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The Best UX Articles of April 2014

The trees are green, the sun is shining, and it even feels warm by my northern European standards. It could almost be summer. It is almost summer! If you’ve all too busy enjoying the freedom to finally leave house, you could be forgiven for missing out on another month of great UX content. No worries, we’re here to help.

With so much quality content out there, we take one more look back at April 2014. We’ve compiled the 5 best articles from April we feel are interesting, invaluable or otherwise a must read for anyone with an interest in UX.

From last month’s top 5 UX articles, you’ll:

  • Discover how you can launch your career in User Experience Design
  • See Why Users Aren’t Clicking Your Home Page Carousel
  • Learn the ideal length of everything online
  • Take note of the power of Microcopy in web design
  • See why Side drawer navigation could be costing you half your user engagement

In no particular order:

1. Get Started in UX: The Complete Guide to Launching a Career in User Experience Design


Get Started in UX: The Complete Guide to Launching a Career in User Experience Design by Matthew Magain & Luke Chambers, published on UX Matters.

  • “Deciding how best to tackle your entry into User Experience is a lot like tackling a UX project itself—you need to have a baseline. Understanding where your skills are at now is a prerequisite to charting where you want to go.”

We could have all done with a leg up when we first entered the industry. Yet its relative infancy forced us to scrape around and find our own way.

Matthew & Luke’s new book goes a long way to ensuring new recruits aren’t quite so shrouded in darkness. Providing us with a sample chapter, we’re gifted with a complex look into what UX is and why we are there. A great read for noobs and pros alike.

2. The Ideal Length of Everything Online – Backed by Research


The Ideal Length of Everything Online – Backed by Research by Kevan Lee, published on Buffer.

  • “Every so often when I’m tweeting or emailing, I’ll think: Should I really be writing so much?

    I tend to get carried away. And for the times that I do, it sure would be nice to know if all this extra typing is hurting or helping my cause. I want to stand out on social media, but I want to do it in the right way.”

We all know internet users, readers, are fickle these days. Articles aren’t read, they’re scanned. Our sites garner one quick glimpse, in which time we have to capture and pull in our visitors.

Using the short time frame our visitors have gifted us with, we have to further capture and keep them. Our choice of words then, is key.

Kevan has thoroughly researched the topic of ‘How long should our content be’. Saving us from drowning followers in vocabulary they don’t want to read. Helping us to stay short, sweet and – ultimately – effective.

3. The Power of Microcopy in Web Design


The Power of Microcopy in Web Design by Paula Borowska published on designmodo.

  • “Copy has turned into a buzzword. Have you noticed it? People are putting more and more importance onto the words you use on your website. They are trying to put value in copy and it’s a wonderful idea! Words are a prominent way of communicating online. And it’s the small things that matter, especially when it comes to user experience.”

As previous article touched upon, the use of words within your design goes a long way to creating an appropriate user experience. Words can create a mood, set a scene, put your visitors in the correct mindframe. Beautiful design has it’s constraints, it is ultimately how you create that conversation with the customer that matters.

Paula recognises this importance and seeks to show us, and teach us, of its true power in Web Design. Highly recommended.

4. Why Users Aren’t Clicking Your Home Page Carousel


Why Users Aren’t Clicking Your Home Page Carousel by Anthony, published on UX Movement.

  • “A website study found that out of 3 million home page visits only about 1% clicked a carousel slide. How could a large, graphical element on the home page get such few clicks? The reason most carousels do poorly might surprise you.”

Carousels have lived a long and conflicted life. Arguments over their usefulness have stretched for eternity. Discussion over them always raises heads, and this is no different.

Anthony claims that carousels are not useless in themselves, but more down to the way they are used. Interesting? Take a look to see how you should be utilising this ‘love it or hate it’ design element.

5. UX designers: Side drawer navigation could be costing you half your user engagement


UX designers: Side drawer navigation could be costing you half your user engagement by Anthony Rose, published on The Next Web.

  • “If your app has multiple views that users will engage with somewhat equally, then side navigation could be costing you a great deal of your potential user engagement, and interaction with those part of the app accessed via the side menu.”

It is quite a claim. One that that if true should be taken very seriously. Thankfully Anthony has the facts to back up his claim.

Drawing from the experiences of his own app, Zeebox, Anthony details how the introduction and subsequent removal of the ever popular Side Drawer impacted their user engagement. A very interesting read.

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