Usability

Drupal 6.0 has left the Building!

Drupal 6.0 is no longer supported as of today (February 24th, 2016).

drupal-relay_1If your site runs on Drupal, it’s time to prepare to migrate your site if you need to, or if you think you might need to! If you’re uncertain, today is a good day to speak with your site administrator(s), or web development partner, about a potential migration.

So what does Drupal 8.0 bring to the table?

It will take some time to truly assess the new additions. But what it clear right out of the gate is that 8.0 offers vastly improved admin themes that are (finally!) responsive. There’s also a number of features that should help make Drupal more application-development friendly. This is what remains to be seen. But, if true, could help make Drupal a more cost-effective solution for custom development.

It’s going to be interesting to open the box and see how these new changes work in practice. But there’s reason to believe that this new launch could help open the door for more would-be Drupal adopters.

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Is Android’s Material Design a Game Changer?

colorA shift in UX trends for Android can lead to big changes in IOS design standards, and vice versa. In 2015, Google is setting the pace with their all-in approach towards Material Design.

This design language, developed by Google, offers an intuitive layout inspired by pen and paper and ‘real world’ stacked documents. Material design is one more major step in the trend of maximizing space. Its end function is more efficient mobile browsing. If you’re an android app user, you’ve already experienced material design. If you have Android 5.0 or greater, your interface is built entirely from material design standards.

Google searching may even soon utilize a new material design interface.

Material design has fans beyond the Android faithful. Indeed, its ‘flat design’ principles are largely inspired by those developed by an organization not typically associated with elegant designMicrosoft. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Google is refining and capitalizing on these design standards with far more impact. (I’ll refrain from asking Microsoft how it feels to be on the other side of that exchange…)

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And what, exactly, is material design? Google breaks it down best. But the general idea behind material design is that it offers a sleak, flat surface with useful depth effects. It all amounts to an extremely efficient means of visually organizing information. Cards of distinct data are stacked and organized appropriately, with visual cues like shading and color balance that remain consistent with all apps built with material design. Once you quickly learn to navigate one material design, you’ve effectively mastered them all.

Material design built apps are fast, efficient, and easy to build or customize–even the graphic elements are highly malleable and mostly ‘idiot-proof’.

Perhaps such a standardized offering is a game changer for Android?

Google is certainly banking on it. This is going to be interesting to watch.

 

Web Design for Short Attention Sp–

These days, people only read the headline. Heck, they might only scan the logo.

How are you expected to introduce a web-based service in the age of super-short attention spans?

Whatever your site or app’s mission, less is more (particularly in matters of presenting content). UX and UI design today is all about editing, finding the simplest means to communicate ideas and guide a user’s interaction. The word of the day is: ‘SHORTCUTS.

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The right comparison can make a complicated concept easy. Remember when Apple told people to “swipe, like turning a page?”

It all comes down to reducing cognitive load. New site visitors want to navigate through your site as if on instinct. This isn’t even an unrealistic expectation. We’ve all been trained by the UI of countless other sites. Most people are really, really good at looking at websites. Consciously or not, they’re also very good at judging a site’s UI. We don’t always have to cave into the latest trends, but it’s unwise to outright ignore new or evolving design standards.

One simple design step is to provide visitors with some simple visual cues along their way. This can be the careful selection of (just a few!) choice lines of copy, or pictures of your service that distinguish your brand and offerings. As a bonus, these visual cues teach users to recognize your site layout. Keep it simple. One or two takeaways per site visitor is all you can ask for. Let this be your goal. Give visitors too much at once and they’ll feel attacked and will likely ignore the whole barrage.

Bad experiences stick with us. Most first impressions are formed visually (certainly with a web-based service). The good news for new business is that today, more than ever, good UXD > brand loyalty. In the web space, we’re now all trained to know that other options are just a click away.

If it isn’t easy for visitors to accomplish a desired goal, and your business model is dependent on repeat use, you have a major UXD problem. Don’t design processes that require folks to remember things from earlier in the process. Imagine having ordered from Amazon already and then struggling through the process the next time you wanted to order something… not good.

Make a point to provide your repeat visitors with some shortcuts to–

DID YOU SAY: “SHORTCUTS?!”

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Sigh…