111 posts categorized "design"

Monday, 03 May 2010

The Marshmallow Challenge

Tom Wujec demonstrates the power of prototyping through the Marshmallow Challenge. Kindergartners fared better than recent business school graduates... which is funny & scary.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Good Reads Oct 19 - Nov 13

“Just add an egg” – Usability, User Experience and Dramaturgy
It's not just about ease of use and speed, it's also about the experience and even enabling the user to play a social role.

Jesse James Garrett | UX Week 2009 | Adaptive Path
"The user experience mindset is an acquired condition for which there is no cure."

The Myth of Usability Testing
The results are only as good as the tests. Use the right tool and design the test properly for the context and goals of the site.

A Plea to All Creatives: Stop Going to Work
"Balance = happy = creative = productive. Repeat."

go outside

Design - Exploring Options and Making Decisions
Jared Spool's summary of various workshops at User Interface 14.

How to Recover From Project Failures
Good ideas for recognizing, discussing, and resolving issues during a project.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Good Reads Week of Oct 12

Fresh vs. Familiar: How Aggressively to Redesign
People don't like change so incremental changes to existing design are best. But sometimes a complete overhaul is warranted.

How To Persuade Your Users, Boss or Clients
Great tips for any profession.

Google's Marissa Mayer Assaults Designers With Data
Love Google but as a designer I would not want to work there. Lots of great designs were done without a ton of data to back them up.

The Six "Wow" Features of Windows 7
I'm glad to hear Microsoft is took more of a design approach but this Mac snob will not be silenced.

Good IXDers borrow, great ones steal...
Excellent summary of various disciplines that we should steal from.

The Manhattan Transcripts - from moma.org

Friday, 09 October 2009

Good Reads Week of Oct 5

The Future of Health Care Is Social
In this feature article, frog design uses its people-centered design discipline to show how elegant health and life science technology solutions will one day become a natural part of our behavior and lifestyle. What you see here is the result of frog's ongoing collaboration with health-care providers, insurers, employers, consumers, governments, and technology companies.

A shorthand for designing UI flows
Ryan of 37Signals describes a new shorthand for UI flow diagrams. Very simplified version that I think will come in handy at the start of a complex project.

Why Traffic Signs Don't Work (And What You Should Learn From It)
People respond more effectively to natural cues rather than artificial ones.

8 Ways Doing Less Can Transform Your Work & Life
Focus, quality over quantity, do better not more.

Facilitation: A Love Story
Facilitation is easily one of the top skills a UX professional should master.

Beyond Goals: Site Search Analytics from the Bottom Up
Overview of bottom-up analysis of site search stats and how it can complement a top-down approach.

7 Tips to Sell Your Ideas the Steve Jobs Way
Great tips for presentations and even for design sessions.

Monday, 05 October 2009

Good Reads Week of Sept. 28

Forget "Shrink It and Pink It": the Femme Den Unleashed
Better thinking and design of products for women.

How Simplicity Can Help Creativity, Briefly
11 tips on simplifying to spark creativity.

Your Brain on Thousands of Products
Great examples of product filtering UIs. More examples in the comments too.

A Complete Guide to Finding and Using Incredible Flickr Images
Benefits of using Flickr images and a great overview of the different types of licenses from Creative Commons.

Statues at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance.
Photo by SplaTT.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Good Reads Weeks of Sept. 14 & Sept. 21

Improving the transition from paper to Photoshop
Tips on sketching concepts and moving from analog to digital tools.

Can Information Be Saved?

Possible implications of not preserving digital information and the challenges of preserving it in a way that would be readable in the future.

How I Draft an Information Architecture

Start by making it up, measure against users and content, tweak, repeat until it feels right.

Bing Visual Search Interesting, but Needs More Purpose

Review of Bing's visual search compared to Google Fast Flip

Sustainable mobility #1: think more, move less

Instead of findings alternative fuel sources, John Tackara says we "need to re-think the way we use time and space."

The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine

The rise of Good Enough Tech such as the Flip camcorder and why it happened.

Missing the Point in the Design of Electronic Medical Records

EMR's can be effective but they currently suffer from poor visual layout and organization of the information.

Systems Thinking: A Product Is More Than the Product

Products are services and it's al about the experience. Systems thinking helps companies think through the entire experience, in various stages.

Breaking Up Large Documents for the Web & Part 2
Excerpt from Ginny Redish's new book on writing and presenting content on the web.

Lisa Strausfield: Redesigning Government

Work history of Lisa Strausfield who is going to be using her IA skills to bring more awareness to government facts.

The Duct-Tape Programmer
KISS principle in relation to software development programmers. "Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it."

Empathy and Emotionally Intelligent Signage
Using language to generate empathy and influence behavior.

Wonderful example of an empathetic sign - does this make you want to slow down?

