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56

Jessica Enders wrote an article on A List Apart about three studies she did to determine whether "zebra stripes" are helpful. The first study, described in an earlier article, tested users' ability to read and interpret data in a simple table. The second study was similar to the first, with an improved methodology. The third study attempted to determine ...


35

The thing about gamification is that it's basically a buzzword. What does it even mean? Looking at examples around the web, Foursquare and StackExchange being good examples, what you're essentially seeing is apps that motivate behaviour they'd like to encourage with an extrinsic rewards system. When you think of it like that, there's a lot of research and ...


34

Generally speaking, disruptions and distractions negatively affect human performance, a common finding in cognitive psychology. Many studies have shown that distraction greatly increases task time on a wide variety of tasks. There also exist many Quantitative studies showing task performance is negatively affected by distractions (note these figures are ...


31

My friend at Malmö University, André Mabande, wrote his Bachelor degree on the topic with the title Designing for Dialogue. He concludes that: The findings in this study seem to validate the hypothesis of the chronology as a major factor for generating a consistent discussion within a commenting field. When comments are shown in the order posted ...


27

Gamification is a design tool. You might call it a buzzword or a temporal rage but it is gaining proper academic support. The most concise definition that I have come across is: Gamification is the use of game element and game design techniques in a non game context. Gamification needs voluntariness (if you are forced in a Points,badge system it is ...


23

For on-screen tables, I think it's best to have non-alternating tables but have the entire row under the mouse to be highlighted. Also, the column header that the mouse is pointing should also be highlighted.


23

Yes, there have been formal studies demonstrating that as users become increasingly familiar with mobile devices, they shift increasingly toward using native apps.4 This trend is likely a combination of three factors: People prefer the familiar. If people know of a site or app that's likely to address their needs, they're more likely to use that known ...


21

I usually get both eager and upset everytime I stuble upon advanced UX topics, like Fitts' law. Eager because I find the basic research very interesting, and upset because there are so many misinterpretations of these. I actually have my own version Fitts' law: Don't use Fitts' law as a formula, use it as a guideline. So, what is the simple ...


19

Indeed, lots of research has been done on User Interfaces. Try and search the ACM Digital Library for terms like "GOMS", "Heuristics", "Fitts's Law", "Cognitive Walkthrough", "Consistency", "HCI", "modes", "prototypes" ... and "User Interface". The research discipline is so extensive that I think you need to specify your question in order to get relevant ...


19

In some parts of Thailand the traffic lights have a large second timer which counts down to the next traffic light change. I found this amazingly useful and intuitive to use and wondered why other countries don't adopt it. So the light with the timer tells you how much longer you have until the current light changes.


19

I've never thought about exactly WHY we hate stock photos, but I think it's related to the concept of the uncanny valley. Most cheesy business-centric stock photos look almost real, but there's always just something that makes them clearly unnatural. Is it the perfect mix of skin colors amongst the group? Is it the fact that they seem WAY too happy to be ...


18

The answer is in the question. You said: They're descriptions of fictitious people designed to represent the common traits and attributes of a broader audience demographic. Traits and attributes. Plural. They are made up combinations of several traits and attributes. Most people might have one or two, maybe even none. You might well spend a while finding ...


17

There are a number of research methods you can use depending on your scenario. But first, state your research goals... Get the questions out of your head and onto paper and share them with others, get feedback. Start out getting all collaborative right off the bat. Plan the whole process and verify you actually have the time and funds available. ...and ...


17

I feel like you have very different questions here. To answer your first question: is some research in regards to how font-weight affects readability? Yes, there is. First you have to understand that type/fonts are judged by their "readability" (how easily can words, sentences, and paragraphs be read by an average reader) and their "legibility" (how ...


16

If you expect comments to be part of a conversation, then you should order them from oldest to newest (bottom posting). This follows reading direction, and is far easier to follow a series of related comments. Examples include this site's comments and Reddit. If you want to emphasise novelty over conversation, you should order comments from newest to ...


15

You are conflating 'subjective' and 'unreliable'. Usability tests aim to get reliable information about people's reactions. Self-reported opinions are also subjective, and are much less reliable indicators of how other people will react to the interface. If I test 100 people and their subjective opinion is that they hate an interface, I'm pretty sure that ...


15

This can definitely be a delicate issue, and also one that I've encountered before. It's all too tempting for everyone to want to jump in and suggest the design (and yes my DE does this all the time). Designing is fun, and who wouldn't want to help, right? How I've successfully deflected this individual's suggestions was by pointing out to the team (in the ...


15

No. The amount of results per page should depend on: The display size of each result - the smaller the result the more you should show per page e.g. from small to large: thumbnail, one line, multi line, large image, ... The window size - the larger the user's window is (or device's screen if in fullscreen mode) the more results you should show. Showing 10 ...


15

"...how related are viewport sizes to screen resolution?" This is an interesting question. This answer is probably a good starting point to get the information you're looking for. I don't have any empirical data to support this, but I imagine that viewport size and screen resolution diverge as screen resolution increases. And there's probably a distinct ...


14

First of all a question on your statement: Does all mobile browsers have the back-button? I have the impression that some mobile browsers remove this elementary navigation button to save screen real estate? I might be wrong, but if this is the case, then you should implement a back-button on your website. This is also the case if your web site should be ...


14

Check out this rotary traffic signal used between 1938 and 1970: Slightly less directly connected: ramp meters, and there are definitely lots of variations in operation around the world - and variations in the timings too. Good ol' wikipedia!


14

The basic idea with showing an error message is to let the user know that something went wrong and his actions may not have resulted in a desired way. So, if the error is something that doesn't affect the users perception of the program - don't show it, but keep it in an error log (for example, the function took 50% longer to execute due to some errors, ...


14

I don't see the need for any new studies in this area. The issue is that people usually take the results out of context. You can't comparing using a mouse to learning a keyboard command and then using it. Apples and oranges. Let me summarise what we know. If you don't know the keyboard command, it is usually faster to use the mouse as it has a lower ...


13

Jacob Neilson has long argued against opening links in new windows (#2), for many years (#2), and in multiple ways (#9), though there are are exceptions. He has the explicit research to back up these assertions, though a typical report costs $50 to $500 dollars to get the hard proof.


12

I'll put in an answer myself here... (Hopefully this will inspire to submit more research links...) Searching the ACM digital library and a few other resources I found a few related articles. Categorization costs for hierarchical keyboard commands (2011) by Miller, Denkov and Omanson Summary Previous research comparing methods of issuing commands ...


11

There shouldn't be a difference, but there is one because of how gamification is currently used. In other answers I've written that gamification is a buzzword; I won't go into that too much here but the fact that it can be classified as a buzzword explains the difference. Many people don't approach gamification from a game design point of view; they ...


11

In Designing Gestural Interfaces, Dan Saffer touches (!) the subject of Fitts' Law in relation to touchscreens (specifically pp. 40-2.) Saffer argues that the law holds true for gestural interfaces; minimize reaching across the interface and making sure that targets are appropriately sized to accommodate the "cursor" (i.e., the finger.) However, he also ...


10

What was maybe the biggest surprise to me in the first few usability tests I conducted, that people really blame themselves when they're unable to complete a task on an obviously bad UI. And I still like to be reminded how little people know about some domains. For example, how little people care about banking or telecommunications, how little jargon they ...


10

They can be quite different. Off the top of my head: Intranet users can use certain information elements a lot - and will want to be able to 'sort' the interface so they can quickly get at the bits they use regularly Intranets can be vast & also dumping grounds for data which people will add - but then never get around to removing when its out of ...



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