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Research and writing

These are some things that I've written about UI design and usability testing.

Most recent items

Older, but still interesting and relevant

  • Design for the Web vs. for the desktop. Discusses how navigation and design for the Web is different from the desktop. Users get confused if Web design doesn't take this into account. Read about desktop vs Web design online or download the Web application design paper (PDF).
  • Using color in UI design.  I had a wonderful experience a few years ago, working with Ati Gropius Johansen. She teaches a course called Dynamics of Color, which I took. I wound up teaching a workshop with her and writing an article on using color in UI design; it's based on Josef Albers' ideas about color. Ati is the daughter of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School, and was a student of Albers. She's a great teacher.
  • Case study for a successful usability project. Describes a project that improved usability of an online library. In a follow-up survey, 58% of respondents said that they would increase their use of the ACM Portal based on the new design. Read the usability case study online or read a case study about this usability study (PDF, 172 KB).
  • Incorporating the user's model of a task. Understanding the user's conceptual model is the basis of our design process: what concepts and tasks does the user have in mind already? How will that affect how she uses your product? This article is a case study of user research from consulting projects. Download the user model document (PDF).
  • Improving ROI by analyzing site traffic. Attention to design can help increase transaction rates on your Web site. My design group at did research that demonstrated ROI from design. Read a summary of an ROI study online.
  • Types of Web sites. A workshop that I ran identified four types of Web sites. Each has its own uses and design requirements. The workshop is summarized in a report on the different types of Web sites and their requirements. Download the workshop summary (PDF).
  • Creating a home page.  Your home page may be the most important part of your Web site. It's the first thing that many visitors see, and it has to get your message across quickly. People are always looking for the next thing to click on, and won't spend time interpreting long text or unclear marketing messages. Read tips on creating a home page.