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The Best UX Articles of 2013, from the Usabilla Blog

As 2013 draws to a close, we say farewell to another year of blogging. Over the past 12 months, us here at Usabilla have been producing an average of two articles a week. My primary school maths tells me that is over 100 pieces of new content out there – providing all manner of tips, tricks and discussion.

Admittedly, this may be a bit much for you all to wade through. So to ease that experience, our most successful UX articles of the past year have been summarised here for you to get a feel of just what’s happened in 2013.

In these Five articles, you’ll:

  • Get involved in the discussion as to whether Flat Design is Here to Stay
  • Learn that Flat Design is Here to Stay (slightly contradictory..!)
  • Discover just where Microsoft went wrong with Windows 8
  • Read about the origins and success of the UX profession, and where it is headed.
  • Learn how to improve your website footer.

In no particular order:

1. Flat Web Design: Trend Or Revolution?


Flat Web Design: Trend Or Revolution? by Sabina Idler.

  • “Every so often, new ways of doing something sneak into our lives and work habits. Reasons for this can be changing personal preferences, new technologies, or simply the urge to follow trends. A recent new habit in web design is a flat design approach. ”

Sabina’s brilliant article at the beginning of September whipped up quite a discussion. With Flat Design being the design trend of 2013, there has been no end to the converts. Here she details the main benefits of this new technique, and questions it’s sustainability in the long term.

This turned into quite an emotive subject and is certainly worth the read – it may even help you draw your own conclusions as we all still await the outcome!

2. The 4 UX Principles Microsoft Forgot That Doomed Windows 8


The 4 UX Principles Microsoft Forgot That Doomed Windows 8 by Ben Snyder.

  • “Microsoft has bet the future of Windows on a risky strategy of creating an operating system that works on both tablets and desktops. This seemingly smart strategy is doomed for a number of reasons, but mostly, they just forgot the basics.

    They didn’t know their customer. They didn’t solve a problem. Their messaging is unclear and they ignored user research.”

Guest author Ben supplied this brilliantly, scathing, article about Windows 8 in January. Windows 8, launched at the backend of 2012, has seen some very mixed reactions – largely due to it’s move to flat design and attempts to create the same experience across all devices.

Well written, the article identifies exactly where Microsoft went wrong, and why I’m writing this article on a Mac. A captivating read, well worth your time – wherever your allegiances lie.

3. How to Design a More Effective Website Footer


How to Design a More Effective Website Footer by Sabina Idler.

  • “In previous articles, we already discussed some aspects that make your website more effective, such as your website header, navigation menu, and content structure. Now, lets take a look at your website footer. Every website has one and there are many different things you can do improve your website footer.”

Adding to our long list of How-to’s, Sabina’s article effectively shows what is essential in pulling off a great Website Footer. Using some of the best examples from around the Web to give you that little bit of inspiration.

Often left forgotten at the bottom of your website, find out how to improve one of your most important navigation functions!

4. User Experience: Where has it come from and why is it here?


User Experience: Where has it come from and why is it here? by Oliver McGough.

  • “There has never been a better time to be a UXer. A quick browse over any job site or forum reveals a plethora of Web-related User Experience positions. You needn’t be a genius to notice the demand is there, and it is huge! But where has this all come from?”

My own token entry on the list, this is the best article of the bunch (obviously) and represents my debut on the blog.

These past few years, User Experience (UX) has seen a surge in demand. A surge that has also seen ‘traditional’ web design fall. In this article I detail the origins of the practice in marketing and HCI, as well as discuss why the profession is doing so well now and where it could be leading in the future.

5. Flat Design Web Design is Here to Stay


Flat Design Web Design is Here to Stay by Sabina Idler.

  • “Lately, there has been a big discussion going on about flat web design. Some think it’s just a trend. Others believe it will change the way we design for the web forever.”

Completing her hat-trick, our chief blogger comes up top-trumps here in a follow up to her previously mentioned Flat Design article.

Using our own Usabilla Survey, Sabina gathers the thoughts and opinion to uncover what professionals really think of flat design. Uncovering just why it is here to stay with reliable data.

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