Tag Archives: Design

2012_08_07_featured Theory

Wireframes: From Bar Napkins To Prototypes

This is a guest post by our friend Mike Hughes

Some of my best ideas were conceived and communicated using a sharpie and a bar napkin. Unfortunately, some of my best ideas were obliterated by a sweaty beer glass.

I’ve also walked into conceptual reviews with exquisitely detailed, working prototypes only to have the review go something like this:
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2012_07_02_featured Theory

Why The User Experience Can Or Cannot Be Designed

This is a guest post by our friend Paul Olyslager.

It seems an endless discussion whether the user experience can or cannot be designed. The difficulty of the discussion lies in the level of abstraction. I believe that is because everything is an experience and everyone is a user. There is no standard definition, nor consensus among the practitioners, of what experience design really is.

In this article I hope to shed some light on the issue. I will share my thoughts about the difficulties to design the user experience and give some practical tips how to overcome this challenge.
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visceral_design Design

Not Just Pretty: Building Emotion Into Your Websites

This article was originally and in full length published on Smashing Magazine. Please visit the original source for the entire text, including many visual examples.

Emotional design has become a powerful tool in creating exceptional user experiences for websites. However, emotions did not use to play such an important role on the Web. Actually, they did not use to play any role at all; rather, they were drowned by a flood of rational functionality and efficiency.

We were so busy trying to adapt to the World Wide Web as a new medium that we lost sight of its full potential. Instead of using the Internet on our terms, we adapted to its technical and, at first, impersonal nature. If it wasn’t for visionary contemporaries such as Don Norman or Aarron Walter, we might still be focusing on improving processes, neglecting the potential of emotional design.
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86754321 Theory

Useful, Saleable, Buildable: The Role Of UX In Defining Requirements

This is a guest post by our friend Mike Hughes.

A mentor of mine is fond of giving the advice “Do what you love to do in the service of those who love what you do.” Whenever I hear UX professionals complain that they are continually having to promote the value of what they do, I wonder if they are serving the right people. If people in your organization are not seeing the value you add, maybe you haven’t positioned yourself where you can add the most value.

In this article I’ll explain how my role has evolved from that of a usability expert to that of a user experience (UX) architect. In making that transition, I have increased my impact on product strategy and I have established a higher perceived value in the organizations I work for. Essentially, I will discuss how my emphasis and contribution has shifted from just making the product usable, to defining a product that is useful, saleable, and buildable.

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Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 2.39.41 PM Discoveries

How The Look & Feel Of Your Website Affects Your Users

Good design has to live up to many expectations. Design translates features into a visual interface, and ideally it manages to do so in a logical and usable way. As if that’s not enough, design also needs to be appealing. Good design is therefore useful and usable, and at the same time it’s aesthetic, draws attention, and it fits into a given context. I believe all of these aspects have been covered a lot lately, except for the look & feel that comes with the context of a website.

In the following, I’m going to discuss how the look & feel of a website affects the way we perceive it and what we feel just by looking at it. Visual aspects like layout, typography, images, or colors can make your website appealing, authentic, credible, entertaining, and much more.

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featured_image Design

Personalize Your Website And Gain Credibility

Personality is one of the major factors to influence web credibility. We love the feeling to actually interact with a real person, rather than a machine. The design of a website and the personality that comes with it can trick us into this idea, even if we are very well aware that all we see is basically some code sent to us by a faraway server, interpreted by our web browser.

  • If you have any feature requests, you have an amazing idea [...], you need support, or just want to say “Hi”, please contact us.

Quotes like the one above can make a big difference when it comes to how trustworthy users perceive your website. The text shows that the people behind pulpfingers.com are not only truly interested in what their users have to say, also their tone of voice is very human and authentic.

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Best UX & Design Links Links

Best UX & Design Links

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Screen shot 2012-04-18 at 3.12.29 PM Discoveries

3 Ways to Increase Web Credibility Through Content Presentation

Not very long ago, when looking for information, we turned to sources like books or maybe our parents and grandparents. These are sources that we knew were reliable from experience or simply by sensing the superior aura of a library. The way something or someone makes us feel strongly influences our perceived level of trust. Therefore we can easily judge offline sources by our relationship with them, their external features and previous experiences.

Those who can design for credibility gain a strategic advantage. — BJ Fogg

On the web, it all becomes a little more difficult. Most of the times we use diverse search engines to find information, which ultimately leads us to numerous websites that all seem to know something about the one thing we are looking for. How do we know whom to trust?

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goodnav Design

How To Design Effective Navigation Menus

Navigation menus are the key to finding what we are looking for on a website. Without a navigation menu that meets our expectations, a website will most likely not be effective. A website that is not effective will most likely not be successful. There are many different kind of websites that range from simple to extremely complex. In any case, a good design should focus on the users and their goals: Finding certain information as quickly as possible.

By glossing over a few examples I discovered, I will go over best practices that help you nail your navigation menu.

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banksy_museum_picasso Design

Why Designers Collect

How you go about educating yourself as a designer is a highly personal affair. But if you want to improve constantly, there are some things you can’t do without. Mostly, this means practicing an awful lot, and knowing how to take in all the stuff you see around you, and turn it into something that is original, beautiful and effective. I will explain how collecting design elements helps designers do these things, and improve their skills.

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