This is the second Graphic Design USA award winning design for 2013. The concept here was a jovial and festive “Save the Date” reminder for a company’s holiday party. I needed to express the festive season, without promoting any religious affiliation. This design was well received.
I enjoyed the first day of my first California State Fullerton Class: User-Centered Design for Web and Mobile Interfaces. Today, we learned about examining the goals of the customer and the business. In this class, we discussed four facets of the goals for the customer and the business:
- Purpose (Why) The reason for existence
- Goal (What) What you want to accomplish
- Mechanism (How) How to reach the goal
- Metric (When/Where) Define what the accomplishment looks like
After brainstorming these possibilities, for both the customer and the business, then the UX designer can better determine a stronger justicification for creating the website or app.
After discussing the goals, we then worked on the taxonomy of the site. We brainstormed topics that could be on the website. In the class, the business we used was a small gym with five locations. We explored the topics that might be included on the website.
Learned about this little process on “Design Thinking” on MOOC today.
This is one of many design process models, called the d.modes from the D.school in Stanford. It consists of five different modes
Empathize, the first mode, is about understanding people. It is the foundation of the entire design thinking process. You should try to understand and „feel“ the needs, hopes, aspirations of users, experts and stakeholders. Your thinking mode should be that of an psychologist.
Define is the second mode. Often overlooked, it makes sure the problem is understood by everybody in the team. Structure and analyze the data collected in the first phase, cluster your findings and map patterns. You focus on crafting the right questions and define what point of view you will take. Your thinking mode is that of an analyst.
The next step is called ideation. Starting from the focused position of define, it is about collecting many ideas, deliberately without judging. It allows you as a team to go beyond the obvious solutions by combining individual skills. It is about sharing stories about what could be. Think of yourself as an explorer. Des
The mode prototype is about creating a first impression. It derives from the greek protos = first and typos = impression. You can build a prototype for anything out of everything. By crafting something with your hands your brain switches into a different mode. Your thinking mode is that of a craftsman.
Test is the last mode. Get your prototypes into the real world, engage people to interact with it. Ask them and observe their behavior. Figure out what is not yet good about it and what could be improved. Your thinking mode is that of a critic.
I am now watching week 2 of Design Thinking on MOOC viewable on iversity.org. One of the interviewees said something very intruiging:
- Question: What is Design in ONE word?
- Answer: Freedom.
Now this is a very interesting answer isn’t it?
Design is so complex, and so difficult to define with just one word. Some might say design is “art” or “creativity.” Others might say it is “communication” or “planning.” But to think of Design in terms of Freedom is a very interesting approach indeed. There’s some food for thought.
A friend introduced me to a new (to me) brainstorming concept. Alex Osborn, developed a brainstorming tecnique abbreviated as SCAMPER:
- Put to other use
- Eliminate and
You can download the Manual Thinking Template to start this brainstorming exercise. Below is a visual example of the brainstorming session in use.
I just started the online course titled “Design Thinking MOOC” and so far it’s pretty interesting. I love new courses that challenge my every-day thinking and teach me something new.
In Chapter 4 , Week 1 of “Design Thinking,” I was introduced to the Trajectory of Artificiality Theory by Krippendorff. Here is the theory illustrated below:
I recently took it upon myself to compare three online movie ticket purchasing websites: Fandango*, movietickets.com and Arclight Cinemas. By comparing the features, design, content and user flow of similar websites, one can gain invaluable knowledge about their own sites.
When you compare your website to what a competitive website is doing, you will learn:
- What your website or experience is doing right
- What your website or experience is doing wrong
- What your competitors are doing right
- What your competitors are doing wrong
This is a great jumping off point in improving your own website or experience.
This graphic only shows some some of the insights I discovered when comparing websites. My brief overview is below:* At the time of publishing this post, Fandango had not yet released its redesigned website and mobile app. Therefore many of the specific features I discuss here will no longer be applicable. However, going this process was still a great learning tool.
I know that Fandango will be launching a redesign very soon, so the shelf life of my analysis is ver limited. Still, I would like to share with you a few things I learned when analyzing Fandango.com website on the desktop:
- If something looks like a button, then it should be a button. The “Find Movie Times + Buy Tickets” looks like a button, but is not. Best not to confuse the user.
- Movie posters can be too small and sometimes difficult to read the title. Maybe use a simpler image to illustrate film? And therefore help me read the title of the film.
- Use the user’s language, according to Jakob Nielsen’s “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.” On the Fandango site: Features> I thought that meant Feature films. This language could be confusing to some users. It was to me.
When analyzing the movie tickets.com website on the computer/desktop, I discovered a few key points:
- Highlight theaters where I can buy the tickets from, not just all of them
- Make the CTA (Call to Action) button clear. I want to buy movie tickets. Make it easy for me. Just like Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think.”
- I found this to be a particular pain point: there is a long list of theaters with no address or map. How do I know how far away the theaters are?
Some take-aways I discovered when looking at the arclight.com website on the desktop:
- After a failed search, provided closest options rather than saying “no results found”
- Indicate where I am in the buying process, Like Jakob Neilsen’s Heuristics: Visibility of system status
- When I get an error message in a purchase, indicate what fields are required by an asterisk so I know I which fields I must fill out
I read about Luke W’s Touch Gesture Reference Guide today in his book “Mobile First.” This is a handy little reference cheat sheet so I thought I would share it with all of you. Enjoy!
Well it’s official. I now have both text books for my “User Experience and Customer-Centered Design” certification class. I guess I’d better get off the computer and start reading my books for the course. The course lasts only three weeks, so I need to start reading ahead of time if I want to be on schedule.
I received the first text book in the mail today for my first class at CalState Fullerton’s “User Experience and Customer-Centered Design” certificate program. I start my class in a couple of weeks, and I am very excited to be learning a new topic. What is my first class? User-Centered Design for Web and Mobile Interfaces.
I participated in the workshop “Physical, Digital, Human: Designing Experiences for Mobile and the Internet of Things” taught by Steven Hoober. It was a mixture of instruction about technology and how it is creeping in to other devices in our lives. With technologies like Nest and Smart Watches, we are accessing the internet and using technology in more and more ways. In between lectures, we broke in to smaller groups and brainstormed a concept or two about our project: integrating all house-hold devices that control some aspect in our house, like turning off the lights or adjusting the temperature. We wanted to create a central location for all of these apps to make the experience more delightful.
Demystifying the UX Team
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 I attended the UXPALA event “Demystifying the UX Team: Who are the players?” which was the first event held by our organization this calendar year.
Did I mention that I am a Chair of Strategic Projects for UXPALA? Yes I certainly am! That means I assist with the organizations newly established website and email newsletter. I’ll post more about our organization soon.
So of now, here’s a summary of last night’s event:
Demystifying the UX Team: Who are the players?
Almost every company, be it a UX/UI firm or any industry that has a UX team – all seem to have different team structures and working methods.
UX/UI/Usability is a relatively new field, so we’re getting 5 UX Directors and Managers together from various companies to form a panel and answer UXPALA’s questions and yours.
Want to attend future events like this? Keep an eye on our Meetup page for more to come. http://www.meetup.com/UXPALA/
Hostmonster’s email is so ugly! I feel like I’ve been thrown back to 1999 every time I open it. I think I am going to design some mock ups for it just for fun.