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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

stephen eighmey, jeffrey zeldman

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.

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Focused design

Students Design 22 Playful Wooden Toys For Kids

A wonderful example of creativity in the service of design.

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Medium fidelity interactive wireframes

high fidelity interactive wireframe   high fidelity interactive wireframe media page

This design shows a home page and media page for a project I worked on a few years ago. The existing site no longer reflected the brand and the information was outdated and unorganized.

We needed a cleaner layout that let the user easily find information, so visual elements and whitespace were carefully considered. It’s much easier to understand content when it’s presented in a well balanced layout.

The mock-up was built fairly quickly using a grid based presentation layer. The HTML, CSS, and JavaScript were reusable chunks of code from my code library that needed only slight modifications for this project. This allowed me to iterate the design quickly once I received results from my user testing.

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Color palettes in black and white

color palette   color palette greyscale

I’ve developed a number of color palettes for clients and one thing I always consider is how they look in greyscale. Why? Because I always consider color in user experience design primarily as an aspect of balance and hierarchy, and once you take away the focus on color you can better see the visual weight of each color element.

Color can mean different things both contextually and culturally, but greyscale shows you visual weight and order. This is also important to consider regarding accessibility. A user who is color blind might not see the color you intended, but they will most likely get a sense of meaning and intent from the balance of the layout. That’s why wireframes are generally shown without the use of color so the focus stays on the layout and organization of content. A key element to good design is to use color in the service of supporting content.