UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 18 December 19, 2005

First Beta Launch

Here we go then. After months of working in the few crumbs of spare-time that we could scrape up we’ve finally done it and launched UX Magazine. We’re pleased with a lot of it but also know that a lot of work still needs to be done; a lot.

First off, we’re trying to remain XHTML strict and are avoiding hacks best we can but IE still misbehaves here and there. Annoying, yes, but the site works well enough to be released into the general population. There are certainly some bugs in other browsers here and there. Ah, the joys of web-development.

Secondly, We have a list of stuff to do before we can be certain that this site is truly user friendly. The tool tips on the Link Pool and the Feeds aren’t quite there yet. We need to make the preview text of articles clearer and some features are just plain missing.

Last but not least, we’re not happy. We never are. Never ever. We look at things and go “bah!”—out loud, numerous times a day. We just had to stop being so bloody picky and launch the damn thing. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to fix these things. So while we’re excited about launching the site, we’ll probably never be 100% happy with it, and that’s the way it should be.

In the meantime, please comment (right here) on things you love, hate, are puzzled by. We’ve probably missed shed loads of important stuff so help us make UX Magazine what you want it to be.

UPDATE (19/12/05): We’ve applied a nasty hack and “fixed” some IE bug which just won’t go away otherwise. This is just band-aid but it will have to do for now. We’re also killing off the tool tips we had as we were getting too many issues with them. Shame because they were damn pretty.

UPDATE (20/12/05): Latest changes include a lot of stuff noticed by our visitors (thank you very much).

  1. We removed the email link from all our commenter’s. Now only a web link will be applied, if entered. (noticed by Alex Casanova)
  2. Fixed the home page a bit, still needs work though. Added the TextPattern credits (question asked by Roshambo)
  3. Changed the tabindex on the comment forms. Now it works as it should. (thanks Greg)
  4. The last update info in the SnapShot box on the Home page, now displays the actual last update time, including the comments.
  5. And last but not least, it seems Del.icio.us is back up, so now you can also see our Link Pool list on the home Page.

UPDATE (20/12/05) Part Deux: Got some new tabs done as the older ones where accused of being, well, rather crap. You can check out their dark chromed goodness by look at the top bar; ooh, shiny… CMD fixed some CSS stuff I broke while hacking away to get IE to bloody work. He also added a smooooth “back to top” at the bottom of every article. We’re working on a better way of integrating that into the design.

UPDATE (21/12/05): We’ve merged the search and tabs and fixed some issues in the process. With Christmas approaching fast, we’re scrambling to fix as much as possible before we’re all off for the holidays. IE unfortunately still misbehaves. The feedback and exposure we’ve been getting has been tremendous, which kind of freaks me out because there’s still so much to do. It’s 4am, I’m going to bed. Thanks for dropping by.

UPDATE (23/12/05): We’ve been very busy trying to get most of your comments into our layout. All of your remarks, complaints and praises have been very helpful. So to keep this note short, here’s what we’ve done so far:

  1. We’ve cleaned up our CSS. If anyone tries to validate it, they will get an error. It’s an ugly hack we’ve added, but will get rid of it shortly.
  2. We added more informative page titles.
  3. We finalized the “tab” & “search” design.
  4. We removed the horizontal scroll bar. The full fix will come when we get around to restructuring the whole site… Should be right after Xmas holidays.

 

UPDATE (23/12/05) Part Deux: Just got around to changing the descriptive text on all articles. The excerpt is now properly displayed.
Also please forgive us if you’ve been receiving one-too-many RSS updates on our articles. We’ve been fidgeting with the Feed a bit… until we get things sorted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

User Profile

UX Magazine was created to be a central, one-stop resource for everything related to user experience. Our primary goal is to provide a steady stream of current, informative, and credible information about UX and related fields to enhance the professional and creative lives of UX practitioners and those exploring the field. Our content is driven and created by an impressive roster of experienced professionals who work in all areas of UX and cover the field from diverse angles and perspectives.

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Comments

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thinsoldier: Yeah, it kills me. I’ve been having similar problems with XP overiding buttons and the Google Toolbar changing the style of text fields. sigh We’ll work around it somehow, we have to. For those who don’t have access to Safari: this is how it comes out.

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I think the current layout is absolutely fantastic. The magazine effect of small teaser images is extremely intuitive and enviable.

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I LOOOVE your site. I think you guys did an amazing job with the layout of the homepage and especially the articles.

