A few months ago we set up five Flickr groups around several UX topics. Every month we will try and make some sense of the uploaded material. This month we selected the UX Errors group and will look at examples of issues that arise when proper attention isn’t paid to two very important components of successful user interface design: Perceived Affordances and Designing for Task Flow.
In The Design of Everyday Things Don Norman introduced many designers to the concept of affordances, which he would later clarify as “perceived affordances”, or the actions the user perceives as being possible based on how an object is presented. For example, if your design includes a “button” make that button look pushable.
Designing for Task Flow
When I was in grade school there was an exercise we did where each student had to write instructions on how to construct a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The teacher then attempted to construct the sandwich according to those instructions verbatim. If an instruction left something out, small details like removing a slice of bread from the bag containing the loaf, the teacher would stand there and act stumped until the student modified their instructions to be more specific.
The purpose of the exercise was to give students an appreciation of the fact that even simple tasks are comprised of a multitude of steps, and that finding the right level of detail and sequencing for those steps is critical to user’s success and satisfaction.
Johnny Holland’s Flickr Groups
Observations are a critical tool in any designer’s tool set. They provide us with in-site on things we should do, shouldn’t do and could do better. Many of us photograph our observations to preserve them, to keep them as reminders, learning tools that won’t be lost in the background when our next big breakthrough comes along. We also share our observations so that we can learn from and educate others. So that we can build a stronger dialog and further conversation.
To that extent, Johnny Holland has established five Flickr groups, so that we can share, discuss and learn from eachother’s observations.
In addition to the UX Errors group, where we collect examples of design decisions that have a negative impact on individual’s interactions with a product and overall user experience, and from which this month’s examples were taken, we have:
- Daily UX: collecting pictures of everyday user experiences, good or bad.
- UX Sketches: collecting sketches of products, interfaces and ideas
- UX Patterns: collecting examples of interface and interaction patterns.
- UX Events: collecting photos from UX conferences and meet-ups around the world.
Like any collaborative effort, these groups are what we make of them. So please join, share your photos, comment and discuss. And if you have any ideas on how we can improve the groups or better utilize them, please let us know.