News w/c 23/08/10

Paul Boag

This week has a slight UX flavour by exploring help content for users, the best UX books for beginners and how to motivate yourself through creative blocks.

Good help is hard to find.

This A List Apart article starts by reminding us that “one of the most fundamental rules of user experience on the web is that developers are rarely qualified to evaluate it”. For those of us that design and build websites, we’re computer literate and don’t struggle with simple tasks that other users of our sites may find complicated.

Author Lyle Mullican explores a variety of methods of providing help content to users, explaining how tone can work in your favour and which presentation methods – such as inline help, modal boxes or tooltips – work best for which situations.

If you’re a designer or developer who is often tasked with writing or providing help content, give this one a read.

User experience books for beginners

I’d place money that the majority of people reading this post have read ‘Don’t make me think’ by Steve Krug, it’s often quoted as one of the ‘must-read’ books of our industry but if you wanted to delve more into the world of User Experience, where should you start?

Well UX Booth to the rescue! They’ve compiled a list of books which give a thorough overview of User Experience, with Christmas on the horizon, it might be time to build up your Amazon wish list!

Self-motivating through creative blocks

We work in a creative industry and are called upon for a near-constant stream of ideas, solutions and suggestions which makes creative block a particular nuisance, especially when we’re paid for our creativity.

This article over at the Web Designer Depot explores some of the most common causes of creative block, such as working too hard, lack of sleep, stress and fear and suggests some tried and tested methods of breaking out of the situation, most of which are easy to do, like taking a walk and getting away from the screen, and some really interesting tricks for self-motivation like implementing your own reward system.