by anthony on 12/27/12 at 2:59 pm
It’s time to wave goodbye to 2012 and welcome 2013. Before we usher in the new year, I’d like to share with you the most popular articles of the year based on pageviews. Next year I plan on writing even more articles and making them better than ever. If you’d like to contribute an article, I invite you to do so. Here are the top 5 UX articles of 2012 each with a short commentary of my thoughts. Enjoy!
This article was hugely popular. And rightly so, because labeling links is so fundamentally important for a good user interface. Saying “click here” communicates to the user from the designer’s perspective, not the user’s. As the designer you want them to click “there”, but what the user is trying to do is carry out a specific task. A task-related action makes a far better link label than “click here”. I hope we see less and less of this malpractice in 2013.
Signing up for a website is a bigger investment for users than you’d think. When users sign up, they are giving out their personal information to access a website. In order for users to do this, they have to trust you and feel that your website offers value. This article illustrates all the psychological barriers that holds users at bay from signing up. Get users to invest in you by showing them that you’ll protect their information, won’t spam them and won’t ask for unnecessary information upfront. Most sign up forms don’t make the effort to build up the user’s trust. Simply asking users to sign up is not enough.
The science behind this article was interesting. Most users don’t like to wait. But waiting is much more tolerable if users feel that an application is progressively loading faster. The way your progress bar moves and animates does make a difference to the human eye. By using the techniques presented in this article you won’t make your application load any faster, but you’ll give users the cognitive perception that your application loads faster than it does.
This was a really important article for 2012 and will be even more important for 2013. Not everyone has caught on to the fact that clicking requires more effort from the user than scrolling. To click, you have to find the target, hover over it, click and wait for a new page to load. To scroll, you can do that with the mouse wheel or trackpad anywhere on the screen, and you don’t have to wait for a new page to load. I’m hoping in 2013 we’ll see more applications support the use of scrolling over clicking.
Wireframing is a big thing in designing user interfaces. But sketching is a big thing in designing user experiences. You cannot skip sketching or wireframing. Both are important steps in the design process. Wireframing allows you to flesh out the details of the user interface more, but sketching allows you to develop the core concept of what users will experience from screen to screen. Sketching is a great way to get other people involved in the process. I enjoy sketching with my clients because I get a better sense of their ideas and what they’re trying to do. In 2013, I think more designers will see how important sketching is, and the difference it’ll make on their work.