You're responsible for "web updates"!

Writing is a skill. Communication is a skill. Communicating on behalf of the organization you work for is a serious responsibility, yet tremendous communications power is often delegated to the lowest reaches of the organizational structure. Would you let junior staff write the CEO’s blog? Would you let your administrative assistant design the company’s annual report?

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KJ Technique

I had a recent project where I needed to work with a larger than normal group to reach some quick consensus on where we should be focusing our time trying to improve their website. In the recesses of my brain, I knew that the KJ Technique was a good way to handle this. What I found in my googling was that no one does a really good job of explaining it succinctly.

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LSST Infographic

I've been approached by American Scientist magazine on two previous occasions to produce infographics. Here's a third they asked me to do highlighting the science mission of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a 3.2 gigapixel camera mounted in a massive ground-based telescope in Chile that will produce unprecedented views of the cosmos when it goes live in 2020.

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The Law of Proximity

In design, the Law of Proximity states that objects that are near, or proximate to each other, tend to be related. Users inherently expect things that are related in theme or function to be grouped together in space. When this expectation is violated, confusion and/or frustration results. This is a classic example of bad user experience.

In this case, I spent a mere ten seconds updating my Twitter profile blurb...then spent way too much time trying to find the control that would allow me to commit the change. Couldn't find it, couldn't find it, couldn't find it...oh, wait. It's on the opposite side of the page, nowhere near the part of the page I was working on.

Don't do this to your users. It makes them feel stupid. When you do that, the service you're offering suffers. 

twitter update.png

Three Quick Checks for Effective Visual Hierarchy

This is another of those posts where I grab someone else's great ideas and squirrel it away here for future reference. Dominic Harkness posted these little gems on what he calls his "3 Ws." Any effective webpage design should immediately answer these questions for anyone who happens to view it. These are simple ideas, but they're often overlooked. It's good to remind ourselves of these basics from time to time.

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