Common design mistakes?

14 Aug 2006 - 10:05am
7 years ago
24 replies
632 reads
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

IxDers,

I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
introductory CHI course?)

I'm thinking of mistakes like these:

* Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
* Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
that's easy to misread.
* Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
* Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
information or otherwise repeat themselves.
* Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.

And so on. What else have you seen in your work with less-experienced
designers?

(The course will focus on the design of Web applications, though not
exclusively. I will be teaching UI patterns along with it, but I want
to do a course with a little more depth than just a recitation of
common patterns! What fun would that be?)

Thanks,

- Jenifer

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net

Comments

14 Aug 2006 - 10:05am
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

IxDers,

I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
introductory CHI course?)

I'm thinking of mistakes like these:

* Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
* Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
that's easy to misread.
* Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
* Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
information or otherwise repeat themselves.
* Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.

And so on. What else have you seen in your work with less-experienced
designers?

(The course will focus on the design of Web applications, though not
exclusively. I will be teaching UI patterns along with it, but I want
to do a course with a little more depth than just a recitation of
common patterns! What fun would that be?)

Thanks,

- Jenifer

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net

14 Aug 2006 - 10:12am
Mark Schraad
2006

Jenifer,

While all of those you mention are common and frequent mistakes, the tendencies that I see that are most problematic are a) design for a focus group of one (me), and b) designing for other designers (to win awards) and c) not thinking contextually about the situational use.

Mark

On Monday, August 14, 2006, at 08:06AM, Jenifer Tidwell <jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com> wrote:

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>IxDers,
>
>I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
>I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
>experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
>untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
>introductory CHI course?)
>
>I'm thinking of mistakes like these:
>
>* Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
>* Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
>that's easy to misread.
>* Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
>* Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
>information or otherwise repeat themselves.
>* Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.
>
>And so on. What else have you seen in your work with less-experienced
>designers?
>
>(The course will focus on the design of Web applications, though not
>exclusively. I will be teaching UI patterns along with it, but I want
>to do a course with a little more depth than just a recitation of
>common patterns! What fun would that be?)
>
>Thanks,
>
> - Jenifer
>
>---------------------------------------
>Jenifer Tidwell
>jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
>http://designinginterfaces.com
>http://jtidwell.net
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

14 Aug 2006 - 10:14am
Walker Hamilton
2006

On Aug 14, 2006, at 10:05 AM, Jenifer Tidwell wrote:

> What, in your
> experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
> untrained designers?

What about focusing on the answers to these questions and how well
the design of the page allows a user to answer them:

Where am I?
Where can I go?
Where have I been?

Walker Hamilton

312.493.8467
http://www.walkerhamilton.com

14 Aug 2006 - 10:23am
Michael Micheletti
2006

Hi Jenifer,

I might add "Structuring the Intranet Navigation just like the Org Chart" to
your list. Sounds like a good course idea.

Michael Micheletti
Seattle, WA

On 8/14/06, Jenifer Tidwell <jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> IxDers,
>
> I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
> I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
> experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
> untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
> introductory CHI course?)
>
>

14 Aug 2006 - 10:41am
Rob Nero
2005

I agree with your list.

Mistakes, or missed details, I commonly see in web applications designed
outside our UCD team:
* inconsistency in placement of elements: buttons, links, navigation
* using too many colors, or using color without clear meaning/reason for
using it
* inconsistent layout between screens in the same application. We try to
follow a grid system (book by Kimberly Elam) approach to consistency in
layout and padding around elements. This is the detail most often missed
or not considered at all.
* inconsistent use of fonts

Hopefully this helps!
Rob

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jenifer Tidwell
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2006 10:05 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Common design mistakes?

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

IxDers,

I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
introductory CHI course?)

I'm thinking of mistakes like these:

* Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
* Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
that's easy to misread.
* Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
* Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
information or otherwise repeat themselves.
* Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.

And so on. What else have you seen in your work with less-experienced
designers?

(The course will focus on the design of Web applications, though not
exclusively. I will be teaching UI patterns along with it, but I want
to do a course with a little more depth than just a recitation of
common patterns! What fun would that be?)

