Why We Prototype
First and foremost, the prototype defines the meat of a website: its content. Whenever possible, we use real content in our prototypes, which forces us to assess our content needs early on.
User don’t hate change. They hate you.
What’s not being said is Users don’t hate change. Users hate change that doesn’t make things better, but makes everything have to be relearned. In fact, users don’t like change that might improve their lives if they don’t perceive the value of that change.
Mobile Testing Toolbox: Part 1
I’ve been evaluating and testing remote usability testing tools since the summer of 2012. When I began, such tools seemed impossible to find, but now, many exist on the market.
The Elements of a Style Guide
If your company publishes content, you probably need a style guide. It might sound like a huge undertaking, but style guides don’t have to be exhaustive. In fact, the exhaustive ones are usually counterproductive because nobody bothers reading them.
On Writing Interfaces Well by Jonas Downey of 37signals
Interface designers like to talk shop about visual styling: colors, icons, type, gradients, shadows, spacing. If it can be tweaked in Photoshop, there’s probably a lengthy Twitter debate about it.
Aesthetics are debatable, but writing is essential. Peel away the layers of styling and you’ll be left with words. Writing is the meat of a design, and it’s one of the hardest things to get right.
Data-Driven Design In The Real World
As more designers and writers look to analytics to inform their decisions, many still struggle to implement their findings in a sustainable, ongoing way. Too often, testing and analysis are one-off activities, providing plenty of important-looking numbers but not lot of context or specific direction.
When it comes to music – Sweden goes up stream
I don’t know if you knew this , however Spotify is in fact Swedish service. It become one of the few providers that may take on i-tunes regarding options and cost. Here’s a motivating reports about this and the way it started to be so great . Also, you can check one on our new posts about Spotify.
Onboarding Techniques and Examples for Your New Users
When someone signs up on your website, or downloads your software, or installs your mobile app, it doesn’t immediately mean the person has already decided to use it. You have a small window of opportunity to quickly introduce your app’s key features and teach a first-time user how the app works. The process of familiarizing a new user to your app is called onboarding.
How to Get Noticed as a Designer: Seven Tips from Influential Curators, Retailers and Creative Directors
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to talk with ten of the most important names in industrial design—not designers themselves, but the people who make design careers by manufacturing, exhibiting and selling original work. I asked them each a handful of questions about how they discover new design and how emerging designers can turn heads and gain recognition. These influential curators, retailers and creative directors were quick to share their insights (and in some cases their personal e-mail addresses), telling us how to get a chair into production, a piece into MoMA’s collection (or its stores) and your name on the tip of Gwyneth Paltrow’s tongue.
Does Digital Age Overcomplicate Design?
There is a scene in the television series “Boss” in which the mayor of Chicago, played by Kelsey Grammer, is discovered by his wife washing bed sheets by hand at three o’clock in the morning. “Why don’t you use the washing machine?” she asks, not unreasonably. “I can’t turn it on,” he replies.
A Five-Step Process For Conducting User Research
Imagine that this is what you know about me: I am a college-educated male between the ages of 35 and 45. I own a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 5, on which I browse the Internet via the Google Chrome browser. I tweet and blog publicly, where you can discover that I like chocolate and corgis. I’m married. I drive a Toyota Corolla. I have brown hair and brown eyes. My credit-card statement shows where I’ve booked my most recent hotel reservations and where I like to dine out.
How Monitoring Can Affect User Experience
One of the simplest but most impactful design decisions inside the Prius is the miles per gallon meter. Any Prius owner can readily fill you in on their average miles per gallon, and if they’re really paying attention, they know their MPG in different parts of town. Going down a hill or sitting in high traffic? MPG goes up. Have to cruise on gas for a while? Watch the numbers go down.
When Does Quantity Become Quality? How to navigate big data
Whatever your view is regarding the definition or competencies of a UX designer, there is no question that we work at the interface between human and computer interactions. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a solid understanding of the relevant technology and user behavior is required to deliver the best possible user experience.
Design for Experience: Promoting Empathy For Users
As a judge for the international Design for Experience awards, I must forewarn you: I will have a very critical eye on anyone nominating an elevator in the “Promoting Empathy For Users” category. Why? I’ve traveled within four continents and have yet to see an elevator truly designed for the user.
How Does Flat Design Damage and Improve Usability?
As skeuomorphism falls out of favor and the trend towards flatter design takes hold are we losing something more than depth in the interfaces we design? Is it possible we’re making our sites less usable? Could it be that flat design is damaging to usability.
