UX Design IQ Challenge

UX Design IQ Challenge

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Question 1
Icons are an essential part of a modern UI's visual design.
A
True
B
False
Question 1 Explanation: 
False! The modern design trend is to use simple glyphs or even no icons at all. The reason is that non-standard icons don't communicate well and often add unnecessary visual clutter.

Learn more at Icon design for non-designers.
Question 2
Software branding usually boils downs to product names, logos, and color schemes.
A
True
B
False
Question 2 Explanation: 
False! While product names, logos, and color schemes are an important part of visual branding, they are just the superficial part of branding. Rather, software branding is about the emotional positioning of your product and company as perceived by your customers. Logos and colors can't achieve this positioning alone.

While there are many factors that affect your brand, the most important is the design of the product itself. To achieve this, you need to establish branding principles that reflect your brand and use them to drive your design decisions.

Learn more at Effective software branding.
Question 3
Photoshop isn't a good prototyping tool.
A
True
B
False
Question 3 Explanation: 
True! While there are many excellent prototyping tools, the best choice is that one that enables you to achieve your prototype goals as efficiently as possible. The labor intensive, high fidelity prototypes that Photoshop encourages are rarely the best choice.

Beyond good ol' pencil and paper (and eraser), our favorite prototyping tool is Balsamiq Mockups. It is simple, intuitive, and a great value—best of all, it encourages you to prototype at the right level of detail and not worry about the pixels.
Question 4
Making sure design ideas are feasible is a top concern throughout the design process.
A
True
B
False
Question 4 Explanation: 
False! While designs ultimately need to be feasible to be developed (by definition), it's a classic mistake to worry about feasibility too early during the design process--especially during brainstorming.

To make good design decisions, you need to have alternatives to choose from. Yet another classic mistake is to seriously consider only one design idea, so you must identify the alternatives. This is often done through brainstorming and similar techniques.

Brainstorming is a process that identifies as many different solutions as possible. Effective brainstorming is all about quantity over quality. The ideas don't have to all be good, they just have to be different so you can explore the range of possibilities. But worrying about feasibility at this point undermines the process by shooting down potentially great ideas too early or for the wrong reasons.

It's better to let the creative process take its course, figure out what you really want to do, then worry about feasibility. Yes, you might need to make some changes, but at least you are on the right track. Your design is now based on what is best for the user, not what is easiest to implement.
Question 5
Your mother is a good target user. For example, saying "My mother would never do that" is good design feedback.
A
True
B
False
Question 5 Explanation: 
False! A classic design mistake is for people to design for themselves. People say "I would never do that." When caught, people often correct themselves by saying "OK then, my mother would never do that!" There are several problems with this technique. First, chances are your mother really isn't the target user so user-centered design demands a more accurate target. Second, people who do this are usually still designing for themselves but just using their mother as a proxy.

Learn more at Why “mom-centered design” isn’t an established discipline.
Question 6
It's acceptable for advanced applications targeted at expert users to require training on how to use the UI.
A
True
B
False
Question 6 Explanation: 
False! UIs that require training aren't intuitive--by definition! The fact that tasks are targeted at advanced, expert users doesn't give you a free pass on making them intuitive--even if the job requires training. There is no task, no matter how advanced, that can't be intuitive.

For example, while professional airline pilots require extensive training, that training should be focused on the tasks required to fly an aircraft safely. Such training shouldn't be focused on learning how to use confusing, unintuitive, poorly designed avionics.

Learn more at Intuitive UI: What the heck is it?.
Question 7
The tradeoff between simplicity and power is largely a myth. In fact, most UIs can be designed to be both powerful and simple.
A
True
B
False
Question 7 Explanation: 
True! This tradeoff is largely a myth. Power is all about enabling your users and making them productive. Simplicity is all about removing the unessential and presenting features the right way. These are orthogonal goals. By understanding your target users and achieving the right balance of features and presentation, you can design experiences that do both.

Learn more at Powerful and Simple.
Question 8
You are about to hire a designer to help you create a great user experience. To make the designer as effective as possible, which of the following should you do?
A
Hire the designer late in the process, when you know what you really want and can keep cost under control.
B
Impress the designer with your own vast knowledge of design details like fonts and colors.
C
Give lots of feedback on both major and minor issues to make sure the designer stays on the right track.
D
Persuade the designer to stick with the existing design to the best extent possible.
E
Establish a clear product vision. Overrule the designer when their approach differs significantly from the rest of team's.
F
None of the above.
Question 8 Explanation: 
None of the above! All of these are worst practices when working with a designer! Hopefully the reasons are obvious.

To learn more about working effectively with designers, consider taking User Experience Design Basics.
Question 9
Online help is a great way to help users perform difficult tasks and reduce technical support costs.
A
True
B
False
Question 9 Explanation: 
False! Requiring online help is a clear sign that a UI design has failed. (To clarify: By "online help," I mean help that is accessed from the UI but separate from it. I consider helpful information that is integrated into the UI to be part of the UI itself.)

The UI itself should be the best documentation on how to perform a task--users shouldn't have to go elsewhere to figure out what to do.

Routine tasks in a modern UI--even difficult ones--shouldn't require any help at all. Well designed help, if needed at all, should be focused on performing advanced, rarely performed tasks; explaining new concepts and rarely used options; or providing supplemental information beyond what is needed to perform a task.

While it's true that providing online help is better than having users fail a task or require technical support, that's a small consolation. Making the UI intuitive and self-explanatory should be your first line of attack.

