Breaking Rules by Knowing Them

     There is this one professor who always impresses me in every class.  Once, when a student asked him “Why do we need to know all the ‘Rules’ when all these just limit our creativity when Art is just creating by breaking the rules”.  He simply answered, “When you don’t know what rule to break, then what can you really be breaking ? The ‘Art’ itself ?”.  I think his reply is applicable to every creative field.  I simply see ‘User Interface and Experience Design’ as a creative field.

   The design rules and principles that we have studied in class are definitely meant to be followed but also to be broken when you are doing something useful for the people and innovative.  As this wonderful class is coming near to a closure for this semester, I have compiled a list of rules that we have studied in this class and mentioned where it is meant to be used.  It is upto you to use them or break them.  I hope this post would serve everyone as a reference in the future and a guiding light for using the rules.  The following are the few Principles that we use in User Interaction & Experience Design :

a. Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Web Usability Principles :

– They can be used in Web Interaction Design & Mobile Application Design.

– Some of the rules can be extended to Offline Application & Game Interface Design.

– More than everything, Nielsen’s principles are focused on Usability which should be followed while developing prototypes for any application.

b. Gestalt Principle for Screen Design :

– The principles are applicable to any Screen Design.

– Since, Gestalt Theory suggests the visual arrangements of the components on the scrren, though all the principles cannot be followed, the Gestalt Theory provides a visual grid / template and an idea for placing the components in any screen design.

c. Visual Information Principles by Edward Tuefte :

– The principles should definitely be followed when you about to convey your user some information or any form of data not just limited to numbers.

– Most importantly, when using mathematical charts and statistical data.

d. Principles of Alan Cooper :

– In Web, Mobile and Offline Application Design.

– Though, Alan Cooper tends to explain the usability principle mostly oriented towards Web Interaction Design.  From my perspective, all those principle are general usability principles except a few strictly.

e. Information Foraging Theory :

– Though, not necessarily a rule.  Information foraging theory should guide in designing an application where the user in search for some information and querying for some results.

– Remember – ‘Like every other being in this world, our User is also ‘Lazy’.

f. Universal Principles of Design by Lidwell, Holden and Butter :

– The Universal Principle of Design are general rules which are applicable to any kind or variety of design.  They should give a good framework before beginning the design.

– Most importantly, these rules can be used for analyzing a mock-up design.

g. KISS (Keep it simple stupid) :

– As it says, just keep it simple.

and more than everything,

h. Common Sense :

– Use this in every context and part of the product design.  You know what your product is going to do more than anyone.  Don’t just follow your instincts, but also use your common sense.

     The post is entirely about my views on using the principles and the way I am using them.  I am just suggesting the ways in which the principles can be used.  Let me know your views and what do you think about the posts in the comment section.

Thanks :).

Image Courtesy : http://www.brandmill.com/featured/rule-break-stupid-rules/

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Cool Resources for UI Sketching & Wireframing

Friends, after this week’s reading about Sketching, Wire framing and Prototyping, I decided to post some cool resources which I have been using for a while now.  I am just going to post the 5 best resources according to me.  But,  this time according to the creams of every platform.  :).

01. Windows App (Sketching and Prototyping Tool):

Microsoft Sketchflow – http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Sketchflow_Overview.aspx

Adobe Fireworks CS4 – http://www.adobe.com/products/fireworks.html?xNav=WPFW

02. iPad App :

UI Sketcher App – http://uisketcher.com/

03. Web App :

DENIM (By University of Washington) – http://dub.washington.edu:2007/denim/

04. Apps for Mobile Prototyping :

DesignerVista – http://www.designervista.com

Proto.io – http://proto.io/

05. Resources – Wireframing & Sketching :

GUI Prototyping Tools –http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?GuiPrototypingTools

Smashing Magazine    – http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/05/50-free-ui-and-web-design-wireframing-kits-resources-and-source-files/

Konigi Wireframing    – http://konigi.com/tools/tags/wireframing

Konigi Sketching          – http://konigi.com/tools/tags/sketching

The Important ‘5’

     Greetings again, Friends.  I have tried to post this for a long time but today at last I found the time to compile everything.  Here is my list of best in everything of HCI, Interaction Design and Usability.  This compilation is completely my own views and the numbers next to the items just represent the order and not their ranking.

The ‘5’ Best UX Blogs to follow :

EverydayUX

UserInterfaceEngineering

bokardo (Social UX Design)

Putting people first

GraphPaper

The ‘5’ Best UX Websites to Learn :

Boxes & Arrows

UXMagazine

Smashing Magazine UX Design

UXMatters

A List Apart

The ‘5’ Best Books to learn the Rules of Web Usability :

1. Don’t Make Me Think By Steve Krug

2. Letting Go of the Words By Janice Redish

3. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web By Morville and Rosenfeld

4. Prioritizing Web Usability By Nielson + Horanger

5. The Big Red Fez By Seth Godin

The ‘5’ Tweeters to follow for Usability :

1. @jmspool

2. @ixda

3. @bokardo

4. @janepyle

5. @usabilitycounts

The Important persons in UX to learn the rules from :

1. Jakob Nielsen

2. Donald Norman

3. Jared Spool

4. Alan Cooper.

The best labs for Innovation in HCI :

1. MIT Media Lab

2. Human Computer Interaction Institute in CMU

3. Human Computer Interaction Lab in University of Maryland

The upcoming products in HCI that will change everything :

1. Google’s Project Glass

2. Oculus Rift VR Headset

Thanks, :-).  I sometimes wonder why I find it tough to navigate in Jakob Nielsen’s website even after being the best in the field.  Is it only for me or is it a Food for thought ?  Kindly, post your views in the comments, Friends.

Presenting Information Visually

     After, preparing for my presentation on the topic – ‘Presenting Information Visually’, I got to know that there is so much to learn in this vast field of Information Visualization and that is why this blog post.  This post will primarily serve as the end note for the presentation but on a much broader scale.  Dr. V too advised to post a blog post in the feedback expanding the thoughts from the presentation.

   Edward Tuefte and David McCandless are the important persons to keep note and track of if you are much serious in this field.  Edward Tuefte being a pioneer in this field did not give a TED Talk yet.  But, Edward Tuefte has a Vimeo Channel where he posts mostly about his sculptures.  He posted the interesting video below on using Waterfalls and Wheat Fields from an HD Video for Visualizing Data.  Can you imagine how cool and innovative is that.  Take a look yourself.  :).

Wavefields from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.

     Edward Tuefte, The DaVinci of Data Visualization, in some of his 1-Day sessions also advises the audiences on creating beautiful powerpoint presentations.  Don’t confuse them with Edward Tuefte’s Data Visualization principles.  These slides convey about his thoughts on ‘How to Present’ and they are created by McGarrah Jessee’s Lauri Johnston.  I thought it would be very useful for each of us.

   David McCandless has his own personal website where he posts ‘Cool’ infographics on day to day things.  Since, he is a journalist most of his inspiration are from the News.  He even posted an visualization on ‘People’s Taste’ from each country.  :).  If time permits, don’t miss the chance to peek into each of his infographics in his website.  David McCandless talked in a TED Conference – The Beauty of Data Visualization.  You can see the video right below.

     

Thanks. :).