Category Archives: UX

The user experience discipline is a relative newcomer to software development. Alan Cooper is the most prominent figure and author in the space. These articles address different elements of UX.

Global Actor Hierarchies and Personas

Actor Hierarchy

We use actor hierarchies to organize the different users of a system. Different people play different roles, and thus do different jobs. We use different actors to identify and organize those people. When deploying a system globally, we usually discover people that do the same jobs, but do them differently. Incorporating the notion of personas lets us deal with this.

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Foundation Series: Heuristic Evaluation

usability classroom

A heuristic evaluation (or heuristic analysis) is a quick, low-cost usability analysis of the design of a user interface. Pareto’s rule tells us that we can get 80% of the results from 20% of the effort. And that’s where discount usability tests like a heuristic evaluation come in to play. Formal, and more detailed usability studies yield better results – but cost more and take more time. A small investment can pay off big with a heuristic evaluation.

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APR: Information Architecture – Faceted Navigation


In our previous article in the series on the development of nexus, we discussed navigation and information architecture. We identified the challenge of filtering articles by category and by level of experience (beginner / expert), while also viewing the articles along a characteristic (most-viewed, highest-rated, etc). Between both url-creation and visible site-navigation, the challenge we explored was how to present one facet or dimension as primary and others as secondary.

One of our readers presented a third alternative – faceted navigation.

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APR: Information Architecture Challenge

Challenging Architecture

We have an interesting information architecture challenge as part of our agile project. We have talked about browsing and searching articles organized both by category (product management, business analysis, etc) and by level of expertise (beginner, expert). We’re also rating and reviewing the articles, which introduces the ideas of “latest”, “most reviewed”, “highest rated”, etc.

This presents us with a three-dimensional way to approach structuring the information and navigation of the site.

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APR: UI Platform Research


One of the elements of design we need to consider for our agile project is the interface that our users will be using. We need a way to survey our users to get this data. We are using the data from visitors to Tyner Blain as a presumably representative sample of the users of the new ratings site. This user group is defined in our vision document as “people in our niche.”

Most of the articles in this series (and offline conversations) are being used to gain qualitative feedback. We will combine this qualitative understanding with easily gathered quantitative data.

In this article, we look at some of the statistics gathered from just under 30,000 visitors since the first of the year.

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