UX Resource Roundup (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago, Wired published 101 Signals –  a curated who’s who’s list of great Internet thinkers, spanning expertise in everything  from Science to Design.  The list was great, it includes some of my personal favorites (Hover States, Dribbble & Typographie) but I felt it failed to provide any real value to designers trying to expand their knowledge.  Today is your lucky day because I’m going to spoil you with some knowledge.

This is part 1 of a weekly series… ENJOY!

Can Experience Be Designed?

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(credit: David Salafia)

There is an age old argument on whether or not a user’s experience can truly be designed.  Read these two articles taking opposite sides of the argument and decide for yourself.

Can Experience Be Designed?  – by Oliver Reichenstein

“Do experience designers shape how users feel, or do they shape with respect to how users feel? A small but important nuance. Did you catch it? No? Then let me ask you this way: Do architects design houses or do they design “inhabitant experiences?” The bullshit answer is “They design inhabitant experiences”. The pragmatic answer is: “They design houses”. The cautious answer is: Architects design houses that lead to a spectrum of experiences, some foreseen, some not. But they do not design all possible experiences one can have in a house.”

“Can Experience Be Designed?”  Yes.  No.  Wait, yes.  But. — by Dane Petersen of Adaptive Path

“It may sound odd coming from an experience designer, but I would agree that it is impossible for us to design experiences. We can, however, design for experiences. The difference is subtle, but extremely important. I believe that we can create conditions so that people with a similar cultural perspective, a shared sociocultural background, a shared repertoire of previous life experiences, will perceive and interpret a product or service in an intended way.”

No matter what your stance is on the subject on designing experiences, I think we can all agree that the end goal is to design the best experiences that meet business goals and user needs.  With that said, the next group of links are geared toward ramping up your UX knowledge and  improving your UX process.

Improving your UX process

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(credit: Pekka Nikrus)

Design Staff

Design Staff has one objective:  to help start ups design great products.  This site provides great insight on how to build great products… rapidly.

Here are some of my favorites articles:

The product design sprint:  a five-day recipe for startups

How we built a research lab for mobile app testing in just a few hours

A tip for effective meetings:  Always be capturing

Whitney Hess

Whitney has a great blog, and if you haven’t checked it out already you should definitely read her extremely popular post “So you wanna be a user experience designer — Step 1:  Resources”.

Her post on “The User Experience Process for the Seamless iPad App” is a personal favorite.

Usability.gov

I would advise anyone interested at improving not only your process, but skills and knowledge to check out this site.  You can spend hours and hours reading their content (trust me, I have,) but one of my favorites is the on the method of Card Sorting.

Take aways

As you can see, the UX community is great at providing insights to become better designers, better researchers, better practitioners and in general better leaders of design.  My goal in subsequent weeks is to provide links to resources from some of the best designers of our booming industry.

If you are just getting involved in User Experience design, you are in for an amazing ride.

Let’s build amazing products… not products that end up on http://hadonejob.com

– Rob

 

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Long Shadow Design

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Long shadow design is a new trend in the design world and like many trends they come and they go.  In my opinion long shadow design is on it’s way out sooner than we think.

What is Long Shadow Design?

Long shadow design is the use of long shadows with 120 or 45-degree angle. The end of the shadow is feathered.  Right now it can only be used on flat icons and maybe some bold text.

It may seem like a new trend that will probably stick around with flat design, but it’s a design element that really shouldn’t be applied on every icon or even text.  Long shadow design is attempting to add some depth to flat design, approaching what is already established in Almost Flat Design.

Some icons that I’ve seen using long shadow design look great, while others not so much, reason why I don’t really FUX WIT IT.

Here are some examples of Long Shadow Design.

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The Benefits of Animations in a Mobile Ecosystem

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When we think of animations, we’re often taken back to memories of our favorite childhood cartoons and movies. This leads to a common opinion that animations are meant to delight and entertain (which they certainly can). However when utilized as a design tool, animations can be valuable for a few other, very important reasons.

Information about the UI

There are many instances where a unique or unusual interface may add value to an application. While many designers see the value that branded gestures can provide to an experience, it is important that these interactions aren’t too obscure for the user to discover. How do we teach the user what to do? Coach marks? Tutorials? Modals with detailed instructions? These solutions are all disruptive, and discouraging to the user. This is where animations can be incredibly useful! Hint animations can quickly indicate or suggest unique gestures or specific navigation. If a user has to swipe upwards diagonally to confirm a purchase, an animation can indicate that with a small bounce up or down immediately after an order is placed. This solution is time efficient, non-disruptive, and is usually understood on a subconscious level.

Feedback

Simple animations can also help users understand an interface by providing feedback. An example most people are familiar with are edge or boundary indicators (think of the iOS gray linen, or the Android blue edge glow). Again, these are very simple solutions to providing contextual information, without distracting or demanding too much information from the user.

Overall Feel of the App

If the basic movement of the app and how it responds to basic gestures is taken into consideration, an app can be designed to feel more “real”. Imagine a screen that scrolled at the same speed from beginning to end, no matter how fast you swipe. Compare that to an app that was sensitive to the intensity of gestures, and simulated the basic physics of real life, by easing in and out at the beginning and end of any movement.

The choice seems pretty clear. Animations provide much more value than they get credit for, and I personally find that to be part of their beauty. The challenge for designer’s and developers is to use them tastefully and when they serve a purpose, rather than cramming them in places for “wow” value.

iOS 7 and the State of Design at Apple — An Introduction

Indeed, in the beginning after seeing WWDC, I was fully poised to write this blog post detailing how much I disliked what was shown for iOS 7. It was going to be a marvelous entry — full of examples, references to other designer’s tweets, full of expletives and worries about how this new land of Apple UI/UX design was certainly going to be the slow and painful death of detailed, beautifully designed mobile apps.

And well, at least in part, I still feel this way — just ask my coworkers. They’ve heard me complain enough and have seen me compose enough frustrated tweets. However, after thoroughly going through all of the design-centric developer videos from WWDC, playing around with iOS 7 for many days, collecting enough information about it to give a speech on the new design attributes to the company, and even mocking up a screen of one of our apps to adhere to the new style iOS 7 presents, I feel like I’m slowly growing more accustomed to it and not entirely hating it’s new look and feel. That could all just be a matter of accepting the inevitable and moving on though.

Anyway, I’d like to make this blog post the gateway for my future comparisons about areas of iOS 7 I think are handled well and areas that I believe aren’t handled too well, as well as what this means about future design trends for the platform. When I can, I’ll provide a detailed analysis of old and new and perhaps even provide my own mockup detailing my ideas.

Stay tuned.

-Matt Kofman

Hello!

Welcome to i fUX wit it, your soon-to-be new favorite design and UX blog. My name is Äbeer Khalique, and I will be your host for this post.

This blog will be run by the Design Team here at Applico, a mobile innovations company in New York City. While we won’t be mentioning individual clients, we will be mentioning things we’ve learned from projects – the good, the bad and the fugly.

Additionally, we will post cool findings, as well as our opinions on all things tech, design, and UX. You’ll also see little snippets of our work from time to time.

Prepare to be entertained, educated, and slightly enamored.

— ÄK