User Interface

With respect to the web, a user interface (ui) is the graphical user interface (gui) with which a user interacts with an application.

Five days / five Eyetracking heatmaps (#)

Etre, a usability group that does eyetracking studies, is posting a series on a study where they looked at the homepages of 20 websites with 40 users. They don't skimp on the analysis either, digging into some detail rather then just showing us the resulting heatmaps.

They are publishing the results from five of these websites:

Musings on Mouse Hover (#)

Some good observations on mouse hover, including some classifications like hover invitaion, hover detail and hover zoom/focus, plus some examples of widgets that work. This kind of classification and nomenclature can be useful...

Blog Interface Design 2.0 (#)

Lots of good ideas brought together here by authors Luke Wroblewski & Jed Wood about different aspects of how a weblog is designed and can be used.

The offer thoughts on archives to tags and categories to comments, and it is a worthwhile read if you want to build yourself a very usable weblog. I would imagine that a lot of the features that they talk about are available as plugins for Wordpress and some of the other open-source software.

Attentional Spotlighting in User Interfaces » Business Logs (#)

Mike Rundle writes about "Attentional Spotlighting in User Interfaces", outlining that when testing seasoned users of an interface, their familiarity with the interface will bias results, and explains how to overcome this issue.

Interface Design Tip: Find the Epicenter (Signal vs. Noise) (#)

From the post: Epicenter Design involves focusing in on the true essence of the page (the “epicenter�) and then building outwards. A great little technique for helping a designer focus on the purpose of the page. An excerpt from the 37Signals Building of Basecamp workshop. User Interface Test resources - Validators, Generators, Tools, Specifications, Tutorials... (#) offers various free resources for user interface development.It also features approved analysis tools for GUI assessment and improvement.

What Makes a Design Seem 'Intuitive'? (#)

From the article: When someone is asking for an intuitive interface, what they are really asking for is an interface that they, themselves, can intuit easily. They are really saying, “I want something I find intuitive.�

A very interesting read. While diving into "What Makes a Design Seem 'Intuitive'?", Jared M. Spool talks about "the target knowlege point", that is, how much knowledge the user needs to know to accomplish their objective.

Jared goes on to talk about the knowledge gap and some other points, ultimately concluding with Once you understand how ‘intuitive’ works�what makes someone perceive a design to be intuitive�it becomes easier to make the decision as to whether an intuitive design is worth the extra effort.

Eyetools Research: CSS Zen Garden -- an Eyetools eyetracking analysis (#)

Here's a great little experiment showing that Design decisions affect what people read. Using an eyetracking tool users were observed working with different layout versions from the CSS Zen Garden.

At the moment of posting (2005-03-03) they only have two examples up, but they promise more in the future. Looks exciting!

Check out the Resource categories for older content

The latest from my personal website,

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..