EVGA GTX 660Ti SC+ 3GB

The graphics card has had light use and comes with the original box.

Price and currency: £80
Delivery: Delivery cost is included
Payment method: BT or Paypal
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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EVGA GTX 660Ti SC+ 3GB

2.5" hard drive external caddy

I’m after a caddy for a 2.5″ hard drive as mine has failed, anyone help?

Location: Leicester

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2.5″ hard drive external caddy

Visual communication and visual cues

Hero_FINAL
In our previous post of this series, we introduced the art of typography: how the formation of letters and words affect usability, readability, and beauty. In today’s post, we introduce you to the science of communication through visual cues. We’ll look at:

  • Visual cues in general—typical examples of visual communication
  • Affordances—visual cues that tell us how to interact with an app
  • Calls to action—visual cues to complete transactions

Visual cues are visual clues you leave for your users so they can spend less time figuring out what they need to do and more time simply getting things done.

Visual cues in general

If your app’s users hesitate because they don’t know what to do next, or don’t understand how to use your navigation, or can’t figure out if a bit of text is intended to be content or a button, they may close the app and never come back.

A great visual cue unobtrusively helps users understand whether they are in the right place for what they would like to accomplish. For example, as you can see in Figure 1, the text and icons are cues for Flipboard’s users, but note that they do not distract from what Flipboard is emphasizing—the image and its caption.

1_flipboard

Figure 1. Flipboard‘s hero image utilizes text and intuitive icons as cues for the user. At the same time, the cues don’t detract from the two main foci: the photo and the caption.

Visual cues can be executed in a variety of ways such as:

  • Providing text instructions
  • Using size, color and contrast to draw the eye
  • Placement in a prominent location on the screen
  • Using lines, arrows and unambiguous icons

For example, the visual cues highlighted in Figure 2 below demonstrate several of these characteristics in action.

Figure 2. This mock-up of an actual app shows several key principles of visual cues in action.

Figure 2. This mock-up of an actual app shows several key principles of visual cues in action.

Visual cues help your user to quickly understand what is happening in your app and to see what is important and what is not. They also orient users within the app and show them the things they can do in it.

Affordances

An affordance is a special kind of visual cue that tells the user how to interact with objects on the screen. Visual cues in the real world create relationships between people and things. For instance, a doorknob affords twisting, a cord affords pulling, a button affords pushing.

Just as real world affordances don’t require any thinking, in-app visual cues similarly should clearly communicate to users how they interact with things. Clear digital affordances let the user know they should tap, drag, drop, pan, scroll, or pinch.

In the app world, perceived affordances generally rely on conventions to convey meaning. Buttons change their appearance when pressed. Draggable objects have handles (Figure 3). Drop zones change color when you drag items over them. Scrollable areas have arrows (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Handles indicate that the object has a draggable action.

Figure 3. Handles indicate that the object has a draggable action.

Figure 4. Arrows (in purple circles) indicate that the calendar area is scrollable.

Figure 4. Arrows (in purple circles) indicate that the calendar area is scrollable.

Don Norman, the great advocate of user-centered design, states that there are two things that matter in designing an easy-to-use affordance:

  1. Whether the desired control can be readily perceived and interpreted
  2. Whether the desired action can be discovered

As long as you rely on conventions like standard button templates, you’ll be fine. If you’re introducing a new sort of interaction and can’t rely on conventions, you can still base your affordance on real-world objects. After all, this is where our conventions originally derive from.

Calls to action

A call to action (sometimes known as a CTA) provides another example of how to use visual cues. Calls to action, such as sign-in/sign-up buttons, are transactional in nature. You’ll see them frequently in free-to-play apps that want you to perform an additional task, like clicking on an ad or clicking on a purchase button.

CTAs usually have wording and design features that invite users to see the button and act immediately. While you may sometimes need to provide detailed instructions to users for calls to action, typically an assertive command like “Become a member” suffices.

