Serif…San Serif – What do they mean?

The rise of web fonts has given way to a broader understanding — and respect — for typography, typefaces and the way text is displayed online.

Typography is an essential part of visual design — and as any print publisher will tell you, the way that text is arranged and displayed can have an enormous impact on how its message is presented and interpreted.

Although typography entered the digital age long ago, it’s only been in the last few years that we’ve really seen advanced typography and typesetting take off online. This is, in large part, thanks to broad browser support for CSS3 and web font standards, the rise of web font services like Typekit (which was recently acquired by Adobe) and the increasing adoption of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and ereaders.

Understanding some of the basics in typography can make crafting web content and using web fonts a better experience for everyone.


Typeface Types


 

 

 

 

Most of us have heard the terms “serif” or “sans serif” but what do they mean?

serif typeface (or font) has strokes and other semi-structural details on the ends of letters. Fonts like Times New Roman and Baskerville are serif fonts. This is the font that most newspapers and magazines use. Georgia, one of the most popular fonts on the web, is a serif font.

sans serif typeface doesn’t have the semi-structural details on the ends of the letterforms. Fonts like Helvetica, Arial and Gotham are serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are often more readable on smaller devices, which is why the default font on most mobile platforms is a sans serif font. Apple uses Helvetica Neue, Microsoft uses Segoe and Google recently created its own sans serif font for Android, Roboto.

monospaced typeface is a typeface that is non-proportional. That means that the amount of horizontal space between letters and characters is uniform. On the web, monospaced fonts are most often used when presenting computer code examples. The use of a monospaced font, especially when interspersed with standard variable-width fonts, is a visual cue that the text is a computer or code-related action. Common monospaced fonts include Menlo, Consolas and Courier.

Script typefaces have fluid stroke designs and are aesthetically similar to handwriting. Script fonts that vary in formality and calligraphy styles, like the font Zapfino, also exist. These are most commonly used on the web for large headings and tend to perform poorly for blocks of text or in small sizes.


Kerning and Leading


Beyond just a typeface, good web typography also utilizes good kerning and leading.

Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between characters in proportional fonts. In other words, it’s how closely letters are to one another. Kerning is optimized by character pairs, whereas a technique known as tracking, adjusts the space evenly between characters.

 

 

 

 Kerning is possible in web typography thanks to various JavaScript techniques like Lettering.js and Kern.js.

Leading is the distance between the baselines of lines of type, in other words, the space between each line in a paragraph of text.

 

Leading can drastically impact how type is read and presented. Too much leading, and type is unwieldy. Too little, and it can be hard to read.

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An Effective Homepage…Basics, Objective, Purpose

As a general rule, your homepage will be the first encounter a visitor will have with your business. Great care, therefore, should be taken to design and structure your homepage so that readers will digest and act on your business message.

Let’s discuss the quality of a home page…




Risk in Being Precitable

Wow! What a day it has been. At times you stumble upon something, which…just end up filling such a huge gap…that you feel like taking leaps…and today was such day…

Carrying on the same…it’s been a long time, I wrote about UX and Predictability…this is in continuation of what we read earlier….

Let’s start with what are the underlying failures in Predictability:

Revealing the underlying causes of a failure in predictability.
  • Submerge yourself in the customer’s experience through a series of thorough contextual inquiries. Nothing beats true in situ (observing customers doing things in the field) feedback from people who are living it.
  • For longer processes, consider a diary study where real customers record their thoughts and feelings for you and report in regularly.
  • Consider secret shopping the experience yourself and documenting it as you go.
  • Map this data into an end-to-end journey and define the major phases with the smaller phases contained within them.
  • Note break points where customers expected something different than what they got.
Rinse and repeat with the business
  • Submerge yourself in the business process by following it from beginning to end.
  • Interview the key stakeholders to understand how this process came to be, and the reasons behind it.
  • Spend time with the employees who actually implement the process and document the ways that they enforce or deviate from it when necessary.
  • Map this data into a complete journey and define major phases with the smaller phases and tasks contained within each.
Along with Predictability comes the RISK:

The Risks of Predictability

There is very little in the design world where a “one size fits all” approach is best. Predictability as the basic design element of customer experience is no exception. It comes with a price tag, since there can be downsides when predictability is at the core of an experience.

Stifling innovation

Predictability can stifle innovation when standards aren’t questioned and progressed. This introduces your first risk. Before Apple introduced the iPod click wheel and iTunes, every MP3 player had the same user experience dating back to the VHS era. Would Apple have taken a leading position if the standard had prevailed and they never pioneered their new intuitive interaction and enhanced service offer?