A few things:

1) Why you don’t have a Contact page?

2) In FF there’s a bug in the articles page. The writer image won’t slide to the right side and it covers the writer’s title.

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I really like your site and your layout! Is it possible to submit my User Interface Blog (http://www.user-interface.org) to your Feed Merger?

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Oded: Thanks. We’re working on adding a contact form and are completely reworking the sub-page. More on that soone.

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Lovely layout and look. I love color`s ! My site is so green but now will be so red….

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I really love the design and article, here. a few things thought. there is no clear way to contact you guys through private email, thus my post here. I was wondering that you might want to remove the XHTML and CSS compliant buttons at the bottom of the page, being that this site is geared to designers, those buttons SCREAM ‘press me’, and i am sure you are aware of the problems there.

Im not saying that you should run out and stamp all those issues imediately, just don’t advertise that you are compliant and you really are not, just looks bad IMHO.

other than that I LOVE the visual design of this site and have made it a daily read. Thax for this guys/girls

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david b: Thanks for the ups. As for the validation buttons we have, well they both seem to be working. We validate XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS .

There are some of our older articles which need a bit of correcting, but I’m pretty sure we’ve solved most of our issues by now.

If there’s something in particular you’ve noticed, please let us know.

And about the contact details, you can find our direct email in the About UX Magazine section.

I would like to take this moment though, to remind all our readers that UX Magazine is still in BETA, which means we’re still working on the site.

Keep up the feedback, we need it. Thanks.

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Site looks excellent guys! Very clean.

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Amazing work. Although I liked ProjectNeo, this is most definitely a suitable replacement. It’s now in my collection of Featured Sites.

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Hello and thanks to cssvault.com, i think i have stumbled upon a useful resource there! :p

Apologies if this feedback has been given. I have noticed that the layout seems to be rendering wrongly on a 1280×1024 resolution, 17 inches LCD monitor.

The “linkpool” column seem to be dumped at the right most corner of the page and the layering seems to be jumbled up at the bottom right hand corner.

Here’s the screenshot for better visualisation(pls note that the pix is cropped and compressed.) – http://www.pix8.net/pro/pic.php?u=5435IamRs&i=778563

Thank you and i shall now savour the prospect of gaining more new knowledges here. :)

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Hong Hui: My bad! I was messing about with the CSS at 3am and had messed up the code. It’s all good now and we’re doing all the messing about on a development version of the site. I can’t be trusted. Thanks!

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Why launch a magazine, of all things, as a beta?

In fact, I’m really curious as to why you guys put all this time and effort into developing something that, to a significant degree, runs in parallel with extant magazines and other communication efforts.

What needs did you feel weren’t being addressed by the existing UX-centric publications online? What perspectives did you feel you could bring to these discussions that weren’t being acknowledged?

Over the last seven years now, I’ve been asked to join one UX group after another, been sent links to a long stream of site launches, and watched with some dismay and trepidation as each turned out to consist largely of the same three articles written over and over again. (I particularly don’t think CSS is, in the end, all that interesting to those many of us who perceive the practice of UX as transcending the Web entirely.)

The lesson I draw from this is that, while there may in principle be a large enough community of UX practitioners to support a regular publication effort, there does not exist a comparable critical mass of those able to provide engaging and well-thought-out UX content. So unless you’ve dug up some previously-unacknowledged stratum of Secret Masters, I guess I’m wondering where you’re going to get fresh, new, well-articulated content from.

In the end, none of this – however snarky it may seem – is to discourage you. I, for one, would love to see a well-designed and -produced magazine devoted to design for the user experience (or maybe just “design”), and there’s no reason why yours couldn’t be the one. I do think, however, that you’ve significantly underestimated the challenges involved in producing something of worth. I wish you all the luck in the world, but still more than that I urge you to dig a little deeper.

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The site looks okay and I am still roaming it. Good thing you actually show, here and there, how you have built things. Much appreciation about that, I am never too old to learn new things.

Fedora Core 4
Firefox 1.5

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AG: Why not launch a magazine as a beta? We decided to let people in before we were completely finished, we thought it’d be interesting for our readers and ourselves. It has been but mostly it’s been fun. Also, it’s important to note that we’re busy (and somewhat lazy) people so if we’d waited for this thing to be finished you’d still be seeing an “under construction” page.

