Thursday, November 20, 2008

20 Websites to Help You Master User Interface Design

As web technologies progress, websites and web applications are becoming more responsive, providing us with more ways and techniques to interact with the users. Form, more than ever, has been superseded by function.

The following websites deal with interface design, user experience, user-centered design, usability, and everything in between – all with the goal of enhancing the user’s interface.

1. Boxes and Arrows

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Boxes and Arrows is a peer-written journal and a premier source for information on interaction design, usability, and information design. You’ll find articles on designing a usable online email application to storyboarding rich internet applications.

2. UX Magazine

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UX Magazine deals in the topic of user experience. You can expect to read articles on topics such as designing in layers and design tips for programmers.

3. UXmatters

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UXmatters is a non-profit web magazine devoted to sharing information on effective user experience techniques and becoming a leading resource for User Interface (UX) professionals. Some of the topics in UXmatters include usability, user-centered design, web 2.0 applications, and more. You can read articles that talk about how rich internet applications help users and the usability of search forms.

4. A List Apart: User Science

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A List Apart – the leading resource on standards-based design and development articles – has a User Science topic that covers various parts of designing the user’s interface. The User Science topic is further sub-divided into three categories:Accessibility, Information Architecture, and Usability.

5. Usability Post

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Usability Post is a blog about design usability. A couple of blog posts you’ll find sharetips on using white space to improve User Interface and using Photoshop color profiles for web images.

6. Usability Counts

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Usability Counts is a blog by Patrick Neeman and Ha Phan, consultants on User Experience. You can expect posts that talk about the form design of airline sites and musings on why usability counts.

7. Usable Web

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Usable Web is a collection of links about User Interface design topics as it pertains to the web. Although it’s no longer updated and many of the articles are outdated, you’ll still find timeless resources and articles on the site.

8. User Interface Engineering

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User Interface Engineering is the research, training and consulting firm that holds the annual User Interface Conference. The Articles section of their website hosts plenty of articles on the topic of User Interface design. Some topics covered are usability challenges of designing web apps and design mistakes with account sign-in that designers should avoid.

9. Functioning Form

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Functioning Form is an interaction design blog by internationally-recognized web professional and author Luke Wroblewski. Some posts you’ll find in Functioning Form include "Web Form Design: British Airways" and "Sign-Up Form Patterns".

10. useit.com

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useit.com is the website of Jakob Nielsen, a leading expert on usability. Check out theAlertbox section, a bi-weekly column about current issues on usability.

11. InfoDesign

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InfoDesign is a website that covers the topic of information design. Some categories on InfoDesign include Accessibility, Usability, and User Experience.

12. Designing Interfaces

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Designing Interfaces is an online book constructed using excerpts from O’Reilly’s
Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design.

13. Usability.gov

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Usability.gov is the primary government source for usability and user-centered design by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can read about the basics of usability and usability methods on the site.

14. Usability First

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Usability First seeks to provide valuable information on usability as it pertains to websites and applications. Usability First has several sections including Website Design, Usability ROI (Return of Investment), and Accessibility.

15. Design with Intent

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Design with Intent is a blog by Dan Lockton that talks about the topic of understanding user interaction and influencing it.

16. Pattern Tap

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There’s no better way to learn how to design effective user interfaces than to see how other designers do it. Pattern Tap is a showcase of popular interface design for inspiration. You’ll find collections of Forms, Login, Subnavigation, Buttons, among other design patterns.

17. Welie.com

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Welie.com’s Interaction Design Pattern Library shares design patterns in interaction design. You can find design patterns such as Breadcrumbs, Tabs, and Comment Box as part of the library.

18. UI-patterns

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UI-patterns is another top-notch User Interface library that collects and showcases reoccurring design patterns such as Captchas, Account Registrations, and Navigation Tabs.

19. UI Pattern Factory

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UI Pattern Factory is both a UI pattern library and a UI gallery. It showcases and discusses patterns such as Stacked Tabs, Carousels, and Edit-In-Place.

20. Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

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The Yahoo! Developer Network has a growing design pattern library called Yahoo! Design Pattern Library that showcases common design patterns in User Interface design. Some patterns discussed in the library include Module Tabs, Drag and Drop, and Ratings and Reviews.

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