Author:

Rian is passionate about designing and building software that people love to use. After spending several years working in Silicon Valley and Cape Town, he is currently Director of Product at HealthSparq in Portland, OR. He also blogs and tweets regularly about user experience and product management.

Twitter: Follow Rian van der Merwe on Twitter

Google Profile: https://plus.google.com/109476442444769469197/

Why Companies Need Full-Time Product Managers (And What They Do All Day)

What is a product manager? What do product managers do all day? Most importantly, why do companies need to hire them? Good questions. Well, the first confusion we have to clear up is what we mean by "product."

Why Companies Need Full-Time Product Managers (And What They Do All Day)

In the context of software development, a product is the website, application or online service that users interact with. Depending on the size of the company and its products, a product manager could be responsible for an entire system (such as a mobile app) or part of a system (such as the checkout flow on an e-commerce website across all devices).

Read more...

How To Sell Your UX Design Solution To Clients

How do you convince clients to trust you with their valuable and much-loved product? In my experience, the best way to sell work to clients is to apply user-centered design not only to the work we produce, but also to the clients who commission that work.

How To Sell Your UX Design Solution To Clients

We have to understand who our clients are, what is important to them and what their goals are. And then we have to deliver work that not only meets the needs of end users, but also satisfies the personalities within the company itself.

Read more...

The Immersive Web And Design Writing

I have an idea for a new product — can I tell you about it? It will take months to develop, and even though this kind of thing is usually given away for free, I’m going to charge for it. Oh, and the market for it probably won’t be very big… Wait, come back! Where are you going?!

The Immersive Web And Design Writing

It does sound like a crazy idea, but it’s exactly what a small group of designers and writers have been doing for the past year or so. On a Web littered with SEO-ified headlines (“17 Jaw-Dropping Responsive Design Templates and Funny Cat Pictures”), easy-to-share design gallery slideshows and quick tutorials that help you recreate the latest texture fetish in Photoshop, these people are taking a step back from what we have now come to refer to as the “fast Web.”

Read more...

Making A Better Internet

My relationship with the Internet oscillates between waves of euphoria and waves of angst. Some things make me extraordinarily happy: like a client who loves usability testing so much when they first experience it that they can’t sleep for days; or connecting with someone whose writing I’ve admired for many years.

Making A Better Internet

But other things make me want to close my computer forever and go live on a farm somewhere: like people who take entire articles and present them as their own work, with tiny source links at the bottom of the page; or endless arguments and name-calling that ignore even the most basic human dignity.

Read more...

Design Patterns: When Breaking The Rules Is OK

We’d like to believe that we use established design patterns for common elements on the Web. We know what buttons should look like, how they should behave and how to design the Web forms that rely on those buttons. And yet, broken forms, buttons that look nothing like buttons, confusing navigation elements and more are rampant on the Web. It’s a boulevard of broken patterns out there.

Design Patterns: When Breaking The Rules Is OK

This got me thinking about the history and purpose of design patterns and when they should and should not be used. Most interestingly, I started wondering when breaking a pattern in favor of something different or better might actually be OK. We all recognize and are quick to call out when patterns are misused. But are there circumstances in which breaking the rules is OK? To answer this question properly, let’s go back to the beginning.

Read more...

A Dad’s Plea To Developers Of iPad Apps For Children

I spend a lot of time buying and testing iPad apps for kids. To be more specific, I lovingly do this for a certain two-year-old girl who is currently on a very successful #OccupyiPad mission in my house. Through extensive observational research, I’ve discovered what works and doesn’t work for my daughter, so I’m going to shamelessly generalize my findings to all children and propose four essential guidelines for developers who work on iPad apps for children.

A Dad's Plea To Developers Of iPad Apps For Children

Most apps for children show a bunch of different things on the screen that you can touch to make stuff happen. Cows moo, windows open and close, honey pots need to be collected, etc. But most of these apps give no indication of which elements are interactive and which are not. This usually results in a frantic and frustrating game of whack-a-mole to find the elements that actually do something.

Read more...

Designer Myopia: How To Stop Designing For Ourselves

Have you ever looked at a bizarre building design and wondered, “What were the architects thinking?” Or have you simply felt frustrated by a building that made you uncomfortable, or felt anger when a beautiful old building was razed and replaced with a contemporary eyesore?

Designer Myopia: How To Stop Designing For Ourselves

You might be forgiven for thinking “these architects must be blind!” New research shows that in a real sense, you might actually be right.

Read more...

↑ Back to top