1,032 reputation
510
bio website james.wanless.info
location Vancouver, Canada
age 50
visits member for 4 years, 4 months
seen Jan 17 '13 at 18:43

I'm a Senior Analyst at a western Canadian higher education institute, but my main work focus is interaction design, information architecture and usability on medium and larger scale web application and site design. I hesitate to use the term 'user experience designer' because I believe we only design the elements of user experience and not the experience itself.


Nov
14
comment What are good rules for naming tags?
True ... that's why I said 'typically' as you certainly can have a closed tagging system, providing pre-determined values while allowing users to choose.
Nov
8
comment Advertisement headers for a website
+1 for the "don't" recommendation. Is there an absolute business requirement for a banner ad space? Feedback you can give the client is that banner ads are pretty much completely ineffective. Just ask Google.
May
13
comment Do users like choice? How much should I give them?
+1 for 'asking users.'
May
13
comment Do users like choice? How much should I give them?
-1, as you're making a sweeping generalization here. You've decided that "users don't need settings on a slideshow; they'll just get in the way." This opinion is based on exactly what? Then, "The defaults in your example are perfect. No settings are needed." Again, this is based on what? What if the transition is too fast for some users' visual acuity? What if there are things that should have options based on what the slideshow needs to do?
Apr
29
comment Alternatives to checkboxes and radio buttons in web-based surveys?
I'd say then you develop two prototypes, one based on traditional form standards and design them as clearly as possible (lots of negative space, clear labeling, good font size, entire field clickable, etc) and then build something a little more blue-sky and then do some A/B testing. When you really need to know how users will react to your concept this is a pretty good way to find out if you are on the right track or if there's a reason these options are tried and true. Survey monkey for example makes radios/checkboxes BIG AND CLEAR with nice styling, but still uses them ;-)
Apr
28
comment Long scrolling form or 3 compact pages?
Definitely. +1.
Apr
26
comment Certified Usability Professional?
I doubt it will exist. The minute you produce a good set of requirements, or a clearly articulated application flow and interaction spec or you wow an employer/client with a nice set of wireframes or interactive prototype, your skillset will be readily apparent. If you can't produce these types of deliverables (or demonstrate that you can before being employed) no certification in the world will mean anything. I think a lot of employers realize that.
Apr
20
comment Is there a particular reason contextual content areas and menus aren't more prevalent in web applications?
Not all users are 'trained' to work this way on their phones. The vast majority of the world's web users don't have smart phones, particularly when you limit that to touch screens with gestural interfaces.
Apr
20
comment Is it good UX practice to have a website generate a password for the user?
I'd also say that presenting a password in plain text in the UI is a security issue. Either send them a one-time use token or let them choose when setting up their account. It's inadvisable to show passwords in plain text (or in an email for that matter).
Apr
20
comment Is it good UX practice to have a website generate a password for the user?
Thank you Glen. You validated my comment on Benny's post above.
Apr
20
comment Is it good UX practice to have a website generate a password for the user?
-1 for saying 'never'. Being absolute doesn't leave room for edge cases and is not a good rule of thumb. There are times when allowing user selected passwords is desirable and times when it's not. Second, a suggestion about single sign-on temporary passwords wasn't even proposed. That would invalidate your 'never' rule but is often the best compromise. The system assigns a temporary token/password that the user must change on first login. Depending on your situation, OpenID may or may not be good. For the higher ed sector, privacy concerns wouldn't allow it.
Apr
14
comment Is “search” really used on blogs?
I'd also add another disagreement with your first paragraph. I think you meant to refer to posts throughout, but you've used post and page interchangeably and they are very different on a blog. Pages are meant to be primarily static content with no comments and are most often structured into hierarchies, sometimes complex, depending on how much content there is.
Apr
11
comment Design for users - Preliminary tests / methods?
I'm not sure what you're referring to by 'solo page click tests' and card sorts and taxonomy exercises are more for sites than apps. Usually, you're looking to categorize content with a card sort. Open card sorts are when you don't have a starting point and closed card sorts are when you are trying to verify an IA you have designed.
Apr
10
comment Design for users - Preliminary tests / methods?
I'm generally a proponent of not showing wireframes to clients but only because in my experience they are too abstract for most client, who want to see some level of interaction. Managing the client is important because they usually jump to solutions when you are first talking to them about requirements. Sorry to say it, but if your designers are not prepared to change their designs after they've been tested on users and clients, then they are too egotistical to be good designers. That's the whole point of testing them - change them if they're not meeting ALL needs enough.
Apr
8
comment Categories or tags based navigation ?
How is it that "items cannot belong to one category"? There are often IA designs where an item only belongs in one category. Second, your definition of tags as many-to-many is flawed, particularly when "multiple tags for each item" is not an example of many-to-many. When you finally say that tags are often user defined, you are getting to the point. Category=taxonomy, while tag=folksonomy. The fact that tagging is user-generated means it cannot be wrong. You may not want to allow it because it's not very accurate (and that's often the problem with tagging - little meaning).
Apr
7
comment advice for demoing wireframes to clients
As I indicated above, I'd tend to agree with DA01 in that wireframes are most useful as the translation stage, taking what should be a written requirements document and maybe an application flow or site IA and translating that into how those elements become the user interfaces for the app/site. In an agile environment, as I also suggested, rapid prototyping during the wireframe stage can help speed things up and put meat on the bones for the client. As DA01 points out, these are most often useful for the design team to go from lo-fi to hi-fi.
Apr
7
comment advice for demoing wireframes to clients
Well, in truth I didn't say 'never' - your choice of words. I actually said it's probably the best approach not to. You can't control who the client/product owner is and 'very' often, wireframes are too abstract to be meaningful when a client is already wanting to see how it will behave.
Apr
5
comment Using mobile design elements for standard web pages?
This question seems a bit vague as the techniques you could use would, in part, be determined by the requirements of your design project. I don't believe you can generalize an appropriate answer for this question.
Apr
4
comment Should every page in a site have a totally unique H1?
In your second last paragraph, I'd agree totally. For example, on your homepage the markup can be something like:
Apr
4
comment Should every page in a site have a totally unique H1?
Very good point. All h1 indicates is the highest level of heading, though in most cases that should a unique page title. For example, a solid approach to semantic markup will have the site title within an h1 tag on the homepage, but then in a div with an appropriate ID selector on all other pages.