Thursday, 31 July 2008

Types of Icons

While designing icons it's important to understand the different types of icons that you can create. These are Realistic, Representative, Symbolic - sometimes also classfied as below:

  • Realistic/ Representational: Recognizable, simplified images of an object or an action. Most of the icons in the real world are developed around this idea.
  • Abstract/ Representative: Highly simplified images in which the original object or action is reduced to graphical elements only. An example of showing thermometer as heat - heat does not equal thermometer. It's a representation of heat; Red = Stop;
  • Arbitrary/ Symbolic: are invented graphical constructions with no reference (except, possibly conceptual) to actual objects or actions. Database = Cylinder (I haven't seen a DB that looks like a cylinder)

A good reference and study material on icons:

Friday, 18 July 2008

Color Combinations

This has been contributed by Phalgun, an employee of MindTree.

My Favorite website for finding popular color combinations-
It’s designed in Adobe Flex. There is an Adobe Air desktop application to download as well.

Anything in mind? Add on.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Adding Depth to the 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design (Shneiderman's rules for design)

Ben Shneiderman, the founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, focuses on the studies of information and visualization. His "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design" is a guide to the principles of good interface design and information modeling.

His rules are self explanatory and practical.

1. Strive for consistency.
2. Enable frequent users to use shortcuts.
3. Offer informative feedback.
4. Design dialog to yield closure.
5. Offer simple error handling.
6. Permit easy reversal of actions.
7. Support internal locus of control.
8. Reduce short-term memory load.

In addition to these design principles, consider the following as well.

9. Match context and content to users.
10. Communicate the brand through information and visual design.
11. Map the information architecture to the branding assets.
12. Market content.
13. Culturally identify and map the users to its design.

Match context and content to users.
Every scenario driven design will have a context that supports the content. This should be mapped to the users who will be using it.

Communicate the brand through information and visual design.
The brand and its identity should be communicated in terms of what it is trying to do. Users will identify this through the information and the visual design.

Map the interface design to the branding assets.
The interface defines the layout and the hierarchy of content. This represents the taxonomy and the assets that the brand holds.

Market content.
Marketing content with what is being sold and what is being showcased is essential in terms of a) selling content b) selling products or services.

Culturally identify and map users to the design.
Through ethnographic/cultural studies, the context of the users are determined which helps identify and implement their behavior and the cultural nuances that exist.

Further thoughts? Add on.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Twittering My Life Away…

This has been contributed by Ujjwal Singh Grover, an employee of MindTree.

I want to share a slick web 2.0 application known as 'twitter' ( that allows to you to shoot short 140 character updates/response to people on what they are currently doing. It is one of those things that one would find completely frivolous and useless when one reads about it for the first time. You wonder, "Why would I want to do that?" Once you start using it and start following other people’s updates, it becomes extremely interesting and addictive.

It can also be tied to your IM so you can interact with twitter via Gtalk. There is no need to login to the website. It can also be tied up with your cell phone's text messaging so that you can always stay in touch with your updates. It’s fast becoming the telegraph system of the whole web 2.0 ecosystem since it offers an API (API is a way to build your new application using the infrastructure of twitter). That is, if I build a new application, I can use twitter as a pipe for communication between my users. As there is a restriction of 140 characters, one has to be very specific and concise which makes conversations on twitter very crisp.

You might think that it may be distracting to twit while working. But to me it serves as a tool to keep a tab on my own work 2 play ratio.

If you need to access me:

Thoughts from Afshan Kirmani, User Experience Analyst

Targeting Different Markets
As compared to the west, this application can be used widely by other markets like India. Its popularity isn’t as high as it is in the other parts of the world. This could be because of several reasons like:

· The lack of informational knowledge
· The lack of motivation
· Poor targeting and marketing
· Poor internet connections

What we really need is the right knowledge, the awareness and the relevance of twitter today. Why would each market need this service? What would they use it for? What drives them towards it? This targeting is essential for a service to be widely known and used.

The whole system is built around conversations and with competitors like pownce, jaiku and plurk, twitter has several reasons to show itself off.