Hobgoblins and UX Unicorns: 2012 in Review

Better late than never! It’s time now for our annual year in review.

A warm season’s greetings from the (little) crew here at UX Booth. While we’re busy stuffing ourselves with tasty treats and the company of family and friends, we wanted to take a minute to share with you some of the highlights of the year.

Oh, before we go: we won’t be posting an article next Tuesday, as most of us will still be recovering from the holidays. Rest assured, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on January 8th.

Five of the year’s finest

Fact vs. Fiction: What Usability is Not

What do Jonathan Frakes and UX Booth have in common? Both are interested in dispelling myths. In February, UX Booth author Vishal Mehta took us on a journey through the myths of usability. It’s expensive? MYTH. It’s free? MYTH. It kills creativity? NOPE. Vishal makes an important call to arms: If you ignore or take it up as a low priority, the perceived quicker time to market is only going to cause harm. We cannot afford any myths.

Read Vishal’s post here.

What the Demise of Flash Means for the User Experience

Yes yes, the HTML5-Flash debate is a hot one and a common one to boot, but we really enjoyed SuAnne Hall’s approach to the topic. In the true spirit of UX Booth, she focuses on what it all means for users.

If HTML5 thrives where Flash struggled and becomes the dominator in the choice for new mobile and desktop technology, will users benefit from the transition? Yes, as long as designers and developers do their jobs right.

Read her full article here.

Effective Presentation of a Website’s Navigation

In Andy Montgomery’s post, we learn how to slay hobgoblins. By “hobgoblins,” Andy means “foolish consistency” in web design (but a great big kudos for bringing in the word “hobgoblin,” Andy!). The article looks at good and poor examples of visual design inconsistencies, and the comments offer fantastic further reading and discussion on the matter.

Read the post and discussion here.

Editor’s note: Our favorite comment of the year may very well be from reader “mla,” who liked the article but felt the need to condemn Jimmy John’s for their sandwiches. That’s passion.

The Difference Between Information Architecture and UX Design

Getting started in user centered design can be a pain in the neck. All these terms are thrown around that the Old Hats can’t even seem to agree on. Darren Northcutt does a fantastic job at explaining the difference between two such terms: “user experience design” and “information architecture.” It‘s awesome for those new to the field/s.

And for those of you who want to delve a bit deeper, Andy Fitzgerald splendidly responds in his post UX Unicorns and Other Fanciful Creatures. He dives off into the deep waters of semantic grammar, and thrives rather than drowns.

Read Darren’s initial post here, and Andy’s response here.

Designing for Mobile, Part 1: Information Architecture

Chances are that if you’re designing for the Web, you’ll at some point find the need to understand elements of mobile design. In this first of two posts on mobile design, Elaine McVicar walks UX Booth readers through some building blocks for mobile information architecture.

Each year technology takes another leap, and with that, it’s clear we need to change along with it. Developing a mobile and tablet friendly information architecture is just the first step in creating a great mobile experience.

Read Elaine’s article here.

See you next year!

If there’s anything you hope to see on UX Booth in 2013, be sure to let us know in the comments! Otherwise, have a wonderful holiday!

About the Author

Kristina Bjoran

Kristina is in content production at CareZone, a San Francisco- and Seattle-based startup. She helps out the good folks at UX Booth with editorial work when they throw up the bat signal, too (a bat is more recognizable than an editor). When she finds the time, Kristina writes for Wired Magazine, Technology Review, and, occasionally, Scientific American. You can find her on Twitter. She tweets weird science and rants about marketing and SEO.

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