Thanks,

- Jenifer

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
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14 Aug 2006 - 10:55am
LukeW
2004

Hi Jenifer, Here's some of the common issues I encounter:

1. Too often, everything on a Web page looks the same and users don’t
know where to start. Conversely, everything looks very different and
users end up bouncing between elements that are competing for their
attention. An effective hierarchy employs just enough meaningful
differentiation to walk users through the unique content and actions
on a page in a purposeful order. Personally, when I design a site, my
first iteration is often quite heavy graphically. As I put together
the visual hierarchy, I end up with more unique visual treatments
than the design actually needs. At that point, it’s a good idea to
work through the elements on the page again and bring more visual
consistency to related elements.
2. It’s also very valuable to look at the visual design from the
perspective of what is absolutely necessary to communicate. Do you
really need a different background, font size, font color, and drop
shadow to distinguish that content? Would just a background color
suffice? A common tendency I see is over designing, such as employing
too many different colors and too many different graphic elements,
which ultimately result in visual noise or just design-for-design’s
sake.

3. Junior designers rarely frame their solutions in the context of
the problem they are trying to solve and instead just jump right into
presenting mock-ups. By first outlining the problem definition,
designers can focus stakeholder feedback on how well the design
addresses their goals. If the proper high-level definition is not
present to provide context, feedback can quickly turn into a critique
of the mockup not the solution. After all, it’s much easier to have
an opinion on font sizes and color choices than on the right
strategic positioning of an important product.

4. Junior designers often come overloaded with mock-ups. Whenever a
designer (be it an interaction designer, an information designer, or
a visual designer) presents a client with too many options instead of
a clear recommendation, they risk undermining their value and opening
themselves up to “design by committee”. The message is “I don’t know
enough about your users or goals so you pick what works best.” Now
the design is in a non-designer’s hands (who may very well be
wondering why he hired a designer in the first place).

On Aug 14, 2006, at 8:05 AM, Jenifer Tidwell wrote:

> I'm thinking of mistakes like these:
>
> * Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
> * Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
> that's easy to misread.
> * Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
> * Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
> information or otherwise repeat themselves.
> * Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.

::
:: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
:: Principal, LukeW Interface Designs
:: luke at lukew.com | 408.879.9826
::

14 Aug 2006 - 11:23am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Great thread!

Jennifer: The only thing I would really add is that you should be careful to
limit the scope of what you mean by "design". Your original list was mainly
focused on UI specific stuff and some of the replies have broadened that to
include higher-level issues like focus groups and design-by-committee. I
agree that all of these things affect a novice designer, but a more focused
definition of design might help your purpose a bit more. Just a thought ...

-r-

On 8/14/06, LukeW <luke at lukew.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hi Jenifer, Here's some of the common issues I encounter:
>
> 1. Too often, everything on a Web page looks the same and users don't
> know where to start. Conversely, everything looks very different and
> users end up bouncing between elements that are competing for their
> attention. An effective hierarchy employs just enough meaningful
> differentiation to walk users through the unique content and actions
> on a page in a purposeful order. Personally, when I design a site, my
> first iteration is often quite heavy graphically. As I put together
> the visual hierarchy, I end up with more unique visual treatments
> than the design actually needs. At that point, it's a good idea to
> work through the elements on the page again and bring more visual
> consistency to related elements.
> 2. It's also very valuable to look at the visual design from the
> perspective of what is absolutely necessary to communicate. Do you
> really need a different background, font size, font color, and drop
> shadow to distinguish that content? Would just a background color
> suffice? A common tendency I see is over designing, such as employing
> too many different colors and too many different graphic elements,
> which ultimately result in visual noise or just design-for-design's
> sake.
>
> 3. Junior designers rarely frame their solutions in the context of
> the problem they are trying to solve and instead just jump right into
> presenting mock-ups. By first outlining the problem definition,
> designers can focus stakeholder feedback on how well the design
> addresses their goals. If the proper high-level definition is not
> present to provide context, feedback can quickly turn into a critique
> of the mockup not the solution. After all, it's much easier to have
> an opinion on font sizes and color choices than on the right
> strategic positioning of an important product.
>
> 4. Junior designers often come overloaded with mock-ups. Whenever a
> designer (be it an interaction designer, an information designer, or
> a visual designer) presents a client with too many options instead of
> a clear recommendation, they risk undermining their value and opening
> themselves up to "design by committee". The message is "I don't know
> enough about your users or goals so you pick what works best." Now
> the design is in a non-designer's hands (who may very well be
> wondering why he hired a designer in the first place).
>
>
>
> On Aug 14, 2006, at 8:05 AM, Jenifer Tidwell wrote:
>
> > I'm thinking of mistakes like these:
> >
> > * Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
> > * Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
> > that's easy to misread.
> > * Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
> > * Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
> > information or otherwise repeat themselves.
> > * Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.
>
>
> ::
> :: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
> :: Principal, LukeW Interface Designs
> :: luke at lukew.com | 408.879.9826
> ::
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

