Posts from "October, 2009"

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An important notice to all Blog readers:

You may have been with us before the era of pidoco°.
We have now fully switched to our new name pidoco°.
Starting from 8 p.m. (CET) on the 30th of October, we no longer have the old domain and will therefore no longer support RSS feeds for our old domain!

Please make sure to update your feed to:

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Thank you and hope to welcome you back soon!

Your pidoco° Team

Any UX-Questions? UXExchange.com Has The Answer!

theme.logo

A very useful website which we wanted to share with you (in case that you did not know it yet).

UX Exchange is a User Experience (UX) Q & A site.
You can register if you want to collect reputation points and win valuable flair that will appear next to your name, but otherwise, it’s just free to post and answer questions.

Purpose of UXExchange

The goal is to build a community lead, authoritative resource on the User Experience disciplines:

  • A place where people new to our industry can ask questions about best practice and approaches to user experience.
  • A place where experienced practitioners can help teach new skill and learn from each other.

Reputation

Once the system and the community (through reputation points) learns to trust you, you’ll be able to edit anything, much like Wikipedia. With your help, we can build good answers to every imaginable UX related question together. No matter whether you specialise in:

  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction design

Is Remote Usability Testing becoming more pervasive?

Seems as Remote Usability Testing will be becoming more pervasive in the future.
Uxited.com reports positive findings on their remote usability testing which were conducted over the course of two days.
Uxited’s findings on the benifits:

  • You hear what the user is saying (and perhaps listen better since you’re not distracted by what he/she looks like).
  • You see the user’s on-screen activity including what browser they use and how it’s set up (e.g., number of toolbars).
  • You get a better understanding of the user’s natural environment (whether their speakers are hooked up, whether there’s a dog in the house, etc.).
  • You may get more honest feedback.  I’m not sure what the research says about this, but my impression was that people not meeting face-to-face with a facilitator may be more comfortable saying what they really think.
  • No need to sit in a dark room behind one-way glass, nor keep our voices down when we wanted to discuss users’ comments during a test.  (Our conference line was on mute, of course.)
  • No travel costs

We from pidoco° have been stressing the very same benifits for some time now and since our Remote Usability Tester has been available as a public BETA, we have been gaining heaps of positive feedback on this process.
Certainly, in the age of the real-time communication it is just another step towards improving communication within business and private realms whilst protecting the environment.  (Soon no more business trips in First Class needed, sorry guys!)

Welcome to the future of UX.. 😉

Evolution of Prototyping

These days we celebrated the third birthday of the pidoco project. For a short presentation, I searched my harddisk for old screenshots, pictures, designs, etc. It was a lot of fun to see how our Tool matured over time. The first lines of code were written three years ago.

I would call this my masterpiece of graphical design. 😉 Well, in first place, I wanted to explore the possibilities of SVG. Therefore, I added the very nice gradients, ignoring which color exactly I used. The whole app was written in SVG, even the slider and combo box, which you may see on the top right. The red and green arrows were our toolbar icons, which even had a fisheye effect! (I still don’t know, why we remove that gimmick…) I even found an old version of the sources which I was able to deploy on our test machine to play around. The next major version was the introduction of the ExtJS library, which made pidoco look like this (December 2007):

20sitemap_initial

With this step, the application made it form a prototype to a real app that was, to some extent, usable. Our very first beta testers use pidoco with this look. To be honest, we should have paid them for the pain they had using pidoco… But we learned a lot and further improved both the interaction design and the graphics design. Here you can see an intermediate draft, which looks quite similar to the current version (compare: https://pidoco.com/preview):

30Interfacebsp_1

The fast lane approach to effective UX?

Rob James posted a great article on the “top down approach” which would aid developers to work on their projects in a “holistic approach”.

Essentially the concept is that you work from the user’s perspective down, rather than thinking through the requirements to come up with the domain model, class models and the like. The reason that this is beneficial is that you focus on what the user actually requires to do, not what the system expects them to do. And that is the first step towards building systems that employ best practices in usability.

