J Maeda (2006)

The Laws of Simplicity

Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte "read me" manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design--guidelines for needing less and actually getting more. Maeda--a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer--explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of "improved" so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on. Maeda's first law of simplicity is "Reduce." It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: "Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple." Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products--how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls "The One," tells us: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful."


The idea behind is simple: There are many Usability Experts who want to contribute to software projects. And there are many developers who want to make their software more usable, and as a consequence, more successful.


Patterns in Interaction Design

Web design patterns sorted by site types, user experience, navigation, etc.


3Cs of Critical Web Use: Collect, Compare, Choose

alertbox: According to a recent critical incident analysis, users' most important Web tasks involve collecting and comparing multiple pieces of information, usually so they can make a choice.


Effective use of forms on websites

When considering use of a form, it's important to remember how much most people hate filling out complicated ballots, tax returns, registration forms, and surveys. Web forms are no more fun.


Pliant response for websites

Users need feedback from websites. Buttons, links, and other interactive elements should respond to elementary user input.


- improving the web experience. Check the FAQs on this site, good stuff.

2 Guide to Universal Usability

provides the definition and foundation for the topic of universal usability in addition to introducing researchers and practitioners to five perspectives on universal usability. Universal usability involves understanding how users attempt to accomplish tasks using a variety of technologies in different organizational and social contexts.


Book Summary: Designing Web Usability

Jakob Nielsen is on a crusade to make the Web easier to use. His latest book, Designing Web Usability, takes what he learned through years of usability testing, both on and off the Web, and applies that knowledge to Web site design.


Usable Web

Usable Web is a collection of links about human factors, user interface issues, and usable design specific to the World Wide Web.

8 Usable Information Technology

Webusability guru Jakob Nielsen's site, including his Alertbox, a bi-weekly column on Web usability, is essential reading for all webdesigners.


When Web pages don't work - Steps you can take to improve the user experience on the Web

Puzzled why your site is not living up to your expectations? The problem may not lie with your content or products, but rather in your site's user experience. Find out what common pitfalls to avoid by following a few simple guidelines to improve the user experience and transform surfers into customers. From IBMs developerWorks