Presenting “related” content can unfortunately be perceived by users as not relevant to their current needs, particularly in complex knowledge work and interactive applications. At risk is a loss of credibility, which can weaken trust in the application or underlying information, which in turn colors their ongoing experience with an application. Relevance algorithms have gotten more sophisticated, providing designers and developers with useful tools. But from a user experience perspective, relevance is often perceived in the context of a user’s immediate tasks and goals, as much (or more) than it is associated with their prior actions and patterns from similar users.
Resources site focused on design considerations and examples at the convergence of interaction design and semantic technologies on the web.
As an organization grows and its products proliferate, how can it maintain a coherent sense of identity and usability across them, while allowing room for flexibility and growth? For a family of online communications channels or applications, design guidelines can document and disseminate the organization’s UX principles and patterns. This presentation offers resources and insights from both practitioners and professionals outside the field who have undertaken these types of projects together.
Technological, economic, social, and cultural elements of change have thoroughly transformed the scenario in which information architecture operated in the late 1990s, and a reframing is necessary to move the conversation forward, consolidate intuitions into discipline, and help establish a common language and grammar for both practice and research in the field.
Before you can design one needs to frame the problem(s) at hand. Understanding if the foundations of the problem are simple, complicated, or complex - perhaps has not emerged out of chaos - is something that is essential. Knowing what we are working with allows us to consider what types of solutions we can or should consider. This talk takes a few minutes of previous talks and workshops and expands it to better understand the dimensions of simple, complicated, complex, and chaos.
Interfaces for social software are simple. But designing, developing and managing social platforms is not. Thomas Vander Wal presents some of the lenses he uses to help companies increase user adoption and engagement by better understanding the complexities around social software.
Many enterprises grow organically, with diverse products managed by different teams. Style guidelines provide a way for the organization brand itself and ensure consistency across its family of apps while leaving in flexibility to accommodate different contexts of use.
Interaction designers produce wireframes when designing a site - the blueprint for screens. Graphic designers contribute a visual hierarchy, branding, color palette, typography, and more. Both areas cover layout. How can interaction designers and graphic designers work effectively together to produce a high-quality, professional product?
In complex applications, such as claims processing, learning management, scheduling systems, engineering software, and other such tools, it is common to provide flexibility to modify the user interface (and the underlying processing) to meet widely varying needs, rather than assuming that one size fits all. When working on the user experience design for such products, we need to ensure that it is easy for clients or users to configure the product as they wish, and be mindful of impacts on the overall user experience.
Designing a UI for search is an art, but an understandable art. An interactive exploration of aspects of search design, including how to interpret mental models, understand different search tasks, consider the strengths and weaknesses of different search designs, and translate user goals into valuable interface capabilities. A reprise of last autumn’s search talk, with extended content and group activities.
Lemonade out of Lemons: Design increases your data’s value
to your users (large file, 9.3Mb)
We all want users to gain value from our information and applications. The use of semantic technologies has grown significantly over the last few years, and with that growth has come the challenge of designing clear, useful interactions to help your users find meaning in large and varied datasets. The risk of poor design is that much of the richness of semantically-enabled environments can be lost because the user experiences tend to be overwhelming rather than meaningful and engaging.
Two Chicago-based companies, Leslie’s List and Human Practice, submitted their web-based Health 2.0 apps for a no holds-barred rigorous user experience (UX) teardown at the Chicago Health 2.0 Meetup. Jasmin Phua, a user researcher and user experience designer with Design for Context walked through the design issues and offered suggestions for improvements with illustrated examples. More information on chicagohealthtech.org’s blog.
Discover how user mental models relate to online search, particularly for more intensive knowledge work or critical information needs. Learn about the different types and stages of searching, similarities and differences in user mental models and the effect that may have on what tools and support should be available, and design solutions and patterns that have been employed to support the various search stages and users.
Are you thinking about how to achieve designs that will get a positive response from your users? Are you wondering how to refine an interface to work well with semantic data? While the ‘magic’ in design can’t be boiled down to a few simple rules, there are things you can do that will help get your project started on the right path.
You can also see our slides and links from our Show, Tell, Explore design tutorial (PDF), facilitated by Duane and Jasmin Phua.
