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Topic: Applications

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  • Top 10 Application-Design Mistakes

    February 19, 2008

    Application usability is enhanced when users know how to operate the UI and it guides them through the workflow. Violating common guidelines prevents both.

    Generic Commands

    October 29, 2007

    Applications can give users access to a richer feature set by using the same few commands to achieve many related functions.

    Tabs, Used Right

    September 17, 2007

    13 design guidelines for tab controls are all followed by Yahoo Finance, but usability suffers from AJAX overkill and difficult customization.

    Feature Richness and User Engagement

    August 6, 2007

    The more engaged users are, the more features an application can sustain. But most users have low commitment -- especially to websites, which must focus on simplicity, rather than features.

    Defeated By a Dialog Box

    July 23, 2007

    Interaction techniques that deviate from common GUI standards can create usability catastrophes that make applications impossible to use.

    Command Links

    May 14, 2007

    Application commands can be presented as buttons or as links, which offer more room for explanation. For primary commands, however, buttons are still best.

    Progressive Disclosure

    December 4, 2006

    Progressive disclosure defers advanced or rarely used features to a secondary screen, making applications easier to learn and less error-prone.


    October 10, 2005

    Macintosh-style interaction design has reached its limits. A new paradigm, called results-oriented UI, might well be the way to empower users in the future.

    Forms vs. Applications

    September 19, 2005

    Once an online form goes beyond two screenfulls, it's often a sign that the underlying functionality is better supported by an application, which offers a more interactive user experience.

    Scrolling and Scrollbars

    July 11, 2005

    Despite posing well-known risks, websites continue to feature poorly designed scrollbars. Among the ongoing problems that result are frustrated users, accessibility challenges, and missed content.

    Medical Usability: How to Kill Patients Through Bad Design

    April 11, 2005

    A field study identified 22 ways that automated hospital systems can result in the wrong medication being dispensed to patients. Most of these flaws are classic usability problems that have been understood for decades.

    Checkboxes vs. Radio Buttons

    September 27, 2004

    User interface guidelines for when to use a checkbox control and when to use a radio button control. Ten other usability issues for checkboxes and radio buttons.

    Ephemeral Web-Based Applications

    November 25, 2002

    Usability tests of 46 Flash applications identified basic issues related to the ephemeral nature of Web-embedded apps. Some findings restate old truths about GUIs; others reflect the Net's new status as nexus of the user experience.

    Error Message Guidelines

    June 24, 2001

    Established wisdom holds that good error messages are polite, precise, and constructive. The Web brings a few new guidelines: Make error messages clearly visible, reduce the work required to fix the problem, and educate users along the way.

    Customers as Designers

    June 11, 2000

    The Internet is undoing the industrial revolution's emphasis on mass-produced products; now everybody can get exactly what they want. But designing the product you want is hard, and current design interfaces are not good enough for novice designers (i.e., all normal customers).

    Reset and Cancel Buttons

    April 16, 2000

    Most Web forms would have improved usability if the Reset button was removed. Cancel buttons are also often of little value on the Web.

    Saying No: How to Handle Missing Features

    January 23, 2000

    Instead of making users wander indefinitely and frustratingly around a site looking for something that's just not there, tell them if it lacks a frequently requested feature

    The Need for Speed

    March 1, 1997

    All usability studies show that fast response times are essential for Web usability: let's believe the data for once! Advice for speeding up sites despite the fact that bandwidth is going down, not up.

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