Things we've been reading

Did Snapchat succeed because of its controversial UI?

Snapchat has achieved many firsts and their user base enjoys their new and unconventional UI design. The rules we follow in UX such as intuitiveness and consistency are put to one side but it works. Users are happy to explore the app and this reflects their own environment I feel, which is flexible rules and exploration time. One rule though that hasn't changed is knowing your user and designing for them.

Not All Screen Reader Users Are Blind

This article focuses on one of the findings from the Web Aim survey which is the different disability types of screen reader users. This reflects the research I've produced myself which is that a significant percentage of reader users are not blind but have low vision requirements. The design of your UI should reflect this requirement, such as a good colour contrast ratio and font sizes (keeping the word count low has a positive impact for those increasing font size). Ultimately, a user experience for all.

What’s the Impact of Investing in UX?

Justifying UX Design is becoming necessary as more and more companies embrace user-centred design. However, it's still important to understand why it's financially beneficial. User experience research means understanding user requirements so the solution can be tested effectively. It's not, which is becoming more common, a solution designed by a 'UX designer' who designs with no user input. As Nurik from Google says; done right, UX design is often the difference between businesses that grow and those that sputter.

How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

Very interesting and insightful article for anyone designing for mobile devices. It's important to identify the commonly-used UI elements and position them in areas where most users are most comfortable touching. Some apps for example, position the menu icon in the top right where right handed people can move their thumbs more easily. Going back to a previous point, it's about conducting solid user research.

The rules of responsive web typography

Going back to the previous point about readability for users with low vision; choosing the right typography does have a significant influence on the user experience. We have tested websites using a variety of fonts and we've seen some perform better than others across devices. I guess our message is not to underestimate how important this choice is so consider it carefully.

Tools that have interested us


My colleague suggested we took a closer look at this tool. Their goal is to humanise the form experience which I believe is very important. Whenever I design a form, I try to portray a conversation between the user and the form by providing context to questions, smart defaults, supportive copy and reassurance over things like security and privacy. Thinking this way will make you a better designer.

Videos that have interested us

Turn your Smartphone into a 3D Hologram

An eye opening video and project. Just need to find a CD case...

Podcasts we've listened to

#153 Ruthless Prioritisation

Prioritisation is important not just during a design project but as an on-going activity because it changes over time. For example, simplifying the UI by leaving out low priority elements, using colour to increase focus on high priority areas and establishing an effective information architecture where high priority areas are easily accessible are all benefits of ruthless prioritisation. This podcast is worth a listen.

About the author

Gavin Harris

Gavin Harris

Gavin Harris is an experienced Principal User Experience Consultant specialising in user testing, Information Architecture, HTML prototyping and web accessibility. Over the years he has worked with the likes of the Virgin Group, Land Rover, Kia, Orange and Unilever, and many other enterprise organisations.

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