Long before I became a UX Designer & User Researcher, I was a writer. As a child, I would write embarrassingly long narratives about imaginary worlds. Adolescent me would create dramatic stories about love and loss (mainly loss since I knew very little about love). Post college, as a news reporter, my writings were short, concise and rarely emotional. Like many writers, with each writing season came a different means of inspiration.
What do you think this sign means? Even if you can’t read the words, the meaning is universal. Yield to the camel! In car vs. camel, they will always win. So now let’s do another quiz. What does this icon mean? Does this filter or sort? If you said filter, you win. If you said sort, you still win because this icon is confusing. A few weeks ago, I designed a feature for selecting categories.
When is the last time you’ve had what you would describe as a “joyful experience” with a product? As a designer, I hope that people who use the products I create have a memorable, truly joyful experience. (You see how I’m avoiding the word “delightful?” More on that in a separate post) I’d like to share a few beloved experiences with you that will hopefully inspire your design approach. The Nostalgic App Just download it now if you haven’t already!
Success isn’t guaranteed but failure is certain if you aren’t emotionally invested in your work. -Biz, Things A Little Bird Told Me Each week, Tradecraft welcomes experts and inspiring entrepreneurs to share their insights with us during what we call a “Tradecraft teach.” A couple of weeks ago, I was elated to moderate a talk with Biz Stone. If you’re not familiar with Biz, he’s the co-founder of Twitter and Jelly, which recently released a fun new app called Super.
I am a coder. It sounds weird to see that written out. Maybe that’s because it’s a rather new adventure in my life. Or maybe it’s because for years, I saw coding as swathed in a veil of mystery. Websites and apps just happened. Sure, there was someone on the other side making it happen but for the most part, it just seemed like magic. I am not a good coder (yet).
As a UX Designer, it’s part of the job to look for inspiration. I hope I’ll always be constantly inspired by the world around me and the brilliant work of talented artists and designers. In that spirit, I’d like to share my ‘Inspiration Notebook’ with you. This is compiled of different images of UIs that inspire me. For example, I love Pinterest’s board display. The simple and elegant way my pictures are displayed convey a warm yet not overly-fussy tone.
What if paying for your meal could be effortless, fluid and simple? Just one click on your phone and boom — bill paid, out the door and onto the next adventure. This was the question that OpenTable’s design team dived into. The end result of their discovery is a feature that allows you to view and pay your check through the OpenTable app. Recently, Seth Andrezejewski, a User Experience Researcher for OpenTable, spoke at Tradecraft and shared a glimpse into the journey his team took to create this new feature.
Drawing has always been a bit intimidating to me. I can see an idea or concept in my head but when it comes to putting pen to paper and communicating it visually, I would freeze up. So when we were given the assignment (challenge?) to draw 100 sketches in 2 days, I was nervous. So nervous. But, I love observing and people watching, which is an integral part of sketching. Over the past few days, I’ve opened my eyes to lines, shapes and flows.
In some ways, Jesse James Garrett introduced me into the (official) world of User Experience. His book, the Elements of User Experience, was the first work on UX that I read. As such, I appreciated the simple, clear and relatable language that Garrett used to introduce newbies like me to the UX world. Garrett described user experience as “the experience the product creates for the people who use it in the real world.” Sometimes we have great experiences with products (I’m looking at you, nostalgic Timehop), other times the experience is frustrating (like anytime I try to navigate Netflix on my tv).
I’ve done user studies for several years but I’m excited about getting the opportunity to implement user studies following the lean startup philosophy. From Laura Klein’s book UX for Lean Startups, “Lean UX is solidly data driven.” In other words, you test first, assume never. I should set the stage now and share with you that I love looking back on user studies I’ve done in the past. Especially those that were purely grassroots.
In the days before iPhones and internet, while other kids were playing teacher or house, I was reading the newspaper into a tape recorder, “anchoring” my own tv news show. From the time I was young, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It never wavered or changed, like other things in my life (such as that dark period before I loved avocados or when I hated wine), I never second guessed this dream.