By Sarah Horton on November 16, 2009 9:28 PM | 2 Comments
In my second article on research-directed design I discuss the importance of establishing a project definition, with a defined purpose, goals, target audience, and success metrics, before diving into wireframes, navigation, and especially visual design.
By Sarah Horton on November 9, 2009 8:26 PM | No Comments
There was a point in my career as a designer of interfaces when I realized that my role was not to divine or intuit designs that would be delightful and easy to use, and for all people. My role was to ask questions and make observations, and then, from knowledge gained from this research, derive solutions. For me this realization was liberating, as my constitution was never one that would lead me to believe that I have all the right answers.
In my experience, many of the people who are put in the position of making design decisions about websites and user interfaces feel unprepared, particularly in the area of visual design. Recently I started a series of articles geared toward this audience of accidental website designers on Peachpit.com. I call the series "research directed design," and my hope is that widespread adoption of a few, simple, low-cost research techniques will result in more confident website designers making better informed design decisions, leading to a better web experience all around.
Please have a look at my first article, Why Research-Directed Website Design Will Make Your Website Better, and share your feedback here or on the Peachpit site.
By Sarah Horton on November 6, 2009 8:52 AM | No Comments
WebAIM is an amazing resource for web designers who are concerned with the accessibility of their designs — optimistically speaking, all web designers! They do the hard work of research and testing to determine best practices for universal usability, and then publish their findings for our benefit.
One of their most useful projects is the screen reader user survey. Many of us designing websites do not have ready access to or facility with screen reader software, or know screen reader users who can test our designs. This makes the WebAIM screen reader user survey especially helpful in determining best practices for designing for screen reader users. The results of this survey provide insights into, for example, when to provide alt text for images and when to leave it off, or whether to provide "skip" links.
Many thanks to WebAM for their work in "expanding the web's potential for people with disabilities."