Designing Effective Carousels
Carousels allow multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, coveted space. This may placate corporate infighting, but on large- or small-view ports, people often scroll past carousels. A static hero or integrating content in the UI may be better solutions. But if a carousel is your hero, good navigation and content can help make it effective.
Mobile: Native Apps, Web Apps, and Hybrid Apps
Native and hybrid apps are installed in an app store, whereas web apps are mobile-optimized webpages that look like an app. Both hybrid and web apps render HTML web pages, but hybrid apps use app-embedded browsers to do that.
Progressive Enhancement: It’s About the Content
How to Conduct a Top-Task Analysis
While there are hundreds to thousands of things users can accomplish on websites and software interfaces, there are a critical few tasks that drive users to visit a website or use the software.
Responsive Design is Not About Screen Sizes Any More
In March 2012, Guy Podjarny ran a test comparing the performance of hundreds of shiny new responsive websites across four different screen resolutions. The results were very disappointing. Two years into the rise of Responsive Web Design, after every imaginable sort of designer and developer had jumped into the train, it took a test to almost rock the theory to its foundations. Guy proved that almost every known responsive site was overweight.
Responsive Navigation On Complex Websites
Central to a solid user experience is a well-structured, simple navigation system. Over the past few months, I’ve been involved in launching two large institutional websites with complex navigation systems. Maintaining simplicity on such large websites becomes increasingly difficult as content requirements grow and tiers of navigation are added, not to mention the extra complexity added by small screens.
Your Marketing Attribution and UX Data is Dead Wrong
For years, data ‘clearly’ showed that the model for the world was flat. If you sailed off the edge, you were doomed. Merchants firmly believed this and navigated according to this ‘universal truth.’ They were dead wrong.
It should be followed by, “What are their motivations?” or “What are their goals?” If you don’t know who you’re designing for, wireframing is a waste of time. I was once at fault: I would start projects this way. After a few failed projects, I started every new project with at least some research so I could understand the target audience.
10 Awesome Font and Typography Resources for Web Designers
Fonts and typography are an important part of any web design, and in recent years the possibilities have increased dramatically for web designers. There are a number of great tools and resources out there that can help you in various ways related to web design and typography. In this post we’ll showcase 10 resources that can prove to be useful in your own work. Some of them are free and others are commercial.
Copywriting Across Channels
Copywriting—Jeff Gothelf called it the secret weapon of user experience. Jakob Nielsen quipped that it could fix 50% of usability issues. And, according to Optimizely, it may have been the key element that netted Obama $60 million more in donations. No matter how you look at it, copywriting is an integral element of design.
Learning from Board Games
“Board games and applications use many of the same principles to quickly get new players and new users started.”
Directive Versus Collaborative UX Consulting
My UX team consists of highly skilled, outgoing UX professionals who live and work all over the world and engage with a diverse set of customers—both rewarding and challenging. Generally, our consulting style is a blend of directive and collaborative consulting. By this, I mean that we provide thought leadership on how to create successful user experiences for our software products, but we do this with a customer rather than to a customer. This is a common and effective approach, blending leadership with a desire to be inclusive and get everyone on board with our ideas and see them come to fruition.
The UX Professionals’ Guide to Working with Agile Scrum Teams « Boxes and Arrows The adoption of Agile software development approaches are on the rise across our industry, which means UX professionals are more likely than ever to support Agile projects. Many UX professionals seem stymied by the challenge of effectively integrating UX within an Agile development framework–but there are others in our field who have encountered the same problems yet are finding effective solutions.
insideintercom.io Cards are fast becoming the best design pattern for mobile devices.
7 Useful Git Tips for Beginners Back when I first started to use Git for version control, I wasn’t sure if all the learning I invested into it would pay off. Branching, staging, stashing — these Git terms were all foreign to me.
Today, I can’t imagine life without Git. Git not only gave me a much-needed ability to version-control my work, it also made me a better programmer.
How to Create an Enterprise UI Toolkit User interface toolkits are helpful for ensuring consistent quality in your web software products and encouraging rapid prototyping in agile software environments.
Progressive Enhancement Is Faster Progressive enhancement has become a bit of a hot topic recently, most recently with Tom Dale conclusively showing it to be a futile act, but only by misrepresenting what progressive enhancement is and what its benefits are.
An agency workflow for Responsive Web Design I’ve been thinking about workflows for Responsive Web Design quite a bit, particularly since it’s now become our default approach on every new project (similar to Cloud Four’s recent change of heart). I’ve been especially influenced by two recent articles on the topic, namely Dennis Kardys’s A More Flexible Workflow, and Viljami Salminen’s Responsive workflow.
