Human Computer Interaction Articles & Videos

  • UX 2050 (Jakob Nielsen keynote)

    The user experience field will see dramatic changes over the next 3 decades, driven by trends in demographics and the world economy. We will end up like the Little Mermaid. (This was Jakob Nielsen's UX Conference keynote.)

  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design (Usability Heuristic #8)

    Aesthetically pleasing designs can provide memorable experiences that differentiate a brand. However, interfaces should only include necessary elements, with high informational value. Clarity will always win over visual flourish.

  • Design for the Elderly

    Problems arise when people get older, but that just means opportunities for better design to support elderly users. The very best designs will help the elderly, but also be adapted by everybody else.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2020 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles published last year.

  • Time to Make Tech Work

    Users waste unacceptably much time struggling with computer bugs. Users' mental models suffer when systems don't work as advertised, leading people to question their understanding of the UX.

  • Who Inspired Jakob Nielsen?

    At the Virtual UX Conference, Jakob Nielsen talked about the people who inspired him early in his career — and more recently.

  • Abandoning Best Practices in UX

    When should one abandon best practices in user experience, and what does it take to declare that something is a best practice?

  • User Interface Design Fails

    Jakob Nielsen discusses the biggest failures in today's user interface design. (Recorded at the Virtual UX Conference.)

  • Opening Links in New Browser Windows and Tabs

    Carefully examine the user’s context, task at hand, and next steps when deciding whether to open links to documents and external sites in the same or a new browser tab.

  • Task Analysis: Support Users in Achieving Their Goals

    Task analysis is the systematic study of how users complete tasks to achieve their goals. This knowledge ensures products and services are designed to efficiently and appropriately support those goals.

  • Changing Role of the Designer Part 2: Community Based Design

    To solve big-scale design problems, Don Norman recommends engaging with the community that has these problems and leveraging existing creativity and experience.

  • The Changing Role of the Designer: Practical Human-Centered Design

    Human-centered design has 4 principles: understand the problem, the people, and the system, and do iterative design. But what if you don't have time to do all 4 steps?

  • Virtual UX Conference Q&A With Jakob Nielsen

    At the first Virtual UX Conference, Jakob Nielsen answered participant questions about topics ranging from user-experience careers and skill development to foldable smartphones and the future of user interfaces.

  • Good Abandonment on Search Results Pages

    Now that people can easily find answers to their questions directly on results pages, content creators must rethink their role in providing information to their users.

  • Dark Mode vs. Light Mode: Which Is Better?

    In people with normal vision (or corrected-to-normal vision), visual performance tends to be better with light mode, whereas some people with cataract and related disorders may perform better with dark mode. On the flip side, long-term reading in light mode may be associated with myopia.

  • Information Scent: How Users Decide Where to Go Next

    When deciding which links to click on the web, users choose those with the highest information scent — which is a mix of cues that they get from the link label, the context in which the link is shown, and their prior experiences.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2019 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles that we published last year.

  • The 3 Response Time Limits in Interaction Design

    User interfaces must be fast, or users will give up. (In the case of websites, they'll leave if pages download too slowly.) The exact maximum response times vary by usage circumstances, and should be either 0.1, 1.0, or 10 seconds.

  • How to Measure Learnability of a User Interface

    To measure learnability, determine your metric, gather your data, and plot the averages on a line curve. Analyze the learning curve by looking at its slope and its plateau.

  • Steering Law for Cursor and Mouse Movements in a GUI Tunnel

    In a graphical user interface, having the user move a cursor within a narrow path (e.g., in a hierarchical menu or a slider) follows a strict law for how easy or difficult it is to do, depending on specifics of the GUI.

  • UX 2050 (Jakob Nielsen keynote)

    The user experience field will see dramatic changes over the next 3 decades, driven by trends in demographics and the world economy. We will end up like the Little Mermaid. (This was Jakob Nielsen's UX Conference keynote.)

  • Design for the Elderly

    Problems arise when people get older, but that just means opportunities for better design to support elderly users. The very best designs will help the elderly, but also be adapted by everybody else.

  • Time to Make Tech Work

    Users waste unacceptably much time struggling with computer bugs. Users' mental models suffer when systems don't work as advertised, leading people to question their understanding of the UX.

  • Who Inspired Jakob Nielsen?

    At the Virtual UX Conference, Jakob Nielsen talked about the people who inspired him early in his career — and more recently.

  • Abandoning Best Practices in UX

    When should one abandon best practices in user experience, and what does it take to declare that something is a best practice?

  • User Interface Design Fails

    Jakob Nielsen discusses the biggest failures in today's user interface design. (Recorded at the Virtual UX Conference.)

  • Changing Role of the Designer Part 2: Community Based Design

    To solve big-scale design problems, Don Norman recommends engaging with the community that has these problems and leveraging existing creativity and experience.

  • The Changing Role of the Designer: Practical Human-Centered Design

    Human-centered design has 4 principles: understand the problem, the people, and the system, and do iterative design. But what if you don't have time to do all 4 steps?

  • Virtual UX Conference Q&A With Jakob Nielsen

    At the first Virtual UX Conference, Jakob Nielsen answered participant questions about topics ranging from user-experience careers and skill development to foldable smartphones and the future of user interfaces.

