"There is a common misbelief that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system. In this ‘Design discussions’, we talk to the author who has uncovered the truth (maybe) behind the story."
Friday, February 26th, 2010
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Testing Huffduffer’s sign-up
I have to admit, I didn’t really think it was that revolutionary an idea. All I was trying to do was make the sign-up process a little friendlier and if web standards have taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing inherent in the presentation of any element, much less forms. So I made the form more conversational and less blocky and rigid.
Well, it turns out that people love it. I’ve received bucketloads of Twitter messages and emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed the sign-up process.
But amongst all the positive comments I saw about the sign-up form when Huffduffer launched, I saw some armchair UX practitioners wondering about the usability of this somewhat unorthodox approach to forms. Fair point. Without user testing, how can I really know if the mad-libs approach is really working?
If anyone knows anything about the usability of web forms, it’s Luke. He literally wrote the book on it.
Not content with simply expressing a liking for the Huffduffer-style of human-friendly form presentation, he decided to put it to the test with Vast.com:
After seeing the Huffduffer form in action, I was curious how it would perform against a traditional form. Would people be more inclined to complete it because of the narrative format? Or would the unfamiliar presentation format confuse people? Thanks to Ron Kurti and the team at Vast.com, I now have some early answers.
Ron and his team ran some A/B testing online that compared a traditional Web form layout with a narrative “Mad Libs” format. In Vast.com’s testing, Mad Libs style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40%.
That seems to be a statistically-significant result, even accounting for Cennydd’s reality-check on A/B testing.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend. If nothing else, it’s a way of getting designers to think about the presentation of common human-computer interactions, such as signing up to a new website.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
A very nice colour picker from the brilliant Dmitry Baranovskiy.
Friday, February 19th, 2010
These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy…in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.
The International Convention on Performing Rights is holding a third round of crisis talks in an attempt to stave off the final collapse of the WIPO music licensing regime. On the one hand, hard-liners representing the Copyright Control Association of America are pressing for restrictions on duplicating the altered emotional states associated with specific media performances: As a demonstration that they mean business, two “software engineers” in California have been kneecapped, tarred, feathered, and left for dead under placards accusing them of reverse-engineering movie plot lines using avatars of dead and out-of-copyright stars.
On the opposite side of the fence, the Association of Free Artists are demanding the right of perform music in public without a recording contract, and are denouncing the CCAA as being a tool of Mafiya apparachiks who have bought it from the moribund music industry in an attempt to go legit. FBI Director Leonid Kuibyshev responds by denying that the Mafiya is a significant presence in the United States. But the music biz’s position isn’t strengthened by the near collapse of the legitimate American entertainment industry, which has been accelerating ever since the nasty noughties.
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Paul takes an in-depth look at the new BBC design guidelines.
Well, this could be useful for Southby: find out where your friends are sitting when watching a panel.
A thoroughly well-researched and data-heavy blog post ...complete with interactive charts!
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
A lesson from Google Buzz: a large sampling isn't always a representative sampling.
Saturday, February 13th, 2010
Before we point the finger and laugh at the Facebook users leaving confused comments on Read Write Web, we should look to our own experiences with Google Buzz.
Erin explains exactly how badly Google have messed up privacy concerns with Buzz.
Friday, February 12th, 2010
A frightening tale of just how badly Google messed up with the lack of privacy controls on Buzz.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Network data fills me with awe. And now I'm sharing this because I like its positive message.
The wonderful world of audio pressed onto postcards: a Polish tradition.
Saturday, February 6th, 2010
A web comic written by a 5 year old (illustrated by his father).
This makes my brain giddy. Dizzying stuff, clearly explained.
A medium-zoom view of shifts in publishing.
Friday, February 5th, 2010
A wonderful trip down memory lane to the amateur web of the 90s.
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
This is the way to do an adaptable liquid layout. Media queries are your friend. Oh, and the content's good too.
A thoroughly researched and well-written look at font stacks, with some practical suggestions and advice.
A handy accessibility resource from Auntie Beeb.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
A store of fonts for sale, many of which have licenses that allow you to use them with @font-face.
A self-documenting explanation of why John Gruber doesn't have comments on his site.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
The sad state of online newspapers (the design this time, not the business).