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...

SXSW

The Blenderbox team was fortunate enough to go to SXSWedu this month in Austin, Texas, where we presented our work on NYC College Line, New York City’s new website for helping students get into and stay in college. To learn more about the project, you can check out our presentation online. While we were there, we...

Wave Hill Launches

This week we launched the new website for Wave Hill, the beautiful public garden and cultural center that overlooks the Hudson River in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. As with any cultural institution, be it a garden, museum, park, or theater, our challenge was to design and build a site that would showcase the best...

Blendercise!

One of the great things about working at Blenderbox is being surrounded by people that are constantly trying to better themselves in one way or another.  Blenderboxers are a curious bunch, always looking to do more, learn more, and create more, and in no instance is this more apparent than during the semi-annual celebration of...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Account sign-in mistakes to avoid

From Jared Spool’s excellent webiste, User Interface Engineering. Check out the links for detailed descriptions of each mistake: Account Sign-in: 8 Design Mistakes to Avoid Having a Sign-in In The First Place Requiring Sign-in Too Soon Not Stating the Benefits to Registering Hiding the Sign-In Button Not Making “Create New Account” or “Forgot Your Password”...

Pagination examples and good practices

A supplement to a conversation that has come up a couple of times: Pagination Gallery: Examples and Good Practices The author lists seven keys to good pagination: Provide large clickable areas Don’t use underlines Identify the current page Space out page links Provide Previous and Next links Use First and Last links (where applicable) Put...

Getting people to contribute

By now, you’ve probably read about Knol, Google’s attempt to create a database of high quality user-generated content similar to Wikipedia. Community and collaborative systems fail if users see no incentive to contribute, which is why Knol is so interesting. Google obviously thought hard about this and came up with two key incentives to people...