UX Review: Emergency Measures

If you’re working on a product and have no particular understanding of UX, you can still do a basic UX review to stop the most obvious disasters. This will not be as good as getting a UX expert or experienced UX-QA to review the product, but it will be much better than nothing. First, describe …

QA: Need Help Finding UX Faults? Ask the Technical Writers

Technical writers have a very clear goal: explain the interface. That means they notice, instantly, when it’s inexplicable. If your interface is a confusing mess with overly-complicated procedures, buttons that make no sense, important options hidden in sub-menus and related options kept a mile apart, it’s not only hard to use – it’s hard to …

Glossing Over the UX: Why Do so Many UX Bugs Get Past the QA?

Some bugs are a work of art. Consider a login page I encountered a few weeks ago. Two fields, one Submit button – so far so obvious. But above the button was the text “Do not press Enter to log in; use the Submit button”. I pressed Enter, of course: the page was refreshed and …

Punctuation in UI: the Oxford Comma

The Oxford comma, or serial comma, is the comma that sometimes appears in a list before the last “and”, “or” and so on. It has somehow become a battleground of punctuation, because some people always use it while others never do, and emotions run high. I recommend letting go of any emotional attachment to the …

Communicating an Existing Interface to a New Designer

When a new designer joins an existing project, the temptation to show the designer the interface rather than the spec is hard to resist, especially if the two are not very similar. The problem is that some information that was in the spec is very important to the designer, but will often not be communicated …

Capital!

Capitalization seems to be a weak point for many in software. Perhaps because code (and odd company names) teach us that words can have a capital letter in the middle, capitalization of UI text is often more creative than is strictly necessary. Capital letters aren’t important only because some of your users are grammar geeks; …

Talking to Users: Polite, Friendly and Helpful UI (Part 2)

(Read part 1 here) A helpful UI is not as rare as a friendly one, because being helpful is more of a technical skill than a personality. Helpful means informative¬†and organized, as well as comfortable to use. I’ll discuss organized and comfortable in a later article. For now, let’s talk about informative. Name Everything 1. …

Talking to Users: Polite, Friendly and Helpful UI (Part 1)

Because I am both a technical writer and a software tester, one of my pet peeves is an interface that falls apart when it needs to communicate anything to the user. On every project I see code instead of text, poor grammar and spelling, ALL CAPS, odd choices of punctuation marks and a great many …