31.Try Visual Hierarchy instead of dullness.
A good visual hierarchy can be used to separate out your important elements from the less important ones. A visual hierarchy results from varying such things as alignment, proximity, colour, tone, indentation, font size, element size, padding, spacing, etc. When these visual language elements are applied correctly, they can work together to direct and pause people’s attention within a page – improving general readability. A visual hierarchy can be said to generate friction and slows us down from skimming through the full page top to bottom – for the better that is. With a good visual hierarchy, although we might spend a bit more time on the page, the end result should be that we register more items and characteristics. Think of it as as road trip. You can take the highway and get to your destination quicker (bottom of page), or you can take the scenic route and remember more interesting things along the way. Give the eye a place to stop.
32.Try Grouping Related Items instead of disordering.
Grouping related items together is a basic way of increasing fundamental usability. Most of us tend to know that a knife and a fork, or open and save functions can typically be found more or less together. Related items are just meant to be placed in proximity of each other in order to respect a degree of logic and lower overall cognitive friction. Wasting time looking for stuff usually isn’t fun for people.
33.Try Inline Validation instead of delaying errors.
When dealing with forms and errors, it’s usually better to try to detect if something isn’t correct and show it sooner rather than later. The famous interaction pattern highlighted here of course is inline validation. By showing an error message as it happens (say to the right of the input field), it can be corrected right then and there as it appears in context. On the other hand, when error messages are displayed later on (say after a submit), it forces people to do some additional cognitive work of having to recall what they were doing from a few steps back.
34.Try Forgiving Inputs instead of being strict with data.
35.Try Urgency instead of timelessness.
Urgency is a persuasion tactic which can be applied in order to make people act now rather than later (or possibly never). It works because it often implies some degree of scarcity, as the thing which is available now might not be available tomorrow. It also works because it touches upon loss aversion in the same way – as we don’t like losing out on opportunities. Urgency might also be one of those strategies that some look down upon as a pushy and dirty way of getting people to act. Nevertheless it’s available as a strategy to use and as long as it’s honest it’s valid. Be careful of creating a false sense of urgency, since when your audience calls you on it, it will backfire.
36.Try Scarcity instead of abundance.
When there is less of anything, we tend to value it more. Scarcity suggests there was once more of something, today there is less of it, and tomorrow it might shrink yet even further. Think of a wholesale store vs. a boutique one and then look at how their pricing often compares. Then think back to the wholesaler and notice one scarcity strategy that they apply nevertheless, in light of having a wider product offering. Some wholesalers or mega retailers will actually do limited products that are only available until they are bought out, without replenishing the supply. In software, we often forget about scarcity because more often than not, bits and bytes can be so easily duplicated and there is so much abundance with the help of copy-paste. Nevertheless, in the world of UI, scarcity can still be used to show limits or bottlenecks that relate to the real world. Think of the limits behind the number of tickets you can sell to a webinar, the number of clients you can service in a month, or the number physical products you might have before the next batch is produced. All these things can be shown to the user to evoke action while being more informed. Think supply and demand. Think less is more.
37.Try Recognition instead of recall.
This is a classic principle of design tied strongly to psychology which suggests that it is easier to recognize something existing, as opposed to having to recall it purely from one’s own memory. Recognition relies on some kind of cues or hints which help us by touching our past experience. Recall requires us to probe the depths of our memory all on our own. This might be the reason why sometimes multiple choice questions on exams can be faster to complete than open ended ones. Consider giving users the ability to recognize items which they have been exposed to before, instead of expecting them to remember everything on their own.
38.Try Bigger Click Areas instead of tiny ones.
Links, forms and buttons can all be made easier to click on if their size is increased. According to Fitt’s Law, we need more time to click on something with a pointing device, the further away it is and/or smaller it is. For this very reason, do consider increasing your form fields, calls to action, and links. Alternatively, it’s also possible to keep the visual element looking as is, but instead only increasing its hotspot or clickable area. A popular example of this are text links on mobile devices or within navigation menus, that are stretched with padding.
39.Try Faster Load Times instead of making people wait.
Speed matters. Be it how quickly a screen loads initially, or how fast it responds to a user action can both affect whether people will wait or not. It has been suggested that each second longer affects drop off, bounce and conversion rates. Hence one tactic is to decrease the load times of our screens technically by optimizing code and images. Another tactic is to decrease the perception of load times by applying some psychology. Two tricks can be applied in order to make people feel like they aren’t waiting for so long. Showing progress bars which set expectations is one. Keeping users occupied while something is loading, is another (think walking to the conveyor belt a bit longer instead of standing beside it and tapping your foot).
40.Try Keyboard Shortcuts instead of buttons only.
When you have a high use product, it’s always good to consider those advanced users who keep coming back and spend much time with your application. People will often seek ways which allow them to perform repetitive task quicker and keyboard shortcuts are one such way of providing this. Hot keys, once remembered, can speed up task performance over point and click graphical user interfaces dramatically. One example of this is the use of the J and K hot keys for next and previous which have been popularize by applications such as Gmail, Google Reader (now history), Twitter and Tumblr. Buttons aren’t bad, but they can be complemented with shortcuts for those fast fingers.