The Disappearing Email Preheader

For the last few years, marketers have used ‘teaser text’ to give users a sneak peak of an email’s content. Email clients on mobile as well as desktop devices pull that teaser text from the first line of the email body. Lately, we’ve found that the teaser text is often invisible in the email. Knowing that 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices1, we can guess why.


Read more

E-commerce Shopping Cart Usability Research Findings

The Nielsen Norman Group’s study called “Decision Making in the E-Commerce Shopping Cart: 4 Tips for Supporting Users” discusses how many shoppers use the shopping cart to make final purchase decisions. Therefore,  you should provide features to accommodate this behavior in order to increase conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.

Some of the key features that your shopping cart should utilize are:

  1. Provide Access to a Full Shopping Cart. Some sites utilize a mini-shopping cart page, which drops down from a Cart button near the header. Clicking the Checkout button from this drop down skips a full Shopping Cart Page and jumps the user into the checkout process. These “minicarts” prevent a user from doing the types of decision making they want to do on a full Shopping Cart Page, such as comparison shop, adjust quantities and review product details.
  2. List Product Details: Many sites list products on the Shopping Cart Page without providing any details such as the size and color of the product that the user selected on the Product Detail Page (PDP). This can frustrate the user and prevent them from making a purchase decision.
  3. The product image is essential: Not only is it essential to display the product image, it is equally as important to display the product image large enough so that the user can actually see the details about the product they added to the cart.
  4. Link Users to Full Product Details: It is important to link both the product name and image back to the PDP so users can easily access more details about the product that will help them make their purchase decision.
  5. Let Users Easily Remove Items: Because so many users use the cart to help them make a final purchase decision, it is essential to provide them with a quick and easy way to remove items from their cart.

Many sites fall into the trap of fighting with typical user behavior by believing they can force users to follow a certain flow and restrict them from having access to certain features. Instead of fighting with your users, you should help make their final purchase decision experience as easy and as accommodating as possible.

How UX Design Plays a Vital Role in Preventing Medical Errors

In a recent article published in Fast Company’s Co. Design, Jonathan West of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design was interviewed about a project he worked on called DOME (short for “Designing Out Medical Error”). The entire DOME team is comprised of designers, clinicians, psychologists, and human factors experts all focused on studying and designing solutions that could reduce medical mistakes made in hospitals. What is especially interesting is how the article sights many of the same methods and activities UX Team often uses on our software design projects Read more

Every Dollar Invested In Ease Of Use Returns $10 To $100

For most of my career, I have been standing on my soapbox preaching the importance of User Experience to anyone that would listen. Usually, it’s during an initial sales presentation when I’m trying to convince a client why they should spend more time and focus on the upfront design work of their software because it will save them a ton of time and money on the development work. Read more

The UX Process and UX Design Principles

A web application’s design and usability is just as important as that application’s functionality. If our clients, their users, their partners, and their vendors can’t immediately figure out how to use a web application, then we haven’t done our job correctly. Read more

The Blur Test: Go Daddy

The Blur Test is an old art school technique used to reveal a design’s focal point and visual hierarchy. Let’s see how Go Daddy holds up to The Blur Test. Read more

Focus Groups Vs Usability Testing

Focus Groups and Usability Tests are often mistaken as being the same thing when in reality they really could not be more different. So, before deciding which to use, it is very important that all parties involved are on the same page in regards to the differences between each test and the expectations of what you are looking to get out of each.

Read more

The ROI of User Experience (Video)

This is a great video from Susan Weinschenk (Chief of UX Strategy at HFI), which illustrates what many of us UX professionals preach on a regular basis—the value of User Experience. Read more

User Experience (Not Technology) Is The Secret To Apple’s Success

Innovation is defined as “the introduction of something new” and when most people think of Apple they think of an innovative technology company. However, we would argue that Apple is really known more for designing innovative user experiences than it is for developing innovative new technologies. In other words, when it comes to taking technologies and changing the way people experience those technologies, no one is better than Apple.

How many portable media players were there before the iPod?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making portable media players before launching the iPod in 2001. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology—they made the experience of using a portable media players better by focusing on the core needs of the product:

  • Make it easy for people to load music files onto the player.
  • Make it easy for people to quickly browse through a huge library of music.


Audio Highway’s “Listen Up” released in 1996. Apple’s iPod released 5 years later in 2001.

How many smartphones were there before the iPhone?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making smartphones before launching the iPhone in 2007. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology used to make phone calls, read email, take photos and surf the Internet on a handheld device—they made the experience of using a smartphone better by focusing on the core needs of the product:

  • Make it easy for people to navigate emails and web pages in a way that is more conducive to a small handheld device (touchscreen gestures Vs using buttons or a stylus).
  • Make it easy for people to read on a small handheld device (larger, high-resolution, graphically-rich color screens Vs small text-based screens)
  • Make the camera easy to use and share photos with others.



The Nokia 9000 released in 1996. Apple’s iPhone released 11 years later in 2007.

How many tablets were attempted before the iPad?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making tablets before launching the iPhone in 2007. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology used to make a tablet—they made the experience of using a tablet better than any tablet that was made before it.

With the passing of Steve Jobs, we begin to learn more examples of how his fanatical focus on user experience drove the company to launch its most successful products. In this excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s authorised biography ‘Steve Jobs’ , we learn what motivated Steve to create the iPad and how he focused on an element of Microsoft’s user experience that would prevent it from ever catching on:

This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as your have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck it, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”

Microsoft Tablet PC released in 2001. Apple’s iPad released 9 years later in 2010.

In the video clip below, we learn that, ironically, Apple had the iPad before they had the iPhone but Steve felt the user experience methods designed for the tablet would be perfect for a phone.

UX FAIL: Office Phones

Other than your computer, your phone is probably the most used piece of equipment in your office—yet I can almost guarantee you that most people still don’t know how to use 80% of its features. I know I don’t.

Read more