Do you use a smartphone to access important information and services on-the-go? If so, you are not alone: New Zealand is in the midst of a mobile revolution. In a 2012 study, Google estimated that 44% of New Zealanders access the internet using some type of smart phone (http://goo.gl/fYM4o) and this number is only projected to increase.
Have you moved from viewing your smartphone as a gadget for entertainment and communication? Is it now an indispensable tool in your everyday activities? If so, you are part of a growing population of smartphone users that is savvier and more demanding of your mobile experience.
The smartphone revolution presents many challenges and benefits in the world of commerce. Banks epitomize just how difficult it is for large organisations to balance the needs of consumers with security concerns in the mobile environment. They must build user-friendly apps (to attract users) that are robust (to keep users) and secure (to protect users). They simply can’t afford to work by trial-and-error. Read more »
Most of the reading we do now is on a screen. Facebook and Twitter are usually bite-sized chunks of text, but we also read much longer pages of text – from news articles, blog posts, product descriptions, and of course all those terms and conditions. Those of us that are pouring text onto the Internet need to do so in a way that allows users to consume it easily.
Here are 10 tips to help you improve the way text is presented and written on your site. To start with let’s look at the three common user behaviours when reading a page of text online.
- Users read the copy from the beginning
to the end until their attention runs out.
- Users scan across and read the parts that interest them.
- Users scan the text until they find the answer to a single question.
If you’re unsure of those three, just think of the last time you read a news article (1), read a Wikipedia article (2), and looked for an answer on a page after googling a question (3).
1. Choose a comfortable font size
Are you leaning forward as you read this? If you are, then it’s likely this font size is too small. This site currently has a font size of 13 pixels (13px). For comfortable reading online 16px should be considered minimum. Read more »
Twenty Two exceptional international speakers in two days. Brain-food heaven or sheer madness?
This year we had four Optimates representing at Webstock 2013 and if you were lucky enough to be there too I’m sure you’ll agree it was a vintage year. But if you weren’t that lucky (or were and want to know what we made of it), we thought it worth sharing our take on the three most significant UX out-takes for 2013 and beyond.
1) Constraints equal innovation
Innovation is the byproduct of turning a complex problem into an easier one. For example, say you want to build your dream home. Change that to build your dream home in 34 square meters. Gary Chang was able to fit 24 different room designs into a 34 square metre apartment. This shows how adding constraints results in innovation. This can be applied not only to design but most problems you face in everyday life. It’s not so much about thinking outside the box, it’s about choosing what box to think inside.
“Design is the beauty of changing constraints into advantages” – Aza Raskin
2) You are directly responsible for what you put into the world
Self-proclaimed asshole and fiery advocate for conscious design, Mike Monteiro spoke animatedly with many expletives, reminding us to take responsibility for what we help to bring into the world, to exercise our right to say no to things that don’t meld with us as ethical, thinking beings. After all, as he so poignantly pointed out “the monsters we unleash into the world will be named after us”. Mike reminded us of the responsibility we have to ourselves, the world and our craft. If you can already feel your blood boiling with red-hot designer passion I highly recommend checking out his book ‘Design is a Job’.
“We need to fear the consequences of our work more than we love the cleverness of our work.” - Mike Monteiro
3) The internet is dead
And there are five reasons for that: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. These big five American vertically organized silos are re-making the world in their image. If you’re Nokia or HP or a Japanese electronics manufacturer, they stole all your oxygen. There will be a whole lot happening among these five vast entities in 2013. What will the world that they create look like?
Science Fiction Author turned futurist, Bruce Sterling is one of those polarising and inconsistent speakers, but when he is on form, boy does he bring the house down. Bruce presented a compelling argument to abandon our attachment to the constructs and concerns of Web 2.0 and embrace the new world of The Stack.
“The internet had users. The stack has livestock.” – Bruce Sterling
With huge thanks to Tash, Mike, Debbie and Ben for another totally wicked event.
Watch out for a selection of speaker videos at http://talks.webstock.org.nz/ in upcoming weeks!
It’s a long way to Kyrgyzstan, especially if you’re going via New Zealand. But in the global financial system, anywhere to anywhere is just a click away.
Earlier this year, an investigation by international NGO Global Witness uncovered suspicious transactions worth billions of dollars flowing through Kyrgyzstan’s largest bank. Most of these transactions involve shell companies in Britain, Belize and New Zealand that have little or no real business activities.
