Proper layout of article

13 Jan 2009 - 1:19pm
5 years ago
12 replies
9779 reads
Kordian Piotr Klecha
2008

Articles consist of typical elements: heading, lead, main text and photo(s);
usually there is also some box with "inform a friend", "rate the article",
comments and so on.

I am looking for a studies focusing on this topic: proper web-article
layout.

We are discussing proposed layout of articles in new site; designer's
proposition looks like this one:

http://wiadomosci.wp.pl/kat,1355,title,Narasta-konflikt-Rosja-Ukraina-gazu-jak-nie-bylo-tak-nie-ma,wid,10744031,wiadomosc.html

Heading and metainformation aligned to the left, and then two columns: in
the left we have photos and related content, in the right one: lead, main
text, rating, opinions and so on.

I strongly prefer not to divide main content (heading, photo, lead, main
text) onto two columns - for me heading looks like unnaturaly moved to the
left and photo placed on the left on main text w/o floating looks like
ad-banner. To determine which elements belong to main content needs some
cognitive efforts.

My proposition resembles BBC layout:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7826142.stm

Everything is in big rectangle, left side of heading is in line with left
side of text, floated photo on the right. Everything's clear. The page
displays - and I just see where's the content I was looking for.

As for now we have opinion vs opinion, so I am looking for stronger
arguments.

Greetings,
KPK

Comments

13 Jan 2009 - 1:22pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 13, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Kordian Piotr Klecha wrote:

> As for now we have opinion vs opinion, so I am looking for stronger
> arguments.

I highly recommend usability testing. Great way to resolve these
opinion wars.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

13 Jan 2009 - 3:40pm
Angel Marquez
2008

I agree, completely. Usability testing should be the answer. After all that
is what the hoopla is all about, right?
What would you do in this situation:

You work for a company and you are doing usability testing. You are
providing your research subjects with prototypes from 2 outside vendors. The
research subjects clearly prefer using prototype B. After you make your
observations from behind the curtain and you reconvene with the facilitator
you find your findings are different. For some reason they observed
them preferring prototype B. Than what? Robot observers?

I've experienced this and think it might be due to a bias with vendors the
company liked working with.

It made me think the research defeated the entire purpose of observing the
gene pool sample.

On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM, Jared Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:

>
> On Jan 13, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Kordian Piotr Klecha wrote:
>
> As for now we have opinion vs opinion, so I am looking for stronger
>> arguments.
>>
>
> I highly recommend usability testing. Great way to resolve these opinion
> wars.
>
> Jared
>
> Jared M. Spool
> User Interface Engineering
> 510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
> e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
> http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
> UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

13 Jan 2009 - 4:18pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 13, 2009, at 3:40 PM, Angel Marquez wrote:

> What would you do in this situation:
>
> You work for a company and you are doing usability testing. You are
> providing your research subjects with prototypes from 2 outside
> vendors. The research subjects clearly prefer using prototype B.
> After you make your observations from behind the curtain and you
> reconvene with the facilitator you find your findings are different.
> For some reason they observed them preferring prototype B. Than
> what? Robot observers?
>

I'd fire your user research team and replace them with folks who know
how to conduct a study to evaluate multiple alternatives properly.

Seriously.

Jared

13 Jan 2009 - 4:54pm
Katie Albers
2005

No kidding...I'm with Jared on this one.

What evidence are they citing? For that matter, what evidence are
*you* citing? What on earth format were you using to evaluate these
prototypes?

This has all the earmarks of something that was a total cockup from
the planning stages.

kt

Katie Albers
Founder & Principal Consultant
FirstThought
User Experience Strategy & Project Management
310 356 7550
katie at firstthought.com

On Jan 13, 2009, at 1:18 PM, Jared Spool wrote:

>
> On Jan 13, 2009, at 3:40 PM, Angel Marquez wrote:
>
>> What would you do in this situation:
>>
>> You work for a company and you are doing usability testing. You are
>> providing your research subjects with prototypes from 2 outside
>> vendors. The research subjects clearly prefer using prototype B.
>> After you make your observations from behind the curtain and you
>> reconvene with the facilitator you find your findings are
>> different. For some reason they observed them preferring prototype
>> B. Than what? Robot observers?
>>
>
> I'd fire your user research team and replace them with folks who
> know how to conduct a study to evaluate multiple alternatives
> properly.
>
> Seriously.
>
> Jared
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

13 Jan 2009 - 5:15pm
Angel Marquez
2008

I think the prototypes were from fireworks. Off hand I don't remember
exactly what I was citing, I was new and I didn't go into battle mode when
it didn't make sense.
It was totally apparent though. people were smiling, verbally saying why
they liked such and such as opposed to looking befuddled and grunting.

