HipHop Call and response.jpg

Found this in my draft posts. I don't know what I was getting at with the title but I like this little manifesto and thought I would take a shot at elaborating on it. 

 

Don't do harm

Respect norms

Don't teach bad habits

Utilize innovative research and technology

Cooperate with the needs and desires of customers/users

 

What a nice little reminder for those of us defining and creating experiences.  


Don't do harm - This is vague, yet interesting and important. In order to not do harm you have to understand so much about the users of your product. This one sounds like the easiest but I think it's actually the one that gets broken most of the time. 

For example, how many times a month do you open an application and start to do something you've done a thousand times and find that the developers have changed it. Your stomach sinks a bit, you make an ugh sound, sigh and then sadly tap through what will be an experience you will morn and struggle with for the coming days/weeks/months. Lot's of ways to harm your existing relationships with users, your brand, the experience that so many people came together to design and grow. Gotta think about this one at every step. 

Respect Norms - As a designer I rarely argue for designing for the lowest common denominator. I am generally on the other side of this argument. I talk about respecting the intelligence of our users and the fact that people can learn and will learn if you are a good teacher/leader. But I like this one two. A person should feel comfortable and empowered by your experience (Unless your goal is to disrupt. That has it's place too). Being conscious of the norms of interaction, language and intent helps you wrap your user in a nice warm blanket of confidence and trust.   

 Don't teach bad habits - Even if it's the easy way to do it. Every moment in your experience is firing off a neuron and creating muscle memories. I would also add that we shouldn't indulge bad habits when we respect norms. Tricky.

 Utilize innovative research and technology - It's so easy to keep designing the same thing over and over again. Our clients and managers often encourage this or at least make it really easy to. Find your way to keep up with the awesome thinkers and makers. Be a thinker and maker. Partner with people who push you.

 Cooperate with the needs and desires of customers/users - Cooperation. I like this word as it pertains to finding balance between business and user needs/goals/desires. As the person on the team that has to ride that line and hold everyone accountable for it at each decision point this word helps me approach these decisions in the correct frame of mind. 

 

photo credit

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Authortyesha
CategoriesUser Experience

Hey Big Fish is our gift to the SXSW community.It helps you engage in a more meaningful way during and after the event. It creates a record of  SXSW 2013 that represents what happened and what the community valued.

The Story

Our team came together with the goal of designing a product to launch as SXSW. The idea was to create a little gift for our peers and bring some attention to the great work our organizations are doing.

The first step was to find a technology partner and fellow Portland, Or company Little Bird was an obvious choice.  Their product quickly became the spark of inspiration we needed - We could use Little Bird’s technology to add a layer of smarts to whatever we come up with.

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This is the front page of a new webservice. I will not be going any further.

I will not be a user of this product (for now).

I saw a promotion for the service in a newsletter and I was interested. I clicked over. I saw that I'd have to log in to check it out. That's cool. If I want to check something out online I'm not discouraged by a log in gate, I can always delete my account and I'm happy to engage with the company in they way they need in order to provide the service they spent so much time and money creating, especially if it's free.

Today I will not be doing this because the visual design of this page is terrible.

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Authortyesha

I got a new computer a couple weeks ago and as part of the set up I had to make that age old decision, which browser to use.

Of course I download Firefox and Chrome so I have all three,  but which one am I going to commit to this time. Which one will I stock up with all my cookies, auto-fills, saved passwords, usage history and bookmarks?

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This projects is one that I will always be proud of.  Working with local companies is always exciting. Working with my city's art museum was a dream come true.

We started by conducted a large discovery phase including a day long workshop with all of the museum department heads, a humbling tasking working with such smart and creative people, but an wonderful opportunity to have access to everyone who has a stake not only in the website but the museum as a whole. We discussed all of the varied needs and  goals of the museum and in the end were able to arrive at a set of very actionable goals for the site.

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Authortyesha
system-combinations

"Interaction is a way of framing the relationship between people and objects designed for them—and thus a way of framing the activity of design."- Hugh Dubberly in this article (Which is excellent by the way. I recommend a read) Image from article.

 

I'm working on a little talk for HIVE and in doing so have written many pages and found myself thinking about what really goes into designing a product. Instead of composing a 10 page essay I thought I'd just put a few thoughts out there over a few posts and see what you guys think.

1. You have to define the Interaction Model

This seems obvious, but I often get blank stares when I bring this up. For me it's the guiding light for the product design (visual, tech and otherwise) and is the result of many of the activities experience designers engage in.  It can come in any number of different forms, from something that reads like a style guide, to a few pages of prose, to a set of diagrams, to a wall filled with drawings, ux documents and statements. But it has to be made and it has to be understood by everyone.

If we as a design and build team aren't on the same page about the interaction model and see the product same way in our heads how can we expect to create a product that resonates with users, works and is scalable.

So here is my attempt at a definition.

The product interaction model is made up of the product architecture, primary flow paths, set of design patterns and emotional tone; that consider how a user will understand the product in relation to what they are trying to do, how they relate it to other products both digital and physical, their mental model for it over time, the context of it’s use, and the business goals of subsequent phases of the product.

 

How would you add or change this? Do you have examples you would like to share?

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Authortyesha
CategoriesUser Experience

There are these ugly little things that appear again and again in our lives (particularly in our digital lives) and I think it's time to speak up.

Not only are they ugly they give you a negative jolt each time you encounter them and THEY NEED TO BE REDESIGNED. I'll be calling them out as I find them in hopes that someone will hear our cries.

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Authortyesha
Tagsflash
screenshot_693

I stumbled upon this sweepstakes campaign HP is running and found it interesting.  It raised the question we all struggle with designing campaigns. How much is too much to ask of users? In order to enter you are asked to watch multiple videos then perform a one question comprehension test in order to enter.  I feel like I'm in 3rd grade. Comprehension Test!

