Pay attention to colour

aspergers syndrome colourImage: Aspergers syndrome – creating a supportive environment

 

Technology is colour. Screens are colour. Our life is very much visual. It is important to pay attention to the colours you use when you are creating screens for people to look at because colour enhances meaning, reaction, engagement and mood. There is currently a belief you need white areas to help the absorption of content. When it comes to reading the belief is that text should no longer be justified and have straight edges. I’d say that is for people whose reading skills are not optimum. People with good reading skills manage straight edges and dense text very effectively because they are taking in the information by reading downwards more than across. Jagged edges interrupt that downward flow as do areas of white space. Do your own research for your target audience. What do they react to better? What do they manage better? Can you offer visual options? Colour, though, is central to getting information across. Understanding Graphics has 10 good reasons why you should be paying attention to colour. .

Do you know your icons?

We are swamped with icons. Some we know , some we don’t. Some, some people know. Other people know other icons. The Hanselman blog has a number of icons which he believes we need to dispense with. I have said that on this blog before. Having a floppy disk icon for the save icon makes no sense any more even to those who are well and truly familiar with that icon. There are two games which test and develop your knowledge of icons – Icomania and Icon Pop Quiz. The gaming world acknowledges, at least , we have a problem. There are so many icons. We can’t and don’t know them all. Then there are icon changes with some OS upgrades and we are supposed to work it out. Google is oblivious to the fact we have an icon recognition problem. The internet is blissfully unaware. We are just given icons and told to get on with it. Some of us can and some of us can’t. Given the internet is very much about communication then I think we need to have icon awareness built in to daily living.

download-128I realised that the other day when a 30 something described the download icon as an arrow going into a bucket. It can also mean forward or share if the arrow is going the other way. share-128 (2)

There is no one age group responsible for this lack of clarity.

The    Share-128   icon confuses a lot of people. They cannot work out what it means because it looks like a molecular structure to them. Share icon is the last thing which would occur to them.

In time, I am sure we shall sort this out and generational change will be understood as the way we need to go about icons as each generation of devices brings us new and different functionality.

Tablet and phone blogging

landscape view phone

Landscape view – phone

These pictures show you what I can see of my blog on my phone. Yes, I thought the same myself. On my tablet I can see the right side bar and everything else is at the bottom of all the posts. On phones and tablets you scroll down and down to see what else is available on a blog. You might be over it by then. In terms of user experience tablet and phone blogging is less than desirable. You are being cut off from so much information and so much of  the presentation. On a laptop or desktop you get the full experience. All the information. I blogged from my phone once when I was having outage problems with my home phone and internet copper wire connection. Actually blogging is not so hard. Using the blog and trying to do things like follow or find out what else is on the blog is not easy, though.

portrait view phone

Portrait view – phone

The interface is designed to make it hard for you to know there are other things to look at on the blog. Little dot round circles and  menus which can sometimes block even more of your view really do test your patience. The scrolling down to find things can be really annoying to some people. Others would not even know you need to scroll down. If phone and tablet interfaces are being designed to encourage bloggers to leave out all the other things you can do with a blog then it is an attempt to limit access, information and experience. It is an enforced limited experience because we are trying to save system resources on tablets and phones so the actual pages load faster. We are also excluding ourselves from knowledge  in a way which hasn’t occurred until now. Can we do better? I’ll leave that one as a  developer challenge.

Design tools and resources

design toolsThe internet is about design. You need to know and understand what is available to help you create a good looking, informative site or web page. You need to know what tools and resources are available to you to ensure your online presentation looks good and current. Design for Founders has a section dedicated to design tools and resources. There is some really helpful information on this site.

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