14 Aug 2006 - 11:32am
Barbara Ballard
2005

I recently got a bit snarky on the topic, but targeted at mobile. The
full text is at [1]

Once the user exits the application, if you don't want her to use the
application again, do some of the following:

Have an unnecessarily large application footprint. That way, the
application will take a long time to load, so the cost of restarting
the app is high.
Phone home with every launch. This technique lengthens the time until
the user can start using the application again, prohibits her from
using it without coverage, and can run up her data charges. You
wouldn't want to set a time stamp for end of license and only phone
home when the license has expired - no, that would let people back
into the application too quickly!
Don't save user data. If the user has to re-enter data, she is less
likely to use the application again. If she gets interrupted in the
middle of searching for an airplane ticket, by all means erase all the
search parameters.
If you have to save user data, save it for a long time. Our fearless
user will definitely want to search for a ticket for August 12 the
next time she uses the application - on August 15.
Be oblivious about user context. You know that your user is on that
trip to Tokyo … offer her information about events happening in New
York! Especially if she lives in London.
Destroy user state. A more advanced version of "don't save user data",
this will require users to start at the home page or main screen every
time she starts the application. You wouldn't want to return her to
the news item or video clip she was viewing two hours ago - make her
find it again!
Force a single user interface onto all devices. Especially fun is
requiring touch screen users to use virtual hardware buttons, but
using one of the softkeys as "Back" on a device that has its own Back
button is particularly popular. Couple this with making the hardware
back button inert! After all, the user knows how to use her own
device's user interface paradigm: you wouldn't want to support that.
Use a tiny font and subtle colors. This technique increases users' eye strain.
Don't remember the user. Requiring the user to type a user name and
password each time adds to the experience. Advanced: require mixed
case, numbers, and symbols in your passwords.
Expire passwords and sessions after a couple minutes. Those of you in
the financial sector know all about this one, but some of the rest of
you haven't tried this trick yet. Because somebody might walk away
from a computer and expose secure data to prying eyes, keep the
session timeout for a mobile device very short, because people walk
away from their phones all the time, letting strangers use their
connection and services.

[1] http://www.littlespringsdesign.com/blog/2006/07/11/how-to-reduce-use-of-your-mobile-application/

