MAX Sessions: Designing the Obvious (Robert Hoekman Jr.)

by admin on 03/10/2007

The author of the second book that I bought here at MAX, so again expectations are high. After a short introduction he dives deeper into the principles of successfully designing great user experience that is simple and works for people who just want to get things done in a fast and easy way. It’s important to get users uo to speed, as they tend to learn only the most necessary elements they need to know to reach their goals. He brings an example of some of his recent work and presents a sample navigation to show how his ideas develop from the first thought to the launch of the website (including some basic techniques to influence the user). Secondly he talks about supporting mental models and the importance of clear and non-confusing navigation. Third big step in creating great UE is elevating instead of innovating, which he explains by showing the steps in creating a list for online news. Designing for an activity is another important part of great UE and Robert guides the audience through another of his projects. Afterwards he’s talking about the missing third state of an interaction. In general there are three phases of what’s happening on a web page: 1. invitation stage, 2. manipulation phase, 3. completion phase (important indication that a process is done to give user confidence by creating a moment of feedback) and this last phase of completion should never miss in an overall positive user experience. The last point of his presentation is titled “poka-yoke”, which means error proofing (the expression comes from an asian background) and is mainly about saving the user frustration. His example points out the confusion that can come up if there is a character limit in boxes.

To end his presentation he points out a cool project that he thinks needs more support, called www.kiva.org. And he does a little bit of advertisement for one of his upcoming seminars as well as for his company www.miskeetcom, which focuses on socially-conscious sites, products and services that improve the world, in big ways and in small.

My personal conclusion of this session: from all the “famous” user experience experts that I saw so far, Robert Hoekman is the one I like most. His thoughts made sense during the whole presentation, he admits mistakes so others can learn from them and he has an inspiring and fun presentation style – it simply doesn’t get boring to listen to him. I’m really looking forward to reading his book.

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