TAG: User-Centered Design

99% of Web Design Books are Not

Most books that claim to be about web design aren’t about web design at all. They’re about publishing in HTML and CSS, which by and large has little to do with the problems of the users we’re supposed to be designing for.

I was in a Barnes and Noble this weekend looking at web design books. There were lots of them! I saw old favorites like Eric Meyer’s O’Reilly books and new favorites like Dan Cederholm’s Bulletproof Web Design. I have a collection of these books, and my life has been made easier by them. I’m grateful for that.

But these aren’t really design books, per se. They’re more like books about web development, a similar and related field but not quite the same. They’re books about how to publish web sites in HTML and CSS. That’s publishing, not design…

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Are Social Web Apps Here to Stay?

In Why I Don’t Use Social Software, Ryan Carson of Vitamin magazine (where I published The MySpace Problem), asks some tough questions about the rise of social web apps. The biggest question is: Are social web apps here to stay?

Using his own tendency to shy away from them as evidence, Ryan wonders if the excitement of social networking apps is a bit over the top. He asks: “is the market already saturated with products that no-one yet uses?”. His reason for not using social networking apps is a good one: he doesn’t have time because he’s busy getting work done. But even if he were to use them there are still too many services out there competing for our limited attention. So how would we find out about them in the first place?

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Social Networks are Killing Email

The data suggests that email will eventually wane.

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Self-expression in Web Design

Professional web design isn’t about self-expression, it’s about effectiveness.

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More on The MySpace Problem

When ugliness masks useful design.

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On Banish

Joel Spolsky has an interesting view on design:

“If you have been thinking that there is anything whatsoever in design that requires artistic skill, well, banish the thought. Immediately, swiftly, and promptly. Art can enhance design but the design itself is strictly an engineering problem.”

What I like about Joel’s piece is that he focuses on design as creating something for real people in real-world contexts with real-world constraints to use.

On Ass-Kicking

Kathy Sierra, soft-spoken in person, kick-ass writer, on her time at Search Champs:

“Usability schmusability… where’s the part where we talk about how this helps the user kick-ass?”

Kathy’s doing great work: Here’s her feed.

Mining the Two Types of User-Supplied Content

Sitting in my chiropractor’s office the other day I read a fascinating article in the offline version of Businessweek: Math will Rock Your World.

In addition to finding out that using a laptop 12-14 hours a day can affect my spine, I also found out about the amazing rise of math in business, from analyzing clickstreams to tracking blog conversations. It seems Google and Yahoo already have next year’s math grads lined up for jobs. They simply cannot get enough brain power to do what they want to do.

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So what do we do at UIE?

Lots of people ask me this question. I used to say that we help make web sites easier to use. Now, I can simply point to this:

What UIE is all about

On our Brain Sparks blog, UIE founder Jared M. Spool explains in detail what we do, outlining our biggest themes in the process:

Which Movie to Watch? An Overview of Recommendation Systems

During lunch at work one day this week we were talking about movies, one of our favorite topics. Both Jared and Christine suggested watching the new Val Kilmer movie: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. They said it was quirky, funny, clever, and just a great story. They highly recommended it. But I got to thinking. Why […]

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