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User Experience Design

Thinking About Displaying Data in a Pie Chart? Think Again.

From John Graham-Cumming, an excellent point about pie charts: they fail to convey information as well as bar or line charts. Why? Apparently, people aren’t able to perceive changes in area nearly as well as they perceive changes in length. It’s easy to see in this example from Wikipedia. Something to consider next time you’re designing that executive dashboard. Related Services: User Experience Des
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Design Documentation

photo credit: theD40kid A few years ago, I worked on a team that was trying to move the business side away from the waterfall method into more of an agile approach so there wouldn’t be such a disconnect between design and development. Since there was no blueprint on how design could be done in an agile fashion, resistance was very high. One of the major sticking points, however, was in documenting requirements. The b
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Reducing Costs: The Power of Sketches

The very word sketching doesn’t invoke a lot of respect, especially when mentioned in the context of software development. After all, User Experience Design people come up with wireframes, diagrams and designs, not sketches. Sketches are considered a throwaway byproduct of the design process. What I would like to point out is the value of sketches and why they should be given an official slot in development pro
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The Importance of User Experience – Do You Understand It in Your Bones?

Business Week had an article earlier this week on Cloud Computing that made a complete hash of the subject. However, there was one paragraph that was right on the money: Apple and Google understand in their bones that simplicity and ease of use are essential to broad adoption of products and services. That lesson doesn’t come so naturally to Microsoft and IBM. That’s why we integrate user experience desig
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Integrating Design and Agile Development

If you liked my colleague Alice Toth’s presentation on Agile Requirements, you’ll like her talk on integrating design and agile development: AGILE AND ME a story with just enough documentation. A typical waterfall project produces pages and page of end-to-end requirements for the entire project as it is envisioned (but not necessarily as it will be built). The people compiling these requirements are, of c
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Are You Building an Application or an Antique Web Framework?

photo credit: dave_7 A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to help him estimating the conversion of a client/server application to the web. He came armed with a spreadsheet of features, I came armed with Ibuprofen and a red pen. My usual approach to estimating involves breaking down the features into things that can be implemented by a pair of developers within a two week period. I give these a complexity factor
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Tech Terms that Drive Business People Crazy

Most designers and developers today are familiar with the concept of Personas for describing the users of a system.  In fact, you can use the same concept for how you talk to business people – the consumers of your services.  Put yourself in their shoes, and your services will be better received. One of the things that drives business people crazy when talking to tech people are the terms they use.  Here are a
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Week in Review

Some interesting posts from around the blogosphere: The GWT Plugin for Grails has been stuck in version 1.4.x of GWT for forever. Michael Galping has published a two part (one and two) series at IBM Developerworks on integrating Grails and GWT 1.5.3. Extensive, well illustrated with full source code available for download. InfoQ has published an interesting conversation about Ajax and COMET versus HTML Web Sockets, i
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Receive 10% off Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Luke Wroblewski

Rosenfeld Media contacted me after I published my review of Luke Wroblewski’s “Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks.” They offered Agile Ajax readers 10% off “Web Form Design” or any other purchase at rosenfeldmedia.com. To redeem, simply enter the code PATHFINDER at checkout.
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Book recommendation: Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Wroblewski

Usability and design guru Luke Wroblewski knows that web forms suck. More importantly, he knows why – and how to make them suck less. For the past few years, the Yahoo! product design exec has been presenting his ongoing research into the humble HTML form at conferences and on his blog, Functioning Form. I attended Wroblewski’s presentation at An Event Apart Chicago 2007 and came away super-impressed. His
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