Category: UX 101

Lessons in UX: You are probably wrong

I am a very very strong advocate of usability testing of UI designs (note to self – add an extra ‘very’ into that sentence). It helps you validate that users can understand the interface you are presenting them, it gives you insight into the mental model of how users approach the task you are designing, Read More

What are some good ways to plan a UX project?

A primary thing I would find out is who the client’s customers are. Are they middle-class housewives? Gen Y hipsters? If you don’t have an understanding of who the customers are then you will have a hard time designing a solution for them. Once you know who the customers are, do some research. Interview people Read More

What should an ideal User Experience Design lab have?

I’ve set up a couple of usability labs in my time, so I’ll give you some of my advice/lessons learned in that space. First the practical – get lots of wall space. I mean LOTS of wall space. Almost all the experience designers I have worked with love to use wall space to throw up Read More

What can be included in an aspiring UXer’s portfolio to show off UX skills?

Identify a problem space, evaluate products that try and solve/work in that particular problem space (against some best practices/design principles), and then ideate some solutions/products of your own.  Document HOW you approached the problem space – many times the approach and rigor that you show in your process is as or more important than the Read More

Does usability really make the world a better place?

Joseph Dickerson, I've been a graphic or software designer for 20… The way I have always looked at it is this: if you make an experience as elegant and as usable as possible then you are making life just a little easier for the users of the technology you are designing. Does that make the Read More

What qualities do the best UX professionals have?

Joseph Dickerson, Not a Top UX Designer though I aspire to be… The same ability that lawyers have – to be very adept at the core discipline of a domain (user experience design) but also the ability to learn the details of a particular area (the domain they are designing in). Good lawyers, like good Read More

How do you properly begin designing a user-friendly interface?

Joseph Dickerson, I've been a graphic or software designer for 20… Know your users. Make what you are doing as useful as you can for them. Make it desirable and as amazing as you can. Be focused on simplicity – if there is anything complex make that complexity relevant to the context the user is Read More

Technology, applied: understand how people use tech and then support their usage and needs

Let’s go back in time a bit – back in time to those carefree days of yore, when tech companies piled new feature after new feature into each consecutive release of their flagship products… When each new release promoted a new shopping list of goodies to entice eager buyers to upgrade. Remember all that? Because Read More

Lessons in UX – “If we understand the extremes, then the middle will fall into place.”

I just finished watching the great documentary on industrial design Objectified, which has interviews with many of the best designers in the history of the domain, including a personal favorite of mine, Apple’s Jonathan Ive. One moment early in the film struck a cord. The great designer Dam Formosa from Smart Design said that we Read More

Lessons in UX: Want to be a user experience designer? Expose yourself to different experiences.

Everything is designed. That basic insight is something I realized many years ago – and, while the idea that someone, somewhere, created the designs of everything around you, wherever you are maybe is an obvious fact, embracing that idea should excite anyone who does experience design. Think about it. Your desk, your pen, that chair Read More

Lessons in Mobile UX: “First, do no harm”

Having just completed an extensive ethnographic research project in the mobile space, my head is still chock-full of observations, findings and notes around how people use their mobile devices every day of their lives. But one thought bubbles to the surface: “First, do no harm.” Paraphrased from the Hippocratic Oath (it’s actually NOT in the Read More

The immediacy of now: Designing for the reactionary user experience 

One of the major design projects I worked on a few months back involved redesigning a financial management web application. As part of that initial work we created a concept that used a calendar as the system’s primary navigation. Users could add or move financial transactions on the calendar by dragging and dropping, or see Read More

What are user research studies?

User research studies are activities that allow user experience practitioners understand how people think, work and act in a particular domain. By observing end users they can envision potential solutions or refine existing solutions to better align with what people do. Research provides insights and understandings and also helps uncover potential new functionalities or services Read More

Boot-strap usability testing: How to test your designs with little or no money

This article is a short version of my presentation on the topic, which I can present to anyone interested. I do Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, but kids birthday parties are off the table. Sorry. I’ve tested a LOT of different designs with users over the years, working in varying environments – from one extreme to Read More

ROI and Usability: a case study

One of the many things that occurs in the life of a User Experience designer is the need to justify our advocacy, and ask the obvious questions that come our way: Why is design important? Why should the experience be a point of focus? Why fix something that isn’t (perceived to be) broken? Thankfully, companies like Read More

Building a pattern library for fun and profit

One of the most beneficial activities you can do on a large design project (especially if it’s a web application) is to define a pattern library. This architectural document details the framework that all the UI screens and screen elements must use/follow. I like to explain what a pattern library is from the perspective of Read More

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