  • The 3 Response Time Limits in Interaction Design

    User interfaces must be fast, or users will give up. (In the case of websites, they'll leave if pages download too slowly.) The exact maximum response times vary by usage circumstances, and should be either 0.1, 1.0, or 10 seconds.

  • Steering Law for Cursor and Mouse Movements in a GUI Tunnel

    In a graphical user interface, having the user move a cursor within a narrow path (e.g., in a hierarchical menu or a slider) follows a strict law for how easy or difficult it is to do, depending on specifics of the GUI.

  • Fitts's Law

    Fitts's Law describes how long it takes a user to hit a target in a graphical user interface (GUI) or other design, as a function of size and distance. Understanding this law helps us design better buttons, forms, lists, and other interactive elements.

  • Will People Be More Tech Savvy in 10 Years? (Jakob Nielsen)

    People naturally avoid studying computers. Don't expect people's technical skills to improve in the future.

  • Observe, Test, Iterate, and Learn (Don Norman)

    There isn’t a next time in product development. You must always study to keep up with the product cycle.

  • Principles of Human-Centered Design (Don Norman)

    Human-Centered Design (HCD) is not about following processes. It’s about being mindful of HCD principles. Keep focus on people and the entire system to solve the right problems.

  • Are You a Cognitive Designer? (Don Norman)

    Don Norman answers the question people often ask: What kind of a designer am I?

  • Design for How People Think (Don Norman)

    Design for how people are, not what you want them to be.

  • Human Technology Teamwork: The Role of Machines and Humans in Good UX Design (Don Norman)

    Design technology to be a collaborator—a team worker. Allow people to do what they are good at rather than force them to act like machines.

  • AI's Impact on New Technologies

    Jakob Nielsen answers an audience question about artificial intelligence and its impact on new technologies.

  • Emotional Design

    Discover the 3 levels of emotional response, and how emotion affects value judgments and how user behavior impact UX.

  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design (Usability Heuristic #8)

    Aesthetically pleasing designs can provide memorable experiences that differentiate a brand. However, interfaces should only include necessary elements, with high informational value. Clarity will always win over visual flourish.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2020 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles published last year.

  • Opening Links in New Browser Windows and Tabs

    Carefully examine the user’s context, task at hand, and next steps when deciding whether to open links to documents and external sites in the same or a new browser tab.

  • Task Analysis: Support Users in Achieving Their Goals

    Task analysis is the systematic study of how users complete tasks to achieve their goals. This knowledge ensures products and services are designed to efficiently and appropriately support those goals.

  • Good Abandonment on Search Results Pages

    Now that people can easily find answers to their questions directly on results pages, content creators must rethink their role in providing information to their users.

  • Dark Mode vs. Light Mode: Which Is Better?

    In people with normal vision (or corrected-to-normal vision), visual performance tends to be better with light mode, whereas some people with cataract and related disorders may perform better with dark mode. On the flip side, long-term reading in light mode may be associated with myopia.

  • Information Scent: How Users Decide Where to Go Next

    When deciding which links to click on the web, users choose those with the highest information scent — which is a mix of cues that they get from the link label, the context in which the link is shown, and their prior experiences.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2019 UX Year in Review

    Test your usability knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles that we published last year.

  • How to Measure Learnability of a User Interface

    To measure learnability, determine your metric, gather your data, and plot the averages on a line curve. Analyze the learning curve by looking at its slope and its plateau.

  • The Attention Economy

    Digital products are competing for users’ limited attention. The modern economy increasingly revolves around the human attention span and how products capture that attention.

  • Accot-Zhai Steering Law: Implications for UI Design

    Dropdowns, hierarchical menus, sliders, or scroll bars involve steering a pointer or a cursor through a tunnel; optimal design for these GUI elements should consider the Steering Law.

  • Creepiness–Convenience Tradeoff

    As people consider whether to use the new "creepy" technologies, they do a type of cost-benefit analysis weighing the loss of privacy against the benefits they will receive in return.

  • Tesla’s Touchscreen UI: A Case Study of Car-Dashboard User Interface

    Vehicle controls should be easily accessible and require minimum attention from drivers, while driving-related information should be displayed clearly and understandably.

  • Modes in User Interfaces: When They Help and When They Hurt Users

    In a modal interface, the same user action can have different results depending on the state of the system. Poorly signaled modes can easily trigger user errors with disastrous consequences.

  • Unbridged Knowledge Gaps Hurt UX

    Many websites fail to provide the right information for research-based tasks, requiring unnecessary effort for users to piece together various information sources manually.

  • Mental Models for Intelligent Assistants

    Users of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant conceptualize them in one of 3 ways: an interface, a personal assistant, or a brain. Frequent users are less likely to push the interaction limits of these AI systems than new users.

  • User-Experience Quiz: 2018 UX Year in Review

    Test your UX knowledge by taking our quiz. All questions and answers are based on articles that we published last year.

  • Can Users Control and Understand a UI Driven by Machine Learning?

    In a study of people interacting with systems built on machine-learning algorithms, users had weak mental models and difficulties making the UI do what they want.

  • The User Experience of Chatbots

    Far from being ‘intelligent’, today’s chatbots guide users through simple linear flows, and our user research shows that they have a hard time whenever users deviate from such flows.

  • Natural Mappings and Stimulus-Response Compatibility in User Interface Design

    Designs that quickly convey relationships between the user input and the result often use natural mappings or have a high stimulus–response compatibility.