Constant and ferocious change of technology, platform, delivery, and expectations continue to pose different set of challenges for designers, developers, and UX experts. However, what we take away from usability testing remains constant; as a UX professional, we need to know how to filter, translate, and interpret test results. Continue reading “What Users Say vs. What They Mean”
First off, I am a fan of Google’s Material Design.
I have extensively studied their guidelines and have been following its evolution since Google made guidelines public.
Lot of my preachings over the years are, in fact, inspired by Material’s principles. Continue reading “Thoughts on Google Material Design”
Back when the rotary telephone was the bleeding edge technology, say in 1890’s or so, it probably wasn’t unusual to say things like “put your finger in that hole, rotate to the right all the way, and repeat…”
Then it probably evolved to something like “Dial these numbers.” Now we just say “Call me.” Continue reading “Are you still “clicking here?””
Why print designers need to realign their thought process and mentality to become effective application designers. Continue reading “User Centered Design vs. Ego Centered Design”
My Apple trackpad never leaves my desk. It always stays within few inches in front of my iMac. Therefore, its silly to have it battery powered. I also like to practice what I preach. Continue reading “Be Battery Free – AC powered Apple Trackpad”
This scientific research paper is a quick read. The reading, however, is interrupted in few places by the actual numeric data from the research which appear quite cryptic. But you can skip over the numeric data and still come away with a clear understanding of what the research is about and its findings. The paper eventually comes to a comprehensible conclusion written in plain English for normal folks. Continue reading “Google Effects on Memory”
SIMPLE, CLEAN, MODERN
“The goal is to create simple, clean, and modern design blah, blah, blah…”
How many times have you heard that phrase at the kick off meetings? As if that’s some sort of a differentiator. It isn’t. Continue reading “Meaningless and Overused Words in Design”
Larry Tesler’s Law of the Conservation of Complexity states that every application has set amount of inherent complexity that cannot be reduced or increased. Complexity is constant. The only question is who will handle the complexity? End users or developer/designers? Continue reading “Law of the Conservation of Complexity”
The iPad’s volume control is calibrated so that when you keep the down button pressed for more than a split second, it immediately switches to mute. Why? Continue reading “Problem with Over Predicting UX”
For the longest time I have marketed myself as designer-developer, developer-designer, UI/UX Developer & Designer, Front-End Developer/Designer, or some combinations of those words. I wasn’t quite sure what to call myself. Continue reading “Unicorn Designers Are Real”
Let’s imagine you walked into McDonald’s and saw a post-retirement aged man working the cash register or wiping the tables. What would you think? Would you think that he has made foolish choices when he was younger and didn’t save enough? Would you conclude that he works there because he desperately needed the money? What if you saw him get off work and get into a late model Buick or Lexus that costs more than your car? That would make you think a bit more about your prior conclusions, wouldn’t it? Continue reading “What vs. Why”
I have finally summarized in few short words the ultimate purpose and the goal of a UX professional. It’s translating the software language into human friendly conceptual model. It may come across as somewhat philosophical but it isn’t. It literally means what it says. For my job, I am constantly converting what the software does into something that humans can easily understand. Continue reading “Translating the Language of Software for Humans”
Reducing the number of clicks (I will use the word ‘click’ to represent both click and tap of touch devices) at any cost is one of the stickiest web design mantra handed down from the old school of thought. Less click is generally a good thing, but blindly reducing the number of clicks does not guarantee a positive user experience. Web clicks got a bad rap beginning from the early days of the web. Many poorly designed UI resulted in needless and wasted clicks. This is one reason the effort to reduce clicks became so prevalent. Continue reading “Number of Clicks vs. Quality of Clicks”
There are many ways to achieve pleasant user experience as there are ways to make it unpleasant. We can achieve the former by minimizing the latter. In another words, by eliminating the unpleasant experience, we can automatically gain pleasant without even trying. Continue reading “What Makes User Experience Pleasant?”
Be creative, be different! This is the one phrase that mostly sums up everything design students are taught at schools as well as what is expected of designers in the society.