A call to action…

  • invites the user to give information, such as an email address or profile photo
  • urges the user to do something, such as “buy” or “download” or “save”
  • offers the user an opportunity, such as a chance “to learn more”

Calls to action use one or more of the following characteristics to visually clue the user into noticing them and understanding their purpose:

  • Contrasting color
  • Noticeable difference in scale
  • Larger font
  • Noticeable margins

In Figure 5 below, the call to action button in the drop down navigation of LinkedIn’s Lynda app is bright blue. Its color and shape distinguish it from other clickable or tappable elements. This same treatment repeated throughout the app to establish a pattern and make it easier to identify calls to action. This trains users to understand what these buttons are for.

Figure 5. The call to action for LinkedIn's Lynda app is bright blue with a shape that differs from those around it, drawing attention to itself. This visual clue alerts the user to the importance of the button.

Figure 5. The call to action for LinkedIn’s Lynda app is bright blue with a shape that differs from those around it, drawing attention to itself. This visual clue alerts the user to the importance of the button.

You can see a different take on the call to action in Figure 6. Additional content is available by selecting “Read More” below the introductory paragraph. To identify this as a call to action, it is in blue and bold style to set it apart from the content itself.

Figure 6. The differing style used for the “Read more” button calls attention to itself and invites users to take action accordingly.

Figure 6. The differing style used for the “Read more” button calls attention to itself and invites users to take action accordingly.

While visual clues should be noticeable to the reader, and calls to action should be doubly so, it is also important to ensure that visual clues and calls to action are not jarring. Jarring visual clues (Figure 7) and calls to action can actually frustrate the eye of the user and distract them from completing their goal.

Figure 7. Although the tool selection menu matches the playfulness of this kid's app, the design choices here make using the app far from effortless. The overall design is so jarring that the user's eye gets lost in the noise. As a consequence, the menu blends in with the image.

Figure 7. Although the tool selection menu matches the playfulness of this kid’s app, the design choices here make using the app far from effortless. The overall design is so jarring that the user’s eye gets lost in the noise. As a consequence, the menu blends in with the image.

Wrapping up

Great visual communication is at the heart of great visual design. It goes beyond simply making your app attractive and gets to basics of making your app usable and effective. In this post we reviewed three topics in visual communication: visual cues, affordances, and calls to action. By keeping these in mind as you design, you’ll make your apps more effortless to navigate, which in turn, helps your users get more done.

For more information, check out:

And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our app design series:

Cooler Master Elite 120 Mini-ITX Case & 8Gb DDR3 RAM

Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced Mini-ITX Case in mint condition. A great case as it can take a full size psu.
Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced Mini-ITX Case – Black
£25 collected from Nottingham

Boxed 2 x 4GB DDR3 Corsair Vengeance LP RAM. model CML8GX3M2A1600C9B. Blue finish and low profile….

Cooler Master Elite 120 Mini-ITX Case & 8Gb DDR3 RAM

You’re the Expert: Teach Cortana When to Connect You to Users

The best real life personal assistants do a few things really well, but for everything else, they rely on a team of experts to get things done. In Cortana’s world, you—the developer—are the expert. Today, nearly 1,000 experts have created Cortana voice commands, so users can easily engage with their apps using voice and text.

This month we announced proactive actions. Cortana can now help you drive higher engagement by proactively suggesting actions that your app or website can perform, just when the user is most likely to need them. With proactive actions, you don’t need to rely on users remembering to use your app! And it requires no new code for your existing deep-linked app or website.

If you would like to join the developer preview, be sure to request an invitation.

Here’s how it works

1_usage

Cortana is evolving to doing things for users when her insights about users help her to anticipate that they need help. Cortana’s insights are situations or conditions based on her understanding of the user’s context or intent. Because Cortana accompanies users across their Windows 10 and Android devices, she knows where they are and what their schedules look like, and uses this knowledge to formulate her insights about users and when to reach out to the experts.

Developers are the experts and build actions, which help a user to do things via your app, website, or in the future, your bot. By registering proactive actions, you can teach Cortana when best to suggest your actions to the user.

2_insightsactions

So, if your app or website helps the user to do useful things, such as order food, pay bills, or send a message, you can teach Cortana when best to surface your actions based on users’ context—their schedule, where they are leaving from work, where they are at this moment, where they are headed.

