Tag Archives: Webdesign


Pen & paper or screen: context switching in design

Which approach to design works best for you? Design is a delicate matter. It is not only a question of taste, but just as much a question of approach. How designers go about their work is highly personal. Almost every approach will be different. At the same time, there is one thing I see all good designers do. They use pen & paper and digital media interchangeably, and they know when to switch between the two.
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The Paradox Of Technology And 5 Ways To Avoid It Design

The Paradox Of Technology And 5 Ways To Avoid It

Does our life become easier with every new invention on the market? I don’t think so. New technology presents us with great possibilities and limitations at the same time. Let’s have a look at this quote:

  • The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device also complicates life by making the device harder to learn, harder to use. This is the paradox of technology.

— Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things (1988)

What Norman said about technology in 1988 is still valid today. Our economy, educational system and our social interactions have changed dramatically with available technologies. In order to stay competitive, products become more and more ingenious, their features adding up. The idea is to make our lives easier. But does it work?

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turtle_rabbit Theory

How metaphors can improve your user experience

“The way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.”

In their frequently cited book Metaphors we live by, Lakoff and Johnson demonstrate the important role of metaphors in our language, and also in our every day life. They claim that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, which means that we use metaphors to reason and understand the world.

Conceptual metaphors link a familiar concept with one that is unfamiliar. They help us better understand something that might otherwise be too complex or too abstract for our mind to grasp. Conceptual metaphors make abstract concepts more concrete and therefore bring them within our reach.
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Screen shot 2012-06-27 at 3.45.33 PM Theory

The Usability ABC – part 3

This week I’d like to continue our Usability ABC with some even more basic terms. Those of you who are familiar with the Internet will know them, others maybe not. But even for the keen ones, it might be useful to recall the basic definitions of the following terms: Website, Web page, Homepage, Header, and Footer. As always, these items are added to our growing page of usability terms.

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Screen shot 2012-06-25 at 4.26.46 PM Design

The Power Of Colors On The Web

Colors are powerful. No doubt that everyone who ever put a little thought in the subject has figured this out. However, I’m not talking about how red stands for energy and green has rather calming effects. There is quite some literature on the meaning of colors and for those who want to catch up on that I recommend the eBook A Guide to Color Symbolism by Jill Morton.

Instead I want to focus on the ‘why’, the ‘when’, and the ‘how’: Why do colors influence people? When do colors influence people? And how can we use the power of colors for our own purpose?

Figure 1 - Visible electromagnetic radiation between violet (380 nm) and red (760 nm)

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Improve your website with a ‘Vuja de’ state of mind Design

Improve your website with a ‘Vuja de’ state of mind

Do you often have difficulties explaining to your friends and family what do you do for living? At least I did. When I had to explain my line of work and what usability really is, I had a hard time at first. But now I’ve found a nice story to tell them, that helps them grasp what I’m doing.

I help people vuja de!
Vuja what?!

Marcel Proust in seeing with new eyes
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2013_02_featured_smurfs Theory

These Smurfalicious personas will engage your users

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you had to do business with the Smurfs? There are more than one hundred Smurfs, each one with its own idiosyncrasy, traits and quirks that demand special attention and care. How would you communicate to each Smurf? How would you engage each Smurf to listen to you, and eventually buy what you’re selling? Quite a smurfy-question don’t you think?

Well, here at Usabilla we always spend our time constructively thinking of major issues like this. So we smurfed our research and we present it to you.

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