Do a Web search for UX best practices, and you’ll find well-written articles and blog posts about designing Web sites and mobile applications. They’ll be chock full of helpful examples and screenshots depicting ecommerce Web sites, social-media applications, and slick interaction paradigms. But you’ll be hard pressed to find any examples from industrial automation—especially near the top of the search results—because industrial-automation software is not consumer facing and sits well outside the consciousness of modern software users and designers alike. Those who are familiar with industrial-automation software commonly view this as a domain of control systems, processes, computers, and machines—things that aren’t human.
But industrial-automation software is more human facing than you might think. Think about the sheets you slept on last night. The soap you used in the shower this morning. The car you drove to work. The beer you plan to nurse on the front porch tonight. The diaper you’ll wrestle onto your toddler before putting her to bed. The roller coaster that will make you scream at the top of your lungs this weekend. People design the software that runs the machines and processes that mass produce these human-facing products for people. People are still a big part of the processes for manufacturing these goods. Read More
Information architecture (IA) is a key aspect of UX design that focuses on organizing information, structuring Web sites and mobile apps, and helping users navigate them to find and process the information they need. A well-designed, user-friendly information architecture ensures that users spend less time and effort searching for information and are successful in finding what they need. Key information-architecture tasks include identifying common features in content, forming groups of similar information objects, and linking documents to other documents on the same topic. Optimizing search for a Web site or mobile app also helps visitors to find information quickly.
The knowledge that forms basis of a well-designed information architecture for a Web site or mobile app comprises the following:
the information needs of visitors
a site or app’s content
business goals and budget constraints
In this article, I’ll describe some principles of information architecture, then look at the role of information architecture within the context of UX design. Read More
From a design perspective, the TV remote control presents an interesting problem. What other technology is in such wide use, but so disliked? Every living room in Western civilization has at least two of them. With so many remote controls from so many manufacturers, you would think a best design pattern would have emerged by now. But particular remote controls may demonstrate three different types of simplicity: