Functioning Form: 2005 Retrospective

by Luke Wroblewski December 21, 2005

As 2005 winds down, we present a Functioning Form anniversary special: five of this year’s public and personal favorites.

Public Favorites (the most popular articles of 2005)

Web Application Solutions: A Designer’s Guide

"Web Application Solutions is a guide that helps designers, product managers, and business owners evaluate some of the most popular Web application presentation layer solutions available today.

The History of Amazon’s Tab Navigation

"Amazon.com popularized the tab navigation metaphor online. Through the years they explored multiple interface design solutions to make their growing product inventory accessible to Web users. As a result, some interesting lessons emerge when one looks at how the site’s top-level navigation has changed over the years."

Google vs. Yahoo! Interface Design

"As Google and Yahoo! continue their volley of product offerings, I thought it would be useful to compare the interface design solutions each company employed to solve similar user needs."

Web Application Form Design

"Variations in the alignment of input fields, labels, calls to action, and their surrounding visual elements can support or impair different aspects of user behavior."

A Difference of Design

"As the fervor of harnessing “design thinking” for strategic advantage and innovation continues, more firms are looking to reinvent themselves by becoming design-focused. In order to better define what this type of change actually entails, I’ve tried to succinctly outline how design processes differ from traditional business processes."

Personal Favorites

Designers Shaping Things

"Recent travels have taken me through Bruce Sterling’s Shaping Things, a concise futurist manifesto about the technosocial transformation our objects bring upon us. The following themes and passages from Shaping Things are particularly relevant extensions of recent discussions on Functioning Form about design vision and the role of design leads."

Interaction Design & Written Language

"Many comparisons have been drawn between written language and interface design. That’s understandable considering both design and language are essentially forms of communication. The better at communicating we are, the easier it is for our audience to understand our messages and intentions, and the easier it is for them to use and appreciate our design solutions (be they Web applications, posters, maps, or more.)"

Innovations in Search Results Pages

"I asked tonight’s Recent Innovations in Search and Other Ways of Finding Information Panel (Peter Norvig, Google; Mark Fletcher, Ask Jeeves; Udi Manber, A9; Ken Norton, Yahoo!; Jakob Nielsen, NN Group) about the ubiquity of the search results list, what makes it the right interface solve for displaying search results, and why experiments in search result visualizations have met with little success."

Packaging is Part of Design

"Not too long ago, I received a gift from a friend in Japan that echoed several themes I’ve discussed on Functioning Form. The gift was a flashlight from ±0 in Japan and (though I love the light bulb like design of the product) I was really struck by the packaging."

Writing it Down Forces You to Think it Through

This portion of the project deliverables not only gives my clients an understanding of the research and rationale that went into my designs, it also forces me to rationalize the decisions I’ve made and explain them in a clear and concise manner.

Also check out our four public and personal favorites from 2004 retrospective.