Archive for 2007

This past June, I attended the Usability Professional Association conference—the theme for which was Patterns: Blueprints for Usability. It provided the opportunity to hear a number of different perspectives on user interface patterns—and I presented my own thoughts on the topic as a conference presenter. My relationship with user interface patterns goes back to the… Read more

Seniors are increasingly using the web to shop, find news and information, and connect with friends and family. But many websites are not designed with seniors in mind. You can make your website more senior-friendly by following a few simple rules of thumb… and the end result is often improved usability for users of all… Read more

A couple of months ago, I was part of a panel discussion on “Real-World User-Centered Design.” The topic was the outgrowth of questions from a more introductory forum on user-centered design (UCD) principles. After the introductory forum there were still many burning questions—specifically, how do you adopt and adapt UCD principles to real-world organizational constraints?… Read more

Consistency in an interface is generally a good idea, but like many good things, it can be taken too far. Particularly in content-heavy web sites, pages with an overly similar look can make it difficult for users to get a sense of place. Too much similarity can also give a system an overall static feel.… Read more

In the game World of Warcraft, there is an interesting phenomenon occurring involving participatory design of the user interface. World of Warcraft ( is described on their website as “a massively multiplayer online game…enabling thousands of players to come together online and battle against the world and each other.” Also known as a highly addictive,… Read more

In the year 2000, there were two neatly divided user experience worlds: the world of the web and the world of desktop applications. The desktop world was about performing work: word processing, image editing, crunching numbers with a spreadsheet. In this environment, operating system vendors (primarily Microsoft and Apple) worked hard to enforce standards that… Read more

At Blink, we are sometimes hired to create a conceptual prototype for a product that is in the very early requirements stage. Usually, the product does not yet have internal funding for development and one goal of the prototype is to secure that funding. The prototype may also be shown to trusted customers to get… Read more

At Blink, we feel one of the greatest strengths we bring to clients is the extent to which we leverage our internal expertise—and work with clients—in a collaborative way. But effective collaboration is not a slam-dunk. The key is to tap into individual competencies and perspectives in a way that improves the outcome rather than… Read more

Throughout 2006, Blink conducted usability studies almost weekly in our downtown Seattle labs, at client sites, and in the field. While observing hundreds of participants, we noted some interesting behaviors and themes that we’d like to share… Web 2.0 features are not always discoverable. We tested numerous web pages and applications in 2006 that included… Read more

A common question Interface Designers face is, how does one present a lot of information without making the interface seem too busy or overwhelming? Interface designers may be able to solve this problem by learning from established painting techniques. Techniques which move the viewers’ eye across the canvas, create focus, and make a lot of… Read more