Tim Fidgeon

Mobile apps – Some usability guidelines

Summary Mobile apps should clearly prioritise key content and provide a ‘Back’ button if the device does not. Mobile apps should also minimise users’ data entry and ensure a consistent user experience across different mobile device orientations. Introduction – mobile app usability According to recent data, approximately 56% of the UK population have an active mobile-broadband subscription [1]. This means that designing for mobile devices has become a critical usability issue for most organisations. Whilst the usability guidelines for designing for mobile devices are still evolving (based on the audience’s developing familiarity with – and our usability knowledge of –…

26 April 2012
Author: Tim Fidgeon
Tim Fidgeon

Interactive TV – Some usability considerations

Summary Interactive TV services should be simple and displayed in a central 720 x 576 area. Navigation should be clearly split between top-level and in-application (using the remote’s colour and Arrow/OK buttons). Usability testing is vital. Interactive TV – definition and popularity Interactive TV refers to any digital content that can be navigated through a TV. In 2010, approximately 24 million TV homes in the UK had access to digital TV, with only 2.1 million having access to analogue TV [1]. Alongside the growth in digital TV ownership, the data suggests that TV viewers are also interacting with their TV…

20 January 2012
Author: Tim Fidgeon
Tim Fidgeon

Expert usability reviews – How to get the best value

Reviews require a firm grasp of the design problem and should precede usability testing. They should also: use multiple experts, include other relevant designs (including competitors’) and strongly communicate their results. What is an expert usability review? An expert usability review is one of the best – and lowest cost – methods for identifying usability issues with a design. An expert usability review involves a usability expert using their skills and experience to personally evaluate how well a design will support its target audience(s) in achieving their specified goal(s) with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction (within a specified context of use)….

19 December 2011
Author: Tim Fidgeon
Tim Fidgeon

Why children love tablet PCs – Usability implications

Tablet PCs’ easy method of interaction is central to their attraction for children. Tablet PC experiences designed for children should promote: user control (including levels of difficulty and repetition), a wide variety of experiences and regular touch-interactions. Children love tablet PCs A recent study found that amongst 6 – 12 year old children, tablet PCs are the ‘most wanted’ electronic gift in the US.1 Another study showed that 3.6 million tablet PCs have been sold in the UK since they became available in April 2010.2 While these figures do not directly indicate the adoption of tablet PCs by children, it does…

7 November 2011
Author: Tim Fidgeon
Tim Fidgeon

Tablet PC and iPad – Usability guidelines

Tablet PCs are mostly used for passive consumption, rather than interaction-heavy tasks. Interfaces should avoid Flash; use large, well-separated touch-targets; and minimise data entry. User behaviour – how people use their tablet PC and iPad Tablet PCs (of which the iPad is currently the most well-known example) represent a relatively new category of mobile computing device. This makes them very interesting to usability practitioners, because we are still learning about how people use tablet PCs (and what this means for their usability). We’ve interviewed lots of people on how they use their tablet PCs and iPads, and also directly observed…

5 September 2011
Author: Tim Fidgeon
Tim Fidgeon

Writing for the web – Signpost guidelines

Web content should be written with signposts that clearly communicate what issue is being covered. Signposts must be visually noticeable, make sense out of context and communicate their message as clearly and directly as possible. User behaviour – effect on web writing The most important thing to realise when writing for the web is that most people don’t read web pages, they scan them. Heart-breaking as it might be for people who write for the web, research has repeatedly shown that users typically glance at a page to quickly ‘get the gist’ of it and then (if you are lucky) concentrate…

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