Category Archives: Usability

Why does MindManager Pro rock?

Seriously, it rocks.

Lately, I’ve been using it to sketch out site maps the size of Wisconsin. OK, well, maybe not the size of Wisconsin, which is 65,498 square miles, by the way. But hey, you get the idea.

You don’t even have to be an IA to love this stuff; if you spend hours every day drawing flowcharts or mapping out processes or even if you’re just looking for a brainstorming tool, this is it. I’ve ranted about stuff like Freemind and WriteMaps before, but this stuff is just so much more incredibly on point. Just try it out.

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Filed under Cool, Design, Development, Geek, Ideas, Information Architecture, Reviews, Usability, Web

How Vista relates to website redesigns

Ever wondered what you can learn about website redesigns from the old XP versus Vista debate?

Well, I think the underlying reason why a lot of XP users are still resisting the switch to Vista is because the latter is just so visually different. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with actual brand loyalty or software compatibility.

I think just boils down to a case of visual familiarity.

As blogger Charles Engelke says in his post “Dumping Vista, perhaps there is a layer of complexity that needs to be dealt with in order to get the most out of the operating system.

In other words, there’s a big learning curve to get past, a big visual difference between Old and New. So big, in fact, that it’s not only enough to put you off experimenting with it, it’s also big enough to put you off even liking it.

So, how come Mac users never complain about this kind of stuff? Ever overheard a Mac user complaining about how their new OS isn’t as easy to use as their old OS?

I think that’s because Mac OS X updates always introduce incremental changes.

In other words, they’ve paced themselves with their OS updates, and instead of changing everything visually from top to bottom, they’ve retained the same look and feel of their interface. They’ve kept things familiar, so that people don’t have to learn as much about the system as PC users usually do, because each Windows update looks dramatically different from the last one.

Like Windows XP and Vista.

So, how does this apply to web redesigns?

It’s simple: Prefer incremental visual change to a complete redesign, ceteris paribus.

The less you do to change an interface that’s been around long enough for everyone to get familiar with and comfortably use, the less resistance you’ll encounter that’s associated with learning something new.

I think people look for their favorite visual cues when they browse, and retaining as many of these cues, while improving the functionality and usability of a website, is the key to creating a redesign that people won’t resist.

Common sense, no?

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Filed under Accessibility, Design, Development, Geek, Ideas, Information Architecture, Trends, Usability, Web

Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett’s a great agency but their website redesign is a puzzle to me.

Apart from adding a few more steps, more copy to read and a greater perception of depth, I don’t really see any difference in terms of accessibility or functionality, compared to the old site.

There’s tons of hidden content. There’s not enough call to action. And there’s not much tactile control; trying to guide your pointer across the screen and choosing stuff to click on is like navigating in bullet-time. The most painful thing about the site, though, is that it forces you to learn how to use it, all over again.

On the bright side, that logo does look real spiffy in 3D. Heh.

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Three Laws of Campaign Microsites

(Image from cyberpunkreview.com)

With a nod to Isaac Asimov:

1. A campaign microsite may not leave a human being unfulfilled or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to boredom.

2. A campaign microsite must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A campaign microsite must justify its own existence as long as such an existence does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Agree?

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Love Your Home with IKEA

Ikea Malaysia doesn’t have one of the most organized websites on the Internet, but they do have a pretty entertaining online contest, at the moment.

It’s called Love My Home and it features an interactive survey that’s simple, straight-to-the-point and most of important of all, fun.

Take the contest and stand to win RM1000. And can you buy me one of those robotic designer lamps, if you do?

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Nice layout, Adfest

Not.

It’s looks like a poster, not a website. Where’s the interface, yo?

Why do post-event websites generally have to suck?

Thank goodness Cannes Lions doesn’t suck, although their coding is a bit on the sloppy side.

Ha ha.

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Problems with your CMS? Call us now!

(Image from makspot)

Here’s another reason why information architects are such geeks; I mean, apart from the IA-inclined, who actually gives a damn about solving problems with Content Management Systems?

And who else would actually take the trouble to conduct a survey about it?

Well, The Information Architecture Institute did run a survey on CMS in 2003, which involved members of sigia-l, AIfIA, and the ia-cms.

Take a peek at the survey.

And tell me; do we really need to be that geeky? =P

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