All posts for the month December, 2013

I saw this article on Forbes pop up yesterday,

I read a few of the called out comments and this one popped out.

Continuous scrolling is one of the worst features to use on many wecsites, including websites like LinkedIn, because the website visitor never gets to the bottom of the webpage where they might see important links or other information. For example on LinkedIn the LinkedIn member homepage, LinkedIn “Contacts” webpage and company pages now incorporate continuous scrolling, and in all cases the feature is a real *bother* because the member can never easily get to either help links, a particular letter for contacts, or, in the case of the company page, the all important information about the company, which is why most people would want to visit the company page.

A much better solution is to provide a “more” link, which enables the website visitor to see more as a matter of their choice.

Too many so-called website designers still flaunt website “tricks” to those simply looking to have an easy to navigate website.

This is a great example of a learned behavior that happens to not be beneficial to the user experience. Designers must resist designing FOR these bad use cases. I commented as well.

Hi Carocc, I am a User Experience Architect and I design software interfaces for a living, commonly called Human Computer Interaction. I study, research, and analyze the human psychology of interacting with interfaces and design accordingly. I did web experiences for several years, but “graduated” to major software many years ago. I was asked to redesign and I refused, if that gives you an idea. Let me shine some light on the decisions that you don’t like. Hopefully I can change your mind about your expectations in the future.

I am making this overly simple, but hopeful it helps with the explanation.

Any interface can be divided into sections. Let’s just say that the interface(webpage) has 3 sections. The header(where you are), the navigation(go somewhere else), and the results(the actual contents of the page). When designing the interface for a user, your main goal is consumption of the content. The content will reside inside of the results section. With that as your main goal for each page, everything else is secondary. Granted, the other things are important as well, as they must be contained on the page, but they are secondary to the actual purpose of the interface itself. The ability to give those sections their proper weight and placement is key to providing a streamlined experience.

Dividing sections of an interface is confusing and gives mixed expectations. If the contents of the page were at the top right and at the bottom left, it would lead to users not being able to find everything or finding the incorrect thing(even worse). The same goes with navigation. If you have some of your navigation at the top and at the bottom, it may lead users to not find all of the navigation that you need. This problem was circumvented by adding ‘next’ links to the top and the bottom of content, which is incorrect. The bottom of the content should be the bottom of the page. When a user finds a piece of navigation or content, they should be in the correct location to find all of its peers, regardless of type(navigation, content, contact information).

Forced navigation is redundant and hinders the ability to consume. The user made a choice, either by clicking a link or searching, and the user should get all of the results of that query. There is no logical reason(from the User Experience point of view) to limit the content on a page as long as its filtered correctly. Having someone click another navigation item that interrupts them is not conducive to a seamless experience. Users should be able to consume whatever they wish without hesitation or interruption. Stopping the flow or task at hand is not the job of the interface(unless an error happens). Users enjoy consuming quickly and without interface interruption.

Footers are dynamic. They appear at the bottom of content. Their existence is not known until sought after. For those reasons the footer of a webpage should be arbitrary or redundant for ease of use. Nothing important should be at the end of a webpage. The footer area is a great area for ‘upselling’ or furthering their experience, but those are not mandatory and are for enjoyment.

In closing, I am not saying you are wrong. I am saying that you have come to expect something that has been incorrectly built for years. You should not expect or need to find a footer on a webpage. Nothing should be there that is important at all. Web designers need to stop building them as integral parts of the site.

I personally do not follow trends. I push the user experience further, no matter where that may lead me.