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10 Principles of UI Masters

Lego Digital Designer
Image via Wikipedia

I really love UI (User Interface).  Like my buddy Matt T says, “I’m not ‘smart’ enough to do UI, but I know a good one when I see it.”

Breathtaking and useful designs happen because the UI has been worked on tirelessly. It takes a real UI Master to understand how to make a terrific user experience on a website.

That is so true – UI is hard, and great UI is even harder.  The post goes on to tell about 10 principcals which great UI people live by.

  1. Don’t Forget About the User – Jason Fried
    Tom: Sometimes we just cannot forget the site is not for “us”, its for the user.  We need to identify that user and make sure we have their interests in mind.
  2. Don’t Overlook Error Pages – Jakob Nielsen
    Tom: This may be one of the biggest mistakes people make – they get the site done, and then take a break…but they forget that the “old” site had pages too.  Where do those go now?   Are they still available?
  3. Always Set a Background Color – Jeffrey Zeldman
  4. Don’t Overdo Accessibility Features – Roger Johansson
  5. Use Epicenter Design – Jason Fried
  6. Watch Your Users – Collis Ta’eed
    Tom: If you have never been humbled by this exercise – you need to be.  It will spin your head.
  7. Give Incentives For Users to Complete Forms – Jim Kukral
  8. Keep the UI Consistent – Jakob Nielsen
    Tom: My first reaction to this is “duh” – but its a good point.
  9. Keep Jargon to a Minimum – Erin Kissane
  10. Make a Prototype Instead of a Wireframe – David Verba

This stuff is lightsout cool.  And when it is “on”, it really can make a site sing.  If you have examples of good design, please post it to the comments.

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Textures are hot

KColorEdit
Image via Wikipedia

This is a great post about textures in web design.  Hey – most people’s bandwidth is up, let’s make things look nice.

If you look around at well-designed websites in CSS galleries or any other source of design inspiration, you’ll see that texture is extremely common in modern Web design. One of the reasons it’s so popular is because of its versatility. Textures can be used in countless different ways and in a wide variety of design styles. As you look around, you’ll see how textures can be used in so many different ways by Web designers.

This gives me flashbacks of 1998 when every design the “creative team” gave us had gradiants and multi-colored background.  We’d smile, tell them how cool it was and then undo-it when we got back to the bat cave.

They would question it when they’d look at the finished product – but we would just tell them it was just the crappy PC screen…it would look much cooler when they got back up stairs to thir mac!  :)

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Tagging, Kung-Fu and a Cool Looking Site

I found a great article on 43 Folders on Becoming a tagging kung-fu master – it does a really good job with some of the key concepts of tagging and some things I had not thought about.

You’ve heard the hype about tagging. You’ve seen people flocking to sites like Flickr and del.icio.us,where they jump head-first into a pulsing mass of disjointed tags,possibly never to be heard from again. And you’ve wondered: how exactlyis tagging worthwhile again?

And – they bring it to you in 4 easy steps! But I also really like the look of this page. I think sites are very cool hen they can bring in a couple of real “looking” pics and tie them in with the theme of a page. Very nice.

Designing for Web 2.0

OK – we have to have a Web 2.0 site. “Now What Do We Do?!”

Enter enter boagworld.com – advice on managing and building websites.

This is an interesting site and seems to have a good bit of information on it. I like the idea that there is a podcast and the text on the site. It seems sometimes people do one of many different options – but doing two of many (text and podcast) seems like an interesting model.

I really like the links at the bottom of the page. Without hearing the podcast yet – I assume it is links from the show. Good Stuff!