quote archives
“It’s harder to give money away than it is to spend money buying stuff.”
According to Jakob Nielsen, it’s harder for people to donate to charity online than it is to make a purchase. Sad! According to his study, the top priority for non-profits should be presenting information more clearly—not focusing on trendy (but secondary) things such as social media.

posted by ted on Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011

“Companies often spew about “customer relationship management” or “disruptive customer-led innovation” or any number of other impressive-sounding processes. But as often as not, what the customer wants is as simple as sitting down and listening for a minute.”
To balance my “don’t (just) listen” to customers post below, a great article by Mark Hurst on how to exceed low expectations by just listening for a change.

posted by ted on Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011

“Do you like to ski and eat chocolate?”
Tantalizing first sentence of an Information Architect job posting for the UN in Switzerland. Got my attention!

posted by ted on Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011

“Parallel & Iterative Design + Competitive Testing = High Usability”
Title equation from an interesting
article on usability and design process.
Nielsen makes it sound so easy…

posted by ted on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011

“Too much data has the same outcome as no data at all—except that it costs more and causes a headache.”
Via Mark Hurst’s Twitter feed

posted by ted on Monday, Nov 29, 2010

“Users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand. And users ignore purely decorative images that don’t add real content to the page. So much fluff — of which there’s too much already on the Web.”
Some great advice in the latest Alertbox on using photos and images effectively, especially in e-commerce.

posted by ted on Monday, Nov 01, 2010

“In design, we often talk about making our interfaces consistent. Yet what are we really talking about? The common misconception is we’re looking to match up the look and feel of other parts of our design, or other designs.

However, what truly makes a design consistent is when we meet our users’ expectations.
Good quote from an interesting article with an interesting title:
Rabbis, Tropes, and Visually Consistent Designs .
Something for my inner English major as well as my outer designer. I encounter this misconception regularly in discussion with product sponsors and stakeholders.

posted by ted on Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010

“Sorting a list of options alphabetically has two main benefits. [First,] if users know the name of the thing they want, they can usually find it in the list pretty quickly. [Second,] lazy design teams don’t have to work on figuring out a better structure.”
From Nielsen’s recent Alertbox, Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die. Sound advice, yet often ignored because it really is work to find a viable alternative. Witness a section in our recently released online store, where we tried to order a long list by importance… but are finding that with a long list (several pages), that’s probably not going to be very usable.

posted by ted on Wednesday, Oct 06, 2010

If Comic Sans MS took on human form, who would it be?
My first thought was Richard Nixon—crooked and unrepentant. I then considered Justin Bieber—juvenile and inexplicably popular. Perhaps Jar Jar Binks? Ill-considered, inappropriate, and despised by hardcore fans.”
More on Comic Sans, the font we love to hate, at Site Point.

posted by ted on Monday, Sep 20, 2010

“Love the idea of a signature designer—wouldn’t even have to invoice you.
He can just sign the check himself.”
Snippet from a conversation in 37Signals Campfire app, mentioned on their blog.

posted by wade on Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010

“Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, once said that his method of design was to start with a vision of what you want and then, one by one, remove the technical obstacles until you have it. I think that’s what Steve Jobs does. He starts with a vision rather than a list of features.”
Fred Brooks, in interview by Wired’s Magazine’s Kevin Kelly about his new book The Design of Design

posted by wade on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010

“It’s no use spending time, money, or effort to entice people into a product or service if it just leads to a bad experience. Why? Because those people you carefully encouraged and nudged into your circle? They go right back into the cloud, spreading the news about their bad experience.”
Hear hear!
Mark Hurst’s advice when clients want to spend time and money leveraging Facebook, Twitter, other social media, and advertising—before they have built a good experience for those masses they are trying to attract.

posted by ted on Friday, Aug 06, 2010

“For practicing User Experience Designers, one of the most important laws isn’t Fitts’s Law, which helps us understand how to design interactive elements. Nor is it Hick’s Law, which describes how long people take to make decisions.

It’s Sturgeon’s Law, which tells us that 99% of everything is crap.”
The pull-no-punches opening to Jared Spool’s article today on
5 indispensible skills for UX mastery, which he lists as:
Sketching, Storytelling, Critiquing, Presenting, and Facilitating.
I like that list.

posted by ted on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2010

“Self Design only works in those instances when you are the user and there’s a lot of users just like you.”
Closing quote from an interesting article by Jared Spool on the pros and cons of designing for yourself, using 37signals as a prime case.
I find that most people believe—without any real evidence—that most people are
“just like them.”
There’s the rub, eh?

posted by ted on Thursday, Jul 22, 2010

“A lot of these guys take themselves a little bit too serious. Let’s see, a teacher, policeman, fireman, doctor, and somebody who’s in the service. I truly believe those are the only five real jobs in the world. Everybody else should just shut up and enjoy life. There’s five legitimate jobs in life.”
Charles Barkley (slightly edited)
on LeBron James and the NBA in general

posted by jason on Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010

“Design, stripped to its essence, can be defined as the human capacity to make our environment in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs, and give us meaning in our lives.”
Enjoyed this quote this morning by John Heskett in his book Toothpicks and Logos.

posted by wade on Friday, Jun 25, 2010

“A snappy user experience beats a glamorous one.”
From a nice revamp of Nielsen’s classic “3 response time limits” article that has proved very useful to me over the years in determining how fast is “fast enough,” and how to communicate progress effectively in different situations.

posted by ted on Monday, Jun 21, 2010

“How’s this for a social media strategy—watch your customers flail around on your site, or app, or whatever, listen to what they need, and then go and build that. Regardless of whether it fits the latest headlines.”
Great quote from Mark Hurst on not drinking the latest tech-buzz Koolaid.

posted by ted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“We just shipped it on Saturday.
And then we rested on Sunday.”
Product management 101, courtesy of Steve Jobs. In last week’s iPhone Q&A session, he answered whether Apple had “veered away from widgets on the iPad.” Prodded further with “So widgets are possible?”, Steve responded, “Everything is possible.”

posted by jason on Monday, Apr 12, 2010

“ticky-techie tactics”
My favorite (and also alliterative) quote from Mark Hurst
in his most recent Good Experience newsletter, outlining
three overlooked lessons about the iPad.
(He and Rob Foster appear to be very much on the same page…)

posted by ted on Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010