On 8/14/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Great thread!
>
> Jennifer: The only thing I would really add is that you should be careful to
> limit the scope of what you mean by "design". Your original list was mainly
> focused on UI specific stuff and some of the replies have broadened that to
> include higher-level issues like focus groups and design-by-committee. I
> agree that all of these things affect a novice designer, but a more focused
> definition of design might help your purpose a bit more. Just a thought ...
>
> -r-
>
>
>
> On 8/14/06, LukeW <luke at lukew.com> wrote:
> >
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> > Hi Jenifer, Here's some of the common issues I encounter:
> >
> > 1. Too often, everything on a Web page looks the same and users don't
> > know where to start. Conversely, everything looks very different and
> > users end up bouncing between elements that are competing for their
> > attention. An effective hierarchy employs just enough meaningful
> > differentiation to walk users through the unique content and actions
> > on a page in a purposeful order. Personally, when I design a site, my
> > first iteration is often quite heavy graphically. As I put together
> > the visual hierarchy, I end up with more unique visual treatments
> > than the design actually needs. At that point, it's a good idea to
> > work through the elements on the page again and bring more visual
> > consistency to related elements.
> > 2. It's also very valuable to look at the visual design from the
> > perspective of what is absolutely necessary to communicate. Do you
> > really need a different background, font size, font color, and drop
> > shadow to distinguish that content? Would just a background color
> > suffice? A common tendency I see is over designing, such as employing
> > too many different colors and too many different graphic elements,
> > which ultimately result in visual noise or just design-for-design's
> > sake.
> >
> > 3. Junior designers rarely frame their solutions in the context of
> > the problem they are trying to solve and instead just jump right into
> > presenting mock-ups. By first outlining the problem definition,
> > designers can focus stakeholder feedback on how well the design
> > addresses their goals. If the proper high-level definition is not
> > present to provide context, feedback can quickly turn into a critique
> > of the mockup not the solution. After all, it's much easier to have
> > an opinion on font sizes and color choices than on the right
> > strategic positioning of an important product.
> >
> > 4. Junior designers often come overloaded with mock-ups. Whenever a
> > designer (be it an interaction designer, an information designer, or
> > a visual designer) presents a client with too many options instead of
> > a clear recommendation, they risk undermining their value and opening
> > themselves up to "design by committee". The message is "I don't know
> > enough about your users or goals so you pick what works best." Now
> > the design is in a non-designer's hands (who may very well be
> > wondering why he hired a designer in the first place).
> >
> >
> >
> > On Aug 14, 2006, at 8:05 AM, Jenifer Tidwell wrote:
> >
> > > I'm thinking of mistakes like these:
> > >
> > > * Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
> > > * Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
> > > that's easy to misread.
> > > * Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
> > > * Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
> > > information or otherwise repeat themselves.
> > > * Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.
> >
> >
> > ::
> > :: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
> > :: Principal, LukeW Interface Designs
> > :: luke at lukew.com | 408.879.9826
> > ::
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
Barbara Ballard
barbara at littlespringsdesign.com 1-785-550-3650

14 Aug 2006 - 11:34am
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

Thanks, Robert -- that's a really good point. I am in fact looking
for mistakes made "on the mockups," in visual design, navigation, and
intra-page interaction design.

Process mistakes are a different issue entirely. Common, but
different. And as for design background, there are other CHI courses
(and books, etc.) that go over data gathering, task analysis,
contextual design, etc., so I won't address those. A half-day course
is a little too short to solve all common design problems. :-)

This is very helpful, everyone...

- Jenifer

On 8/14/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Great thread!
>
> Jennifer: The only thing I would really add is that you should be careful to
> limit the scope of what you mean by "design". Your original list was mainly
> focused on UI specific stuff and some of the replies have broadened that to
> include higher-level issues like focus groups and design-by-committee. I
> agree that all of these things affect a novice designer, but a more focused
> definition of design might help your purpose a bit more. Just a thought ...
>
> -r-

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net

14 Aug 2006 - 11:56am
russwilson
2005

One of the most common mistakes I encounter is "taking
a concept too far". For example, many novice designers / UI developers
will read something like "reduce the number of clicks" and then
*everything* becomes "reducing the number of clicks". Or taking
consistency too far... I have attended countless meetings where I
have to explain why 2 more clicks (for the sake of intuitiveness) is
preferable,
or using a different style for a button because it serves a particular
use-purpose is a better solution.

- Russ

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jenifer Tidwell
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2006 10:05 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Common design mistakes?

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

IxDers,

I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As I
prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your experience,
are the most common design mistakes made by novice or untrained
designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an introductory CHI
course?)

I'm thinking of mistakes like these:

* Inability to use visual hierarchy to properly structure a page.
* Poor use of alignment, grouping, and whitespace, leading to a page
that's easy to misread.
* Content-thin pages, requiring too many clicks to get something done.
* Not anticipating user goofs, thus requiring users to reenter
information or otherwise repeat themselves.
* Thoroughly gratuitous -- and irritating -- use of animation.

And so on. What else have you seen in your work with less-experienced
designers?

(The course will focus on the design of Web applications, though not
exclusively. I will be teaching UI patterns along with it, but I want
to do a course with a little more depth than just a recitation of common
patterns! What fun would that be?)

