Designer Paul Rand once said, “An understanding of man's intrinsic needs, and of the necessity to search for a climate in which those needs could be realized, is fundamental to the education of the designer.” Prototyping helps us to unveil and explore these human needs, opening the door to insightful interaction and more empathetic design solutions.
Low-fidelity prototypes, in particular, are rough representations of concepts that help us to validate those concepts early on in the design process. Throughout this article, we will look at some of the features that make low-fidelity prototyping a unique tool to radically improve your work and to build an environment in which users’ needs can be truly realized.
Apple launched the Macintosh personal computer in 1984. It was more user-friendly than other PCs at that time — and, with its desktop publishing software, graphical user interface and mouse (all novel at the time), the Mac was uniquely geared to designers. Compared to what we can create on the computer today, the original Macintosh, with only 128 KB of memory, had limited capabilities. At the time, though, it opened up so many new possibilities.
Of course, using a computer didn’t automatically make designers better at their craft. Instead, the new technology gave them more control and sped up their exploration process. As with anything unfamiliar, the Mac sparked debate among designers during this time: While some saw the computer as simply another tool for creating work, like a drawing pen, others saw its potential as a medium in itself.
In today’s fast-paced mobile market, consumers have no patience for mobile apps that compromise their experience. “Crashes” and “Not working” are the most common feedback on Google Play for unstable or sluggish apps (including games). Those comments and ratings make hundreds of millions of potential downloaders skip those lousy apps. Sounds harsh, but that’s the way it is.
An app succeeds not by chance. It is the result of the right decisions made at the right time. The most successful mobile app developers understand the importance of performance, quality and robustness across the array of mobile devices that their customers use.
Mobile is a difficult, unpredictable beast. If you run into technical problems in mobile, then you’ll know how annoying fixing them can be. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Peter-Paul Koch to create The Mobile Web Handbook, our practical new guide to dealing with front-end challenges in mobile. The book is finally ready and is now shipping worldwide. It’s available in print or as an eBook.
We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd.
This creativity mission has been going on for six years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month. This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for October 2014. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!
As we refine our methods of responsive web design, we’ve increasingly focused on measure (another word for “line length”) and its relationship to how people read.
The popularization of the “ideal measure” has led to advice such as “Increase font size for large screens and reduce font size for small screens.” While a good measure does improve the reading experience, it’s only one rule for good typography. Another rule is to maintain a comfortable font size.
Take any new interface design or display technology, and chances are that someone somewhere has already compared it to Minority Report. The 2002 dystopian film, with its see-through screens and gesture-driven interfaces, is remembered more for its futuristic tech than for the insidiousness of the technology — pre-crime prediction — that was its actual focus. It continues to be the standard by which we judge new interfaces.
But inspiration doesn’t only come in the form of flashy, futuristic interfaces. At Typeform, we were inspired to simplify online forms by a movie that’s decidedly a blast from the past: the 1983 film WarGames, which centers around a student who remotely logs into a research computer and, through its terminal interface, nearly sparks a nuclear war. Its computers are hardly state of the art, yet the computers’ question-driven interface inspired us to reinvent forms. Instead of a list of questions, how much better would it be if forms presented one easy-to-answer question at a time?
These days you have an awful lot of options for hosting your website, so many that it’s easy to get lost. How much should you pay? Is support important to you, or are you a tinkerer who likes to do your own thing?
Put in different terms, are you a master chef who can cook a delicious meal with the right assortment of ingredients, or would you rather go to a nice restaurant and just sit back and enjoy the experience?
People use their mobile devices everywhere: on the train, while waiting in line, sitting on the couch. As much as we aim to design our mobile apps and websites for contextual use, testing their usability in context can be challenging.
While getting out in the field for user testing is not always realistic, simulating much of that contextual experience in a lab is possible. One approach to mobile testing is participatory design.
Many people know that Fireworks is a great tool for web design, prototyping and UI design. But what about icon design? Icon design is a very specific skill that overlaps illustration, screen design and, of course, visual design. An icon designer needs to understand lighting, proportions and, most importantly, the context of the icon itself.
The BBC published an interesting article about icon design and skeuomorphism one year ago, titled "What Is Skeuomorphism?" It’s definitely worth reading because it explains why icons often reflect the real world and the thinking behind it.