do not work well on different mobile platforms and eat scarce vertical room. This is even worse within 'in-app webbrowsers', such as in Facebook or Twitter app, where vertical room is even less because of additional toolbars.
Even without all these design conflicts, fixed elements draw attention from the upmost important thing, the content. Fixed elements suggest separation of content and user interface elements. There are better ways. The best one is just to let them scroll away.
A number of studies show that a fixed header or menu does improve the usability of a website, which I do not deny. However it only helps because of the way we currently design websites. My point is that it is a transition issue, it lacks integration and flexibility. It is about the integration between the user interface and content that forces us to think differently about fixed elements and the creation of relevance.
As I mentioned before it is impossible to create a usable fixed filter. The solution is to repeat its functionality, depending on the context. In the near future the importance of contextual user interfaces will increase. Do not be afraid to repeat functionality. Our challenge lies in determining when the user interface is relevant and how it should adapt to the context, the content.
I want to clear one possible misunderstanding. Content is always different from user interfaces. Josh Clark promotes the idea that buttons are a hack. Luke Wroblewski tells about it in one of his presentations.
Touch interactions will help us sweep away buttons and a lot of existing interface chrome by moving us closer to the content and away from GUI abstractions. [...] Let the content be the message. Instead of labels, let people directly interact with content. Content can be the interface.
– Luke Wroblewski, 2012, An Event Apart: Buttons are a Hack
Josh Clark creates the misconception that mistakes in user interfaces are arguments to let content take over the function of user interfaces. Content can never be used as a user interface, it doesn't have any affordance. Even the underlining for links is user interface, not content. Affordance requires a user interface. The discussion should be about integrating user interface and content, not replacing it.
I do not say that the user interface for an author should be integrated within the content intended for the reader. Two completely different goals that should not be combined. The author should have its own user interface and therefore no WYSIWYG.
You could say I propose the use of modes: one in which you change the content and one in which you consume it. Introducing an additional mode is normally not a wise thing to do. Yet, in this case it is actually not an ordinary mode. We call it a quasi-mode, because editing and viewing content are completely different. Therefore the interfaces are visually different. Because of these visual stimuli, the user is continuously aware of the situation he is in, the mode. Therefore we can say it is a quasi-mode. The user will never start unintended actions by surprise.
This shows how important it is to have a different user interface for editing and viewing content. No WYSIWYG, but for example a Markdown editor. A clear separation of these goals wil resolve the 'mode problem'.
We already stated the content or content specifications should be available before you start designing. I advocate a complete integration between content creation and user interface design. These two disciplines belong together and need to work simultaneously. Not only during SCRUM projects, also during the traditional 'waterfall' projects. As an interaction designer, learn more about the beauty of a language and writing, as a copywriter stay informed about user interface design.
Limitations in mobile yields often to new ideas about user interface design. Small screens forces designers to focus onto the content and solve user interface problems in a different way. These limitations can feel uncomfortable in advance and could lead to different solutions for different screen sizes. Do not fall into that trap. Offer the same content on all devices. Limitations force us to focus on the 'why'. A good thing for user interfaces on all devices. As a cognitive ergonomist at Aan Zee Communications, I do research, design, speak and write about user interfaces and usability. My background: Industrial Design and Psychology at the University of Twente, graduated at Philips in midair pointing for the next generation TV's, Apple Design Award for CSSEdit, usability researcher at MetrixLab and blogger.
As a cognitive ergonomist at Aan Zee Communications, I do research, design, speak and write about user interfaces and usability. My background: Industrial Design and Psychology at the University of Twente, graduated at Philips in midair pointing for the next generation TV's, Apple Design Award for CSSEdit, usability researcher at MetrixLab and blogger.