There will always someone somewhere doing something similar but from the feedback we’ve been receiving people seem pretty happy with our effort so far. It keeps us going, and quite possibly, clouds our judgement as to whether we should be spending our time on something more constructive.

We’re not particularily making this for the people you call UX practitioners. In our book, everyone involved in anything that relates to users interacting with something should be involved in UX and, hopefully, read this magazine.

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Alex: Haha, i see i see. Well, it’s a beta…so urm…i have nothing to say. :P

P.S: Heh, in 1024×768 (FF v1.5.0.1), the checkbox for the reply box looks kinda chunky and cute eh. Lol~

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Hong Hui: Indeed. ;) And yes, that checkbox behaves really strangely. Well spotted.

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I really like the design here. Very impressive and I like the originality. I also think you have some really nice content as well. Nice work!

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Very nice work m8s, cheers!

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I don’t think the search results pages are displaying correctly in Firefox, and I can’t search for “css” because all keywords apparently need at least 3 letters.

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Ben: You’re right there. We’re currently using TxP ’s built in search engine with some minor modifications.

It’s on our list to make the search even better.

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how did you guys manage to get the little author profile to appear on the articles with textpattern? Is this profile hooked up to the author admin login or do u have it as another category? I’m stumped.

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SpiritCrossing: Actually we’re using the rss_if_author plug-in originally created by Rob Sable. The plug-in can be found at his site wilshire|one . Again we’ve modified it a bit to suit our needs, but essentially, it’s the same plug-in.

Almost all of UX Magazine is being run off ready made plug-ins which we’ve altered. Others heavily, and others slightly. The whole concept was to create a site with minimum effort. And for that I personally thank the Textpattern crew, and the community behind it.

In our next major update, which should be coming in the following weeks, we’ll also be releasing a full list of all plug-ins used to create this site, along with some very important changes, most of which have been pointed out by our visitors…

Because, “We’re reading every single post…”

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Just an FYI, the text in the section with the checkbox to open links in a new window is cut off at the bottom. It says “Open in new window?
Select this option if you want to have all external links open in a new” [does not say window]

I am using Safari 2.0.3 and viewing at 1280×854.

Overall I love the flexibilty of the design. However, it is a lot to take in all at once, a bit overwhelming visually. Cheers!

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Addendum to that last post about the word “window” being cut off. I had my font size up one level…. All the words are visible at default font size.

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I think it would make more sense if the “Design”, “Tech” and “Strategy” buttons were full color to begin with so that they connected immediately with their respective icons.

Having to mouse over them to see the connection is an unnecessary additional step.

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Mark: VERY good point and one I will look into as we get out of beta. I am kind of contemplating getting rid of colour coding altogether and switch to a clearer taging system for the articles. Never happy.

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It appears as thou on a dialup connection, the body text takes several seconds to align central to the parent div. Maybe the css for this is too low in the markup, thus loading later?

Great site. Nice and elegant. Entries are to the pint and not hyped up. Information as it is ;)

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Is it just me or does http://www.mutationevent.com/ seem to look a lot like UXmag…

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To follow-up on Mark’s comment:

a) You should really have a key for those D/T/S icons, (or just go with Mark’s suggestion.)

b) And even if you do go with Mark’s suggestion, the colors of the icons match up with the colors of the RSS, XHTML, CSS buttons at the bottom of the page. So when someone IS looking for a key, that’s all they see. Which is confusing. So you might consider switching something up.

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I think you guys need to go back to the drawing board in terms of UI and layout. It took me 10 minutes to find the primary navigation. I tried clicking on the steve jobs quote, then his picture, I clicked on that green ad in the middle, didn’t even notice it was an add. There is no hierchy to your site. You don’t even have a proper H1 or H2 tag in your source. There is no sense of what is a link, how important the link is, or how to navigate. I’m sorry if I’m being critical, but this website breaks all the rules of UI for no reason, it isn’t like the site even looks special. It looks like a newspaper on a website and it isn’t even a good looking newspaper layout. Try again.

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Try Validome.org to validate the site. There’s a minor bug regarding the onsubmit event handler with a missing meta tag stating the correct Content-Script-Type

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love the way you guys structured and styled this site for print. I love printing interesting articles, and this site got heaps!

eh heck, I love everything bout this site. Great stuff guys!!