Thanks,

- Jenifer

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home .......................
http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

14 Aug 2006 - 12:37pm
Yury Frolov
2006

Hi Jennifer,
In my experience working with young visual designers I'd like to
emphasize the rampant problem mentioned by Luke – although most of
them nowadays are aware that interface design is about creation of
meaningful functionality patterns they tend to focus on designing
beautiful PATTERNS and forget about the MEANINGFUL part. It's quite
painful to discard some of their nice work when it misses the point.

I think it'd be interesting to design a course teaching students NOT
to demonstrate ALL they know about design in a space of a single UI
screen or application but rather selectively apply their skill-set in
measured, strategic manner.

hope this helps,

Yury
--------------------------------
Yury Frolov
Creative Director
Studio Asterisk*

v 415 374 7478
f 702 446 7840

http://www.studioasterisk.com

On Aug 14, 2006, at 8:55 AM, LukeW wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hi Jenifer, Here's some of the common issues I encounter:
>
>
>
> 3. Junior designers rarely frame their solutions in the context of
> the problem they are trying to solve and instead just jump right into
> presenting mock-ups. By first outlining the problem definition,
> designers can focus stakeholder feedback on how well the design
> addresses their goals. If the proper high-level definition is not
> present to provide context, feedback can quickly turn into a critique
> of the mockup not the solution. After all, it’s much easier to have
> an opinion on font sizes and color choices than on the right
> strategic positioning of an important product.
>
>>
>
>
> ::
> :: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
> :: Principal, LukeW Interface Designs
> :: luke at lukew.com | 408.879.9826
> ::
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>
>

14 Aug 2006 - 2:09pm
bhekking
2006

> > I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
> > I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
> > experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
> > untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
> > introductory CHI course?)
> >
Great (albeit loaded) question!

In my experience, in which most design has been done by developers, the biggest
issue is designing for the wrong audience, either based on personal preference
or based on what the VP, C-level exec, etc. likes, rather than upon what users
need. Obviously, these are much more expedient approaches, but also much
riskier.

Bret Hekking

__________________________________________________
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14 Aug 2006 - 8:23pm
Josh Seiden
2003

I often see young designers producing drawings that don't do a good job of
managing state. You'll see a drawing in which objects can change state, but
the states have not been clearly considered.

This is most common when drawings contain more than one multi-state object,
and especially common when there are complex dependencies.

I will add that this mistake is not limited to junior designers. Experienced
designers make this mistake all the time too--but are perhaps a little
better at catching it.

JS

> -----Original Message-----

> What, in your experience, are the most common design mistakes
> made by novice or untrained designers? (Or those most likely
> to be taking an introductory CHI course?)

15 Aug 2006 - 1:08am
Nathan
2006

Apologies if these were already mentioned and I just missed them:

1) using a metaphor or simile that isn't appropriate or useful
2) using said metaphor or simile beyond it's usefulness (so that the
understanding or functionality is limited by the metaphor)

3) building profiles/personas based only on demographic data instead
of psychographic attributes (this leads to an unconscious cheat of
simply developing for yourself, only in the guise of a "different"
person)
4) building scenarios only for most obvious processes for optimally
informed users (what about challenged users? what about help?)

5) not recognizing/appreciating when other team members (engineers,
project managers, etc.) make valuable design suggestions
6) not realizing that all design is team-oriented and not "designer
vision"-driven
7) not understanding or being prepared for their work to be critiqued
(by team and/or client)
8) not challenging the purpose and un/stated goals and messages of a
project when they make no sense for the user or offer no value to users
9) not understanding or appreciating scheduling (time to market) and
financial (budget) implications of their work. Part of this is also
not realizing that most products and services need to make financial
sense for organizations to create them.

BTW, these aren't just problems with "young" designers. I see them
all of the time with experienced designers, too.

________________________________________________________

Nathan Shedroff WEB www.nathan.com
Experience Strategist

22 Cleveland Street NET nathan at nathan.com
San Francisco, CA 94103

15 Aug 2006 - 5:28am
Mark Schraad
2006

I will only partially agree with this. I prefer to build personas
around groupings that need/desire a common attribute set. Psycho and
socio-graphics can be strong indicators of this, but along with
demographics are best used to describe your persona. They also serve
you when it is time to message and reach them.

