Wednesday, October 22, 2008

AjaxWorld session: Laurie Gray

User Experience and RIAs: How Does It All Come Together?

Senior user-experience architect for OneSpring

Currently using iRise for UI simulation, but would like a tool that can generate a skeleton that can go to the dev team.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

How we got here. Taylorism (1912). WW1 - fit people to jobs based on simple criteria (e.g. size). 1930's military simulations. WWII - shift in thinking: make the technology work for anyone. Postwar: growth of electronics industry; start to think of system design; birth of human factors; shift in team practices. 1965-present PC mentality, no longer have to be a specialist to access technology. Then the web happened.

Goal: interface should not distract the user from their task. Transparent interface (q.v. Steve Krug's book). Secret: observe users carefully, understand how people think.

Things are changing: visually moving transactional GUI's are forcing us to rethink web conventions, controls, etc. But: are the users keeping up with this change? Neilsen 2000 article (Flash 99% bad) - encourages design abuse, breaks web fundamentals, distraction, accessibility. Same critiques can apply to dynamic web applications.

Devsigner – developers learning to think like designers. But devs don't need to be "Designers" just have to learn to design the right things well. Creating a roadmap important: get consensus on what the main goal of the project is. Focus on the problem that is being solved. Decide how you will know when you are done, who will decide when it's done, decide what you're not covering.

Keep the user squarely in your sights. Use personas. Innovation for its own sake isn't always good.

Have a plan.

Don't make your users relearn everything. Don't lose sight of the fact that for many users, computers are too complex.

Consistency. Intra-site consistency, but also consistency with existing html controls. Make search boxes look like search boxes, rather than have to label them so that users can figure it out.

Create and use patterns. Use standards, both internal to your organization and external. Make the dev's job easier.

Ask your users: standard options, plus suggestion: create a user advisory board. Users who are willing to give feedback on site over time, in return for e.g. free membership.

Presentation and example documents are available. Includes reading list. ajaxworld, ria, conference, notes.

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