In one case, money from a Kyrgyz bank account held by a New Zealand company was used to pay a German vendor on behalf of a Russian company. Why? Through the use of shell companies and a web of transactions around the world, it’s almost impossible to track down the real people and the real purpose behind these transactions. They could be avoiding taxes, laundering the proceeds of corruption or organized crime, or funding terrorism. Read more »
“Co-design” means different things to different people. To me, it’s about the clients, the end-users, the designers, and the developers all collaborating on a design project. Sounds easy, right?
Getting all these different people to input into a design should feel natural, but there are many pitfalls. For example, many people simply don’t have time. And if it’s not done in a structured way it can be difficult to get value from the outputs. There are a lot of reasons not to do it, but the main reason to DO co-design is more compelling: you’ll save time and money in the long run by seeking feedback on the designs up-front.
So how do you make sure you’re getting bang for your buck? Here are a few tips…
1. Clearly define your design problem
Co-design activities are often structured to encourage ‘out of the box’ thinking, but at some point you probably need real, practical solutions. Clearly defining the problem you’re trying to solve will help keep people on track.
Read more »
By Annika Naschitzki
As you are probably aware, we test a lot of web sites. Quite often we see test subjects overlooking key content or functionality, causing our customers to wonder what’s wrong with their designs – or even the test subjects – ‘It’s there can’t you see it?’ We hear the term ‘banner blindness’ referred to quite frequently, and we’ve often wondered how much this behaviour is specifically related to advertising banners, or how much it applies to homepage sliders, carousels or large homepage content banners -you know, the bit at the top of the homepage swaps between several banners and that promotes the latest this or that.
So, with the arrival of our shiny new eye-tracker (“I see what you see”), we decided to run a little experiment to see when, if ever, users overlook banner-like homepage elements on websites and to find out if there might be any way of designing to avoid this behaviour. Read more »
By Lauren Tan
Since the beginning of the 21st century, many consultancies, programmes of work, online communities, conferences, exhibitions and projects have explored how design can be used to address and respond to society’s most complex social challenges.
The UK has been a leader in the use of design for social good. For example, the UK Design Council, who are tasked with promoting the value of design in the UK, have established and run a number of initiatives to explore design for social good. Public sector organisations, such as the UK’s National Health Service, also began employing design to help improve the patient experience in hospitals across the country. And several social design agencies have flourished in the UK, using design to address complex and critical issues in areas such as health and education. Read more »
Infographics can be a particularly powerful tool in displaying complex and often high-level information at a glance. The better your infographic, the better your audience will understand the information.
Creating a great infographic is like creating a great film.
Writers of movies often draw from a wide range of sources to create their narratives. You wouldn’t write a screenplay based on World War II without doing your research first, right? As designers of infographics we can draw from a wide range of sources to create a clear picture of the situation we’re trying to portray.
Infographics are often described as telling a ‘story’. This story may be supporting or dispelling an argument, highlighting a trend, or explaining consumption of some kind. The possibilities are endless. There’s even an infographic about the trustworthiness of beards!
When looking at your data, consider if your ‘story’ is a nail biter that will keep your viewers on the edge of their seat, or like the infographic on Kanye’s love life: will it be switched off after the opening credits? Read more »
Thursday August 9, 2012 – Thursday August 9, 2012
Odlins Square, Taranaki St Wharf
Map and Directions | Register
In this briefing, Lauren Tan will present her PhD research findings on the seven roles of the designer as Co-creator, Researcher, Facilitator, Capability Builder, Social Entrepreneur, Provocateur and Strategist.
In 2007, the UK Design Council established a series of social design projects as part of a design innovation program called Dott 07 (Designs of the Time). Its vision was to use design to tackle some of modern society’s most challenging issues. For example in the areas of health, education, energy, mobility and food. In these projects designers used design in new and different ways, and in new contexts. They defined new and different roles of the designer.
Lauren will discuss a select number of roles and their corresponding Dott projects. She will show how investigating designer roles leads to a better understanding of what designers do, and better articulation of the designer’s value when they participate in multi-stakeholder environments to address and respond to our society’s most complex social challenges.
This free session will be held in Wellington on Thursday the 9th August at 7:30am at the Wharewaka – and breakfast is on us! If you are in Auckland, don’t worry, it’s your turn two days earlier on Tuesday the 7th of August 2012 at 7:30am at the Sub Rosa Café.
Date: Thursday 9th August
Time: 7.30 – 9.00am
Venue: Te Raukura, Odlins Square, Taranaki St Wharf, Wellington Waterfront.
Cost: FREE. Breakfast will be provided
Speaker: Lauren Tan
Out for lunch with a friend one afternoon, I happened to mention the term ‘critical design’. To my surprise she laughed and asked if I had made it up. This lead me to thinking about what critical design actually is and how can it be used to inform design thinking. Read more »