If you work in the art and entertainment industry, it’s easy to experiment with things that are shockingly different, cool, and exciting. Creativity can be made tangible and obvious. In some industries you can try things for the sake of trying, be different for sake of being different and still keep your job. Continue reading “Design – Art with Constraints”
“If I could work on something more exciting, I can kick some ass as a designer. Things I work on now is just too boring”. I’ve heard many designers say things along those lines many, many times. They’re the ones who think those ho-hum projects don’t deserve their best efforts. Those who think this way most likely will not succeed no matter where they work. Because the problem lies in their mentality not in the projects. Continue reading “Make Boring Interesting”
The ‘Experience’ in User Experience is a cumulative outcome of many different practices working in harmony. Everything from aesthetics, technology, psychology, and economics play an important role in creating the experience. User experience isn’t a characteristic unique to web. User experience is an attribute of every man-made creation that comes in contact with a human being through any one or more of our senses. Inspirations for effective UX can come from anywhere. Continue reading “True Inspirations”
UX/UI designers are not artists who merely make things pretty. They are problem solvers of various domains. User experience designers need to have keen knowledge of visual arts, psychology, business agenda, cognitive science as well as various web technologies. User experience professionals are also mind readers. They need to anticipate what users will do next. They persuade, nudge, and guide users for a successful journey and a positive experience. And yes, they also need to make things look pretty. Continue reading “Become a confident designer”
It’s been said that there is “nothing new under the sun.” It’s a somewhat depressing statement. It’s essentially saying that anything and everything happening or being created now has happened or have been created before. It basically means “You’re not special. It’s all been done before.” Assuming the bleak statement is true, what’s a creative person to do? Continue reading “Designing from the past”
Almost all UX experts agree brevity is the key when writing for web application. Short and brief language is essential for quick organizational comprehension as well as improved captivation. Brevity is especially important when the language in question is used for navigational or actionable purposes. Continue reading “Writing for Web Application”
A designer by definition is one who is responsible for, well.., designing. It is the designer who comes up with solutions to a design problem. A designer tackles design problems with artistic intuition, creative process and career specific knowledge that other members of the organization may lack. Continue reading “You suck at design. Deal with it.”
The words ‘simple’ and consistent’ is thrown around all the time in design and web development circles. Clients, stakeholders, designers, architects and developers alike all over love to blurt these words thinking they are some sort of silver bullet to designing. Some simply feel they need to say it because they’ve heard other people say it all the time. Some wave the simple & consistency flag as a way of saying ‘don’t-want-to-create-any-more-work-than-we-can-get-away-with’ sort of thing. Continue reading “Smart consistency vs. Foolish consistency”
Many UI professionals – typically in smaller to mid-sized organizations – are responsible for both visual design as well as front-end development. In such set-up, a UI designer/developer works directly with back-end programmers usually with the same code base and in the same environment. The handing over of files between teams and the need for extraneous instructions is virtually eliminated. This typically results in far more nimble and accurate transition from concept to execution. Continue reading “Single Brain UI Design & Development”
Not that long ago, when the general public was just getting to know the internet, the imagery, text, spinning globe, and flashing colors shown through a big fat CRT monitor was collectively referred to as the internet. To an average person, the computer or the internet is what you see on the monitor. Ever seen movies where a man with a gun shoots at the monitor thinking he’s destroying the computer? Right. I bring this up to point out that to the general public, the internet has a physical size; it’s the size of the monitor or the display. Continue reading “Looking at average Joe’s interweb”
Like many people in my line of profession, I have overlapping duties: part UI developer, part visual designer, and part UX/usability consultant. Because front-end code, front-end design, and user experience are all tightly connected and must work in harmony. The designer in me directs me to make things cool and trendy, the UX expert in me tells me I have to make things that work, while a developer in me insists I need to make things efficient. They all keep each other in check because we don’t build things that are merely cool and pretty; we build things that must also work. Continue reading “Recommended Books for UX Professionals and Designers”
In the course of my career I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended numerous usability test sessions. I had chances to observe many varieties from the most entertaining to the gawdawful boring, a fifty-something man operating a mouse with both of his hands to a tech-savvy who checks the view source. Continue reading “What Users Say vs. What They Really Mean”
There are things we do without thinking. For one, flushing the toilet. People usually don’t expect specific instructions before carrying out this relatively simple task. Continue reading “Instructions vs. Usability.”
DESIGNING FOR VARIOUS STATES
When designing a page that draws set of results from collection of data (i.e. database) the screen layout should be designed to serve three core states of the application; Normal, Empty, and Error. Continue reading “Designing a Better Business Application”
The initial sign in page of YouTube tells me that I can sign in to YouTube using my Google or YouTube account. Clear enough. But you can’t sign in even if you have a valid Google account but not the other. It will ask you if you already have a YouTube account (well, no…, I thought I could sign-in with my Google account… ), if not it asks you to create one. Continue reading “Making the language clear”
Apple is usually sensible especially when it comes to their website design and usability. But I noticed something on Apple’s site that sort of insulted my intelligence. This happened when I was browsing their site for a new Macbook Pro. Once you drill down to the product detail you will see an image of the Macbook Pro on the right hand side. Below it are three links that let’s you view the three different sizes that MacBook Pro comes in; 13″, 15″, and 17″.
Seriously. Picasso created art as he saw fit. No one questions Picasso. If Picasso decides a woman’s right eye should be twice as large than the other, no one dared to argue otherwise. When Picasso sees a nostril of a goat would be a good match for a woman’s face, people go crazy throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at it.
I would guess that Picasso rarely had to deal with user experience, commercial feasibility, cultural compatibility, revisions, or approvals from fifteen different people. Those things are what lowly designers like us worry about. Because um…, we’re not Picasso.