A Refreshing Take on User Experience Design

UX Design

I recently came across a blog-post by Susan Weinschenk which provides a quick overview of ideal user experience guidelines from a psychologist’s point of view.

The article addresses a diverse set of user experience guidelines and standards and consists of some really practical and useful tips which can and ought to be implemented right away.

Here’s a quick summary of the points which I found to be relevant to eLearning andInstructional Design.

  • It is better to show people a little bit of information and let them choose if they want more details. (Progressive Disclosure)
  • Instead of just describing things, show an example.
  • If something is clickable make sure it looks like it is clickable.
  • If a task is error-prone, break it up into smaller chunks.
  • Don’t make people remember things from one task to another or one page to another.
  • People can only remember about 3-4 items at a time. The “7 plus or minus 2” rule is an urban legend. Research shows the real number is 3-4.
  • People need feedback. The computer doesn’t need to tell the human that it is loading the file. The human needs to know what is going on.
  • If pages are cluttered people can’t find information. Use grouping to help focus where the eye should look.
  • Things that are close together are believed to “go” together.
  • The hardest colors to look at together are red and blue. Try to avoid red text on a blue background or vice versa.

Social Networking – A Contrarian View

Social Networking – A Contrarian View

Today, I’m going to adopt a contrarian view. We all know social networks promote learning; while the mechanisms aren’t documented or well-understood, that it works isn’t in doubt anymore. But we must ask, are the ‘social media/networking systems’ out there promoting this learning? Or does it happen in spite of these systems?

Sure, lots of companies want to replicate ‘Facebook’ behind the firewall; safe from prying eyes, but open enough for employees to freely express themselves. They hope that by just implementing such a system learning will ‘happen’; does it?

I have seen that early attempts to bring social networking inside companies as a work tool have failed. They probably failed because they didn’t really have a focus on the companies’ true ethos – making money. Perhaps they lacked the required understanding of business processes, the systems used to enable these and the ‘culture’ that each company develops over time. Social networks are about connecting people, about creating an ‘ambient awareness’ of what’s happening and where with reference to the people around us. Such networks come into their own when you want to find people who can help you solve problems, provide insights, or provide expertise you may not have.

Given the way social networking tools are at this time, connecting people is the easy part – the systems facilitate the connections easily and effectively. But how does one track the data exchange and activity on these systems to glean usable knowledge (further solves problem, provides an insight or expertise) – it is only this knowledge that people are interested in – knowledge that affects business process execution, social networking tools as we know it fail miserably in this area. People need to be motivated to change, and that isn’t going to happen overnight. Social technologies are going to take time to be adopted, just like it too years before people thought email.

Till that time, I wouldn’t be relying on them for much more than connecting and communicating, another tool like IM, video chat, VoIP etc. This of course, does not mean that you ignore the potential of such tools/platforms/systems. In the years to come, as people change their attitude and mind-sets about the tools, they are sure to have an impact. Has your organization implemented a social networking platform? What’s been your experience?

Courtesy : Abhijit Kadle  |  Social Learning