On Aug 15, 2006, at 2:08 AM, Nathan wrote:

> 3) building profiles/personas based only on demographic data instead
> of psychographic attributes (this leads to an unconscious cheat of
> simply developing for yourself, only in the guise of a "different"
> person)

15 Aug 2006 - 6:48am
Bryan J Busch
2006

> I am thinking of putting together a half-day course for CHI 2007. As
> I prepare for it, I'm curious about something. What, in your
> experience, are the most common design mistakes made by novice or
> untrained designers? (Or those most likely to be taking an
> introductory CHI course?)

Here are a few selections from my holistic usability checklist that
might apply, written in the style of "things that should be true":

* Forms use visual styling to reinforce which fields are required,
for instance a colored border on a text input box.

* Users can easily tell which fields can be used to sort data in a
table, and specifically those that are currently sorting.

* All major text and link colors have sufficient contrast (http://
www.snook.ca/technical/colour_contrast/colour.html) with regard to
the background color "when viewed by someone having color deficits or
when viewed on a black and white screen".

* The body copy font size is large enough that users with visual
disabilities would likely have no trouble reading it (e.g. larger
than 9 "pt").

* Text links have a hover state declared such as changing the text
color or adding an underline when a user hovers his/her mouse over a
link (though we recommend avoiding a changed font weight or font size
on hover).

* Text links use a different color than regular body text.
Underlining can be reserved for special uses.

* Navigation and sub-navigation have different display properties for
the page that is currently being viewed. For example, if one were
looking at the "Services" landing page, the "Services" link would
appear differently than the other links in the main navigation. This
establishes the current location for the user.

- Bryan

15 Aug 2006 - 8:38am
mtumi
2004

some others

* over-reliance on text instructions over clear design ("we'll just
include some help text")

* probably too basic (but just saw an example yesterday): lack of
page to page consistency - navigation elements shift position, and
there is no clear context of where you are and where else there is to
go. the first iteration of the design I am thinking of made people
go back through the home page to get to other areas of the site, for
no reason whatsoever. the next iteration now allows you to navigate
within the site, but unfortunately the navigation buttons change
place on every page.

* misuse of widgets. I am ashamed to say there are legacy yes/no
dropdown menus in use in the admin section of some of my current
company's software that we have not yet gotten around to replacing.
another example would be using a text field when the amount of text
calls for a text area box.

* generic button labelling. ("submit, damn you, submit!")

Michael

15 Aug 2006 - 3:28pm
Cindy Lu
2006

I have been working with novice designers on various projects. They
are very innovative. They are not constrainted by rules or usability
heuristics. I have learned new ideas from them.

Here are a few observations I have on some novice designers. I hope
they are not offensive to anyone.

During a review, some of designers tend to say:
I like it/I don't like it.
I don't have any problem with it.
I think it will work (or not work).
Users will get use to it.
It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.

Their designs are innovative but sometime complex. For example, we are
debating a design that a designer came up recently: a dropdown list
that contains checkboxes, OK, Cancel, Clear, Close buttons for a
simple search function.

- Cindy

16 Aug 2006 - 1:28pm
mtumi
2004

Although I can see your objection to some of these statements in
particular, I'd be interested to know what you would substitute.

I am pretty sure I've said "I think it will work" in particular, so
if this is a terrible mistake, I'd like to know what I should be
saying instead. :-)

thanks -

Michael

On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:28 PM, Cindy Lu wrote:

> During a review, some of designers tend to say:
> I like it/I don't like it.
> I don't have any problem with it.
> I think it will work (or not work).
> Users will get use to it.
> It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.

16 Aug 2006 - 1:32pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I think the point is about confidence. Don't *think* it will work, *know* it
will work. I could be wrong.

