We need to keep our eye on people

“Saying that people are the focus of user experience is stating the obvious, but when we are deeply engaged in our own work as user experience designers, it can be difficult to constantly remember to keep people at the center of design. For most of us, it’s hard not to get caught up in the skills and techniques that the technologies we work with require and even harder not to want to use technology to solve problems. But as user experience designers, we need to keep our eye on people.” – Whitney Quesenbery

Read Whitney’s article “Why People Matter” for her thoughts on putting people at the center of design.

Catriona Cornett

I am a User Experience Designer with a passion for making people’s lives better through design. I have helped over a dozen organizations obtain a competitive advantage by delivering great user experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet and other channels.

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  • Dan Evans

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while and really enjoying it. One thing has bothered me a couple of times and I want to know what your opinion is of it. On posts such as this one the text must be made small to fit in the box. When this happens I find it easier to read the caption text. Every time it happens I feel like it is a case where the design is being adhered to for consistency’s sake at the detriment of the user experience. Have you considered making the box taller in some cases? I understand that it would impact the nice proportions that you have going on, but maybe it doesn’t have to be continuous. You could have a normal size and then a large size that is exactly twice as tall (or something with a proportion as pleasing to the eye as the one you’ve chosen).

    I both like and dislike the constraint you’ve chosen to work with here. I like it because it’s an interesting challenge and (can’t find the right word here) it’s kind of quaint (for the web, where the box could expand to always be the exact height it needs to be). But I dislike it because sometimes it seems to contradict the message of the blog itself. Have you considered this? What are your thoughts?

  • http://www.inspireux.com Catriona

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the feedback! I’d prefer to maintain the size of the quote card box, since I think it’s become part of the “inspireUX brand” if you will, and it’s important to maintain proportions that can be printed on a 4×6″ index card.

    Do you think that the font is too small even when you view the full sized picture by clicking on the thumbnail? There are times when I’m sure the thumbnail has text that is too small to read, but I never go below 22pt text for the full quote card. Mainly, I do this because the purpose of the cards is to save them and use them in other places (print them, use them in presentations, etc). The thumbnail is just supposed to represent that there’s a quote card attached to blog post.

    There are times when I cut down the quote text, to make sure that the font in the full sized picture is readable. If the full sized font is too small, what size do you recommend?

    Thanks!
    Catriona

  • Dan Evans

    Ah! I feel foolish, I hadn’t clicked the thumbnail before. Thanks for clearing that up. While the “How to Use” page talks about what size they should be and how to print them out, maybe a “click to enlarge” caption would be helpful for confused souls such as myself. Heck, they are almost exactly the correct width to be included in the post at full size.

    I read your blog via Google’s RSS reader and so firstly don’t want to click links to see see content outside the reader (if it can be helped), and secondly if I only knew that the image was a link I might assume that it linked to the webpage of the post and not the full size image. Minor points, but maybe the RSS could have a different structure than the normal post.

    Just some thoughts, anyway, apologies for not realizing about the link and thank you for clarifying. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.inspireux.com Catriona

    Dan,
    No problem! It’s not the user’s fault, it’s the design ;). I’ll think about different ways to make the image integration a bit better or at the least, to improve the affordance that clicking on the thumbnail takes you to a full sized image.

    That’s a good point about RSS, since most of my readers are accessing inspireUX via RSS. I think the full size image does indeed fit within the constraints of the post box, but that also has its trade offs. I’ll certainly think about it. Thanks for your suggestions!

4 Responses to We need to keep our eye on people

  1. Dan Evans says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while and really enjoying it. One thing has bothered me a couple of times and I want to know what your opinion is of it. On posts such as this one the text must be made small to fit in the box. When this happens I find it easier to read the caption text. Every time it happens I feel like it is a case where the design is being adhered to for consistency’s sake at the detriment of the user experience. Have you considered making the box taller in some cases? I understand that it would impact the nice proportions that you have going on, but maybe it doesn’t have to be continuous. You could have a normal size and then a large size that is exactly twice as tall (or something with a proportion as pleasing to the eye as the one you’ve chosen).

    I both like and dislike the constraint you’ve chosen to work with here. I like it because it’s an interesting challenge and (can’t find the right word here) it’s kind of quaint (for the web, where the box could expand to always be the exact height it needs to be). But I dislike it because sometimes it seems to contradict the message of the blog itself. Have you considered this? What are your thoughts?

  2. Catriona says:

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the feedback! I’d prefer to maintain the size of the quote card box, since I think it’s become part of the “inspireUX brand” if you will, and it’s important to maintain proportions that can be printed on a 4×6″ index card.

    Do you think that the font is too small even when you view the full sized picture by clicking on the thumbnail? There are times when I’m sure the thumbnail has text that is too small to read, but I never go below 22pt text for the full quote card. Mainly, I do this because the purpose of the cards is to save them and use them in other places (print them, use them in presentations, etc). The thumbnail is just supposed to represent that there’s a quote card attached to blog post.

    There are times when I cut down the quote text, to make sure that the font in the full sized picture is readable. If the full sized font is too small, what size do you recommend?

    Thanks!
    Catriona

  3. Dan Evans says:

    Ah! I feel foolish, I hadn’t clicked the thumbnail before. Thanks for clearing that up. While the “How to Use” page talks about what size they should be and how to print them out, maybe a “click to enlarge” caption would be helpful for confused souls such as myself. Heck, they are almost exactly the correct width to be included in the post at full size.

    I read your blog via Google’s RSS reader and so firstly don’t want to click links to see see content outside the reader (if it can be helped), and secondly if I only knew that the image was a link I might assume that it linked to the webpage of the post and not the full size image. Minor points, but maybe the RSS could have a different structure than the normal post.

    Just some thoughts, anyway, apologies for not realizing about the link and thank you for clarifying. Keep up the good work.

  4. Catriona says:

    Dan,
    No problem! It’s not the user’s fault, it’s the design ;). I’ll think about different ways to make the image integration a bit better or at the least, to improve the affordance that clicking on the thumbnail takes you to a full sized image.

    That’s a good point about RSS, since most of my readers are accessing inspireUX via RSS. I think the full size image does indeed fit within the constraints of the post box, but that also has its trade offs. I’ll certainly think about it. Thanks for your suggestions!