IKEA – store locator app

Written on 19 February 2012, 12:19am

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I put together a small app using the following technologies:

I spent some time adding addresses of IKEA stores from some European countries into a Google Fusion table. Then I used the Google API to display the stores on map, as an overlay, with a country filter. I also used the HTML5 geolocation capabilities to show the nearest IKEA store. Additionally, I provided the user the option to search for the nearest IKEA store from any given location.
As I said before, I used the Bootstrap user interface, along with jQuery.

At this moment, the current version is 0.8. I will make the roadmap public shortly, but the idea is to include all the European stores in the version 1.0. Also, the version 2.0 will include a separate data source (in addition to the Fusion table) and, depending on the application popularity, a public web service + API to retrieve the data. Of course, I planned to make this app scalable enough to be used with any set of geographical points – not necessarily IKEA stores 🙂

So, here it is:


Modern web design – 2

Written on 10 December 2011, 12:12am

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See part 1

3. Some usability issues

Thirty Usability Issues to Be Aware Of
Fitts’ Law: a model of human movement which predicts the time required to rapidly move to a target area. So always put your labels on top of the input fields
-according to the same principle, sometimes you might better be off putting the button in front of the search field [#].

-The foveal area (“a small wide space area where your eyes are aimed at and it is the only area where you can perceive the maximum level of detail”) is very important – because this is the area where you have to deliver the message.
Image credit: The 11 best art and design books of 2011

Minesweeping and Mystery-Meat Navigation (MMN) are both indicating problems in finding or identifying the links on a page. Here are two examples here and here. By looking at the article, would you tell that that it contains a link? I don’t think so. One uses italic text to implement link text, while the other one uses a bigger font size (2px more). At a better look (with Firebug), I notice that on the second example, in addition to the bigger font size, the link is also reddish (color: #840000 !important;). But I am colorblind, so here’s a great example of accessibility problem.
In conclusion, regarding link texts, don’t reinvent the wheel: make your link texts blue-ish or bold to stand up from regular text and (for the non-touch devices) always have the mouse cursor to ‘hand’ when mouse over a link.

4. Typography – 101

“What Font Should I Use?”: Five Principles for Choosing and Using Typefaces
From this article I learned:
-what’s a serif
-the main font groups (GHOTMS): geometric, humanist, old style, transitional, modern, slab serif
-how to combine two fonts on a page: pick them either very similar, or very different
-the most important rule is that there is no rule (There are only conventions, no ironclad rules about how to use type, just as there are no rules about how we should dress in the morning.)
-and, the most important rule never use Comic Sans 🙂 If you do, then you’re a Comic Sans Criminal
So, you need a typeface:

To be continued 🙂

Modern web design

Written on 8 December 2011, 11:50pm

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In the latest months I continued the dive into the Rich Internet Applications concept, but switching from Flex to HTML5, user interface design, typography – in a word, modern web design. I am reading 2 new e-books – in fact, a collection of articles written on Smashing Magazine during the latest years. Thanks to the retina display, I rediscovered the joy of reading interesting things before going to sleep 🙂
So, after some weeks, here is what is worth mentioning (read what I remember):

1. Responsive web design

Guidelines for responsive web design:
-you can use CSS media queries to target a specific browser, or even a specific design
-you can get the device orientation without reloading the page
-you can server low-res or high-res images for a mobile/normal device to save bandwidth
-there are some meta tags specific to Apple devices

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width; initial-scale=1.0">

-keep in mind that most users are right handed and they have fat fingers [#]

2. User psychology

10 Principles Of Effective Web Design
-don’t give the users too many options. They make hundreds of choices every day [#]
-moreover, don’t you dare to make them think 🙂 Be obvious and self-explanatory. If you have a multi-step form, make sure that the user always knows where he is and how long until he’s done.
-users want instant gratification
-keep it simple
-users want to be in control: don’t open the links in a new window. If you still do, at least warn the user (use a marker next to the link to suggest the new window). When you ask users to fill a form, make sure that your submit button doesn’t say ‘Submit’ – but an explanatory expression: Why your form buttons should never say Submit
users don’t read, they scan: See the f-shaped pattern of scanning the web content
-users are really good at ignoring the ads
-users hate unknowing (uncertainty). That’s the Cliffhanger-Effect (Zeigarnik-Effect). And the people in advertising know it.
-users do not like change. 90% of them never change the default settings. But they eventually get used to the change (see facebook redesign)
-sometimes, users don’t know what they want. You must show them what they want. At least that was Steve Jobs’ philosophy.


To be continued
🙂 Read part 2