Category Archives: Theory

2012_09_featured_left_right Design

How The Left/ Right Brain Theory Improves The User Experience

Sometimes, it’s very easy to convince us. Be it in a discussion with friends, when buying a new pair of shoes, or when searching for a web service on the the Internet, if our intuition tells us to go for it, we feel confident that we are making the right decision. Then, other times, it seems like our intuition deserts us and it takes a lot more convincing to win us over for something.

It’s not a secret that our brains are capable of two different types of thinking. While the “left brain” can be considered rather objective, focusing on logic and analytics, the “right brain” is more subjective, emotional, and intuitive. Whether we use the left or the right part of our brain does not only affect our decision making, but also the way we perceive a website and how we interact with it.
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2012_08_07_featured Theory

Wireframes: From Bar Napkins To Prototypes

This is a guest post by our friend Mike Hughes

Some of my best ideas were conceived and communicated using a sharpie and a bar napkin. Unfortunately, some of my best ideas were obliterated by a sweaty beer glass.

I’ve also walked into conceptual reviews with exquisitely detailed, working prototypes only to have the review go something like this:
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2012_08_09_featured Theory

10 Usability Basics To Consider Before Designing The UX

Lately there has been a lot of talking about the user experience of a website. We want people to have fun when they visit our site. We want them to keep us in good memory, so they come back and also tell others about our great website. We try to build positive experiences that draw people in and engage them, that help us connect with our visitors and eventually guide them towards a certain attitude or action.
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2012_07_31_featured Design

10 Practical Tips For Web Designers

Web design is quite an art. There are many beautiful and inspiring websites out there to prove that. But even though it sais design, there are many different fields that need to be considered when designing a website from scratch. The actual visual design is only a fragment. Even one that comes in quite late in the design process.

Of course a website should be visually appealing and there are many practical things that can be realized through visual design. However, there are many things you need to be aware of and define before you can give shape to them. In the following I will give you ten tips that will help you to create better websites. Some of them might be familiar to you, some are obvious, but still ignored on a regular basis, and some might actually surprise you.
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car Theory

How Personality Types Can Boost Your Conversion

When we create websites we often discuss different techniques that we work with. What is possible within the boundaries of a chosen tool and what isn’t? More often these concerns make place for something else: User Centered Design (UCD). The people who use a site become the primary concern. A fair idea, because a site needs to be interesting, intuitive and relevant for its audience.

Each audience has a different goal on your website. Besides these different goals, each individual visitor also has his own preferences. Preferences that cannot be changed because they define who we are and how we think and act. There are many different routes people can take on a website, which are based on these preferences.
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1307712309_Smartphones Theory

How Emotions Can Make A Brand Rise And Fall

This is a guest post by Melonie McLaurin.

To say that Apple invented the smartphone is a controversial statement, given that RIM’s Blackberry already had a strong foothold before the iPhone arrived. Yet everyone knows it is true, before the iPhone, there was nothing like it. It was a dubious sell from the beginning; what seemed at first to be a strange new iPod that could also handle calls, text messages, and email launched an entire mobile industry.

Now, smartphones are everywhere and Apple no longer dominates the market. Over 900,000 daily activations of mobile devices powered by Google’s Android operating system is proof of that. Even Microsoft has started moving in with Windows Phone, and it is rumored that Facebook will soon introduce a social smartphone. With so many choices, what is it that keeps iPhone devotees loyal to Apple?
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2012_07_02_featured Theory

Why The User Experience Can Or Cannot Be Designed

This is a guest post by our friend Paul Olyslager.

It seems an endless discussion whether the user experience can or cannot be designed. The difficulty of the discussion lies in the level of abstraction. I believe that is because everything is an experience and everyone is a user. There is no standard definition, nor consensus among the practitioners, of what experience design really is.

In this article I hope to shed some light on the issue. I will share my thoughts about the difficulties to design the user experience and give some practical tips how to overcome this challenge.
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auditory Theory

How Individual Learning Styles Improve The User Experience

Every website has a certain purpose, be it to inform people, create a community, or sell stuff. At the same time, people who visit a website have a certain goal. This sounds pretty straightforward, right? Now consider the diversity of people that come to your site and you will see that things are a little more complex. In order to reach your own goals and at the same time help your visitors reach theirs, you need to carefully think through how you present the content on your website.

I found this very nice quote by Forgus that sais: “Perception is an active process of locating and extracting information from the environment and learning is the process of acquiring information through experience and storing information. Thinking is the manipulation of information to solve problems. The easier it is to extract information (perceive) the easier our thinking process becomes.”

Basically this quote tells us that we are responsible of whether or not people care for the information we offer on our site and at the same time if they can handle it. We have the obligation to make information as easy to access and as intuitive to perceive as possible. The way we present our content defines if and how many people can solve their goals.

In this article I’d like to guide you through different learning styles and explain how thinking like a teacher can help you create a better user experience.
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230511073747usability_testing Theory

Combining In-Person and Remote Research

This article was originally and in full length published on UX Magazine.

In the early 90’s, Jakob Nielsen declared in-person user research as state of the art. “User testing with real users is the most fundamental usability method and is in some sense irreplaceable, since it provides direct information about how people use computers [...]”. Sometimes in-person user research can be logistically impractical or cost prohibitive, so remote user research is often employed as an alternative.

In-person user research has been around the longest, and is still widely used as a great way to gather feedback on websites, advertisements, or software. In-person research usually involves letting users perform tasks on a computer while asking them questions, observing their behaviors and body language, or having them think out loud.

In remote user research, on the other hand, the physical location is no longer important because the research subjects can work independently of the researchers. There are two forms of remote user research: moderated and automated. Moderated tests require the researcher to interact with the participant during the session. During automated tests, the researcher does not interfere, which allows people to participate whenever it fits their personal schedule.
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