Column: Communication Design

UXmatters has published 12 editions of the column Communication Design.

Top 3 Trending Communication Design Columns

  1. International Address Fields in Web Forms

    Communication Design

    Musings from the merger of medium and message

    A column by Luke Wroblewski
    June 9, 2008

    As enablers of online conversations between businesses and customers, Web forms are often responsible for gathering critical information—email addresses for continued communications, mailing addresses for product shipments, and billing information for payment processing to name just a few. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked about Web form design is: “How do I deal with international addresses?”

    But before we get into the nuances of address variations, it’s worth pointing out that addresses have a commonly understood structure. Through years of experience with mailing and postal systems, people have a pretty concrete idea of what constitutes an address block. This common understanding is so definitive that eyetracking data suggests, once people begin filling in a set of input fields that make up an address, they often cease looking at their labels. The basic structure of an address is so familiar, people don’t need the guidance labels provide. Read More

  2. Know Your Core: Providing Focus for Web Applications

    Communication Design

    Musings from the merger of medium and message

    A column by Luke Wroblewski
    June 8, 2009

    As the Web has grown, the cost of getting a new application online has plummeted. Web hosting services with unlimited bandwidth and storage now cost less than ten dollars a month. Free open source platforms can easily power the back-end of an application. Free development toolkits for client-side programming (JavaScript) and styling (CSS) make building the front-end of an application much faster. In aggregate, these factors enable a new Web application to get in front of a global audience very quickly and easily.

    Under these circumstances, it’s possible to launch countless ideas online. We can roll out new services fast, add new features weekly—if not daily—and do optimization testing and refinement in near real time. In a world with such low barriers to entry, knowing that you can do something can quickly become secondary to knowing if you should do it.

    To stand out from the burgeoning number of products online and help your organization make the right decisions about what to build, it’s crucial to develop and stay focused on a clear value for your Web application that is distinct and obvious. In other words, you need to know your product’s core:

    • Be able to define your product clearly and concisely.
    • Build what defines your product first and hold it sacred.
    • Grow outward from your product’s core.

    Read More

  3. Scalable Design

    Communication Design

    Musings from the merger of medium and message

    A column by Luke Wroblewski
    October 8, 2007

    You’ve spent the last six months toiling away at a product design. The last few weeks were especially rough—tying up loose edge cases, closing out bugs, polishing up interaction and visual design details. And now your product has launched, so its time for some well deserved rest, right?

    Unfortunately, Bruce Sterling, science fiction author and design professor, got it right when he said, “Design is never done.” Before you know it, there are new features to add, new markets to conquer, and new updates to your application’s content.

    Your seemingly elegant design begins to bloat with features, tear under the pressure of localization, and nearly keel over under the weight of new content that pushes it to its breaking point. Before long you give up. It’s time to redesign—again.

    Could you have avoided this all too common cycle? Was there anything you might have done to anticipate these changes? One potential answer lies in scalable design considerations. Screen frameworks, user interface structures, and components that enable your product design to gracefully accommodate new features, new markets, and dynamic content—that can shrink or grow—are the cornerstones of a scalable design. Read More

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