I’ve never used Flickr before, but I’ve been aware of the site and its purpose (but not until several years ago). It’s fall from relevance is clearly no surprise; nearly all social media sites and apps nowadays have the ability to store and share photographs, and often that’s only a fraction of the sites features (and the upload/share processes are relatively quick and easy). As the article states: “It missed the boat on local, on real time, on mobile, and even ultimately on social—the field it pioneered.” This article was quite enlightening to me overall — I wasn’t aware of Flickr’s heyday, Yahoo’s purchase of it, or even Yahoo’s major faults that caused it to fall behind Google — and that’s just some of the headline news; learning from the mistakes of others (ex: Yahoo’s, Flickr’s) as well as your own, is a practice I definitely try to apply to all aspects of my life.
Regarding both tablets and mobile devices, I think a lot of the user issues mentioned in the articles (May 2011) that are still prevalent today — accidental activation, low discoverability, too much navigation, and touchscreen typing. I’m still new to user typing (just bought my first iPhone three months ago); I’m definitely more familiar with it now then I was initially, but I’d still prefer a keyboard given the option (laptop or slide-out keyboard over a strictly touchscreen).
Despite these issues, I don’t think there is any need for significant change. A huge majority of apps I use nowadays are simply beautiful, smooth and easy to use. Sure, I’ve only used a minuscule fraction of the available apps out there (and I also try to ignore poorly rated apps), but most fulfill their purpose and do so with functional yet elegant interfaces, even the dozen or more shopping and social media apps I’ve used.
I should note that I’m currently very inexperienced with tablets — but I also have no intention of buying one anytime soon. I understand the appeal and usefulness, but I’m extremely happy with my current MacBook Pro and iPhone combination. I think they cover all the needs I could potentially have in the near future. If I had a desktop instead of a MacBook, I’d likely be more open to purchasing a tablet (portability), but I honestly think I’ll just keep buying MacBooks forever (although I am very impressed with the Mac desktops at MATC).
The author emphasizes a “Don’t Make Me Think” rule to consider when developing a website’s design. How will viewers react when they arrive on your site? They should be able to know what it is and how to use it. The site should be obvious; buttons, clickable objects and search bars should all be obvious. Yes, this premise can sometimes be difficult, especially if you want to remain creative, but you should still strive to become self-explanatory.
We shouldn’t craft our sites solely as if they were “great literature” or even a “product brochure,” because viewers often look at websites is if they were a “billboard going by at 60 miles per hour.” The author discusses 3 facts to consider:
1) We don’t read pages. We scan them.
- We’re usually in a hurry.
- We know we don’t have to read everything.
- And we’re good at it.
2) We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.
- We’re usually in a hurry.
- There’s not much of a penalty for guessing wrong.
- Weighing options may not improve our chances.
- Guessing is more fun.
3) We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.
- It’s not important to us.
- If we find something that works, we stick to it.
This shouldn’t deter you from creating great and useful content; just be aware it and consider it when developing your site.
This chapter introduces the basic fundamentals of creating a scannable, yet understandable website. The author breaks this down into 5 things that can make a site easier to understand:
- Create a clear visual hierarchy on each page
- Take advantage of conventions
- Break pages up into clearly defined areas
- Make it obvious what’s clickable
- Minimize noise
To create a clear visual hierarchy, the most important items should be more prominent, related items should related visually, and items should be “nested” with the sections they belong to. Taking advantage of web conventions is also very useful, because conventions only become conventions if they actually work. Going against these conventions can often be temping, but only do so if you know you have a better idea and that idea in reinforced by all of your peers as well. Also be sure to avoid unnecessary busy-ness and background noise; everything shouldn’t be clamoring for attention at once or distracting viewers from the content they want.
1) Bad Search: This wouldn’t have been one to immediately come to my mind, but I definitely agree with it up here.
2) PDF Files for Online Reading: Yep, I can’t stand these, so I definitely try to avoid them; especially if I need to Copy/Paste something.
3) Not changing the color of visited links: This is another one that I wouldn’t have guessed but definitely agree with. Prior to this article, I was actually under the impression that the color change was solely due to the browser recognizing the visited link and had nothing to do with the websites themselves.
4) Non-Scannable Text: I agree with this one as well; I don’t go online because I want to stare at paragraph after paragraph of information.
5) Fixed Font Size: I figured font or text size would be on this list somewhere, and this is a great example.
6) Page Titles with Low Search Engine Visibility: Much like the font size mistake, this is another one that came to mind.
7) Anything that looks like an Advertisement: No one is a fan of being berated by advertisements, so the less there appears to be, the better.
8) Violating Design Conventions: Keeping sites accessible and easy to navigate is a must; although, I am a big fan of creative interfaces, as long as its clean, simple and low on animations.
9) Opening New Browser Windows: The MATC website does this a lot, and it always frustrates me.
10) Not Answering Users’ Questions: Anything to be more courteous and helpful to users or customers is a good practice, especially when it’s in a timely fashion.
1) Tablet apps are different than phone apps (or at least they should be)! — I actually didn’t know that; although, I never use tablets.
2) What exactly is Flat Design? And why is it a threat to tablet usability?
3) What would be an example of a Frame on a mobile app? And how can a Frame ruin an app?