Take the following as an example:

You are in the food delivery business and an expert in getting food delivered when people decide to order it. Now you can teach Cortana when people are most likely to order food or may end up hungry. You create a proactive action mapping “ordering food” to an insight like “meeting over lunch hours” or “working late.” As a result, when Cortana notices that a meeting has been scheduled over lunch hours for one of your users, she suggests to the user that he or should order food. Because Cortana knows the user’s meeting location and food preferences, she helps you provide a personalized experience right away, for example, by showing the cuisines that the user likes and then taking care of filling out the details, such as when and where the food should be delivered.

It’s easy to register a proactive action with Cortana and requires no new code if you have an existing deep-linkable app or website.  And the investments you make in proactive actions carry forward wherever Cortana is available, starting with Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Android, and continuing in the future with Skype, iOS, and more. Several experts are already working with Cortana on proactive actions such as food ordering with Just Eat and Meituan Waimai, home automation with Haier, Peel, and Petzi, playing music with Netease Cloud Music, and in social media and messaging with Glympse, Viber, and Twitter.

What do you need to do become an expert?

  1. Request an invitation to the developer preview.
  1. Register your actions with Cortana in the developer portal. Specify your own action or select one of the predefined actions.
  1. Map your action to one or more insights. Look at the listed insights and ask yourself if you can provide value to the user when that occurs. Choose the appropriate insights.
  1. Identify the contextual information you want to request from Cortana. With the user’s consent, Cortana can share information in the user’s Notebook, calendar, and location.
  1. Specify the deep link. Provide the URI of your existing deep-linked Windows 10 app, Android app, and website that Cortana should invoke.

Once you have registered your proactive action in the developer portal, Cortana will know when and how to invoke your action.

To learn more, check out these two videos from //Build 2016:

Join this team of experts by signing up today.

Written by Mike Calcagno, Partner Director of Engineering on Cortana

Dell OptiPlex 7010 PC Desktop – i5 3450 / 16GB / 500GB HDD / GT730

BASE UNIT ONLY. (NO POWER, KEYBOARD, MOUSE, MONITOR OR INSTALL DISCS / WINDOWS MEDIA DISCS)

Fully working base unit which has been used as my main media centre for the past few years, hooked up to my TV via HDMI running movies etc… I’ve now upgraded.

I bought this off eBay previously so I’m not aware of any manufacture warranty information. It has never had any new parts and has been perfect for me, everything works as it should and is a decent gaming rig also.

Postage: I will…

Dell OptiPlex 7010 PC Desktop – i5 3450 / 16GB / 500GB HDD / GT730

Putting Users in Control of Flash

One of our top priorities in building Edge has been that the web should be a dependably safe, performant, and reliable place for our customers. To that end, we’re introducing a change to give users more control over the power and resources consumed by Flash. With the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will intelligently auto-pause content that is not central to the web page. Windows Insiders can preview this feature starting with Windows 10 build 14316.

Peripheral content like animations or advertisements built with Flash will be displayed in a paused state unless the user explicitly clicks to play that content. This significantly reduces power consumption and improves performance while preserving the full fidelity of the page. Flash content that is central to the page, like video and games, will not be paused.

Flash has been an integral part of the web for decades, enabling rich content and animations in browsers since before HTML5 was introduced.  In modern browsers, web standards pioneered by Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Apple, Mozilla, and many others are now enabling sites to exceed those experiences without Flash and with improved performance and security.  This transition to modern web standards has benefited users and developers alike.  Users experience improved battery life when sites use efficient web standards, lowering both memory and CPU demands.  Developers benefit as they are able to create sites that work across all browsers and devices, including mobile devices where Flash may not be available.

We encourage the web community to continue the transition away from Flash and towards open web standards.  Standards like Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, Canvas, Web Audio, and RTC offer a rich way to deliver similar experiences with increased performance and security.  We will continue to work within the W3C to ensure standards unblock  all developers to fully transition away from Flash.

We’re aligned with other browsers in this transition from Flash towards a modern standards-based web. Over time, we will provide users additional control over the use of Flash (including content central to the page) and monitor the prevalence of Flash on the web.  We are planning for and look forward to a future where Flash is no longer necessary as a default experience in Microsoft Edge.

– John Hazen, Principal Program Manager Lead, Microsoft Edge