I dislike visual clutter. Most people do. Perhaps they can’t articulate it. I know most of our clients say things like, “It looks too crowded,” if presented with something that strikes them that way. They don’t use the words “visual clutter” as we would in design parlance.
However, that idea of clutter-reduction has recently over-reached its bounds in the oft-cited and overused mantra of “flat design.” I’m all for simplifying, but there are some designers who take it too far, slashing and ripping out things that they claim help to simplify the UI to its bare essentials, but they’re only thinking one-dimensionally, pun intended.
When you’re a hands-on CEO, you want to get involved in every aspect of your company. Now, as UX Design becomes a differentiating factor for product and company visibility, CEOs are paying more attention to design, but some, like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer, are ham-handing it.
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.
Creating successful user experiences is an art. A lot of art involves taking advantage of the way that the brain processes information. The most successful designs (user experiences or otherwise) are those that give off feeling of “how else would you do it?”. The design simply seems to make sense. Designing an interface is a more complex process than simply creating links and putting arrows on a page. To compare this process to that of another in art in terms of complexity- let’s have a look at foreshortening. Foreshortening in art is a good illustration of how difficult it is, because it illustrates that something that seems so obvious once it’s done well. It harnesses the power of the brain to fill in the things it’s expecting, even if they aren’t there.
Normally I don’t advocate for trying to style form controls in web browsers, but Windows 8 apps have some really offensive colors by default. Figuring out just how to overwrite some of the defaults of ui-light.css and ui-dark.css is quite frustrating, so I’ll explain how to fix the colors of your select boxes.
Here’s the first problem- It’s the color the option turns when it has been already selected and the select box is expanded.
The following CSS should be applicable to HTML/JS apps, you may need to make changes to make it work properly if you’re not using a page control based navigation system. This “table” is not really a table, but a bunch of dynamically generated data under a static header. The images below are the basic way I want it to look. Below that is the CSS I used to make it work, along with notes for why I did things the way I did.
Accessibility isn’t always about ARIA roles and text to speech, it’s often about simply good design. There is a range of disabilities that need to be considered when working with the web. We often just think about blindness, but we should remember to consider the other things that make surfing the web difficult for people. Even under “visual” there are different kinds of disabilities, including color blindness and issues with low contrast visuals. Without going into detail about which disabilities need exactly which changes to make the web easier for them to use, let’s take a bird’s eye view and concentrate on good design. Design standards are considered “good” because of their time proven and well tested concepts. Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget the core concepts when working on a design.
Use of a…
This article focuses on one aspect of the recommendations I made for a client, which saw its way into the final Design Recommendations document I left with them at the end: how the use or misuse of color affects user interfaces.
It seems today that most people look to out of the box solutions when considering augmenting their sites with eCommerce features. Maybe it is because there are a lot of small businesses who just want to get started with eCommerce and a template site or open source solution is really the best way to go for them. This articles is intended for those whose responsibility is to service the smaller portion of companies where eCommerce revenue accounts for a large part (if not all) of their revenue to the tune of millions of dollars. To these companies it is necessary to have a finely tuned, customized and heavily integrated eCommerce solution, and sustain a high enough volume of business to benefit greatly by investing in more complex eCommerce features. In this case, the teams in charge of designing the intricacies…