Apple was able to be different without losing its competitiveness through introducing learnable interface and new service model that was significantly better than the standards at the time.

Now here is another element, the Predictability raises the concern for ‘Raising Expectations’
Raising expectations

A common example of this is timetables. If the timetable states the bus should be at your stop at 7:45am, even a 10-minute wait can feel excruciating. Yet, we all know that the bus timetable has factors beyond the control of the bus company. City Council in Queensland is moving away from timetables for high frequency buses to combat customers’ inevitable disappointment. Instead, these services are based on frequency and operating time, e.g., the service runs every five minutes between 7-9am and 4-6pm weekdays . This focuses the customer’s attention on the likely wait time, rather than on an exact minute of arrival.

For your Businesses:

Ask the right people

Start at your call center. When predictability breaks down your call center staff is the emergency crew that handles it.

  1. Have support staff track the number of calls for the process in question and the overall reason for the call:
    1. Customer didn’t understand the product functions or features.
    2. Customer didn’t understand the process.
    3. Customer had unrealistic expectations of time and number of steps.
    4. Customer was surprised by the bill, cost, or fees.
  2. If a large volume of support calls fit the above issues, then there is likely a predictability problem to be addressed.

Credits: UxMag

Evaluate Your ideas…see them becoming successful products

An idea can change your life…a very famous tagline from an Indian Cellular Operator…well, but ever though as to what it takes to make an idea a hit.

Well you got to go in very deep to understand and evaluate as to whether the idea can be translated in to a successful product or not. Here let’s discuss about as to what it takes for an idea to be a successful product:

Tractability

Question: How difficult will it be to launch a worthwhile version 1.0?

In general, if you’re tiny and have few resources, tractability is key, because it means you can build momentum quickly—and momentum is everything for a startup.

If you’re big and/or have a lot of resources—or not very good at spotting new opportunities, but great at executing—a less-tractable idea may be for you. It may take longer to launch something worthwhile, but once you crack the nut, you have something clearly valuable.
Obviousness

Question: Is it clear why people should use it?

Everything is obvious once its successful. Big wins come when you can spot something before its obvious to everyone else. There are several vectors to this: 1) Is it obvious why people should use it? 2) Is it obvious how to use? 3) Is it an obviously good business?

Number two is more affected by the design of the product than the idea itself. You don’t actually want number three to be true. You want it to be a good business, but not an obviously good business, because than you get more competition.
Deepness

Question: How much value can you ultimately deliver?

The most successful products give benefits quickly (both in the life of a product and a user’s relationship with it), but also lend themselves to continual development of and discovery of additional layers of benefit later on.

Facebook is incredibly deep because it leverages your connections, which touch practically every aspect of your life. Scrabulous, on the other hand—a Facebook app for playing Scrabble—is not very deep. How big is the Scrabble-playing part of your life, and how much can it deliver beyond that?
Wideness

Question: How many people may ultimately use it?

Wideness, like deepness, is a fairly classic market analysis measure. They are usually inversely proportional—do you try to offer the mass-market good or the niche one?
Discoverability

Question: How will people learn about your product?

I was going to call this criteria “viralness.” However, there’s a lot of focus on viralness these days, and—while sometimes amazingly effective—it’s not the only way to grow a user-base. And it doesn’t make sense in all cases.

Interesting to note: Google web search is not the least bit viral. Nor is Firefox. Nor it Kayak.

Monetizability
Question: How hard will it be to extract the money?

Far be it for me to say that obvious monetizability is a requirement. I’m generally a believer that if you create value, you can figure out the business. However, all things being equal, an idea with clear buck-making potential is better than one without.

Personally Compelling
Question: Do you really want it to exist in the world?

Last on the list, but probably the first question I ask myself is: How important to me is it that this product exists in the world?

Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world. Be a user of your own product. Hire people who are users of your product. Make it better based on your own desires.

 

Credits: http://evhead.com

Apple Vs Android: Apple wins hands down on Predictability

Implement standards & guidelines

Ever tired to call HDFC Customer care…phew!, guys you are in for a huge trouble. The worst is most of their services do not work if you call them after 8 PM, why? Hard to understand this. And they give just 3 click solution for their Credit card customers than with Debit card. This differentiation hardly wins customer.

Bottom line is: Implementation of standards and/or guidelines in services or products will help ensure predictable customer experience as they limit the number of different ways an interaction can work.

