Showing posts tagged best practice
Kudos to CIVIC for providing a handy universal cookie policy widget.

Kudos to CIVIC for providing a handy universal cookie policy widget.

Here’s a really clean and straight-forward filter and sort from It just works.

Three ways to make your wireframes more useful from Bristol Usability Group on Vimeo.

3 Ways to Make Your Wireframes More Useful

Excellent 5 minute prez by Steve Cable at UX Bristol, not necessarily for the tips (which, of course, we already do!) but more for his reasoning, and user testing insights. In summary, to improve your wireframes remember:

  • Visual priority – communicate insights through to the design team by using shading and bold text.
  • Data (real content) – add labels to navigation, titles, icons, and add example copy – to make sure everything fits , and for creating believable pages.
  • Images – show the type of image that you want to see – this could be sketches (extra effort), or just adding descriptions to your image placeholders.

Designing hover states with touch-screen devices in mind

From an article on Trenton Walton’s excellent blog:

Try to Avoid

  • Hyperlinks that aren’t 100% obvious
  • Javascript tooltips that show important information or metadata
  • Displaying action items on hover. Examples I’ve seen typically involve edit / delete items.
  • Displaying graphics in a less-than-ideal state until hovered: all those semi-opaque or black & white screenshots and photos that only display full color when covered by a cursor
  • Drop-down menus. While some of these can be revealed on click or tap, be sure the user has cues that show those options.
  • Focusing too much on hover dependent CSS3. I know it’s a bit of a heartbreaker, but while these have always been seen as enhancements, we’re going to have to settle with the fact that multi-touch users won’t be seeing our fancy transitions.

You can quite justifiably say what you like about Mail Chimp’s new website, but their 404 page is a fine example of best practice.

I have just been going through the BBC’s Global Experience Language (GEL) documentation. “GEL is the glue that ties all the BBC services together”. Inspiring stuff.

Creating video for the web - just some thoughts…

When creating a video that you know will end up on the web, make the first few seconds relevant - this is probably as long as you will get before you lose the user’s attention.

Make it relevant, and interesting. Give a flavour for the rest of the video, and include the title if it’s not written on the page somewhere.

Email marketing opt-in or opt-out? – the law and best practice

This question came up around a client’s competition form. The client wanted to use the ‘opt-out’ method, requiring the user to uncheck a box in order for them to opt-out of receiving any further related emails (read: spam). The alternative would be to use an ‘opt-in’, where the user must deliberately opt-in to receiving emails.

The opt-out method is obviously bad for the user, as they run the risk of skimming the form, not properly seeing that the box is checked or misunderstanding what it being checked means, and then receiving spam. It seems sneaky, but is it legal? I shall attempt to explain…

This is a very grey area, and the actual law will vary by territory. In this country there seem to be various laws that apply, but none specifically state that you can’t use opt-in. According to this UK site about website laws, according to the UK’s Data Protection Act of 1998, using opt-out is sufficient for general marketing purposes. Where sharing personal details are involved, such as ethnicity or income, then it seems that an opt-in is required.

However, the website also cites the more recent Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which are more vague on the matter! It states that “the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communication being sent”. This implies that the user must have consented to receiving mail, and if a box is checked by default then does this mean that the user has given their consent? Probably not.

So, at the end of the day it seems clients are perfectly entitled to use the opt-out method if they want to, for general marketing emails - there are no clear laws on the matter. If it ever went to court though, this could go against the EC Privacy Directive, depending on how the court interpreted the quote above!! Best practice would always be that the user should have to opt-in to receive further communications.

The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard

Old but really good article about web text readability: