My Thoughts

Was it because of the storyline?

I saw an episode of the TV show Silicon Valley with my wife a few weeks ago. When they got to a point in the story where their software platform wasn’t understood by users I immediately called out “They need a UX designer!”. 

I work for a large company that has been in business for decades, and I understand how UX can be a difficult concept to incorporate into our existing products and services. But I’m surprised that a show that portrays a silicon valley start-up didn’t incorporate UX as an intrinsic part of their make-up. But maybe I’m not.

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I had to take my car to be repaired and had to get a rental. I lucked out and they gave me a new Range Rover. I had to run some errands so I got to spend some time in the car driving around town. I enjoyed the ride, it was smooth, responsive, and the interior was nicely appointed. All in all, I was impressed. When I got home I pulled into the garage, got out, and was about to open the door going into my house when I sensed the lighting in the garage was a little different. I turned around and my eye was drawn to this spot on my garage floor. I smiled as I walked towards it, and my smile grew larger as I stood next to it and realized it projected out of the bottom of the rear view mirror and had a stylized Range Rover in the middle. It made an impression, that was a nice touch.

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Good Design


No, it’s not.

I laughed out loud when I saw this picture. I’ve been a guitar player for more than 30 years, so I’m very familiar with a guitar’s context of use. I’m also a User Experience professional and understand the intent of design. What problem are you trying to solve and and how do people understand the solution that you offer? And when do they need those solutions?

My guitar has 3 knobs and a 5 position toggle switch. There are quite a number of combinations that can be made from this selection of parameters, not to mention the possible sounds that can be made just from how you play the strings. The number of choices available to the user of this interface are overwhelming, most would never be used.

Interacting with a design over time should provide a level of comfort and familiarity while still allowing for exploration. Natural growth and understanding shouldn’t require constant references to the training manual or calls to support.

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Not what I was expecting


UX not only applies to the virtual, but to any touch point that conveys your brand experience in the real world. Various cues along this user journey can be used to set expectations. If these expectations are not met, then your brand can suffer.

These basic animal shaped toys have been in my doctors office for years. I’ve always liked them but have never touched them. Their shapes and colors always made me think of them as solid but soft, structurally sound yet approachable and playful.

I was recently in the office and a mother was letting her child play with them. He picked one off the couch and dropped it on the wooden floor. It made a hard, sharp sound and I quickly realized their surface was made of hard plastic. My perception of them changed instantly and mild disappointment set in. Now I thought of them as loud, disruptive, and much less approachable. This single element in my journey caused me to lower my expectations of something I once looked forward to.

Remember, every detail, perception, and expectation matters and must be addressed if you want your users to have a good journey. This one isn’t a deal breaker, but I was a bit let down.

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Beautiful design is not always good design

Former Apple designers say the company has lost ‘the fundamental principles of good design’

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Millennials see themselves as greedy, self-absorbed and wasteful, study finds

Millennials see themselves as greedy, self-absorbed and wasteful, study finds

Interesting that they relate more to baby boomers.

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User Experience and your bottom line

Some people still think User Experience is a “nice to have”, in fact, it’s a “must have”. In a market as crowded and as fragmented as the one most of us operate in today, standing out and being top of mind is critical for long term business success. Even short term goals can benefit from a user centered design process. Many articles have been written that highlight the research that has been done that show the positive financial impact of having User Experience as one of the pillars that support your business. Here is another.

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Lorem Ipsum generators

Lorem Ipsum is a variation on a Latin text that is used in design layouts so that the user focuses more on the overview than the details. You don’t want the user to actually read the text, you just want them to consider the general design. It is rearranged to be nonsensical for this very reason.

Over the last few years people have begun to produce this type of filler text with various themes. Of course, this somewhat defeats the purpose of Lorem Ipsum, but the results can be quite funny.

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An Event Apart


An amazing 3 day conference. An Event Apart presents web design thought leaders sharing their ideas. Inspiring, informative, and engaging. Did I mention that I also met Jeffrey Zeldman?

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“In doing, there is knowing.”

50 Design Problems In 50 Days: Real Empathy For Innovation (Part 1)

I love the crowded train solution, but I really want to observe the results.