Tips & Advice, User Experience

The real secret behind UX Design skills

Stumbled across this quote today, which I think perfectly explains the core of what drives UX design skills — or those of any creative person:

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive.

To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create,

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User Experience

Why Mental Models Must Inform UI Design

We spend a lot of time talking with development teams (and clients) about mental models. When designing a screen, especially if the item is a control of some kind where the user is asked to take action, it’s important that the UI’s conceptual model matches the user’s mental model.

In other words, speak their language, express ideas and directions in ways they’ll readily recognize and understand. That means symbols they’re familiar with, phrases they’d likely use themselves — even slang if appropriate. Not doing so means users have to spend additional time and mental effort to learn how

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User Experience

Apple UX: A Developer’s Viewpoint

My colleague Chris Goodman, a developer friend of mine, posted the following yesterday via Facebook on the failure of tech folks and tech organizations to take lessons from the Apple UX approach. Great rant, solid points and a quick read. Check out the post here or view the screen cap below.

cg_apple_post1

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Tips & Advice

Four design lessons from the legendary Lou Dorfsman

4 Design Lessons from Lou Dorfsman

Over the course of his career, Lou Dorfsman was responsible for everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Every bit of it was executed with intelligence, verve, glamour and taste. Trying to get good work done from inside a giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did Lou Dorfsman make it look so easy?

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User Experience

UX is what happens when engineers don’t rule

My colleague Kendall Miller of eSymmetrix has written a great post on the importance of UX in software engineering — please check it out and give him some feedback:

http://reliable.esymmetrix.com/development/what-happens-when-engineers-dont-rule

Found myself nodding and smiling throughout. Whether we like it or not, people’s expectations are being raised constantly by the plethora of online destinations and tools that offer sleek, intuitive and (dare I say it) sexy experiences. And what people see in that “personal” realm colors their expectations of what they see and use in the professional realm. As designers and engineers we don’t

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Customer Experience

What Web 2.0 really means

Attended a great seminar this morning on Social Media, sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council. Was fortunate enough to have picked three amazing presenters in Dave Troy, Marci DeVries and Jared Goralnick (yes, you need to check them out, you’ll definitely learn a few things). But what’s sticking with me right now, at 6:22 pm – when I should clearly be in my car heading home to dinner and my family – is a conversation I had with a fellow attendee about why his company’s

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Tips & Advice

Design Innovation and Culture Creation, Part 04

Back after a long hiatus, between Thanksgiving, a dead laptop and a nasty upper respiratory infection. Bring on 2009!!

Anyway, here’s the final installment from Matt Mattus‘ great book, Beyond Trend: How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World. More traits of true designers, aka “culture creators”:

Trait 09: They Respect Rarity

Culture creators celebrate rare expressions of individuality. They’re obsessed with not only observing life, but with studying the debris of life, as well. In doing so, they place value on what others deem worthless

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Tips & Advice

Design Innovation and Culture Creation— Part 03

More from Matt Mattus‘ great book, Beyond Trend: How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World. In a world where anyone has access to design tools, to paraphrase Mattus, true designers need to work harder to rise above. Design innovation isn’t a matter of what you do with your hands, it’s more a matter of how you use what’s between your ears. The good news is that designers have a real weapon that cannot be imitated – passion. Passion, he says, defines an authentic designer from

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Tips & Advice

Design Innovation and Culture Creation — Part 02

More from Matt Mattus’ great book, Beyond Trend: How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World. Here are a few more traits of what Mattus calls “culture creators”:

Trait 03: They develop their intellect.

Much like a terrier on the scent, the mind of a culture creator is wired to learn, learn, learn. They have an enormous respect for the history of art and design. Every past movement, every zeitgeist creative leader, every cultural icon in the design world, they love to learn more about and celebrate.

Understanding things such as why the opulence of Victorian style affected the Arts and Crafts movement’s stark purity is just the sort of fact retention that moves a culture creator to learn even more. Culture creators can identify nuances in influence and have an insatiable appetite for knowledge that can affect their creative work. They use knowledge as a building tool that allows them to inject context and relevance into every idea they invent.

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Tips & Advice

Design Innovation and Culture Creation — Part 01

OK, here’s my latest obsession – and it’s a big one. The book is called Beyond Trend: How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World. It’s written by Matt Mattus, Creative Director at Hasbro. The book discusses cultural and creative traits that allow true innovation to occur. As I’m reading it, I find that he’s done an amazing job explaining what I am so often unable to explain about myself – my passion for design, my obsession over the nth detail, my refusal to go for the lowest common denominator. Like many of my peers, I fall into a category of folks Mattus calls “culture creators” – and while that tag is a little egocentric, the more I read, the more the shoe fits.

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