Design Principles

Collecting data about design is easy in the digital world. We no longer have to conduct in-person experiments to track pedestrians’ behavior in an airport terminal or the movement of eyeballs across a page. New digital technologies allow us to easily measure almost anything, and apps, social media platforms, websites, and email programs come with…

The Jewish Torah teaches that the Creator created our world through ten utterances–for example, “let there be light.” The Jewish mystical tradition explains that these utterances correspond with ten stages in the process of creation. Every creative process in the world ultimately follows this progression, because it is really a part of the continual unfolding…

December 23rd, 2014

Designing for Harmony

How Design-Driven Innovation Helped Intuit Get Its Groove Back

In 1982, Scott Cook was watching his wife sit at the kitchen table struggling to balance the family checkbook. Personal computers were just becoming popular and he had seen them transform work at Procter and Gamble; yet here was his wife fighting to do something challenging for humans but trivial for computers. In a flash…

December 16th, 2014

Plateaus are Harder Than Mountains

How can design help real people use data in their lives?

Bold claims have been made about applying “big data” to solve the world’s problems, from health (Fitbit) to saving energy (Nest). Data is all around us, appearing in slick devices and colorful dashboards, yet focusing on the technology can cause us to miss the people who have to use it. Our job as designers is…

In 2008, Lloyds Pharmacy conducted 20 minute interviews1 with 1,961 UK adults. Almost one in five people admitted to having taken prescription medicines incorrectly; more than eight million adults have either misread medicine labels or misunderstood the instructions, resulting in them taking the wrong dose or taking medication at the wrong time of day. In…

“Above all else show the data.” –Edward Tufte Survey responses. Product reviews. Keyword searches. Forums. As UX practitioners, we commonly scour troves of qualitative data for customer insight. But can we go faster than line-by-line analysis? Moreover, how can we provide semantic analysis to project stakeholders? Enter Wordle. If you haven’t played with it yet,…

So you want to extend your website’s account management features to mobile devices. Well you’re not alone; most major websites today have cross-platform accounts and profiles that make for a more engaging and cohesive user experience. And many sites enable account management features on mobile devices. After all, you want people to be able to…

Dear Project Managers, It has been a very enjoyable experience working with everyone over the last couple of months and sharing our ideas on UX design. The various discussions about user interface, product usability, and user engagement have been an enlightening experience for me as well, and it is very positive to see that everyone…

October 22nd, 2013

Clicking Fast and Slow

Heuristics, bias, and deliberation in interaction design

Through social psychology and cognitive science, we now know a great deal about our own frailties in the way that we seek, use, and understand information and data. On the web, user interface design may work to either exacerbate or counteract these biases. This article will give a brief overview of the science then look…

What makes an icon a valuable addition to the interface, rather than a mere decorative element? Intuitiveness, aesthetic value, memorability, intercultural perception? While an effective icon would combine many of those characteristics, I’d like to focus on one measure–speed of recognition, or how fast a specific icon can be discovered and identified. In a simple…

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