I do remember the facilitators remark right after 'They like the first one,
they always like the first one'. I think he said it right after the second
victim.

Which made me think. How accurate is this. They are kind of warmed up on
what they are doing by time they use the second one and of course it is
going to be easier. We were swapping which prototype was presented first and
that might have helped; but, it was for a different age each time.

My notes were accurate and referenced the footage that was timecode marked.

The info was the most valuable data I've ever heard. It really does or
should veto the opinions just like the persona should. In theory I love the
idea of not making your personal preference the standard; but, in practice I
find the facts get lost in translation.

Was J saying he would of fired me! Ha! Probably the right choice.

What is the proper way to study multiple alternatives?

On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Katie Albers <katie at firstthought.com>wrote:

> No kidding...I'm with Jared on this one.
>
> What evidence are they citing? For that matter, what evidence are *you*
> citing? What on earth format were you using to evaluate these prototypes?
>
> This has all the earmarks of something that was a total cockup from the
> planning stages.
>
> kt
>
> Katie Albers
> Founder & Principal Consultant
> FirstThought
> User Experience Strategy & Project Management
> 310 356 7550
> katie at firstthought.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Jan 13, 2009, at 1:18 PM, Jared Spool wrote:
>
>
>> On Jan 13, 2009, at 3:40 PM, Angel Marquez wrote:
>>
>> What would you do in this situation:
>>>
>>> You work for a company and you are doing usability testing. You are
>>> providing your research subjects with prototypes from 2 outside vendors. The
>>> research subjects clearly prefer using prototype B. After you make your
>>> observations from behind the curtain and you reconvene with the facilitator
>>> you find your findings are different. For some reason they observed them
>>> preferring prototype B. Than what? Robot observers?
>>>
>>>
>> I'd fire your user research team and replace them with folks who know how
>> to conduct a study to evaluate multiple alternatives properly.
>>
>> Seriously.
>>
>> Jared
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>

13 Jan 2009 - 9:46pm
Angel Marquez
2008

>>No....J was saying you should have fired whoever you had doing your
facilitating.

Ha, I was hoping that was the case. I wish I could have done something
constructive to remedy the situation.

>>Let me see if I have this right: The test was in the form of a series of
single user tests where each user used both prototypes. The participants
were a group of people identified as being like the targeted users.

You have it right!

>>First of all...people frequently report liking the first prototype better
because they tend to be entranced by the pretty, shiny, new
thing...whichever is second is Just Another Way To Do The Same Thing.

I agree; but, nothing was shiny. They were equally dull neutral high fi
wireframish prototypes.

>>Secondly, if you're going to do this kind of test, you should at least NOT
give everyone the prototypes in the same order...mix it up so that 50% do A
first and 50% do B first.

That is what we did. I mentioned it in a previous post. According to my
observations their was prototype that prevailed no matter which was
presented first.

>>You do not need or want users' general reactions - like "it's pretty" or
"I like the shape of the buttons on this one". Those are basically
unimportant. You want to see them perform a task on the first and then a
very similar (but not identical) task on the second. For example A. Find the
engine size and horsepower of This Car, and then on B. Find out if you can
get automatic windshield wipers on That Car. Then you reverse those so that
you have 50% doing task A on prototype A and 50% doing task B on prototype
A.

That is how it went down. Like I said nothing was pretty and the task were
like you said, find a location based on criteria, list, organize, etc... and
some other stuff; but, identical to your recommendation.

>>Assuming you're videotaping, take videocaptures of the points where users
have problems, ask questions, look unhappy and confuse, in other words, the
points where their reactions are particularly relevant. String those
together with text commentary (depending on your personal preferences, you
can make a point orally and then show supporting video, create a Powerpoint
type presentation or Web site that integrates the points made with the video
evidence, make a video that incorporates all the commentary and all the
supporting video...or however makes sense for you to pull these together and
report them).

The video was digital and captured the screen activity as well as the user.
So, you could see what the user was clicking and how they responded visual
and aural. I compiled m notes and sent it to my team and called it a day.

>>It can be kind of fun to watch your stakeholders reactions to the
video...something to look forward to

ha, agreed.

It was an interesting experience. They had it set up so you could view the
lab remote as well. Really neat.