In the post he mentions the 9 steps of successful project development:

  • Concept
  • Brainstorming
  • Paper wireframes
  • UI Design “Look & Feel”
  • HTML Screens
  • UI Controller Layer
  • Tests and stubbed service layers
  • Service implementation and data layer
  • Utility classes

A well written article and surely a great approach and we believe that the perfect mediator between end-user, developer, client and technology is in fact -the wireframe.

The pidoco° Remote Usability Tester -out NOW!

While others do prototyping, you can do UCD!
pidoco° makes Usability and Usability testing easy! Today, we proudly announce the beta release of the brand new Remote
Usability Tester! Now, usability testing is really feasible and affordable!

From now on, all our current and future customers with the Classic & Advanced subscriptions will enjoy the full capabilities of the pidoco° remote usability tester.

pidoco° Remote Usability Tester fast facts:

  • you can perform hassle-free usability tests from your desktop
  • complex setups for usability testing are now history
  • real-time usability testing via audio connection, screensharing and mousetracking
  • all test session are recorded and available for later use
  • make ammendments to your prototype while conducting usability tests with the user
  • test user will be able to work from home (natural surrounding!)
  • you can test your design concepts and find usability problems effectively

Experience how the Remote Usability Tester can change the life of your users for the better!

Just log-in to find more information in the project repository.
The future of a more usable world starts here

usabilitytest-user

test user view

moderator view

moderator view

New Stencil: Table

Table Stencil

Table Stencil

It has been requested for quite some time now, that we should add a table to our stencils. With the new release of this weekend we finally added this stencil. It follows the syntax of the menu stencil with some extensions of the wiki syntax.

Each line basically is one table row. The cells are divided by the pipe sign ‘|’. The text between two pipes makes the cell content. This might contain links as well as bold text. Links are added by the combo box above the text area (just as you do with the menu stencil). Text between two stars will be *bold*. In order to format an entire cell just put the formatting symbol (e.g. the star) between the opening pipe and a closing dot. For example like this you center the text and make it bold: |c*. Cell content | You can use c for centered, r for right aligned, * for bold. Left aligned is default.

We think this is a pretty simple and flexible solution. It might not be the favorite of all of our users, but a complex wysiwyg editor just for a table would require too much development time. Besides not having seen a good table editor in one of the common wikis. (Please tell me if there is such available!)

It would help us a lot if you send us some samples of what you expect the syntax to look like. This way, we can improve the table and simplify your prototyping.

15 Helpful Website Usability Facts & Guidelines

There are many guidelines out there on Usability. We find that this article shows a few tips which can definitely aid the overall experiences of a Web interface. It can help to keep those tips in mind when designing an interface, even when still in the prototyping phase!
A  nice little article by “bestdesigntuts” on U&Design ideas with direct quotes.  The original post can be found here:

