"Esri Redistricting is a Web-based solution for state and local governments, legislators, and advocacy groups to create political and geographic redistricting plans." The app is hosted by Esri and delivered as software-as-a-service through annual subscriptions (30 days free trial available).
Mockups in MS PowerPoint
First of all I want to mention that the project became a success only for the dedicated and hard work of so many talented people, my part was really only the literal drop on a hot stone.
Very early on I had the feeling that this project would benefit from higher graphical fidelity (maps, charts, colors were important) so I decided to use Microsoft PowerPoint to communicate the designs. Using my wireframe stencils to draw the UI elements we iterated through multiple versions and approaches.
Main Lesson: Use slide master layout as background
My biggest lesson was the need to create a new layout to the Slide Master which would serve as the background. This layout included the banner (logo, user information), the menu (ribbon) and the map area.
- Changes propagated to all slides (e.g. modify a label)
- Easy manipulation of elements on top of static background
- Remove source of errors (forgot to update a slide)
- Cleaner in general
I find the following list really helpful when planning and conducting user testing. I collect and refine it constantly and would greatly appreciate any comments or additions I have missed (and I'm sure I did).
- setup web meeting
- tell secretary to not delete account and associated recordings
- test connection, equipment and recording capabilities
- setup schedule for participants
- send connection info to stakeholders
- remind everybody to mute their phones (or whatever else is necessary)
- prepare necessary data and files
- hide windows toolbar
- close mail program
- enable full screen for all users
- show host cursors to all attendees
- allow access to observers
- share desktop
- clear user generated content from previous user
- reset application
- remove cookies
- start blank application (if that's part of the test)
- take a break/breather for yourself
- prepare your personal notes taking material
- get acquainted with name and capabilities of next participant
- provide water for participant
- start recording
- greet participant and get going
- clarify time line for test results (findings & analysis)
- send thank you emails to participants
I think she has a valid point here... But just to make sure I ask the audience...
Which one is your answer? Why?
Pardon the off-topic, can't stop laughing.
It depends. But mostly bad
John Colby's from Birmingham City University arguments on why pop-ups are bad:
- Because people are warned about them (http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-popups)
- Because of their association with scams, viruses, malware, sites using popups are 'less trustworthy'
- Users with sight or cognitive problems (http://soap.stanford.edu/show.php?contentid=47)
- (And personally) if they insist on using popups I'll go away.
Richard from Userite remembers us that:
with Charles McCathieNevile from Opera adding:
...that many users have pop-ups blocked by default now, so won't actually see it even if they are not blind.
Harry Loots of the IEEE has a point when he says:
If it will supply useful information to the user, then don't kick against it, but make sure that the feedback / information so provided is accessible. For example, if the pop-up is used to confirm the product has been added and the user's browser does not support scripting/popups, a physical line of text may be displayed to confirm the product has been added (which can be hidden in the view seen by users who get the popup)
When a client asks for a specific design element, one needs to wonder where this need came from in the first place.
In the case that the client is not satisfied with visibility of system status. Try
- Improving titles and labels
- Adding non-obstructive instructions
- Providing feedback in an alternative way (as Harry pointed out), additional confirmation page always helps
- Keeping elements and its status (e.g. shopping cart belongs to the top right corner) in its user-anticipated location
- Using visual cues to show what just happened
Jennison Mark Asuncion just posted 4 upcoming accessibility events in North America:
- Ottawa's First Accessibility Unconference, May 6 in Ottawa Ontario (free event) register now at http://www.a11yyow.ca
- John Slatin AccessU 2011, May 17-19, Austin TX http://www.knowbility.org/v/accessu-detail/John-Slatin-AccessU/39/
- Accessibility Camp Seattle, May 20-21 (free event) register now at http://www.AccessibilityCampSeattle.org
- The Guelph Accessibility Conference, May 31-June 1, Guelph ON http://www.accessconf.open.uoguelph.ca/
Missed one? Post it in the comments section.
