A while ago I finished this excellent book on UI Design Principles / Rules: Designing With the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson. I do wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in UI Design and the science (psychology, biology) behind UI Design Principles.
The book gives insight into how our brain and visual system works and has lots of examples that show how things go wrong when we don’t take that into account when designing user interfaces. Of course it also contains examples of good UI design. The book is compact and easy to get through, and when you apply the design rules in it, you can back up your design decisions with a solid scientific background.
At ICT Automatisering we’ve formed ‘intervision groups’. In these groups, professionals with common knowledge about a subject gather regularly and share information. Recently, we’ve formed the “UI Intervision group”, for which I have become one of the chair men. In this group we currently have about 10 professionals that have a keen interest in User Interfacing.
We meet about 5-6 times a year in the late afternoon /early evening at the ICT Eindhoven office. First meeting, my collegue and fellow chairman Hans Hendrix gave an introductory presentation about Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). At the second meeting I gave a presentation about UI Design Principles. Next meeting will be about developing the UI of apps on the Android platform.
For future meetings, we are considering external speakers. So if you are a specialist in the domain of User Interfacing and are willing to hold a presentation of 1 to 1,5 hours, please do contact me with details of the subject!
Finished an excellent course called “Creating User Experiences: Fundamental Design Principles” by Billy Hollis. Some great quotes:
“We are moving from “making things possible” to “making things easier”. People or businesses that don’t follow, risk becoming irrelevant because others will step up and do better because of increased user expectance.”
And another one:
Billy Hollis First Law of Programming: Users Outnumber Developers.
“We (developers) spend an awful lot of time on worrying on things that makes life easier for ourselves or the development process. Things like unit testing, version control and continues integration. That’s fine, because those things add value. But we should spend even more time on making things easier for our users, because users outnumber developers.”
The course centers around ‘UI Design Principles’ that stem from basic human psychology, evolution and the way the human visual system works. These results in things like Gestalt Principles, Fitt’s and Hicks law, and things like ‘Preference for Naturalness’ (i.e. humans have a preference for open spaces, this comes from the Savannah preference).
Great stuff! I recommend the course for every developer that is interested in user interfaces. You can follow it on pluralsight.
Went to a devdate meeting at the high tech campus in Eindhoven last thursday. Very impressed with the organization & catering (cheers TASS!), and the enthusiastic hosting by Ben van der Burg. Several interesting presentations. For me the highlight was the presentation of dr. Wijnand IJsselsteijn about opportunities for interactive user interfacing.
Windows Explorer is one of the Windows applications I spent most time in. At work, we have a large collection of network drives, local drives and large folder structures. We still use Windows XP there. I get along with Windows Explorer in XP just fine. The only thing I really miss in XP (because the large amount of folders I have to move between constantly) is tabs in Windows Explorer. Luckily, there are 3rd party tools for that, like the QTTabBar extension (
) or the xplorer2 replacement (
But in Vista and Windows 7 the Explorer is ‘upgraded’. Now I love progress, especially in Windows Explorer, since I use that a lot, so anything that gets my work done quicker gets my blessing. And to be fair, a lot is indeed better (like the address bar) in Vista an 7. But that are some things that nag me so much, I just have to write about it! I have lots of usability issues with Windows Explorer in Windows 7, so this post is just the first of a series about it.
I’ve got an iPhone (the 3GS). I love it. It’s the most user friendly phone I’ve ever had. In fact, it’ so easy to use that I was a little bit disappointed when I just got it. I was looking forward to a weekend playing around with it to discover all its features at to set it up to my liking , but a couple of hours later, I had seen everything. Way different experience from Symbian (UIQ) where you keep discovering features that are hidden away in some obscure corner of the UI months after you got the phone!. But there are also quite a few stupid niggles with the iPhone (must-resist-writing-about-iPhone4′s-antenna-issue). Today’s topic: the SMS application.
As the web gets more mature and web technologies more advanced, more and more applications are ported from dedicated desktop applications to web applications. Those of us who work in (large) corporate environments have to deal with many web apps, for example to register worked hours, fill in planning estimates, do document archiving, lookup people in an internal phone book, etc.
Now, I do recognize that there are many scenarios where the advantages of web applications are too big to be ignored, but in a lot of cases they are not. At least not from a user centric viewpoint. And shouldn’t all applications be developed with the end-user in mind first?