Learn more at Help Design Concepts.
Question 10
Scenarios are stories about what users want to do with your program's features.
A
True
B
False
Question 10 Explanation: 
False! While scenarios are often defined this way, there are two glaring problems with this definition.

Scenarios are descriptions of a specific user trying to perform a specific task or achieve a specific goal in a specific context or environment. But they are not stories! Scenarios written as stories tend to be long, drawn out creative writing exercise filled with irrelevant details. Such scenarios are too hard to use and therefore usually go unused.

The second problem is that scenarios are about users, their tasks and their goals—not about your program or its features. Good scenarios don't specify solutions so that any solution is possible. Scenarios that bake in a solution have very little practical value.

Learn more at Design scenarios—and how thrilled users ruin them.
Question 11
The Don't show this message again option is the best way to get rid of annoying confirmations.
A
True
B
False
Question 11 Explanation: 
False! While this is a way, it is not the best way. Usually the best way is to not display annoying, unnecessary confirmations in the first place or at least to not display them repeatedly.

Requiring users to configure your program to not be annoying is a clear sign that your UX needs some work. Removing annoyances is your job, not the user's.

Learn more at Are you sure? How to write effective confirmations.
Question 12
Ellipses are used at the end of command labels to show that a dialog box or page will follow.
A
True
B
False
Question 12 Explanation: 
False! While many people believe this, in fact an ellipsis at the end of a command label means that more input is required to perform the command. The difference: if the purpose of the command is to display a dialog box or page (as with Properties, Settings, About, etc.) then no ellipsis is used.

OK, but does anyone really care? Well, yes! The reasons for this guideline are 1) ellipses add clutter to the UI, and 2) adding them to commands whose clear purpose is to display dialog box or page provides no to value to the user. This guideline achieves the right balance.

So, for example, Print... means that the print options dialog will be displayed, but Print means that a single copy will be printed to the default printer using the default settings.

Learn more at Guidelines-based design—A developer’s guide to intuitive UI.
Question 13
Programmers developing core APIs and services need to think about the user experience of their code, even though users never see them directly.
A
True
B
False
Question 13 Explanation: 
True! It's a common misconception among API developers that they don't have to think about the user experience. While users don't see these APIs directly, they definitely feel them.

Top UX mistakes made by such developers are:
  • Awkward, unnatural task flows that map how the code works, but not how users work.
  • Poor performance and responsiveness.
  • No ability to cancel unwanted tasks.
  • Poor user feedback, especially progress feedback for lengthy tasks.
  • Poor error handling, where either the problem is unknown or impossible to map to something meaningful to users.
  • Poorly written error messages that the developers slipped in, thinking that nobody would see them.
A great user experience requires everyone on the team to be thinking about the user experience—even the API developers.
Question 14
You need a control to indicate the selection of one of two states, and you are trying to decide between using a check box or a pair of radio buttons. Which factors should you use to make the decision?
A
The purpose of the control.
B
The ability to label the control clearly.
C
The screen space required.
D
Always use a check box.
E
Always use radio buttons.
F
A, B, and C.
G
None of the above.
Question 14 Explanation: 
A, B, and C! There are many factors in determining the best control. A good general rule is to use the simplest, most constrained, least error prone control that does the job.

For check boxes vs. radio buttons, the factors usually boil down to the purpose, the ability to label clearly, and the screen space required.

In terms of purpose, check boxes should be used to turn on/off or to enable/disable what is described by the label. When used for this purpose, the label can be made clear. The key question: is the meaning of the unchecked state obvious? If not, a pair of radio buttons is the better choice because you can explicitly label both states.

Learn more at UX Design Basics.
Question 15
Access keys should be chosen based on mnemonics and consistency.
A
True
B
False
Question 15 Explanation: 
False! This statement is true of shortkey keys, but often not possible for access keys.

People often confuse these two types of keyboard access. Shortcut keys, usually accessed using Ctrl, are for efficient keyboard access. Shortcuts are memorized by advanced users and common shortcuts (like Ctrl+F) must be assigned consistently across apps to avoid confusion.

By contrast, access keys, accessed using Alt, are primarily used for accessibility. In Windows, access keys are shown by underlining their associated character. While ideally these assignments are consistent and mnemonic, there's just not enough characters to go around to always do this.

Tip: When discussing keyboard assignments, it's a good idea to clarify which of these types you are referring to.

Learn more about keyboard access and standard keyboard assignments at Keyboard.
Question 16
Fitts’ Law is important because it:
A
Indicates how intuitive an interaction is.
B
Measures how much new information people can absorb.
C
Indicates how easy it is to click on something.
D
Provides a useful metric for font legibility.
E
Measures the accessibility of an interface.
F
None of the above.
Question 16 Explanation: 
C! In plain language, Fitts' Law states that the effort required to acquire a target is proportional to its size and inversely proportional to the distance the user has to travel to acquire it. While this conclusion is rather obvious, the actual law is a far-from-obvious mathematical formula.

It is useful to think about Fitts' law when choosing control sizes and window layouts. It also tells you a lot about the benefit of context menus and keyboard shortcuts.

Learn more at Fitts' Law
Question 17
While not used on the web, what does a double click mean? (That is, a left button double click.)
A
Launch the item.
B
Select the item and perform the default action.
C
For text, select a word.
D
None of the above.
Question 17 Explanation: 
A, B, and C! When clicking an object, left double-click means select the object and perform the default action. When clicking on text, left double-click means select the word. A is just a common variation of B.

Learn more at Mouse and Pointers.
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