Word: Infinite Scroll
Definition: When the content on a page continuously loads as the user scrolls down the page; essentially eliminating the need for pagination. Think Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.
Thoughts: Infinite scroll has become an enormously popular user interface trend. It requires less precision and much fewer clicks, which typically help retain user attention over time. This UI pattern is extremely useful when displaying a large amount of content, all with a similar hierarchy, like on social media.
However, like most UI patterns, there is a time and a place for everything. It is not always the best option when designing a goal-oriented task, like locating specific objects or comparing products. When there is a goal at stake, an infinite scroll can feel like information-overload and make the task seem more difficult to accomplish.
Moral of this story is that infinite scroll is a trendy and effective UI technique, just make sure that it is used properly and with purpose!
Question: How much does the threat of page loading time effect your decision to utilize an infinite scroll your design?
Word: Top-down approach
Definition: An approach to information architecture that involves creating a site’s architecture directly from an understanding of product objectives and user needs.
Thoughts: This approach begins with the broadest possible categories for the content and strategy while still accomplishing the strategic goals. From there, the broad categories can then be broken down into more logical and specific subsections.
However, here is your word of warning… when using a top-down approach, important details can go overlooked so be mindful and proceed with caution and thoughtfulness (as I’m sure you already do).
Question: When is a top-down approach an ineffective strategy?
Word: Third person effect
Definition: The notion that a person exposed to persuasive mass media communication believes it to have a greater effect on others than on herself. The person will essentially over predict the influence that such techniques will have on others.
Reference: The third-person effect was first introduced by W. Phillips Davison in 1983. Davison’s theory says that people not only overestimate media impact on others, but they also deny that the mass media has an impact on themselves.
Thoughts: The way messaging influences user psychology is important to remember when designing anything meant to effect user decision-making. People do not like to think of themselves as easily swayed because it means that we are not in control or thinking freely. While this does not have a direct effect on a UX research method or a specified UI trend, it is helpful to understand and consider when making design choices meant to influence others.
Word: Persistent Navigation
Definition: Navigation that is present on every page of a website or application, in the same location and format.
Thoughts: The consistency provided by persistent navigation is important for user way-finding and orientation. This navigation should not be confused with “sticky” navigation, that is, one that remains stuck to the top of the page while the user scrolls. Persistent navigation is all about maintaining a dependable and known element from page to page that gives the user the comfort to adventure and explore without the worry of getting lost.
Question: What is the role of persistent navigation in a world where long single webpages seems to be all the rage?