User research is central to our work in User Experience: doing research to find out about our users, then acting on what we’ve learned—or persuading our colleagues to act on a shared understanding of what we have learned.
But what about doing research with other people? In this column, we’ll focus on exactly that: conducting research with people who are not users—that is, people who aren’t part of the target audience for the product or service you’re creating. We call this type of research consultation. Read More
Census years are exciting times for the forms enthusiast. They’re quite rare—most countries run their census at 10-year intervals. And they affect the entire population. That’s the definition of a census—a count of an entire population.
Census forms also present lots of lovely forms challenges. A census might be the ultimately complex form: it’s got lots of stakeholders, it takes years to plan, it has to work for absolutely everyone, and it usually includes a lot of relatively invasive questions. The US 2000 Census form was one of the shorter ones, at only four printed pages.
Relax! You’re not in for a dissertation about the history, theory, realities, and everything else about a census. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on one rather small aspect of a census: the envelopes. Why? Because they’ll inspire some general questions that are worth thinking about when you’re designing any complex form. Read More
Make the most important button look like it’s the most important one.
Put buttons in a sensible order.
Label buttons with what they do.
If users don’t want to do something, don’t have a button for it.
Make it harder to find destructive buttons.
Nothing particularly revolutionary there, right? Ever since the <button> tag arrived in HTML4, buttons haven’t been especially difficult to create. Despite this, it’s rather easy to find buttons that don’t comply with these basic best practices, so I’m going to dig into them a little deeper in this column. Read More