First post of 2018 is all about new resources and tools I learned in January, even though I’m writing in February.
Well, it’s a new year and it’s time to get back into writing. I had hoped to be a little more rigorous this year, as well as posting at least once a month, but I’d started writing this post way back in January and I’m just now getting to it in Feb.
So far, there are two subjects I definitely want to write about this year. The first is my experience learning front-end web development. The second is a critical commentary on UX hiring practices. I’ve started writing the second, but I just haven’t gotten the formatting quite right. I also have a few other topics waiting to the side, and I’m excited to get to those, too.
In the meantime, here are a few interesting things I learned this week (back in January).
Now that I am working in e-commerce, I’m really interested in learning more about e-commerce experiences. The goals are a little different from web applications and digital products, but actually more straightforward. The goal is, essentially, getting out of the way of people making purchases. Although the results found on this site are hidden unless you pay, it’s still helpful to just have the names of the sites to review.
A site that goes over many psychological principles of user experience. Some of these are also similar to fallacies or biases, such as the recency bias. One of them is not actually a “law”, and is just a renaming of Gestalt. I’m not a fan of renaming terms that have perfectly good names. But I am a fan of this concept and the site itself. It gives me ideas for the design of another site – maybe a site about goats.
As I explored the laws of UX site, I found that it had been built on a templating language that I was not aware existed. Nunjucks seems a lot like Pug (or Jade), in that you have a template with content chunks that get written independently and ported in via extend calls. I’m not explaining it well, but templating is amazing.
It is called “IBM Plex”. I like it, but it kind of looks like it would be the favorite font of Lt Commander Data.
Zappos Mobile App: Search with emojis
Presumably I downloaded this app because I was looking for shoes. Rain boots, really. Anyway, I was pretty (ahem) delighted to discover that you can search via emoji on the Zappos app. Here are some screen captures from my iPhone, where I’m searching for women’s dress boots.
Version Control Tools for Designers
This week I also came across some version control tools for designers. These are all for Mac computers, and specifically Sketch files. (Sketch is OK, but not great, IMO.) Abstract made the most sense to me; it seemed the closest to git. But here is the list for all 3. I haven’t used any of them.
It’s cute and friendly, using sketchy animation to demonstrate the poses. I think I might send this to my mom.
You can read more about the production process over at Product Hunt. Looks like he used a product called “Hype” which is the first I’m hearing of it. It’s only $50(!), but doesn’t sound like it’s for production, unless you have a small project like this.
In my last post, I discussed a project I had been completing as part of a Skillshare class. This is the second post in that series.
As I left off in my last post, I skipped over the persona portion of the course. I did return, in part, to personas but not until the visual design.
I ended up doing about 3 pages of sketches. My documentation shows how I worked out smaller interaction elements, like navigation elements.
This is the part of the workflow is where the interaction design and user experience start to come together. The instructor chose to update the Southwest app. The visual design looked great and I liked her workflow overall. But there was a piece of this workflow that was missing – and that was competitive research. There was little in the way of looking at related apps to get an idea of what people might experience from something similar.
It’s easier to become efficient with a new interface if it contains familiar elements. This is one reason why I research competitors. I’ve also found that using real life examples helps convince others on the team that the product is actually feasible and can implemented as designed.
I did some looking around on my own, finding screenshots from different library websites. The Audible, the Apple Music and Podcast apps, and SoundCloud were helpful. It may be confirmation bias, but this competitive research was far more useful than the personas I didn’t create.
The difference in the wireframes for this project, and projects I’ve done at work, is how she used a vertical layout to present her work. I thought that was pretty smart. And, though it wasn’t specified in the course, I included annotations because I wanted to include ambiguity. (Normally I’d include more.)
For the actual wireframes, I created 2 layouts. I noticed when reviewing the other apps that there’s often a large image in the center of the screen. I felt that this was unnecessary, especially on the playback screen. My solution was to reduce it and focus on the controls.
The next and final post in this series will be about the visual design work I did for this project.
UX Apprentice is a static website that takes site visitors through a 3-step UX project to teach visitors about the process of UX. The steps the site goes through are Discovery, Strategy, Design.
As it states on the first page, each step describes what the step is all about, it provides examples, there’s a very short knowledge quiz, and a list of resources consisting of books, articles/sites, and a
As it states on the first page, each step describes what the step is all about, it provides examples, there’s a very short knowledge quiz, and a list of resources consisting of books, articles/sites, and a who’s who list of names.
Great connection between the description of the information, using the outlines and icons from the top of each page to the bottom.
Good use of navigation to prompt site visitors to go from one explanation to another.
The website provides a lot of information, but it’s highly biased to be accessible for people who already know a bit about UX. There just isn’t enough information to help someone who is totally new to UX get started.
Many of the articles are a few years old, and a few links for the books and articles are broken. For instance, I tried to take a look at the Kevin Cheng book on the Discovery page, and an article on the strategy page called “What is User Experience Strategy, Anyway?” Both links were dead. See update.
It’s an advertisement for Balsamiq. While I like the information this site provides, in the end the entire site is essentially an advertisement for the wireframing tool Balsamiq. It doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but it’s the truth.
I’d still recommend the site to someone as a possible resource, along with other resources, but I’d preface it by saying that there might be a lot of broken links in the reference sections.
As you can read in the comments, Jessica from Balsamiq contacted me to let me know that they updated their links. I’ve checked it out and this appears to be the case.
Some of the people they’re linking to may have broken links, but that can’t be helped.
Checking out their resources, I found a 4-video series of Lean UX Strategy YouTube which I recommend because it won’t take more than 15 minutes to watch.