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I just found a romanian “webdesigner” Cristian Tirsan that has on his portofolio a website(http://www.poloexpo.ro/) that is 90% identical to this one. His portofolio si avaiable at http://mdma.pcnation.ro/ He is working for this company Q-design Software http://www.qdesign.ro/

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Arthos, ur talking #$%@… 90% identical? I had a look at both of them, but that poloexpo just seem to be a little inspired. U cannot call that a rip.

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can you please remove the 508 accessibility sign?

your website is not accessible and readable for people who are blind and visual impaired! I use mozilla firefox so I can overwrite internet explorer’s and your websites forced use of small fonts. 30% of your webpage is not readable with bigger fonts (arial 16).

it could be very intresting website if I could read it!

a very angry and very anoyed pheloxi feeling disciminated by small fonts.

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Pheloxi: We are constantly trying to figure out new ways of making UXMag friendlier and more accessible while retaining its visual appeal. I also appreciate and agree with the the fact that currently the compliance buttons aren’t entirely representative of the site’s overall performance and this is something we are looking at very seriously. I apologize for the difficulties you have experienced.

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How can access your RSS feed directly without going to feeburner. I have my own reader that can parse the XML file.

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James: Hello James, we’re routing our feed through FeedBurner in order to track it’s results. You can use our feed from the link we provide just as you would any other direct RSS feed.

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Hey Guys, I wrote a review of this site with some suggestions. I would like to hear your opinion about it.
Case Study UX Magazine – When Good Design Is Poor Usability

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I applaud your efforts. It’s no secret that the usability engineering crowd is a tough audience to design for. No kidding! You’ll have critics waiting in line to tell you which principles you’ve violated at every turn. The reality is that this audience routinely frequents many notable UX gurus blogs or web sites that are not all that interesting visually, but usable, which is usually the point.

The point – What is the point? That the question. Is it simply to attempt to create a visually interesting format in which to discuss this field, or do you a really have something to say? I find the concept of UX as an on-line magazine compelling. However, when I look at it to try to discern what is your particular angle on this field or your unique contribution, it seems very fuzzy and undefined. After browsing and reading/skimming some articles, I still don’t know. Is it me?

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Hong Hui: My bad! I was messing about with the CSS at 3am and had messed up the code. It’s all good now and we’re doing all the messing about on a development version of the site. I can’t be trusted. Thanks!

32
40

Hello and thanks to cssvault.com, i think i have stumbled upon a useful resource there! :p

Apologies if this feedback has been given. I have noticed that the layout seems to be rendering wrongly on a 1280×1024 resolution, 17 inches LCD monitor.

The “linkpool” column seem to be dumped at the right most corner of the page and the layering seems to be jumbled up at the bottom right hand corner.

Here’s the screenshot for better visualisation(pls note that the pix is cropped and compressed.) – http://www.pix8.net/pro/pic.php?u=5435IamRs&i=778563

Thank you and i shall now savour the prospect of gaining more new knowledges here. :)

25
33

Amazing work. Although I liked ProjectNeo, this is most definitely a suitable replacement. It’s now in my collection of Featured Sites.

24
37

Site looks excellent guys! Very clean.

30
44

david b: Thanks for the ups. As for the validation buttons we have, well they both seem to be working. We validate XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS .

There are some of our older articles which need a bit of correcting, but I’m pretty sure we’ve solved most of our issues by now.

If there’s something in particular you’ve noticed, please let us know.

And about the contact details, you can find our direct email in the About UX Magazine section.

I would like to take this moment though, to remind all our readers that UX Magazine is still in BETA, which means we’re still working on the site.

Keep up the feedback, we need it. Thanks.

31
38

I really love the design and article, here. a few things thought. there is no clear way to contact you guys through private email, thus my post here. I was wondering that you might want to remove the XHTML and CSS compliant buttons at the bottom of the page, being that this site is geared to designers, those buttons SCREAM ‘press me’, and i am sure you are aware of the problems there.

Im not saying that you should run out and stamp all those issues imediately, just don’t advertise that you are compliant and you really are not, just looks bad IMHO.

other than that I LOVE the visual design of this site and have made it a daily read. Thax for this guys/girls

34
26

Lovely layout and look. I love color`s ! My site is so green but now will be so red….

25
33

Oded: Thanks. We’re working on adding a contact form and are completely reworking the sub-page. More on that soone.

30
28

I really like your site and your layout! Is it possible to submit my User Interface Blog (http://www.user-interface.org) to your Feed Merger?

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