Saturday, 05 September 2009

Good Reads Week of September 1

Bill DeRouchey's presentation to relax and be human. (via David Kozatch, IxDA list)

Video of story mapping with Jeff Patton and David Hussman at Agile 09. (via Anders Ramsay, agile-usability list)

Helpful summary of organizing files when multiple folks work on the same files.

The Secret to Writing Well
(More) Tips for Writing Well
Tips on writing and editing well from Austin Govella. (via Google Reader)

(un)Synchronizing UX & Development
Working through how much UX should be handled in an Agile fashion. (via Google Reader)

35 Excellent Wireframing Resources
Links to articles, tool lists and other resources for creating better wireframes. (via Google Reader)

4 Lessons that Helped Me Optimize My Workflow

Getting up earlier, scheduled breaks, strict interruption management, take advantage of spare moments. (via Freelance Switch)

Mommy, where do ideas come from?
Exploring ways in which ideas come to be.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Good Reads This Week

Interesting and insightful articles from this week... while most are the usual user experience related topics, there are some around freelancing as I begin my adventure in independent consulting.

20 Tools For The Freelance Designer On A Shoestring Budget
Links to free or cheap tools for image editors, feedback and usability testing, cross-browser testing, programming, and billing, invoicing and timetracking. (via FreelanceSwitch.com)

Convert Design Evolution
Fun video showing the design evolution of an iPhone app. (via Sporter)

Managing UI Complexity
Techniques for managing complexity in an interface. (via @Konigi)

Behind the Typedia Logo Design
Really great overview of designing the new logo for Typedia, which is a shared encyclopedia of typography. (via Twitter)

Your Future in 5 Easy Steps: Wired Guide to Personal Scenario Planning
Scenario planning is a great tool to work through an uncertain future. (via @MarkFrisk)

Design guidelines for e-commerce product pages with eyetracking data
10 guidelines for designing product pages such as clear calls to action, prioritizing important content, simple layout, quality images and helpful descriptions using bullet points. (via Core77)

Information Interplay: Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content
Good designs and good design teams are strong in all three areas. (Via UIEtips)

Renting an Idiomatic Experience
Learning keyless ignition idiom. (via Alok Jain, IxDA list)

Are You a Visual Thinker?
Capturing key ideas in visual form engages people and they're most likely to read them. (via XPRESS)

Sunni Brown Visual Thinking

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Putting Disorientation into the Design Process

Jared Spool describes the technique of putting disorientation into the design process - or "hunkering" as one person they studied called it.

Even though each craft was different, the behavior of hunkering was the same:

  • They lay out whatever physical pieces they have -- raw materials, sketches, and images they'd collected.
  • They work to put things close to where they'd be in their final form, relative to the other pieces.
  • Then they step back and ponder it for a while.
  • In some cases, they walk around to view it from a different angle, to see what it looked like from another perspective.
  • Then they start back up to work.

Hunkering doesn't seem to be the appropriate term here as that implies leaning in and getting to work. The process described above is the opposite motion of stopping work, stepping back and assessing the design.

I used this process frequently as I'm sketching designs and creating wireframes and prototypes. The process is also used within our team by conducting design reviews with the product manager, developer, QA and system architect leads. In a recent project, conducting these reviews allowed us to catch many issues early on that would have been very costly to fix in code.

Monday, 27 April 2009

3 design-based strategies for beating an economic downturn

Phil Barrett of Flow Interactive offers 3 design-based strategies for beating an economic downturn.

1. Innovate your way out

Innovation doesn't mean throwing money at blue sky projects and hoping for miracles. You can cut out masses of risk by using a structured design process:

  • Contextual research. This isn't market research with surveys and focus groups. Contextual research is about observing and participating in people's lives to get the dirty truth about what they need, what they want and how they behave. The innovation often seems obvious when you've got the right information.
  • Conceptual thinking. Get your team together. Have lots of ideas. Stay out of the details and explore the new and usual stuff - that's where inspiration comes from.
  • Evaluation with target users. Make cheap prototypes any which way you can, and watch target customers try it out. Even if the feedback is not what you want to hear, it's better to face harsh reality in the R&D lab than out in the open market.
  • Iteration. Your first attempt will be shaky. Keep testing and fixing your product's design until your customers tell you its ready.

2. Optimise, to squeeze more from what you have

Digital marketers make a lot of noise about acquiring new customers. That's certainly an essential element of a successful business. But keeping your customers happy when they get to you is worthy of at least as much attention. There's a rule of thumb: acquiring a new customer is 6-10 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. So a solid strategy when times are hard is to plug the holes in your "leaky bucket," and stop website visitors from pouring out as fast as you can pour them in.

3. Cut costs by improving the customer experience

Organisations that work to improve the customer experience benefit from reduced costs. They can entice customers to the most cost-effective channels and they generate fewer negative customer experiences and fewer expensive service calls.

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