Does this seem like a bit much too you?  I was about to do it until I realized that the answer would be hidden somewhere within the four videos. Did I really want to watch all of them? How long are they?  Do I still get to enter if I get the answer wrong?

With further investigation I found that the videos were under 30 seconds each. That would have been nice to know.  I would have also enjoyed seeing that other people had participated and found value or at least enjoyed the exercise.

This campaign highlights a current challenge in digital marketing strategy. How much can we ask of users?  How much should we ask?  What trade-offs are we willing to make to attract and engage a more quality set of users or increase the value of the impression?

I do like the idea at it's heart.  I enjoy the fact that a company is attempting to teach me something I may not know and provide a solution. What better way to sell something? The videos are actually entertaining even if the content is a bit suspect. And why shouldn't we try to get users to actually pay attention?  I'm really interested to see what people actually typed into this little box.  Care to share HP?

 

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screenshot_636

This was an accident but it hit just the right funny bone for me this afternoon.

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Authortyesha
CategoriesUser Experience
screenshot_630

It's an exciting time for new  ideas and interesting digital products. I'm signing up for about 5 new services a week. Many I'm genuinely interested in using, others just to keep my eye on the interaction design, startup, digital landscape ball.  I'll have to write a post on the many trends I'm seeing because their are a ton. The biggest trend I see is coming up with something new. With the emergence and persistent growth of stuff like the smart phone market, tablet devices, the new an totally unrealized world of location based services and community created information and sharing , everyone is looking for the next new thing. But what about all this stuff we already use. Is it done. No more creative problem solving around the products we use everyday. Are we done working on the products so essential they were developed first? Google keeps trying stuff. Wave, that social media thing I can't remember, Google Docs.  Not all of it has worked but I like that there are smart people still trying to make my every day more efficient and effective.  I like that there are groups of people working on eliminate the daily frustrations that go with using software instead of coming up with something new I have to figure out how to integrate into my life. Don't get me wrong I love new ideas, I have a few in the works and I'm addicted to trying new products out. My life is better with all of this new stuff. But I think if some of the basic activities of my day were streamlined I'd have better success utilizing the new stuff.

So I was extremely please to discover Fantastical a calender input program that integrates with all your Mac calenders.

The idea is brilliant. Throw away the old clunky methods of entering events into your calender and replace with an elegant time saving input program.

You must try it yourself but here is what I like about it.

1. Natural language input.

2. Enter all of the information into one field rather than the average 4 field steps of other calender programs.

3.  You can cut and paste into said field!!!

4. Beautiful interface design with fun and elegant visual feedback of actions.

5. Easy to access list view of all upcoming events and meetings.

6. Search

High five! to the creators flexibits.

Love their company description too.

 

Flexibits is Michael SimmonsKent Sutherland

...and we create applications that are enjoyable and flexible. What do we mean by flexible? Making your Mac better. Making your life better. Removing frustration.

We're users too, so we know what a good user experience should be. If you're disappointed or frustrated with anything, please let us know. With many years of experience working on many popular apps, our hope is that our experience and passion is evident in everything we do.

Flexibits: Flexible bits.

 

Hooray for improvement instead of invention! Hooray for not giving up on the dream of seamless, enjoyable, natural computing!

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Roy Robson Map 1

Couple weeks ago I was working on a map interface; I tried to find some inspiration on the web and really came up empty handed. There are a ton of excellent pattern and inspiration libraries but I couldn't find much to address the display of content on maps. I'm sure you guys will educate me on the vast number of sites I failed to find ( I hope) But I figured I better start collecting some on my own and this may be of interest to some of you. First one:   RoyRobson.com Thanks to @benforgarty for leading me here via the badass portfolio site of the designer  Jan Ploch  

ROY ROBSON SHOPFINDER

Stats: Map: Google Maps Content: Store Locations Items: 100's

Lessons: 1. Make choices to provide value to the most people. 2. Provide lists to compliment the map. 3. Small design elements make a big difference.

Analysis:

First thing I like is that they made a choice. They have stores around the world but they chose to focus the initial map display on the area with the most stores, probably the most customers too; hence helping the majority of the folks get what they need quicker. The choice is also successful in communicating to it's core audience that they have a ton of stores and one is bound to be near you.  They do have stores in Iran and Uganda but would the experience benefit from showing a map of the world?  How would they show pins when the distribution is so unequal?  They easily mitigate the problem of Iranians not seeing a their stores on first view by bringing the Shopfinder front and center. It is always best practice to provide a list to supplement the map experience. In this case the availability of the list allowed them to make a choice to focus the map on a certain part of the world.

Also of note: You can quickly zoom in and out with a scroll of the mouse. The pins contrast well on the map and the white outline allows them to be stacked and overlapping and still be clickable. I love the full screen view of the map.

Selecting "Choose country" opens the list and the list stays open. There are enough moving parts in a map interface. Try to reduce rollovers and other moving functions. Simple click to open click to close is refreshing and so nice to use.  This interaction model is repeated when interacting with the pins.

Also of note:  Get directions takes to Google Maps. I think it's ok to not try to do everything within your map interface. Take it to the level that brings value to your company and the visitor then go ahead and send them to Google (or other map program). They will be familiar with it and probably have data saved like their address eliminating a number of clicks and steps.

Selecting a country refreshes the page bringing you a new map focused on the country you selected. I like the page refresh avoiding the tempting "zoom in/out and move the map in some crazy animation" instinct.

Once there we are given another list that reflects the information on the map.

You can also change the country without going back. Nice.

 

Select a city get a list of the stores. Although it should zoom in to the selected city but it doesn't.

Over all I think this is a super successful map design.  What do you think?

I'll post more as I find them.

 

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Authortyesha