Information Architecture has the potential to take a leading role in making the next generation of web and mobile applications more valuable for our users. We have key skills to clarify structured data relationships, identify relevance and context, and streamline the usefulness of information. In order to lead, IAs need to understand and address the implications of an environment that is changing fundamentally from what we've known in Web 1.0 and 2.0. What does it mean to design for a Context Web? Note: This file contains points transcribed from the conversations with participants.
User Experience is critical to success - we've seen the evidence of that repeatedly in the Web 1.0 and 2.0 worlds. What role does UX play in the Linked Data world? As more people engage with semantic-driven applications and information - both as consumers and creators - unique interaction styles and experiences are surfacing. At the same time, there are new interaction challenges raised by the potential of the Semantic Web.
Faceted refinement and filtering is now a common part of search results interfaces, and faceted navigation is being used for many other types of interactions. At the same time, the underlying data on the web is changing (with increasing structured data, semantics, and use of more sophisticated categorization), as are the tool sets that can be used to implement facet interfaces “out of the box.” The increasing availability of data and tools puts the focus even more firmly on the designer to make decisions that affect usability.
Some data environments are not well served by current styles of search results presentation. One example of this is large-scale archival, library or museum collections. The range of user goals and interaction needs can be quite broad, and the information itself is highly structured yet very heterogeneous — it spans many subject areas, information types, and presentation/media. Based on the use of semantic web formats for metadata, we explore howto leverage the semantic relationships to drive aspects of results presentation — to change elements of the UI itself in response to the results data.
Search is changing - we see it in public search and particularly what is possible with individual site searching. But it's more than search — findability is changing! Content relationships and linking, more structure and metadata, richer designs. Semantic Web concepts and techniques are becoming practical, finding their way into authoring tools and site designs. How do we take advantage of this? This is a brief overview of findability and search with a semantic twist, with examples and demos.
This is a tangible guided tour of innovative semantic web applications and user interfaces, as well as interesting interfaces that ask the questions: “What is being adopted from current Internet — and Rich Internet — apps and sites? What new design concepts might be possible now or in the future?” The presentation begins to open up opportunities, issues, and implications for people who will be users of the “linked web of data.” And we continue to ask one of our favorite questions: How can it be made easier and more useful?
Every professional discipline builds a framework that outlines the overall practice, techniques, and standards. Such a framework guides individual practitioners and educators, providing a way of identifying that the professional discipline is delivering on its service aims. The UPA Usability Body of Knowledge site is the source for methods, design techniques, management advice, emerging research, and more! Members provide content, links and ideas; the site features make it easy and relevant.
“The shortest distance between two points is a relevant keyword.” When users need information, the most direct path returns them to their task as quickly as possible with the knowledge needed to be successful. This requires us to design and write with an understanding of the user's context, task, and need. We then reduce seeking time by carefully defining the 'glue' between applications and supporting information. I discuss some 'big picture' ideas for User Assistance practices: understanding the user's context, identifying relevant keywords, and integrating applications and content using techniques from the Semantic Web and Topic Maps.
In the practice of User-Centered Design and Information Architecture, we often need to identify key words and phrases for the subject domain and the content in order to support navigation, search optimization, faceted browsing, and labeling. This paper presents a brief overview of automated tools that can help. Keyword generators, semantic parsers, and concept extraction software do not remove the need for the individual and group design activities, but they can make it quicker to get started by identifying important terms which you can then discuss with subject experts and users.
User-centered design practitioners are skilled in eliciting user needs and translating them into design. However, our methods are sometimes poorly integrated with requirements engineering. This panel discussion presents practical approaches to coordinating UCD with other types of activities involved in the creation of requirements.
This position paper raises the importance of understanding the users of the Semantic Web and the tasks that will bring them to the Semantic Web. It proposes a high-level framework for categorizing those users and tasks, and provides implications to be considered in end-user interaction design.
Applying User-Centered Methods to Inform New Product Selection and Strategic Planning
Usability professionals always say the best time to start user-centered design is at the beginning of a project. But what about starting even earlier, when the vision or concept is first considered? This presentation discusses integrating UCD with marketing methods to inform/support executive decision-making and strategic prioritization of projects.
Have you had insights and observations that go beyond the scope of a particular system or site? Are you talking with business leaders, sharing how things could be better for users overall? A quality user experience is important for organizations and their customers, citizens, and staff. User advocates can take on a “thought leadership” role within organizations and projects. How do we do that?
