Elements of UX: Hicks Law

Elements of User Experience series:
“Hicks Law”

Summary

Hicks Law: the time required to make a decision increases, with the additional number of alternatives you are presented with”

Principal

The principle is: a) you are presented with a task / goal / issue, b) you analyse the situation, judge your options to achieve the given task c) you make a decision / choose an option d) you apply / execute your decision.
In this context Hick’s law predicts (algorithmically) that the more alternatives you provide users with the harder you are making things for them. You should aim at presenting users with only the options they require to achieve the task.

Context in UX

In a moderately complex to simple situations like with a website design Hick’s law can be an interesting principle to check. Do you really need all that content / all those options / all those images to help the user achieve their goal? As explained in further detail by Smashingmagazine,  it usually makes sense to “take a step back” and think of your project in general rather than applying this principle religiously to each sub part and element of the overall structure one by one. Consider the user journey, the objectives and via testing if necessary clarify that certain elements are not superfluous.

Hick's Law

Hick’s Law

Kinect hack to manage home lighting system

No I’m not obsessed with the Xbox, I don’t even have one, but this is pretty cool, where you can see that the Kinect (with major hacking and programming) is used to manage the whole lighting system within the flat…

Simple really, lol ;)

Atrix: Motorola bringing you the dream setup

Just checking out the Engadget site specifically the “Motorola Atrix 4G, HD multimedia dock, and laptop dock hands-on” post and what can say but WOW.
I think this looks like a dream come true and if they have put a decent camera in there I think I’m in love…

The laptop dock is basically a screen with full size keyboard that pretty much turns it the phone into a laptop!

Sony Atrix Laptop Dock

Sony Atrix Laptop Dock

The phone dock allows you to plug in mouse, keyboard and hook up to a full HD screen !

Sony Atrix Phone Dock

Sony Atrix Phone Dock

Check out the engadget video that shows it all working and much more. It is really impressive if that is the type of experience that can be expected on the final version…

I was impressed with the Droid / Milestone but this is just great…

The User experience that is shown in the video and the amount of ways it can be used plus all the functions available through the WebTop application is just amazing.

PS: when are we getting this in Europe and moreover in France???

Checking the speed of your pages for SEO

You may have recently seen articles that explain how Google will be checking the speed at which your pages load and will be using it in their page ranking system. I had read about it on the Register’s article “Google tweaks search results with mystery site speedometer“.

I then realised that a company I have worked with in the past has a tool that allows you to test this type of issue for your site and even allows you to record the results over time…

UbiKann tested on GTMetrix

UbiKann tested on GTMetrix

Check out Gossamer Threads GTMetrix Site Performance Analyzer. They have just added a new system that allows you compare up to 4 reports/URLs. Oh and it’s free, oh yeah… :)

Look at what I’m looking at

A very interesting study over at UsableWorld illustrates how images used in articles that have faces can have unusual effects on what people look at. Depending on the direction the faces are turned it changes the way people read the page.

In this first example the face of the baby is looking straight forward. You can see people spend a lot of time on the actual face of the child to the detriment of the actual content to the right.

Baby Looking forward, content to the right

Baby Looking forward, content to the right

In the second example the baby is looking towards the content on the right. You can see that this layout produces a more evenly dispersed set of hot areas.

Baby with face towards the content

Baby with face towards the content

The history of wireframes etc.

Just came across a great post over on the Made by Many blog that provides an insightful history of wireframes and how designing webpages has evolved over the years to see the convergence of information/experience architect and designer ‘savoir-faire’ and far better wireframes in the process ;)
Yes the article is called the future of wireframes but it’s also the history of how we got where we are now…