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/via Aaron Wilson
Look & Feel / Affordance
A really good explanation of what affordance is, how it works and why it’s so important by Dan Wineman:
The moment you see this object, you have a sense not just of how to use it, but of what it would feel like. You can feel your palm on the lever, your knuckles firm on the grip, separated slightly by those bumps. You’re anticipating having to choke down somewhat for leverage, clued in by the ridges toward the end of the handle. You may already be planning to pop off the cap by thumbing its little tab, and you’re aware you may need to work the plastic retainer a bit to counter its natural bend and keep it from springing back into the line of fire — or, as a last resort, perhaps sacrifice some grip strength by looping your index finger around it. You might not be certain what the metal knob is for, but you know from the knurled edge that you can turn it and that there will be some resistance. Shape, material, and texture combine with your experience to yield intuition, which lets you capture all of these details instantly given nothing but a glance at a photograph.
That’s what affordances do. They operate on the boundary between sight and touch. You see a thing, often from a distance, and its affordances give you enough information to simulate, in your mind, the sensation of manipulating it. Unconsciously, you configure your fine motor system in advance, so that by the time you get to the door handle, your hand is already forming the right shape to grasp it and pull the door open.
When affordances are misused, it’s more than a little frustrating:
And when they’re entirely absent, it can even be dangerous:
(Trapped in a burning building? Hope you can read English.)
Apple designs a sweet back button / animation pattern #uxishard (Thanks for the contribution @michaeldain)
Design for the gut
“That point where we release energy from a design in a way that creates surprise, delight, or simply a response that satisfies our desire to engage, manipulate, and shape our experience.”
So many are doing it right on mobile apps, but very few on the web. Someone doing it very right on the web is photojojo.com.
"Visceral design may be hard to get right on the web, but we can learn a lot by looking at the work done by our design counterparts in the gaming and mobile industries. By delivering rich, juicy feedback to our users we can create that satisfying sensation of a visceral, gut-level reaction. Thought interactions and response mechanisms will create surprise and delight, which leave indelible, positive marks on our visitors.”
50 Problems in 50 Days by Pete Smart
"If we can better understand the people we are designing for, the better our decisions, designs and results will be."
Pete Smart travelled Europe and spent time working with some of Europe’s top design firms. Within this time he attempted to solve 50 problems in 50 days with design.
Pete wrote up (part 1 of) a conclusion of his journey and findings on Smashing Magazine website [link]. He also talks about one of his problems (underground congestion) and how he went about designing a solution.
It’s a must-read for all designers and certainly opened my eyes to how I could improve the process I go about creating and designing solutions.
A nice UI touch from Pinterest. When the images are loading, the container gets the average colour of the image.
I really like Creative Dash's description of UX -
"Great UX is about more than just looking nice - it is about feeling right and making the user an integral part of an experience. Too much going on and it distracts the user - too little, they struggle to figure out how to use it; there is a certain balance to it all."
Pixel Perfect Precision
Some of this document probably won’t apply to everyone, certainly a lot of it doesn’t apply to my general workflow; but there’s some really nice techniques on standardising your workings in Photoshop and getting everything prefect before applying the detail.
"Like a lot of things in life, when something’s done right it should become invisible to you, but when it’s done badly it becomes an annoyance. Blurred edges, objects that jump in position between pages, and colour mismatches are just a few things that a user will notice and become distracted by if your designs aren’t done properly”.
Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.
— Steve Jobs (via navasca)