Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Useful Definitions About Information Design

What’s Information Architecture?
It is the process of organizing, labeling, designing information and navigation system that help people find and manage information more successfully.

Labeling: The way you represent the concepts

  • Be careful about the words you use (clear and telling)
  • If you like to use images in labels be sure they add value and increase the communication with the user, and adding some text to the Image is preferable

Navigation: The way we find what we’re seeking

  • Well-designed site has to provide intelligent labels, intuitive paths, readability, and clear conceptual model of the site.
  • Users want to know where they are, what are the choices from here, how to get where they want to go and how to come back once they are there.

What's Usability?
It’s the measure of the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a website. (How long it takes user to find info. And how long it takes him to learn how to use the site?)

Usability Factors:

  • Ease of learning
  • Efficiency of use
  • Memorability
  • Error frequency and severity
  • Subjective satisfaction

Why is Usability important?

  • Most of research agencies found that:
  • People cannot find the info. they seek on a website about 60% of the time
  • 50% of potential sales are lost from a site as users can not find data
  • 62% of websites shoppers have gave up looking for their wanted items

What’s Layout?
Key pages with black and white boxes and guidelines, to describe how the window will appear to the users, write up the read, editorial, and functionality requirements for each page. Also include some specifications like page resolution, each area size and place, also no. of levels .
Each shows the major functional areas (Body, Menu, Ads. + Logo)

Design for Weblications (1)

The fundamental purpose of all web applications is to facilitate the completion of one or more tasks. Unlike visitors to traditional, content-centric websites, users of web applications invariably arrive with specific goals, tasks, and expectations in mind. Of course, that’s not to say that visitors to content-based websites don’t also arrive with certain goals and expectations, but rather that the motivations for using a web application are almost always explicit and precise.

Main Deference between a Web Application (Weblication) and a Traditional Website.
It is important to establish an objective means of differentiating between a web application and a traditional website.

  • One-to-one relationship – Web applications establish a unique session and relationship with each and every visitor. Although this behavior is fundamental to Web applications it is not present in either content-based websites or desktop applications. A web application such as Hotmail knows who you are in a way that Cnet or even Photoshop doesn’t.
  • Ability to permanently change data – Web applications allow users to create, manipulate, and permanently store data. Such data can take the form of completed sales transactions, human resources records, or email messages to name but a few. This contrasts with web services like Google that allow users to submit information but do not allow them to permanently store or alter information.
  • And the Web applications (Weblications) are deferent in many other ways like:

- More interactive and requiring constant user action and reaction
- Complex interaction than in the traditional websites
- More likely to be used more intensively and more frequently than traditional web sites
- Its users are willing to invest more time in learning the functionality of it for the payoff of increased productivity.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Design for Weblications (2)

Design Considerations:

  1. Visited Links: No need to change its colors, it’s preferable to specify the same color for the visited and unvisited links (user might fill out the same form many times).
  2. Hyperlinks and Buttons: You can include both hyperlinks for navigating to locations and command buttons for carrying out actions.
  3. Frames: You may use it, the case not sensitive like in content websites.
  4. Searching: web-applications are rarely involved searching except in the online help.
    Page Title: It might be the same page title on every page, perhaps indicating the page application name and version.
  5. Hypertext Linear Tasks: The users perform tasks, which may require linear paths. This requires a design that focuses on navigation among tasks rather than hypertext among pages of content.
  6. Scrolling: If moving from page to page requires lots of background application processing and the pages take a while to download, users may prefer one long form.
  7. Cross-Browser Considerations: Designers can specify a required browser, much like they specify the required hardware or operating system environment to give them more freedom of design.
  8. Browser Button: It’s preferable to hide them and the designer could provide alternative navigation method.
  9. Pull-down Navigation Menus: Not recommended in form pages to prevent the users to leave before completing the forms.
  10. Home Page: Contains the main menu, Product over view, splash screen contained a product graphic and version level also the copyright information and system statistics.
  11. Help: It’s more like the online help for (non-web-based) application.
    Open Browser In Full Screen: To eliminate the browser confusion where reoriented toward delivering a real application.
  12. Minimize the Use of Windows
  13. Use Rollovers: Revealing alternate choices or presenting additional information as it is needed and avoid user confusion by not presenting too many options at once.
  14. Use Alt-Overs: When the immediacy of a roller is not needed.
  15. Use Auto-complete: (WebDAV Technology) WebDAV notifications use UDP packets to notify the client that the Exchange store detected a subscribed event. The subscription command specifies the UDP port on which Exchange will contact the client computer. The client application must have a UDP listener running on the port specified on the subscription, so that the events will be received. Note that normal firewall configuration blocks UDP packets, so WebDAV notifications typically only work within an intranet, or over a PPTP tunnel.
  16. Use Login / Logout: Use login page and logout link throw the application
  17. Web applications with a Flash interface use the same applications (ColdFusion, Active Server Pages, or JavaServer Pages) to generate dynamic content, but the Flash movie can be updated seamlessly—no page loading is necessary. You can combine the power of the Web application scripting language with the power of ActionScript to change and update your Flash movies.