Welcome to the August edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: A CRAP way to improve usability
- What we're reading
- Resources for user experience designers
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
User Experience is a multi-disciplinary field, comprising usability engineers, information architects, interaction designers, developers of prototypes and visual designers. It's always surprised me that visual designers tend to be at the end of the pecking order on many projects, as if their role is simply to put the final cherry on the design (a Helvetica cherry, naturally).
In this month's article I look at some ways that visual design has a impact on usability — above and beyond the more well-known effect it has on encouraging people to use an interface. I hope you enjoy it.
Visual design is often dismissed as eye candy. In fact, we can use four key principles of visual design to create more usable interfaces. These principles are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. Read the article in full: A CRAP way to improve usability.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- Amazon's 'One-click' payment idea is considered "too obvious" to patent in Europe — but not in the US.
- A wonderful story about square watermelons and creativity.
- 5 fake sounds designed to help humans.
- Research shows that people who work from home are more satisfied with their jobs because they avoid office politics.
- Dutch Railway station installs a slide to help busy passengers descend the stairs.
Like these? Want more? Follow us on Twitter.
If you're interested in learning more about user experience design, you might want to try one of these articles from our archives.
- 7 myths about paper prototyping
- Paper prototyping helper kit
- Shopping basket usability: Nine tests for a usable checkout
- Why you need a user experience vision (and how to create and publicise it)
- Layout grids for Axure and Pencil
- Visio & Omnigraffle UX stencils
Like these? Want more? See all 23 of our articles on user experience design.
How to carry out a usability expert review, September 19, London.
Learn cost-effective methods to evaluate user interfaces. More information about this training course: How to carry out a usability expert review.
Web Usability: Designing the user experience, October 24-25, London.
A fast-paced, 2-day immersion seminar that shows delegates how to boost sales and conversion rates, increase usage and improve customer satisfaction. More information about this training course: Web Usability: Designing the user experience.
A Practical Guide to Usability Testing, November 21, London.
Learn how to obtain customer feedback on prototypes and finished products. More information about this training course: A Practical Guide to Usability Testing.
“The definition of an expert is someone who knows what not to do.” — Charles Willson.