Build a Better UX Process

wireframeWhat does a UX Process really look like? Honestly, depending on the project, it can look many different ways. I personally prefer to use a combination of in-depth process techniques, rather than just focusing on one specific area. It is critical to understand that UX is made up of several different components, each having its own importance.

There’s Research and Testing, Information Architecture, Content Strategy, Interaction Design, Visual Design and Front End Development. Today I want to focus on the first three areas.

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Go Mobile. It’s Time.

I recently had the great pleasure of attending An Event Apart in Washington, D.C. and was not surprised at this year’s overall theme: Go mobile.

We’re seeing more and more users browsing on what we currently consider “mobile” devices. But honestly, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll consider a “desktop” computer obsolete. That doesn’t necessarily mean users won’t be using desktops, however: It just means those desktops will be more like mobile devices. We are already seeing a high number of touch-enabled laptops and desktops, plus tablets that are closer to the size of a desktop. Yes, it is high time to make the transition. Read More…

User Experience (UX) Design not only makes things look great, it can actually increase productivity for intranets and sales for e-commerce. And yet I cannot tell you how many times UX Design is an afterthought. It’s only after all the planning and requirements are done that someone asks who is going to design it. When you approach a project that way you are taking a huge risk. UX Design is extremely important.

Okay, yes, I am a designer so I am biased. But let’s look at some statistics:

What exactly is Responsive Design? The simple answer: Making digital media viewable across all devices and resolutions.

Take your company website, for example. It looks great on your desktop computer, right? But when you view it on your phone, it doesn’t look nearly as nice if it wasn’t developed using responsive design techniques. Images will be too big, the navigation may be impossible to tap and the download time may kill you.

Designers/developers must write the code in a way that looks great no matter what device it is viewed on. Basically, we have to use something called media queries. Media queries are pieces of code that allow us to put details around objects. So we can say if a web page is being viewed on a device with a 460 pixel width, display it like this. But if the web page is being displayed on a device with a 800 pixel width, then display it like that.

It actually goes well beyond just the width. We can decide what to display based on the following factors:

  • width
  • height
  • device-width
  • device-height
  • orientation
  • aspect-ratio
  • device-aspect-ratio
  • color
  • color-index
  • monochrome
  • resolution
  • scan
  • grid

We can tell your website if it should use high-res images for Retina Display or no images for a phone display. We have a ton of options. Responsive Design is in its infancy and we are discovering new ways every day to make this logical way of thinking possible. The sad fact is we haven’t quite developed the best way to do this yet. Right now we have to write tons of lines of code to account for all the different resolutions, as well as older versions of browsers that do not support the latest and greatest best practices. But each time we launch a new digital page, we get closer. We make it better. Read More…

So you want to design an app for Windows 8, huh? Moving from designing traditional web pages to apps can be a tough transition, but as designers we need to constantly push and recreate ourselves so that we can stay in touch with the latest technology and trends. So to help, I have some “getting started” tips I want to share.

First, read through Microsoft’s lengthy guidelines for Windows 8 Apps. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the terminology Microsoft uses for the Windows 8 system like hub pages, live tiles and badges. Don’t worry about memorizing everything in the document, just keep it handy and refer to it when you come to that section.

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