Some Stuff About User Experience, eCommerce, Social Media & etc.

Tag Archives: user experience

Dark Patterns: May the force be with UX

When the planet Alderaan is destroyed in A New Hope, Obi-Wan senses “a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced”. Now, like another Obi-Wan Kenobi, Harry Brignull has felt a disturbance in the Force and upon realizing that Dark Patters pose a threat to the whole UX community, gives a heads-up to all of us through his Dark Patterns wiki.

Dark Patterns

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The Science Of Usability Testing

From unskippable cutscenes to galvanic skin response, we investigate the world of videogame user research.

Difficulty spikes, unreliable checkpoints, context-sensitive buttons that might open a door, but might bounce a grenade into your lap instead: these things matter. “Every moment in a game, you’re bleeding players,” says John Hopson, Bungie’s user research lead. “Hopefully, you’re bleeding them as slowly as possible. The most powerful thing I ever did on Halowas make a graph showing how many players we lost each mission. We had these people: they bought the game, they wanted to play, and we failed them.”

Usability testing didn’t start with videogames. It started with product development of a more domestic stripe: with teapots, toasters and car dashboards. Although designers have always spared a thought for their audiences since the days of Jet Set Willy – it’s hard to make even the simplest videogame without thinking of what the player’s going to do or see from one second to the next – it’s only become a serious issue in the games industry relatively recently. Yet with no bespoke track at GDC, no standardised terminology, and no agreed best practices, usability may be gaining respectability, but it’s still one of the least understood aspects of design. That poses some interesting questions. How does the industry approach user research today, and why has something so fundamental waited so long to be taken seriously?

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Usabilla Report: The UX of 18 Leading Travel Websites

Summer finally hit Amsterdam. In the vacation high season we decided to devote our very first quarterly user experience report to the travel sector. We lined up a total of 18 travel sites in three different categories (hotels, airlines, and comparison sites) and invited 800 participants to give feedback and perform simple tasks.

Report: UX in the Travel Sector (cover)Screenshot: Shatner made quite an impression on Priceline.com

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The Psychology of Faceted Navigation

When we use Google to explore the web, we’re happy to accept the fact that we’re venturing through a wild, open and sprawling information space. There’s always the possibility there’s a haystack out there we haven’t discovered yet, and in it, there might be some great needles that we want to find out about. Sometimes that’s part of the fun.

Our expectations are very different when we search an individual website. For example, when we carry out a search on a classifieds or e-commerce site, we expect it to be able to show us every single item it has that matches our criteria. To use an analogy, imagine if you went into camera shop on the high street and asked to see all of their digital SLRs. Imagine if the sales assistant responded by showing you a few cameras, but then admitted that there might be more items in the back room, possibly better deals, and that you’d need to try re-articulating your requirements in various different ways to find out. A crazy idea. You’d think they were incompetent and walk out.

A shop assistant should know what stock they have, and they should be able to match it against your requirements. The same goes for websites.

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10 Absentee UX Features on Top e-Commerce Sites

eCommerce sites are competing for customer attention and loyalty. The user experience features included in a site are the focal points for engaging customers, and can make or break the purchase process.

But UX features aren’t free. In some cases, they are very, very expensive. Selecting the right feature set is an exercise that should be as well-informed as possible, and should take into account available resources, industry best practices, and the competitive landscape.

Usography reviewed 100 top e-commerce sites for its recently published Retailer UX Audit. In the process of conducting the audit, we were surprised to discover the user experience features that were missing from top e-commerce sites, sites that receive millions of visitors per month, and earn millions of dollars in revenue.

Here we’ll take a look at ten UX features that were missing from 90 percent or more of the sites we reviewed for the Spring 2011 UX Audit. We selected these features (from the complete feature list) based on their infrequent occurrence on e-commerce sites, and on their potential to engage customers and increase sales. They are presented below in order of decreasing occurrence. In parentheses next to each feature is the number of sites we reviewed that had the feature in the Spring 2011 UX Audit.

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Seven Guidelines For Designing High-Performance Mobile User Experiences

A positive first impression is essential to relationships. People look for trust and integrity, and they expect subsequent encounters to reflect and reinforce their first impression. The same principles apply to brands and their products. Design plays an important role in building lasting relationships with end users and, thus, in supporting the brand’s promise.

Users expect mobile services to be relevant and user-friendly and to perform well. The limitations of the medium, however, impose significant challenges to designing products that meet all of those expectations. While often underestimated, performance is a crucial contributor to a trustworthy mobile user experience. Therefore, it should be considered a key driver in the design process.

In this article, we’ll discuss performance in relation to design and present seven guidelines that can help shape design decisions related to performance while accounting for the needs of end users and businesses. These guidelines are based on the experiences of our teams in designing native mobile apps for a broad product portfolio and on multiple mobile platforms.

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User Experience and The Design of News at BBC World Service

Designing a setting for the torrent of content that passes daily through a news website is a challenge unlike any other. At the BBC World Service we’ve got a user experience and design team which designs and develops news sites for the web and mobile devices in 27 languages, catering for audiences across world. In this article I will share some of our experiences with you.

A sample of The BBC World Service news sites. Clockwise: BBC Russian, BBC Arabic, BBC Chinese and BBC Brasil

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Lean User Experience : UX at Startup Speed

Bob Moll, Pathfinder Software’s Lead User Experience Designer, and I gave a talk on Lean User Experience at the Chicago Lean Startup Circle on June 30th. User Experience is critical to the success of a software product: Well designed apps get used and recommended, poorly designed ones get discarded. But traditional user experience is slow and expensive and doesn’t get high quality products to market faster. This is death to any new product development effort. How can you get user experience at startup speed?

Enter Lean UX …

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The Difference (and Relationship) Between Usability and User Experience


After web site accessibility, “user experience” (abbreviated as UX) is probably the phrase that most people tend to confuse usability with. Whilst this topic has been discussed by various experts in the respective fields, I feel the need to write about it for two main reasons. The first reason is that several posts I have encountered emphasize the distinction between these two terms, yet they fail to highlight the relationship that exists between usability and user experience. The second reason is that whilst most of the posts are similar in nature, I have found some minor, albeit very valid points scattered in various posts I have read. Therefore, the objective of this post is to discuss these two terms, whilst highlighting their differences and more importantly the relationship that exists between them in a clear, concise way.

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Understanding The Human Part Of The User Experience

In 1997, a computer called Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Headlines triumphed about the victory of machine over man,  as we humans were “conquered”, “vanquished” and, as a result of our defeat, “stunned.”

Checkmate… Finally!

Kasparov and Deep Blue

The real question isn’t why we finally were defeated by a chess playing computer, but why it took so long. Chess is a game that computers should excel at.

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