Top 20 Design Recommendations for Accessible (and Usable) Web Applications
This paper describes common challenges and solutions for accessible design, based on an in-depth analysis of 1000+ accessibility issues documented in real projects.
Delivering Services Online: It’s More Than Forms
New technologies, reduced workforces, and higher expectations from the public are transforming the way that businesses and government agencies deliver online services. However, online services are not just forms. We describe ways to improve user experience by providing integrated services, preventing errors, using appropriate tone and language, and structuring the interaction.
Supporting Aging Citizens and Employees at the Social Security Administration
Both to meet the needs of an aging public and to ensure that staff members nearing retirement age can continue to work productively, information technology must be usable for older adults. Usability specialists have been at the heart of analysis, design and testing activities that help the agency respond, both internally and externally.
Faced with a need to integrate user-centered methods into existing software development lifecycles, many practitioners lack clear direction and continue to negotiate the scope of their involvement on a project-by-project basis. There are best practices that can be adopted, however. This paper distills the experiences of many practitioners into a collection of process patterns that describe an evolutionary path towards full integration.
Integrating Accessibility and User-Centered Design: A U.S. Government Agency Case Study
How can we integrate usability and accessibility through ongoing collaboration? Some of our collaborative activities occur within the context of a project lifecycle and can be described as checkpoints for accessibility within a user-centered design process. Other activities occur outside the lifecycle and involve the creation of infrastructure (including training, standards, and reusable objects) that supports the shared goals of usability and accessibility
Requirements in User-Centered Design and Software Engineering: Tools for Bridging Design Cultures
This workshop explored various formats for documenting user needs, and discussed approaches to better integrating UCD and traditional requirements engineering approaches for interactive systems.
Emerging issues, solutions & challenges from the top 20 issues affecting web application accessibility
We will describe emerging accessible design issues, based on a second in-depth analysis of hundreds of accessibility issues documented in real projects, and a comparison of those results to a prior study of 1000+ accessibility issues. This poster will demonstrate recent trends in the top 20 UI design situations that are likely to pose problems for users with disabilities; highlight several creative design solutions; and identify several challenges that lack adequate solutions.
The web application is increasingly a platform of choice for complex business software, as well as for Internet online services. We are beginning to identify guidelines for web application architectures that support accessibility. This paper describes common accessibility problems encountered in web applications and explains how architecture can help address these problems through reusable accessible objects; supplementing information in links, buttons and labels; providing comparable access to signposting; handling errors; and providing time-out notification and recovery. It also discusses the critical role of architecture in supporting what we believe is the best way of meeting the needs of diverse user groups: multiple dynamic views of the user interface.
Design Patterns and Guidelines for Usable and Accessible Web Applications
Because we are committed to achieving ease of use for all users, we have encountered challenges on real projects that have led us to question the common belief that accessibility benefits all users. Although the user experience goals of accessibility and usability often complement each other, sometimes they are incompatible—the best solution for one user group compromises the needs of another group. This presentation introduces design patterns that specifically address accessibility, and identifies design tradeoffs that suggest the need for alternate views of the user interface.
A new content management and delivery system has been growing over the past years at SSA. From a content perspective, users have been asking for “simple answers, with all supporting information, relevant to my situation.” From an organizational perspective, the role of content is increasingly seen as integrated with transactional systems in order to sustain quality service delivery in an increasingly complex business environment. From a technology perspective, the use of emerging tools based on XML and semantic technologies provides opportunities for simpler systems that control content maintenance more effectively, improve integration, provide easier content access, and allow migration as systems evolve over time. This case study shows the application and discusses design considerations.
When Your Group Can’t Do It All: Investing UCD Resources Wisely
When an organization’s internal UCD group is too small to support all projects that request its services, management is faced with a need to prioritize and invest its limited resources wisely. This is how one UCD group defined different levels of service and implemented criteria for evaluating project requests.
Matt Oliphant’s blog on this presentation
A tremendous amount of hope — and hype — has been attached to Tim Berners-Lee's concept of the Semantic Web, where machine-readable “meaning” enriches the promise of the web. Creating a positive, successful, trust-worthy experience for users is crucial to its success. What does that mean? What is imperative for it to become the “next generation” web? Most importantly, why must the usability community play a leading role to shape the Semantic Web in a positive, user-centered way?