-r-

On 8/16/06, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Although I can see your objection to some of these statements in
> particular, I'd be interested to know what you would substitute.
>
> I am pretty sure I've said "I think it will work" in particular, so
> if this is a terrible mistake, I'd like to know what I should be
> saying instead. :-)
>
> thanks -
>
> Michael
>
>
> On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:28 PM, Cindy Lu wrote:
>
> > During a review, some of designers tend to say:
> > I like it/I don't like it.
> > I don't have any problem with it.
> > I think it will work (or not work).
> > Users will get use to it.
> > It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>

16 Aug 2006 - 4:10pm
Daphne Ogle
2005

I read the problem being with using "I" rather than the user or even
better is using your personas names.

-Daphne

On Aug 16, 2006, at 11:32 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I think the point is about confidence. Don't *think* it will work,
> *know* it
> will work. I could be wrong.
>
> -r-
>
>
> On 8/16/06, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:
>>
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>> material.]
>>
>> Although I can see your objection to some of these statements in
>> particular, I'd be interested to know what you would substitute.
>>
>> I am pretty sure I've said "I think it will work" in particular, so
>> if this is a terrible mistake, I'd like to know what I should be
>> saying instead. :-)
>>
>> thanks -
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>> On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:28 PM, Cindy Lu wrote:
>>
>>> During a review, some of designers tend to say:
>>> I like it/I don't like it.
>>> I don't have any problem with it.
>>> I think it will work (or not work).
>>> Users will get use to it.
>>> It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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16 Aug 2006 - 5:27pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

There is no problem with those statements as long as you explicate them like
so: "I think it will work because [insert reasonable argument here and
record it for future reference]". Incidentally this, not recording the
reasons behind decisions, is one of the most pervasive design mistakes.

Of course those people who have no reasons but plenty of opinions will
quickly come up with a bunch of reasons not to record their opinions.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

On 8/16/06, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Although I can see your objection to some of these statements in
> particular, I'd be interested to know what you would substitute.
>
> I am pretty sure I've said "I think it will work" in particular, so
> if this is a terrible mistake, I'd like to know what I should be
> saying instead. :-)
>
> thanks -
>
> Michael
>
>
> On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:28 PM, Cindy Lu wrote:
>
> > During a review, some of designers tend to say:
> > I like it/I don't like it.
> > I don't have any problem with it.
> > I think it will work (or not work).
> > Users will get use to it.
> > It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

16 Aug 2006 - 7:10pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: Oleh Kovalchuke <tangospring at gmail.com>
>
>There is no problem with those statements as long as you explicate them like
>so: "I think it will work because [insert reasonable argument here and
>record it for future reference]". Incidentally this, not recording the
>reasons behind decisions, is one of the most pervasive design mistakes.

And one of the things that causes the most churn later on, during implemetation and testing. If nothing is recorded, then someone can question the decision, and everyone gets upset and progress is delayed.

-- Jim

16 Aug 2006 - 10:07pm
mtumi
2004

So the correct answer is "My make-believe friend, Joe, knows it will
work!" ;-)

I'm just joking here - I realize what you are both saying, and thanks
for the responses. I couldn't resist.

Michael

On Aug 16, 2006, at 5:10 PM, Daphne Ogle wrote:

> I read the problem being with using "I" rather than the user or
> even better is using your personas names.
>
> -Daphne
>
> On Aug 16, 2006, at 11:32 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
>
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>> material.]
>>
>> I think the point is about confidence. Don't *think* it will work,
>> *know* it
>> will work. I could be wrong.
>>
>> -r-
>>
>>
>> On 8/16/06, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>>> material.]
>>>
>>> Although I can see your objection to some of these statements in
>>> particular, I'd be interested to know what you would substitute.
>>>
>>> I am pretty sure I've said "I think it will work" in particular, so
>>> if this is a terrible mistake, I'd like to know what I should be
>>> saying instead. :-)
>>>
>>> thanks -
>>>
>>> Michael
>>>
>>>
>>> On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:28 PM, Cindy Lu wrote:
>>>
>>>> During a review, some of designers tend to say:
>>>> I like it/I don't like it.
>>>> I don't have any problem with it.
>>>> I think it will work (or not work).
>>>> Users will get use to it.
>>>> It is only a few more clicks. No big deal.
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>
>
>

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