14 Jan 2009 - 9:11am
Yohan Creemers
2008

It's no use testing bad designs. A-B-testing will only work if both
alternatives are good (good enough to meet the requirements).

If there's an opinion war after testing, then I would think that the
design problem wasn't clear to start with. Did the stakeholders agree
on what problem the design should solve?

- Yohan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37105

14 Jan 2009 - 2:01pm
Angel Marquez
2008

>>It's no use testing bad designs. A-B-testing will only work if
both alternatives are good (good enough to meet the requirements).
I agree. Their was no problem with the prototypes, they both achieved the
desired result efficiently with different layouts.

>>If there's an opinion war after testing, then I would think that the
design problem wasn't clear to start with. Did the stakeholders agree
on what problem the design should solve?
No, the design problem was clear. That is a good question about the
stakeholders. Who would that be? The lab was all part of the same business
.com entity. UX, Sales, Marketing etc. we offered the same service we
created. That was outside of the scope of what I was doing. The deal was the
observations weren't in sync.
Anyways, when I think layouts these come to mind:
http://www.newyorker.com/
http://www.npr.org/
http://www.surfline.com
http://www.havoc.tv/
http://espn.go.com/

Sorry to hijack your post again K. Make sure to double check any test
results if you conduct any.

On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 6:11 AM, Yohan Creemers <yohan at ylab.nl> wrote:

> It's no use testing bad designs. A-B-testing will only work if both
> alternatives are good (good enough to meet the requirements).
>
> If there's an opinion war after testing, then I would think that the
> design problem wasn't clear to start with. Did the stakeholders agree
> on what problem the design should solve?
>
> - Yohan
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37105
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

13 Jan 2009 - 2:15pm
Per Axbom
2009

Given that there is lots of other content (advertisements and such) in
the same column as the photo, it is not self-evident that the photo is
part of the article. Also, from a search engine and accessibility
perspective it's better to group related information, and also to
push the relevant content as far to the top of the source code as
possible. What does the RSS feed look like?

Of course, I second Jared's comment with regards to usability
testing. Set up a few short user scenarios and observe twelve people
performing them during an intensive day. Nothing silences
out-of-the-blue opinions as well as research-based opinions ;)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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13 Jan 2009 - 5:17pm
Etan Lightstone
2009

Angel, I'm curious how you conducted this 'theoretical' usability
study...

It sounds like the one you described was treated like a focus group,
asking opinion questions about preferences to A vs B. This typically
produces questionable results, and is too prone to being manipulated
by the facilitator.

A study using tasks, and a few concrete metrics collected for good
measure should be more than enough to convince stakeholders of option
A vs B, provided you've picked "fair" tasks, and test a good number
of users (and recruited the "right" users, based on the product's
target).

--Etan

Senior User Experience Engineer

www.EchoUser.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37105

14 Jan 2009 - 7:46pm
Angel Marquez
2008

I think running analytics locally with something like urchin would do the
trick with a well thought out script.
Thanks for your concern.

On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 2:17 PM, Etan Lightstone <etan at burnimage.com> wrote:

> Angel, I'm curious how you conducted this 'theoretical' usability
> study...
>
> It sounds like the one you described was treated like a focus group,
> asking opinion questions about preferences to A vs B. This typically
> produces questionable results, and is too prone to being manipulated
> by the facilitator.
>
> A study using tasks, and a few concrete metrics collected for good
> measure should be more than enough to convince stakeholders of option
> A vs B, provided you've picked "fair" tasks, and test a good number
> of users (and recruited the "right" users, based on the product's
> target).
>
>
> --Etan
>
> Senior User Experience Engineer
>
> www.EchoUser.com
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37105
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

14 Jan 2009 - 7:59pm
Itamar Medeiros
2006

There were a series of articles by Joshua David McClurg-Genevese
(http://www.digital-web.com/about/contributors/joshua_david_mcclurg_genevese)
at Digital Web Magazine about general principles of design, in which
he talks about some good-old Gestalt principles:

* Balance
* Rhythm
* Proportion
* Dominance
* Unity

The twist is that he focused on web... worth checking them out:

http://www.digital-web.com/articles/principles_of_design/
http://www.digital-web.com/articles/principles_and_elements_of_design/

{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
designing clear, understandable communication by
carefully structuring, contextualizing, and presenting
data and information

mobile ::: 86 13671503252
website ::: http://designative.info/
aim ::: itamarlmedeiros
skype ::: designative

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37105

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