It's hard to argue against the concepts of self-describing data, contextual interfaces, and richer metadata for content that eventually will make up the Semantic Web. However, it is easy to imagine semantic environments suffering from the same challenges that many content management system implementations and the Web itself suffer from: the preoccupation with data could easily leave us drowning in it. We focus on approaches being explored to promote feedback and user involvement for the maintenance of semantic representations, to ensure they remain useful and current.
An analysis of users and their tasks typically generates a lot of rich information… but the process of translating that information into design solutions may seem like “magic.” The truth is that user-centered design is iterative, and requires a mixture of art and science — it takes a series of small steps that both transform and refine the collected information into design solutions. This presentation uses the analogy of building a house to illustrate the process from high-level visioning all the way through detailed design.
Nurturing Change: Introducing User-Centered Design to a Large Software Development Organization
How can a small internal usability group introduce user-centered methods into a large, traditional software development organization? This book chapter presents a case study of our experience in doing just that. We discuss the challenges we encountered in the process of organizational change, and describe the pilot projects and user-centered techniques that seemed most effective for us during this evolutionary process.
Integrating User-Centered Design into the Software Development Lifecycle
Despite the increasing recognition of the value of usability and user-centered design (UCD), integrating user-centered methods into software development lifecycles remains a significant challenge for our industry. We facilitated this UPA workshop as an opportunity to collaborate with other practitioners who are also trying to integrate user-centered design.
Topic maps provide exciting opportunities not just to make information easier to find, but to increase the usability of software. In order to provide users with the information that applies to their particular situations, in forms that they can use, software must be aware of a user’s context (in a broad, multi-dimensional sense). Topic maps can serve as the language for linking information to software applications and for sharing information about context among applications.
For user-centered designs to be successfully implemented, the stakeholders and members of a multidisciplinary project team must reach a shared understanding of the problem and the solution. This poster explores ways of sharing information between usability specialists and technical team members who are using object modeling techniques based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML). We illustrate points where UCD deliverables can connect with UML deliverables, and vice versa, to help a project team create and communicate a shared vision.
KnowledgePlanet provides a learning and performance management application used by a number of Fortune 100 companies to support their organizational learning. IPGems was asked to look at the opportunities to improve the interface that hundreds of thousands of people use to plan and keep track of their learning and performance activities. The goal was to increase the user's ability to be in control without having to learn the application, and for KP's customer companies to simplify and reduce implementation time and cost. The result received the Award of Excellence at the 2001 Performance-Centered Design Competition.
As more people gain access to computers and the Internet, it has become increasingly important for designers to meet the needs of a diverse international user population. “One-size-fits-all” is no longer accepted by users. This article outlines many of the things that the designer needs to consider for both internationalization of software (making an interface understandable in many cultures) and localization (changing aspects of the interface, such as language and icons, to match the local cultural expectations and experiences).
We developed a prototype application to support the management of large public retail events. The application allows both regular and temporary staff to manage large volumes of sales inventory, suppliers, guest lists, and press communication from a simple, easy to understand, flexible interface. The goal was to increase the user's ability to respond quickly to the needs of different groups of people, often at the same time, in a chaotic environment. The result received the top honor, the Platinum Award of Excellence, at the 2000 Performance-Centered Design Competition.
Much of the current focus on knowledge management is on the acquisition and storage of knowledge resources. Unfortunately, because most knowledge management solutions are developed to stand alone, the context of a person’s need for information when using business applications is often left to the individual. This article discusses ways to merge the best practices of knowledge management and performance support, so that knowledge can be integrated more seamlessly within working applications, and applications can be used to solicit knowledge as a by-product of people’s work.
An Information Make-Over for Performance Centered Design
Many of the same types of content that have traditionally been placed in manuals or online help systems can actually be incorporated directly into the user interface. Connecting the necessary instructions and information directly to the tasks that they support helps users to perform their work more successfully. An analysis of existing content types can be done to identify opportunities for moving content into the user interface.
This case study describes how a leading publisher of commercial labor management software worked to improve the usability of its software. The user support components integrated into the software evolved over time, from an initial online help system to an electronic performance support system (EPSS) to a performance-centered user interface design (PCD).