Posts Tagged ui

Your contact form sucks

Good web design is not about pretty pictures. Neither is it about using web standards. It’s about having a user-centric, task-focused philosophy.

What does that mean?

It means instead of starting your design with a mental picture of what everyone else does, or what people say you ‘should’ be doing, or what you’ve done in the past, or what you can make money from, you instead start from what the user wants to achieve. You focus your entire site on connecting users with solutions to their problems.

A great example of task-focused design is Google’s homepage. The user’s task is “I want to find information”, so the dominant feature on the page is the search query box. That makes sense. It’s not a particularly pretty page, it’s not even a web-standards compliant page, Google don’t make any money directly from the homepage, and it’s certainly not there via an examination of what their competition are doing.

It’s there because Google know that great web design is centered solidly around building sites which enable their users to complete the tasks they want to. Solving a user’s problem is delivering a great experience. Sites which deliver great experiences tend to do well. It’s that simple. Google’s homepage funnels users into a highly optimised revenue-generating page by presenting users with a UI which allows them to solve their pain very quickly. Google instant and auto-suggest all feed into this philosophy of reducing the amount of time the user’s problem is unsolved for.

Back to the humble contact form. What is the user’s pain that you’re solving, the task that your task-centric UI is solving? For contact forms, it’s easy – the user wants to send you a message, that’s why they came to your contact form.

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jQuery simple dialog plugin; 1.5kB minified

jQuery liteDialog is a very lightweight modal dialog plugin for jQuery. It’s designed as an “I don’t care about the features I just want to pop up a little message” plugin.

Download the source on github or Open a quick demo to see how it looks.

jQuery.liteDialog.js weighs in at 1.5kB minified, and requires just one file. It’s designed to be blindingly simple to deploy and use, but also features a few basic options should you need them.
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