Friday, February 26, 2016

Kent State UXD Program:Reflective Journaling Week 6

I mentioned in our virtual class that I drive a lot, probably more than most to my job every day (about 130 miles round trip).  I listen to Audible audio books to pass the time and the book that I am wrapping up this week is a book about asking questions.  What?  I know, right.  What is so complex about asking questions you might ask.  Well, the book often cites and justifiably so that as we grow out of childhood we start to absorb a large amount of information and ask questions a lot less.  Why is this important and what does it have to do with User Experience Design?  The idea of asking good questions like why or what if is consistent with many great innovative leaders like the late Steve Jobs.

     The book I read/listened to was called  “A More Beautiful Question:   The power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough ideas” by Warren Berger.  Warren goes into detail about how to ask good questions.  What I am getting at is that as a designer you want to make the web site or app the best it can be and that means making sure it makes the largest impact for the customer.  Those designers who want to elevate their skills will look beyond just creating an effective design using color, contrast, and grids.  Those designers will look deeper into the emotion so that the tone and context of the web site or App is very powerful.  In order to get that far it will help you to understand how to ask good questions.  Now as a designer you can't ask why does the customer want to build this web site or App at least initially.  After all it is your job to build it.  But you can make specific observations to the client and ask a question like "What are some specific impacts you believe this site may make in your business/industry?"  When a client or customer starts to understand that you really care about the mission of the project and not just the dollars you are getting paid they will allow you the space to ask those why questions.  In due time you may help the web site or App go from a good or a great looking site or App to a beautiful vehicle of communication and awareness for your client's project that you will never forget. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kent State UXD Program:Reflective Journaling Week 5

This week our class read about the golden ratio, grids, symmetrical and asymmetrical design.  These are all great tools for helping you decide how to present the most relevant part of your story first.  What is most challenging is often we try to make things complex because we believe that is what people want.  It is true that many people want to see a great design.  But the story you want to tell is often the most powerful when it is told in the most simple way using a minimum number of bell and whistles.  Grids and principals are a great way to reduce the complexity into something that is manageable for the end user to understand.  Great design is about a great amount of effort to understand the story you want to tell and how your story fits into the lives of others.  Great design is a good first step but the information architecture of your design and how much value you are providing to the viewer is something that is just as important.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kent State UXD Program:Reflective Journaling Week 4

Workflow is often an overlooked part of user experience.  Many including myself try and come up with the best looking color pattern and spend time looking on kuler for the best color combination.  In a previous post I mentioned that design is a service oriented business.  That is, the best designers are often those who think about their audience and serve their audience by understanding them better than any other designer.  Workflow is a pivotal but often overlooked step in the area of user experience.  My wife and I although not dancers enjoy watching the show so you think you can dance.  Some of their best moments in those dances are the transitions from one movement to another which are basically akin to workflow.  As a designer you always need to be thinking of the steps your audiences take and the transitions they make from one step into another so they don’t get confused or worst lost.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Kent State UXD Program:Reflective Journaling Week 3

In a response to a post this week I mentioned a study that showed people forget more frequently when they walk through doorways.  The point here about design is you want to make sure the audience you are designing for doesn't take too long to perform their task.  If it does take a long time then it is important as Johnson(2013) describes that you allow them to record what actions they took.  The wonderful thing about design is that it is so open and you can be so creative.  The bad aspect is design is that many people start to care about the elements of a design more than the audience they are designing for.  As designers we should celebrate when we create a cool new design but we should also celebrate when we design something so well people don't even notice.  Design is a service as much as it is a craft.

Johnson, J. (2013). Designing with the mind in mind: simple guide to understanding user interface design guidelines. Elsevier.