  1. Design is a key determinant to building online trust with consumers. For motivated users of an information site, bad design (busy layout, small print, too much text) hurts more than good design helps. – Sillence, Briggs, Fishwick, and Harris, 2004.
  2. Layout on a web page (whitespace and advanced layout of headers, indentation, and figures) may not measurably influence performance, but it does influence satisfaction. – Chaperro, Shaikh, and Baker, 2005.
  3. Experience matters: Blue links are easier to click than black ones, even though black ones have higher visual contrast and are easier to see. – Van Schaik and Ling, 2003.
  4. It’s important to consider the users when you have a choice of icons, links, or both. Initial performance is best with the link alone. Frequent users can use either equally effectively. Icons are not faster, relative to text links alone. – Wiedenbeck, 1999.
  5. Rules of thumb for icons: Make them as large as feasible, place frequently used icons in a persistent task bar, and arrange them either in a square (first choice) or in a horizontal layout. – Grobelny, Karwowski, and Drury, 2005.
  6. The acceptance and impact of animation is enhanced when users are warned to expect it and allowed to start it when they want. – Weiss, Knowlton, and Morrison, 2002.
  7. Use of whitespace between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20 %. – Lin, 2004.
  8. A format of 95 characters per line is read significantly faster than shorter line lengths; however, there are no significant differences in comprehension, preference, or overall satisfaction, regardless of line length. – Shaikh, 2005.
  9. Applications vs. websites: In general, visual layout guidelines for GUIs also apply to the web, but there are differences to be aware of. For example, dense pages with lots of links take longer to scan for both GUI and web; however, alignment may not be as critical for web pages as previously thought. – Parush, Shwarts, Shtub, and Chandra, 2005.
  10. Narrative presentation enhances comprehension and memory. Narrative advertisements produce more positive attitude about the brand and a higher incidence of intent to purchase.– Escalas, 2004.
  11. On sites with clear labels and prominent navigation options, users tend to browse rather than search.Searching is no faster than browsing in this context. – Katz and Byrne, 2003.
  12. Users will wait longer for better content. Users will wait between 8-10 seconds for information on the web, depending on the quality of the information. – Ryan and Valverde, 2003.
  13. Consumer purchase behavior is driven by perceived security, privacy, quality of content and design, in that order. – Ranganathan and Ganapathy, 2002.
  14. In 2001, Bernard found that prior user experience with websites dictated where they expected common web page elements to appear on a page. The same still holds true today: Users have clear expectations about where to find the things they want (search and back-to-home links) as well as the things they want to avoid (advertising). – Shaihk and Lenz, 2006.
  15. When assessing web accessibility under four conditions (expert review, screenreader using JAWS, automated testing via “Bobby”, and remote testing by blind users) those using screenreaders find the most issues, while automated testing finds the least number of accessibility issues. – Mankoff, Fait, and Tran, 2005.
  1. Design is a key determinant to building online trust with consumers. For motivated users of an information site, bad design (busy layout, small print, too much text) hurts more than good design helps. – Sillence, Briggs, Fishwick, and Harris, 2004.
  2. Layout on a web page (whitespace and advanced layout of headers, indentation, and figures) may not measurably influence performance, but it does influence satisfaction. – Chaperro, Shaikh, and Baker, 2005.
  3. Experience matters: Blue links are easier to click than black ones, even though black ones have higher visual contrast and are easier to see. – Van Schaik and Ling, 2003.
  4. It’s important to consider the users when you have a choice of icons, links, or both. Initial performance is best with the link alone. Frequent users can use either equally effectively. Icons are not faster, relative to text links alone. – Wiedenbeck, 1999.
  5. Rules of thumb for icons: Make them as large as feasible, place frequently used icons in a persistent task bar, and arrange them either in a square (first choice) or in a horizontal layout. – Grobelny, Karwowski, and Drury, 2005.
  6. The acceptance and impact of animation is enhanced when users are warned to expect it and allowed to start it when they want. – Weiss, Knowlton, and Morrison, 2002.
  7. Use of whitespace between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20 %. – Lin, 2004.
  8. A format of 95 characters per line is read significantly faster than shorter line lengths; however, there are no significant differences in comprehension, preference, or overall satisfaction, regardless of line length. – Shaikh, 2005.
  9. Applications vs. websites: In general, visual layout guidelines for GUIs also apply to the web, but there are differences to be aware of. For example, dense pages with lots of links take longer to scan for both GUI and web; however, alignment may not be as critical for web pages as previously thought. – Parush, Shwarts, Shtub, and Chandra, 2005.
  10. Narrative presentation enhances comprehension and memory. Narrative advertisements produce more positive attitude about the brand and a higher incidence of intent to purchase.– Escalas, 2004.
  11. On sites with clear labels and prominent navigation options, users tend to browse rather than search.Searching is no faster than browsing in this context. – Katz and Byrne, 2003.
  12. Users will wait longer for better content. Users will wait between 8-10 seconds for information on the web, depending on the quality of the information. – Ryan and Valverde, 2003.
  13. Consumer purchase behavior is driven by perceived security, privacy, quality of content and design, in that order. – Ranganathan and Ganapathy, 2002.
  14. In 2001, Bernard found that prior user experience with websites dictated where they expected common web page elements to appear on a page. The same still holds true today: Users have clear expectations about where to find the things they want (search and back-to-home links) as well as the things they want to avoid (advertising). – Shaihk and Lenz, 2006.
  15. When assessing web accessibility under four conditions (expert review, screenreader using JAWS, automated testing via “Bobby”, and remote testing by blind users) those using screenreaders find the most issues, while automated testing finds the least number of accessibility issues. – Mankoff, Fait, and Tran, 2005.