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Archive for the ‘design’ Category

The User is Drunk

This is the best approach to UX design that I’ve seen in all my years of doing this stuff. Hilarious, too! https://www.youtube.com/embed/r2CbbBLVaPk

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Fascinating infographic

Check out this amazing infographic from InformationIsBeautiful.net.

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Wow – pretty violent reaction from this content strategist to the idea of responsive design. Some valuable nuggets of truth in there, though. Here’s a snippet:

Jumping on the responsive web design bandwagon before developing a formal, repeatable content strategy, and ensuring it is connected to your content delivery mechanisms means you have not thought through the process. Not doing so is irresponsible, unprofessional, and a big waste of money.

Read the full article by Scott Abel on eContent magazine .

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Pretty interesting stuff.

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My colleague Mitzie Testani was kind enough to publish my response to this question from one of her students at the Tyler School of Design:

Why is there a difference between the information architect and the visual designer, if designers understand hierarchy and organization, why isn’t it up to the visual designers to set up the wire framing?

Her nonperishable site promises to be a great resource for budding designers and art school students — check it out!

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Below are my notes from Samantha Starmer’s presentation at IA Summit 10 on “The Holistic Customer.”

NOTE: This YouTube video is from the MX 2010 conference, but it covers the same material Samantha presented at IA Summit.

Works for REI: started in 1938, member-owned

Started with story:  Speaking at a conference in Palm Springs – got to stay in a fancy resort hotel.  But had been flying all day and was tired; wanted an adult beverage.  Wine on hotel menu cost $80.  Decided to find a grocery store nearby. But had to get out of the 13 acre resort… with a crappy map. Had to tip someone to find the exit of the hotel. After getting her alcohol, she got lost in the dark at the hotel. She gave the hotel a FAIL for explorability.

Later learned that they have a no-sign policy. They even asked conference attendees to remove their conference badges (!). No signs on the doors; no label on the ice machine door or restaurant.

Why should you care about this story?
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[Notes from Andrew's IA Summit presentation on Friday, April 9, 2010]

Genesis of the presentation: I kept hearing all this cool stuff about brain science and thinking about the implications of it for design.

Anecdote: I got some sugar-free gummy bears recently.  Ordered them from Amazon, then realized the customer comments said they would “make you feel really sick.”  “Gastrointestinal Armageddon,” one comment was titled (!).

He ate them. “Let’s just say, I didn’t get much sleep that night…. What the hell was I thinking??”

I do stuff all the time that get me thinking, “why the hell did I do that?”  And I realized, I’m not as rational as I think I am.
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RD: I’d like to ask for a favor: please sing happy birthday to my son Alex, who is 10 years old today. [And we did.]

Vanguard’s UX is quite mature and quite large, and the UX of the online channel is very important to us. Because of that, we spend a lot of time trying to improve it.  There are lots of projects in flight, each trying to make improvements to the experience.

Flight analogy: Let’s pretend one of our teams was asked to improve this aircraft to carry more cargo. And then another team decides that passenger capacity is really important.  And then another one decides speed is really critical – another redesign.

We have a problem very similar to this at Vanguard: each team has its own objective, so they lose sight of the big picture.
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Bill Scott, author of Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions, recently posted a ton of videos illustrating the design patterns from his book on Flickr.  To get a complete sense of the value of employing design patterns for web sites (or anything else you might design), I recommend reading Scott’s book alongside The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites (2nd Edition) and Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language.

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David Malouf recently posted the wonderful IxDA booklist he and Will Evans compiled to the IA Institute’s discussion list.  Here are a few other must-reads I would add to their list.

  • Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations
  • David Weinberger, Everything Is Miscellaneous
  • Michael Bierut, Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design
  • Dan Roam, The Back of the Napkin
  • Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
  • Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge
  • Jeffrey Kluger, Simplexity

The last four books move beyond the areas of interaction & experience design and into the related realms of visual thinking, physical architecture, decision architecture, and what Kluger dubs “the art of making complex things simple.”   William J. Mitchell’s essays on the intersection of physical architecture and digital information networks (collected in such books as Me++, e-topia, City of Bits and Placing Words) are also worth exploring for anyone interested in understanding how the “endless flow of information” unleashed by the web and related technologies is challenging architects to find new ways to integrate the physical and virtual realms.

Of the books on and Malouf & Evans’ list, Alan Cooper’s About Face 3.0, Bill Buxton’s Sketching User Experiences, and Lidwell/Holden/Butler’s Universal Principles of Design have been regulars on my bedside reading table of late.  I highly recommend all three.

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