There’s less for customers to learn and they can predict the interaction more readily. Apple products clearly demonstrate that standards and guidelines create predictable experiences. All iPhones, iPods and Apple computers have an almost identical look, feel, and interaction model, as do their stores.

Contrast this with the Android phone experience. Clearly, balancing consistency and customisation is a challenge for them, as the user experience from one Andriod phone to another can be quite different. Google allows hardware vendors to heavily brand the Android experience through look, feel, and function. As a result, some devices differ dramatically. This impedes customer satisfaction when switching to different models of Android phone and prevents customers predicting whether any given Android phone will be a good one.

How to Achieve Predictability

Make it intuitive

It is critical to remember that predictability is about the ability of customers to foresee the future course of events as they interact with a company. It’s more than merely being consistent.

Some companies attempt to resolve this by educating customers about how their internal processes work. But this tactic is a poor fix because they’re just trying to get customers to think like them. The correct solution is to understand what customers expect and then align internal practices with that. When customers experience this, they often report that the experience felt “intuitive” and went exactly as they had hoped.

The best way to understand the predictability is to understand the Mental model of the customer. This mental model is something, which a customer expects your product to behave in a specific pattern. If you ever want to improve predictability you need to understand why customers call customer service or go online for help, as these are instances where their mental models don’t match the product or service model—in other words, they can not predict how the thing works.

Analyzing service calls or online forums and bringing the issues to the development team is one way to start putting predictability back into the user experience.

And I guess this is where DoCoMo has done a great job. They introduced the notion of one touch customer care and quite a bit intuitive plans.

Plantronics InstantMeeting does a great job in understanding the mental of consumer. Have a look at this amazing video

This is absolutely what most of the people suffer, and as their VP, GM Gunjan Bhow puts it: Its a one click solution to all your conference problems. For more on InstantMeeting please visit: http://instantmeeting.plantronics.com

What Is Predictability In UX?

“Predictability in UX can be defined as how much a user can successfully foresee the result of an interaction.”

This can involve the meeting or matching of their expectations, whether in an initial experience or a repeat one. Conversely, unpredictability occurs when customers do not know what to expect or they expect something different to what they experience.

  • As part of Door knob example, the customer predicted that the door would work as he expected, and then it didn’t.
  •  Similarly, online shoppers expect their purchases to be shipped quickly and providers who don’t meet this expectation are unlikely to get repeat business.

It’s also about successfully matching a customer’s mental model of what an experience should be.

Mental models are internalized expectations of how the world works that customers use to predict outcomes. Meeting and managing these predictions are critical to business success.

For customers, predictability provides three major benefits:

  • A sense of control
  • Trust and safety
  • Reliability

Why Is It Important?

Why is predictability such an essential component of an experience? The clear outcome of a positive, predictable experience is the effect it has on customer satisfaction. Generally, it enhances the perception customers have of the company, and affects sales growth positively. Take Starbucks, for example; when it came into the market it created a worldwide phenomenon. Customers were given the same predictable experience every time they bought—no-frills, fast and friendly service, with coffee that tasted exactly the same every time, no matter when or where. The concept worked so well that, at one point, Starbucks was opening one store a day. It is easy to see how they have mastered a component of predictability through consistency.

Having predictability creates a positive psychological impact on customers. 

Woolworths in Australia is proud of the fact that the majority of their stores have the same layout. Any supermarket retailer will tell you, the one thing that causes more customer complaints and defections is moving a product from one shelf to another, so move the tomato sauce at your peril! 🙂

If you have ever visited BigBazzar here in India, for items that you buy regularly, try and note that how many times you know the exact location in which they can be found every time. This is predictability. This can ruin or raise the business for any retailer and for that matter any business.

Being Predictable: The First Essential Of A Customer Centric Business

Have you ever walked up to a door and grasped the doorknob expecting that familiar turn, click, and open, only to be startled when it did not operate as you expected? Recently a visitor to a hotel described how a closet in his room had a doorknob that looked like it should turn, but did not. Instead the knob was simply screwed in and the door held shut by a magnet. He described how that bothered him and that he never got used to it. Every time he went to use that door it bothered him. Its behavior was unpredictable, both in its lack of intuitiveness and its inconsistency with every other “door experience” he’d ever had.

Many customers are not satisfied with their service providers or with the products that they use because of a lack of predictability.

Many organizations large and small lose business as they fail to deliver a predictable experience to their customers. Common examples include inconsistent levels of knowledge among staff, unintuitive products, and poor management of customer expectations. Predictability is underrated.