How to create a sitemap

I used to think sitemaps were a waste of time. I thought it was a deliverable only UX people could love, with all those abstractions and boxes and arrow. So, I focused my attention on showing clients navigation schemes, wireframes, anything that got us closer to talking about the actual interface. I was wrong! Creating...

Want really well designed content? Here’s what it takes.

I was doing some informal research today on .edu websites, specifically about the types of content they offer and how they present it. I came across the University of Missouri’s Illumination magazine, a publication about research and scholarship at the University: illumination.missouri.edu → It’s really well done. The site is easy to navigate, features long...

Last week in Blenderbox UX (August 16-20, 2010)

A roundup of links shared by the UX team at Blenderbox last week: UI Stack Exchange: collaborative Q&A for UI and UX people. Get backup for those times when you know you’re right but can’t remember why. UX Myths: a straightforward list of user experience and design myths. My favorite thus far is #13: Icons...

The problem with Clients from Hell

Clients from Hell bugs the hell out of me. Take this recent post, for example: Me: “We did some research that indicates that the registration may have run out. Your organization registered and managed the domain name, so I can’t help with this since we have no involvement in managing the domain name.” Client: “[very...

960 Grid System: HTML wireframes?

A long time ago for a project that didn't require much visual design work, I created wireframes in HTML. I thought I was making the handoff to our developers a little smoother, but it didn't really work out that way. In my case, two things were wrong with this approach: 1) my basic assumption was...

Useful regular expressions in Google Analytics

Google Analytics support for regular expressions has come in handy a few times when I've needed to aggregate data from a few specific segments. To use regular expressions, scroll to the bottom of the report, where there is a dropdown menu and an input field that allows you to filter the data. Without further ado:...

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Why you should test your ad campaigns

I came across a great metaphor describing why multivariate testing of ad campaign landing pages (with a tool such as Google Website Optimizer) makes for a much more effective use of the money in an advertising budget. The traditional way to do this is as follows: Agree campaign budget Build and sign off creatives (PPC...

The desktop, literally

“Layered Desktop,” by Gabriel Radic. The desktop has been the primary GUI metaphor of operating systems for the last thirty years. Over that time, newer operating systems have stretched the desktop metaphor pretty thin, in the interests of better usability and faster task completion. For example, remember when Apple’s System 7 would open each folder...

Using Google as your address bar

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched my mom do this. From ReadWriteWeb: More than 10% of the searches for the top 10 dating search terms were URLs (match.com, plentyoffish.com) and almost all of the queries were something that .com could have been added to for direct navigation. If mainstream users learned to...

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The "tight collaboration" that created TimesPeople

Khoi Vinh on getting good ideas out faster by collaborating closely: TimesPeople is the result of a tight collaboration between a small team of our technologists and designers and, for a new feature on our site, they managed to launch it in something like record time. It was actually a lot of fun bringing it...

A brief overview of website optimization

Courtesy of the Google Analytics blog, an introduction to website optimization and how (and when) you should use it on your site. In summary, here's how to optimize a poorly performing page on your website: Find your high value landing pages What pages on your site have high entrances and high bounce rates? These are...

Everyone’s an information architect on the new Facebook?

I’m very curious. My off-the-cuff prediction is that casual Facebook users will see this as just one more piece of clutter and heavy Facebook users will embrace the flexibility. But just because it makes things messier or less consistent visually doesn’t necessarily mean its a bad design idea. It seems like a clever way to...

Managing 50+ blogs on nytimes.com

From Khoi Vinh's ongoing Q&A session: Over the past two-plus years, as The Times newsroom has embraced blogging with tremendous alacrity, we've created over 150 blogs, and over a third of those remain active today. The challenge is even more complex when you consider that, though each blog has its own needs, the vast majority...

The Page Paradigm, a.k.a. “users don’t care where they are in the website”

This is a classic blog post I rediscovered today. Totally worth reading, even if you’ve seen it before and even if you’re not an information architect. Users don’t much care “where they are” in the website. So-called “breadcrumb links,” which show the user the exact hierarchy of the website as they click further down, are...