Notes on “The Immutable Rules of UX” (video)

I recently watched this quick video on the Immutable Rules of UX, 39min. Curious about what they are? Check out the video, or my notes below.

These are my notes from the video.

  • Even in early tech, people like using a little picture of themselves; customization.
  • Use the 3 principles of UX: design, test, measure. Test with real users. Test before you launch. Use prototypes. Remember your first design will be wrong.
  • Don’t invent new terms to get respect for UX. Producing results will get you respect.
  • People have limited brain capacity. Design accordingly.
  • Usefulness = Utility + Usefulness. Without both, people will not use your product. AI/Voice Interfaces don’t have much usefulness to increase adoption, yet. They must improve if they will succeed in the future.
  • Remember that the web is really big and most people spend their time on other people’s sites. This means that user expectations keep changing and improving based on other people’s sites. Always keep improving. Satisfaction is a matter of the relationship between what you get relative to what you expect.
  • Remember that UX is about people.

From the presentation

In his presentation, he put the following list, which you can find at this part of the video. https://youtu.be/OtBeg5eyEHU?t=783

  • User centered design
  • early = better
  • more iterations = better
  • low commitment / discount methods = better
  • UX architecture & UI details both important

Display Text Typography Projects

Continuing with my ongoing education in design, I focused recently on typography and layout. And I went through two Lynda.com courses to do it.

Those courses are called Learning to Set Display Type and Learning Graphic Design: Set Perfect Text. They are both taught by John McWade.

The classes John McWade teaches are exceptional because he is such an excellent instructor and quite good at explaining the concepts he is trying to get across. I recommend both of the classes I mentioned above, as well as other classes in the Lynda library by this instructor. Here are previews of these two courses.


Neither of these classes include exercise files. But after watching both of these courses I was inspired and motivated to try my own type projects, to put his advice into use.

Type Rules I Learned

It sounds basic, but I wasn’t aware that some fonts have additional glyphs that can be used instead of the regular font. Bookmania is an example of a font with tons of extra options for letters.
I also learned about justifying text, using hyphenation and spacing to help words fit. I also learned about using hair-spaces and thin-spaces, and using drop-caps.
Actually, the class doesn’t go into how exactly one would create a dropcap. So, I turned to YouTube – or as I like to call it, the second internet – to find another tutorial.
And I found one. This one is actually by another Lynda instructor, Anne-Marie Concepcion. She makes it look so easy.

 As soon as I learned how to do this, I wanted to try it right away. Voila!

Type Stuff I Made

dropcaps

Now we’re getting to the fun part. First is the dropcap I made after watching the YouTube video.
Drop cap and Display type
Used Bookmania and a Lynda tutorial to create a dropcap.

In this one, I was able to move the text corners so that the text flowed around the dropcap R. Looks cool.

I was inspired to use the extra glyphs in Bookmania to create my own name. I used the smallcap version of the letter ‘A’ in the word, “alliwalk”.

Projects with Images

I like to collect stock photos – I know, it’s a bad habit – because I think that someday I’ll use one for a project. So, I end up with many stock photos that I don’t use. (Sometimes I use them here on my blog.) Well, I was finally able to put a few to good use.

All Dressed Up

The first is this nice “Man in a suit putting on a tie”. I wasn’t sure what I was going for. Maybe a book cover or magazine spread. But, I think what I have is some sort of flyer concept.

This image uses Bickham Script Pro and Didot.

This image uses Bickham Script Pro, which has tons of fancy glyphs, and Didot. Didot has a certain fashionable sense to it, and I think it works. I wanted this to have a bespoke aura about it, yet still masculine. The italicized Dido, and the extra swirls from Bickham Script Pro help to get that across.

New rules of computer technology

BarryW90-Black, BarryW90-Thin, Futura Medium, and Minion Pro

In this case I wanted to use justified type, as John McWade had shown in his course. I stuck with Minion Pro, because it was easier to work with. And I added in a few random elements – a few numbers, some quotes, some pronouns – just to incorporate some of the lessons from the course. One thing I wasn’t able to replicate was keeping the subsequent letters from the word in the dropcap closer than the other words on lines 2 and 3. InDesign just wasn’t cooperating for me.