Designing For Emotion With Hover Effects Of the many factors that must be considered in Web design, emotional interaction is an important, but frequently neglected, component. In the real world, we experience the sensual interaction of design all the time. Reflect for a moment on the emotional engagement of slipping behind the wheel of a powerful luxury car: the welcoming embrace of the driving seat, the tactile experience of running your hands over the leather on the steering wheel, the subtle gleam reflected in the controls.
Path, definitely one of my favorite apps, is coming to the new Samsung watch, and I can’t help thinking it’s a little cool and can’t wait to see what they can do with it. I’m not convinced it’s a convenient way to share stuff, but I’d love to try it and can only hope it’s coming to the iOS universe later on. The mobile app is a piece of art.
Just when you thought you got the hang of designing for smaller screens, here come the even smaller ones.
Over the past six years, as I’ve built a UX team from a solo practice to a team of 11, I’ve seen how design research can greatly influence product development. Early on, we had little time for customer interviews or usability tests. We were mostly shooting from the hip, listening to customer support, and revising on the fly.
5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When A/B Testing Your Designs
A/B testing can help improve your web designs. Even a small tweak such as changing the location of your call-to-action button can increase sales by 35.6%. Performing A/B tests will let you verify that your design changes lead to better results.
There is nothing more insightful than learning how to improve your business directly from your customers. The challenge is asking the right questions.
Designing for Transparency and the Myth of the Modern Interface
Over a decade after Mark Weiser’s publications on calm computing, we’re finally reaching a point where technological capability matches our desire for ubiquitous computing and so-called natural user interfaces. However, taking a lesson from artificial intelligence, just because we can create a system does not mean we are ready to design it.
Eight Human Behaviors to Validate Your Product Designs
For a product designer, an interface is not just a collection of words and pixels. Everything we design is a potential study in human behavior. Understanding human behaviors and motivations can help designers create interfaces that people truly connect with. But being able to defend your thinking i
Designing For Digital Products
In digital culture, we are beginning to think of our output as products and of our clients as users. “Products” might be websites, apps or communities, and they might be created by startups, agencies or a couple of people at a hackathon. This shift mainly means that we have gotten serious about asking how to better serve users, which reflects a significant change in the designer’s skill set.
30 essential UX tools
When developers build websites, they often focus on the layout and technical features but neglect one very important aspect — how the user experiences the site. If users have a hard time figuring out how to accomplish their goals, they will look elsewhere and not come back. A pleasant user experience, on the other hand, can create a favorable and lasting impression that differentiates a site from its competition.
I’m Not a UX Designer Anymore
Discussions about the use of language and, in particular, the question “What is user experience?” are surprisingly common themes on UX forums. I say surprisingly because, although people working in user experience often come from a broad range of established professional backgrounds, user experience, as a discipline, often appears rather unsure of itself. In this column, I’ll look at some of the common discussions about user experience and the use of language within the UX community.
“Place” for mobile UX & design culture
Place is a deep concept rich in potential–particularly in relation to “mobile workstyles” and creating a culture of design. Indeed, my own fascination with “place” as an amorphous digital concept goes way back to a pivotal course at CMU taught by Malcolm McCullough on “Place-centric Design”–much of which served as fodder for his landmark book Digital Ground (which I highly recommend).
Mobile Intranet Design Case Studies
Supporting field staff and mission-critical apps are core reasons to take enterprise computing mobile, but users also value access to news and internal social networks.
User Experience Is More Than Design—It’s Strategy
Most technology companies and digital agencies don’t consider UX design roles to be part of strategic decision making. UX designers usually get hired to execute strategy decisions that others have already made.
The Spectrum of Visual User Interface Design
A debate between designers who prefer highly detailed and textured designs that emulate things in the physical world and those who favor more abstract, flat, and iconic designs has polarized the visual design community.
Why Agile Is So Hard
Is agile a dirty word in your company or among the members of your UX team? Do you hear the term lean UX and groan? It’s okay—and not really surprising—if your answer is yes. Agile is hard, and we all know it. But since agile is likely to stick around for a while, I’m sure you’ve thought about how to make it easier.
“Designers shouldn’t code” is the wrong answer to the right question
My friend Wayne Greenwood asked me what I thought of his recent blog post in which he argues that designers shouldn’t write code. He wrote, “Your time is the ultimate zero-sum game. The more you spend on the complexity and details of coding, the less you have to make the product experience better for your users or to influence product strategy.” My friend @miniver sucked me into the twitter debate on the subject–so I thought maybe I should share my thoughts without the 140 character restriction.