- Using Lies in Research (by Nate Bolt) - learn from their mistakes to prevent your own
- The Dangers of Design by User (by Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain) - this article shows that the phrase "some research is better than none" doesn't always apply.
- What’s New for Web Designers – Mar 2011 (by Cameron Chapman) - as always a great round-up of new apps for designers.
- User Interface Patterns for Dealing with Interactive Content (by Cameron Chapman) - Cameron is on a roll - another must-read.
- Using Regular Expression: Tools and Resources (by hongkiat) - one must love this little helpers...
- 16 Essential WordPress Plugins Every Blog Must Have (by Karol K.) - more work ahead of me; thx for this compilation Karol.
Here a list of interesting User Experience/Usability Conferences in 2011 (thanks to Sooria for sharing):
- CHI: http://chi2011.org/
- Nielsen Norman: http://www.nngroup.com/
- UIE: http://uiconf.com
- IXDA: http://www.ixda.org/conference
- IA Summit: http://2011.iasummit.org/
- HFES: http://www.hfes.org/web/HFESMeetings/2011annualmeeting.html
- Web 2.0: http://www.web2expo.com/
- Web App Masters Tour: http://www.uie.com/events/web_app_masters/2011/
Do you have any past experiences you'd like to share? Did I miss one? Tell me in the comments!
Who doesn't remember Forrest Gump? One of the all-time greats in movie history, the comedy turned drama, the 'dumb' guy that teaches us lesson after lesson. You gotta love this movie, at least I can watch it over and over again and so it just happened and I started wondering, why do his stories touch us so much and what can we learn? Bruce Temkin puts it elegantly: "People relate to stories because it is part of their evolutionary makeup. Stories cause our mirror neurons to fire at similar experiences, helping us remember and relate." That's why.
And here are the 10 and 1/2 Lessons Learned from Forrest Gump:
That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road.
You just start! Start somewhere, anywhere. Then you take one step, then the next, baby-steps to the elevator, right? Once in motion you take the next bigger step, one leads to the other and soon you hit the Atlantic Ocean
Some could interpret this as 'get inspired', but whatever it is, it eventually boils down to... sh*&%$# happens! Don't give up, innovate and renovate.
Jenny, it looked like there were two skies one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up, I couldn't tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It's so beautiful.
Regardless of the circumstances, perspective can change everything. So don't loose perspective.
My mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on.
What happened yesterday is over.......unless you choose to put it in your future!
And cause I was a gazillionaire, and I liked doing it so much, I cut that grass for free.
Enjoy what you are doing and greatness will be your harvest. Never become so obsessed that you loose touch with the little things in life, many times this is what counts most.
I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is
Care about what you are doing, care about who will be using it. Don't try to be smart, follow your heart.
Momma always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them.
Find a mentor, learn from others, learn from yourself, learn from your successes, learn from your mistakes, whatever it is... learn!
Give and take
Jenny taught me how to climb. And I taught her how to dangle
It is ok to borrow ideas, to get inspired. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel, but return the favor, contribute, share, help!
I’m sorry I had to fight in the middle of your Black Panther party
Yes, bad idea hahahaha. Well, he got away with it that's why you could/should too. You screwed up? Be honest, be bold, appologize and explain!
Don't get distracted
Have you found Jesus yet, Gump? Forrest Gump: "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for Him, sir."
Follow your believes, be true to yourself. Don't get side-tracked. It's good to expand your horizon, but stick to your plan.
Don't do stupid things
Stupid is as stupid does
Need I say more? Just don't do it!! And especially, don't do it again! KISS - keep it simple, stupid!
Bonus: Repetition helps remembering
My Mama used to say...'Life is like a Box of Chocolates'...you never know which one you're gonna get!
Repeat 100 times. Yes, it's nonsense. Just read the label and you know, but hey, repeat it often enough and you'll believe (and remember).
Some of the inspiration for this article (and good reads regardless) are the following links: