for the better part of a decade, and this is the second time we have helped them take home this prestigious award. This is, however, the first time we’ve done it with a complete website redesign from beginning to end. This will be an exploration of some components of the redesign, and what helped make it such a successful effort.
A key component of any government website is accessibility. Designers and developers need to make sure that all information is available to all users through the same interface. With Massachusetts, we approached every feature or idea by asking…
User Experience design has always been, and continues to be, a field riddled with ambiguous labeling and nomenclature. We hear all sorts of conjecture and debate as to what terms have what specific meaning. Are profiles and personas the same thing? When exactly do wireframes become mock-ups? Is “mock-up” supposed to hyphenated? These are issues of semantics, and when it comes to the actual meat of the work we do, we could call a wireframe a “whosamawhatsit” and it wouldn’t change it’s purpose. From the perspective of standardizing our professional space, common labeling is important. This is not in doubt. Client, asset, and project management aside, there is something vital to the decisions that we make as designers that is not addressed as often as it should be: Science.
If you are a UX designer, you have undoubtedly been at a client gathering requirements when they say the magic words, “There are some users who will want to do that, but they’re only a couple of people.”
This sends your internal monologue into a quizzical frenzy: How many is a couple? Are we not going to account for them? Are you sure it’s only a couple? Could it really be a few? Could it really be everyone and you just don’t know it? Do they just want it, or do they need it? What does this really mean!?
Recently, I rolled off a client project where we implemented an e-commerce platform with lots of customization to meet client needs. This brought to light the delicate balance between using the platform’s existing features and customizing the user experience to more effectively accommodate your users. You want to think that every out-of-the-box solution is going to provide an optimal user experience, but we all know that’s just not the case. Every project needs tweaking.
Updating the Existing Front-End
There are some solutions and platforms that you can tell were built by developers with good coding skills but the UX is not ideal; that’s not their baileywick. The clues are in the existing CSS files. Maybe they are using points to define font-size for an online experience and setting your background-color property as “lightyellow” in your default CSS file; yup, you need some degree of damage control when…
On Tuesday, November 9th, Krish Mandal, Eric Fitchett, Paul Hurlock and I attended an event in New York called HTML5 Live. My intentions going into this were to get a better understanding of HTML5, where it is now, and where it’s going.
I actually got more out of the conference than I had anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the tools that were demonstrated, and some of the HTML5 features that were shown, particularly native validation and the enhancements to Adobe’s Creative Suite. As I expected, the general sentiment was that HTML5 is going to be big, but it is only practical to develop it right now in a controlled browsing environment. Progressive enhancement is certainly possible, but with all the uncertainty around video and audio codecs, and how other native features will be handled in a standardized way…
Integrating Agile methodology and User Experience Design has long been a challenge. This diagram shows how the two can work in harmony with each other to produce profitable products that meet the demands of stakeholders.
This diagram shows the stages and deliverables of the User Experience Design process.