You There! Step Away From The Design!

As designers, we often get so deep into our work that we lose the ability to see our designs through eyes of the end-users or viewers. So, before considering any design to be “complete,” try letting it sit for a day or two without looking at it. Read more

The UX Process and UX Design Principles

A web application’s design and usability is just as important as that application’s functionality. If our clients, their users, their partners, and their vendors can’t immediately figure out how to use a web application, then we haven’t done our job correctly. Read more

“Go Slow, To Go Fast” When Designing and Building Software

The concept is simple enough: Take the time to do something right the first time and you will inevitably complete the task faster and better than if you rushed it to “just get it done”. Read more

Less Really Does Equal More (Users)

It seems almost impossible for most software and website companies to resist the urge to add the kitchen sink of features and functions to their products. To this, I say, “Stop the madness!” Read more

The Blur Test: Go Daddy

The Blur Test is an old art school technique used to reveal a design’s focal point and visual hierarchy. Let’s see how Go Daddy holds up to The Blur Test. Read more

Focus Groups Vs Usability Testing

Focus Groups and Usability Tests are often mistaken as being the same thing when in reality they really could not be more different. So, before deciding which to use, it is very important that all parties involved are on the same page in regards to the differences between each test and the expectations of what you are looking to get out of each.

Read more

The ROI of User Experience (Video)

This is a great video from Susan Weinschenk (Chief of UX Strategy at HFI), which illustrates what many of us UX professionals preach on a regular basis—the value of User Experience. Read more

User Experience (Not Technology) Is The Secret To Apple’s Success.

Innovation is defined as “the introduction of something new” and when most people think of Apple they think of an innovative technology company. However, I would argue that Apple is really known more for designing innovative user experiences than it is for developing innovative new technologies. In other words, when it comes to taking technologies and changing the way people experience those technologies, no one is better than Apple.

How many portable media players were there before the iPod?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making portable media players before launching the iPod in 2001. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology—they made the experience of using a portable media players better by focusing on the core needs of the product:

  • Make it easy for people to load music files onto the player.
  • Make it easy for people to quickly browse through a huge library of music.

ListenUp_iPod1

Audio Highway’s “Listen Up” released in 1996. Apple’s iPod released 5 years later in 2001.

How many smartphones were there before the iPhone?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making smartphones before launching the iPhone in 2007. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology used to make phone calls, read email, take photos and surf the Internet on a handheld device—they made the experience of using a smartphone better by focusing on the core needs of the product:

  • Make it easy for people to navigate emails and web pages in a way that is more conducive to a small handheld device (touchscreen gestures Vs using buttons or a stylus).
  • Make it easy for people to read on a small handheld device (larger, high-resolution, graphically-rich color screens Vs small text-based screens)
  • Make the camera easy to use and share photos with others.

 

nokia-9000-iphone1

The Nokia 9000 released in 1996. Apple’s iPhone released 11 years later in 2007.

How many tablets were attempted before the iPad?

Apple wasn’t in the business of making tablets before launching the iPhone in 2007. Now it dominates the market. They didn’t invent the technology used to make a tablet—they made the experience of using a tablet better than any tablet that was made before it.

With the passing of Steve Jobs, we begin to learn more examples of how his fanatical focus on user experience drove the company to launch its most successful products. In this excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s authorised biography ‘Steve Jobs’ , we learn what motivated Steve to create the iPad and how he focused on an element of Microsoft’s user experience that would prevent it from ever catching on:

This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as your have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck it, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”

Microsoft Tablet PC released in 2001. Apple’s iPad released 9 years later in 2010.

In the video clip below, we learn that, ironically, Apple had the iPad before they had the iPhone but Steve felt the user experience methods designed for the tablet would be perfect for a phone.

What Not To Say In A UX Design Interview (Vol. 1)

Over the years I’ve interviewed a lot of talented User Experience Designers and, in doing so, I’ve also heard a lot of interesting quotes come out of these interviews. My hope is to share some of these doozies with the masses to help others and maybe get a cheap laugh. Keep in mind these are actual quotes.

 

“I don’t like working with a blank canvas”

This is exactly the opposite of what any designer interviewing for any design position should say. A designer’s dream job is to work with a blank canvas—meaning the project or job has no pre-defined limitations or restrictions on how creative you can be. In UX design, this can mean that you will be free to design the best, most usable interface for a product without anyone or anything holding you back.

 

“If I had to choose, I would choose coding over designing”

If the title of the position you are interviewing for includes the word “designer”, don’t ever say that you would choose anything else over being a “designer”. To be clear, a UX Designer is a designer first, developer sometimes (if you’re lucky). If you are a developer but you happen to be a good UX Designer, choose which you want to be because if you interview for a design position, you will be expected to be a designer.

 

“As you can see I am one of the best designers out there”

Being a UX Designer means you are always going to collaborating with a team…and no one likes working with an ego maniac. In addition, a good UX Designer needs to learn to put their ego aside and always chose to do what’s best for the product. This can mean choosing a design that proved to perform better in usability tests over a design that you were more emotionally attached to. If you think you are “one of the best designers out there”, you may be a bit reluctant to choose what’s best for the product you’re designing.

 

“I don’t really like this (portfolio) piece of mine but…”

Your portfolio is either gets you or does not get you the job. If you don’t like a design you did or you’re not proud of a design, don’t show it in an interview because a bad design piece may be the most memorable thing about your interview.

Do you have any others? Add a comment…

UX FAIL: Office Phones

Other than your computer, your phone is probably the most used piece of equipment in your office—yet I can almost guarantee you that most people still don’t know how to use 80% of its features. I know I don’t.

Read more