3 usability principles about the users

Written on 21 January 2014, 03:49pm

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From the usability bible, now revisited:

1. Users don’t read, they scan pages.
2. Users take decisions based on trial and error. If they don’t get what they expect, they hit the ‘Back’ button; there is no penalty for being wrong.
3. Users are in hurry; they don’t read instructions. They don’t really care how the things suppose to work; if they find a way that works, they stick to it.

Image: Disney

Update your copyright year in your blog’s footer!

Written on 2 February 2012, 11:46am

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We’re already more than one month into 2012, and I still notice websites showing 2011 in their footer copyright notice.
3 examples:

The solution is really simple – use PHP’s date("Y") function to get the current year (or any similar functions for the alternative server side languages). No need to manually update your theme’s footer every 1st of January 🙂

<!-- replace -->
&copy; 2011
<!-- with -->
&copy; <?php echo date("Y"); ?>

Today, the users are scrolling to the end of the page. So it’s more likely for them to discover such simple mistakes that look simply unprofessional. It’s time to fix that!

Designing for emotion

Written on 26 December 2011, 12:40am

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I just finished reading Designing for Emotion written by Aarron Walter from A Book Apart, and I am quite impressed with the things I learned. I quickly want to note some ideas that left in my head after reading the book’s 7 chapters.

1. What is it? What are the advantages?

There are 2 main considerations before anything (and the author of the book correctly repeats them several times throughout the book):

  1. Design always comes after content. This means that quality content is always required. Carefully considered content and well-executed design work in concert.
  2. Emotional design comes after the standard design. The emotional design does not have to interfere with the base layers of the users hierarchy of needs: functionality, reliability and usablility.

What does it mean to design for emotion?
In a phrase, it means to engage your audience emotionally; and to do that you must let your brand’s personality show. Humans want to connect with real people.

The advantages of the emotional design:
1. it turns users into loyal users, even fanatics
2. the users end up by trusting the website/product/application, and they will be more likely to forgive any possible errors/mistakes
3. if done right, emotional design can eliminate the marketing costs. The audience will end up by doing the marketing for you, using the holy grail of the advertising world: the word of mouth.

2. Important ideas

And now quickly noting the other ideas of the book, and how they related to other opinions I came across lately:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (physiological, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization) can be remapped for for user interfaces: functional, reliable, usable, pleasurable.
Baby face bias: humans are hard-wired to love babies, and with them – any cute face resembling the face of a newborn.

The takeaway here is not to make your website cuter. With a little consideration you’ll discover that behind every design principle is a connection to human nature and our emotional instincts. (Ex: the golden ratio in Twitter’s design)
-Designing for emotion – Chapter 1