Category: Usability

Design Thinking Series - Part I: Increase member engagement using design thinking

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The method focuses on three main elements of a product or solution: people, technology, and business. All of these aspects evolve around the customer.

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Take a standards-focused approach to help your web videos stand out

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One of the best, and most challenging aspects of online publishing is how interconnected everything is. It’s a lot to keep track of. It can easily lead to a sense of paralysis, dread, and ultimately, regret.

It’s important, during these dark moments, however, to remember that following best practices can often serve as a “beacon of sanity” that can yield unexpected, and beneficial results.

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Why Audience-Based Navigation is Almost Never a Good Idea

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Never say never, right? And in the case of audience-based navigation, I certainly don't . . . but I almost always do.

Unless you have distinct audiences that will never have content that overlaps, it's both confusing for users and burdensome for administrators. 

Here's the case for leaving audience labels out of your navigation: 

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When all the bells and whistles fail - What's the best user experience?

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Web innovation is often measured in bells and whistles—what cool features can we build and how can they out-do our competitors? But does that translate to the best user experience? If there’s not a useful product or information behind that feature, what’s the point? 

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Are you listening? The Power of Ethnographic Research

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To gain new insights and opportunities, we need to think and approach research differently. The February 2015 issue of Fast Company contained two articles of interest showcasing very different research approaches and how they contributed to the rise (or fall) of their products. One article subtitled "What the hell happened..?" was about the lackluster performance (failure?) of the Fire Phone.

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Life above the fold - Why it's no longer relevant

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Anytime we begin our UX and design process, our clients are concerned about the dreaded “fold.” You know the part of your site that users see when they come to your site? The part that shows before you scroll? That area is considered “above the fold”—and it used to be a major concern when thinking about usability and accessing content. After all, we wouldn’t want our users to miss out on valuable content because they fail to scroll down, right? 

Guess what? Users scroll.

It’s true. 

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Rapid prototyping: What it is and why it matters!

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Traditionally, wireframing has been the go-to activity for specking out web designs, architecting the layout of the site and envisioning user experience. But the fact of the matter is, no matter how detailed the annotations, no matter how intuitive we think we've designed it to be, nothing substitutes for the real thing--a live, working site. In a world with infinite dollars and hours, we could build multiple iterations of sites until our hearts' content. Sadly, projects have budgets and timelines and reality to contend with, and multiple builds just aren't in the cards.

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The User Experience

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One of my favorite parts of my work is conducting user interviews and focus groups. I’m always eager to talk to people about how they use websites and to learn more about what they want out of their user experience. 

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Users Miss Good Content If They Are Frustrated

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In recent usability testing for a Balance client, we uncovered a series of items that frustrated users. These things are typical on an information-rich site with lots of documents and images. Below, I describe what frustrated users and best practice solutions to improve usability.

Users were frustrated by:

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Be Web-Amazing

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Is your website and overall online presence under-performing or not meeting your expectations? Are you unsure if you are doing everything you can to be successful with your online activities?  Is your website good, but you want it to be amazing?

We want to help.

We are giving away website evaluations to 10 lucky associations at the 2012 ASAE Annual Conference in Dallas. This is a great opportunity to find out if your online presence is optimized for competitive advantage.

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