You may have heard of accessibility as being referred to as A11Y. A11Y is what’s known as a numeronym. The first and last letters of “accessibility” are preserved, replacing the remaining letters between with their sum total of 11.

Digital accessibility is much more than just making your website or service screen readable. It’s the answer to the question “Is everybody able to use and access your service when they need to?” There’s a wide range of disabilities with different levels of severity. Web maps can be a big source of frustration for users with disabilities because they rely so heavily on visuals, require some precise mouse movement, and can be a lot of information to take in all at once. …


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Users generally want to be in control of the system that they’re using, but sometimes it’s alright to put on auto-pilot and let it do the work for you. With most systems, the more advanced the user, the more finite control they want. A professional photographer will use the manual mode on their camera as opposed to just setting it to auto-portrait to shoot a wedding. …


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Imagine you were designing an app that did a thing. And the only UI component of that entire app was a button that said “Do The Thing“. Your users would push it, the thing would happen, and that would be it. The end. It would be effortless. But ease-of-use is only one part of what a usability designer should consider in their designs. Letting your user be in control of how The Thing happens is just as important.

Too much control can be so overwhelming that your users won’t be able to figure out how to do the thing and struggle or give up. …


As a UX/usability designer, one of the things that I always consider when designing interfaces and experiences is what’s known as Information Architecture (IA). IA is an important part of designing any information system. It is the scaffolding that supports the usability of that system. I’ve always considered maps as data systems. They have different users, serve different purposes, and can have all sorts of different types of data presented on them.

When you’re designing a map, how do you apply some of the rules and concepts of information architecture-rules and concepts that many designers have used to help make sense of very complex information systems-to consumer facing web maps?


A TLD is a Top Level Domain. It refers to the part after the last period of a domain name. eg., .com, .ca, .net, .org, etc. The world is running out of domain names. Many of the common words and 2-and-3 letter domains with common TLDs being bought more than 20 years ago. Now they’re being resold for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases because of their desirability.

There needs to be a solution so we don’t all run out of domain names or are at the mercy of what is know as Domain Squatting. Domain Squatting is where people buy potentially popular domain name and don’t use them. …


One of the more difficult parts of a usability designer’s job is empathy. The ability to think like the user, feel what the user is feeling, and be able to predict what your user will do, then reflect that in the interface and experience.

If you’re a software designer, you’ll realize that this gets ever more difficult after you read this study from OECD and learn that some of your users have such basic computer skills that they don’t–and may never–know what a hamburger menu is, among many other seemingly basic tasks relating to software. …


August 15, 2018December 21, 2018Unix, Unix Philosophy, UX

Unix has been powering the majority of internet for some time now, and it’s likely the operating system that’s running your phone among a myriad of other devices that are part of you life. Unix, in many different forms has been around since the 1970’s and will likely continue to be around for many more decades. So what is it about this operating system that gives it its staying power?

It could be the what’s called the Unix Philosophy, which includes Eric Raymond’s 17 Unix Rules, first published in 2003 in his book, The Art of Unix Programming. He talks about the Unix rules as a KISS philosophy. Logically so, one of the rules is the Rule of Simplicity — which states that “developers should design for simplicity by looking for ways to break up program systems into small, straightforward cooperating pieces.” While you’re not likely a Unix developer reading this, I’m sure you can start to draw some parallels between this rule and usability design. If we were to translate this rule for design, it would state that designers should design for simplicity by looking for ways to break up a UI into small, straightforward cooperating pieces. This is just another way to describe Hick’s law. You should try to break up a UI into smaller, more manageable parts to avoid decision paralysis. …

About

Alan J Leonard

UX Lead @ Sparkgeo. Writing about design for designers.

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