But I did enjoy this project. BarryW90-Black and Thin are highly stylized, very technical-looking fonts. I was inspired to find a new stock photo for them. Something computer-oriented.

 

Next time…

In my next post, I’ll talk about a few more projects in InDesign, and another type/logo(!) project I made for a fake company I invented called Apex Travel.

William Kentridge: South African Artist

In February, I watched a EuroNews report about a South African artist named William Kentridge, whose work is being shown in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here’s the article video.

Link to the article on EuroNews.com

I was very interested in learning more about the artist after seeing that he uses a combination of video installations, animation, and live action. As seen in clips in the article, he’s also not afraid to explore the difficult history of his country. As MoMA puts it, “Dealing with subjects as sobering as apartheid, colonialism, and totalitarianism, his work is often imbued with dreamy, lyrical undertones or comedic bits of self-deprecation that render his powerful messages both alluring and ambivalent.”

This can be seen in the following video, which is embedded in the text of the article. It’s like a New Orleans marching band, set in a lyrically dystopian world.

When I looked up more about the artist, I was surprised to find that he was not ethnically African, because as the video shows he is using black subjects in the artwork. In my experience, it’s not that common to find an artist using the experience of another ethnicity in their artwork, although it does occur in decorative arts, photography, and performing arts.

I suppose performing artists do this because music, dance, and theater are somewhat universally accessible for all people. Photography is a little different, in that the photographer has to take a documentarian or voyeuristic point of view, as opposed to being part of the art. Wikipedia explains that Kentridge is Jewish, with attorney parents that fought against apartheid. Perhaps he felt like both an outsider, voyeur-documentarian and part of the struggle in South Africa.

What I find revealing is how well Kentridge’s use of African subjects shows his strong empathy and understanding of apartheid and this difficult period of South African history. He says, in Pain & Suffering, shown on art:21, that artists use the pain and suffering of others for their work.

Animation Style

Wikipedia explains one of his animation methods:
“in all of his animated works do the concepts of time and change comprise a major theme. He conveys it through his erasure technique, which contrasts with conventional cel-shaded animation, whose seamlessness de-emphasizes the fact that it is actually a succession of hand-drawn images. This he implements by drawing a key frame, erasing certain areas of it, re-drawing them and thus creating the next frame. He is able in this way to create as many frames as he wants based on the original key frame simply by erasing small sections. Traces of what has been erased are still visible to the viewer; as the films unfold, a sense of fading memory or the passing of time and the traces it leaves behind are portrayed.”

The video above doesn’t show one of this animation style very well, but his style can be seen in other clips. He also uses stop-motion.

Other Work

Aside from animation, he uses live video and different masking and editing effects in his work. Here’s a video of him, from the Danish museum, the Louisiana, interviewing himself:

More Resources

I won’t be in Copenhagen anytime soon. But if you’re interested in learning more about William Kentridge, there are examples of his work online.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Of course, there is the Louisiana Museum that is currently holding a William Kentridge exhibition. It looks like an interesting exhibit. The site is in Danish, but Google should be able to translate.

art:21

art:21 has the most examples of him working and explaining his process. There are several clips of some of his video/media pieces.

MoMA

MoMA has an archival page documenting his 2010 exhibition, Five Themes. Also still available is a flash-site that contains many examples of his work and his process.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia also has plenty of information about Kentridge, from his bio, to listing his films and many exhibitions around the world. There are also external links, if you’re interested even more information about this artist.


UPDATE: ARTSy.NET

In August 2017, Artsy.net reached out to me to inform me of their web page on William Kentridge.

Our William Kentridge page provides visitors with Kentridge‘s bio, over 350 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Kentridge exhibition listings. The page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Kentridge page.

I took a look and it does have a lot of great information about this artist, including many images. So if you are looking for additional info, take a look!