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Category: UX Design
Quality articles on usability, information architecture, interaction design and other user experience (UX) related topics – for digital (Web, mobile, applications, software) and physical products. Through these articles, experts and professionals share with you their valuable ideas, practical tips, useful guidelines, recommended best practices and great case studies. Curated by Chui Chui Tan. Subscribe to the RSS-Feed.
After a few years of designing products for clients, I began to feel fatigued. I wondered why. Turns out, I’d been chasing metric after metric. “Increase those page views!” “Help people spend more time in the app!” And it kept coming. Still, something was missing. I knew that meeting goals was part of what a designer does, but I could see how my work could easily become commoditized and less fulfilling unless something changed.
I thought of how bored I’d be if I kept on that path. I needed to build some guiding principles that would help me find my place in design. These principles would help grow and would shape my career in a way that fits me best.
Icons are an essential part of many user interfaces, visually expressing objects, actions and ideas. When done correctly, they communicate the core idea and intent of a product or action, and they bring a lot of nice benefits to user interfaces, such as saving screen real estate and enhancing aesthetic appeal. Last but not least, most apps and websites have icons. It's a design pattern that is familiar to users.
Despite these advantages, icons can cause usability problems when designers hide functionality behind icons that are hard to recognize. An icon's first job is to guide users to where they need to go, and in this article we'll see what it takes to make that possible. If you want to take a go at creating your own icons, you can download and test Adobe's Experience Design CC for free and get started right away.
Many apps today, such as Google Now, Spotify and Amazon, make assumptions about user preferences based on personal data. They may even use this information to make decisions on our behalf, without any direct input from us. For example, Facebook tailors your news feed and Amazon recommends products — both hiding "irrelevant" information and only showing what they think you will like.
This type of design pattern, where user choice is removed, has recently been coined "anticipatory design". Its aim is to leverage data on user behavior to automate the decision-making process in user interfaces. The outcome lowers the excessive number of decisions people currently make, thereby reducing decision fatigue and improving decisions overall.
Web and mobile apps are moving away from pages towards completely personalized experiences. These new experiences are built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content. The way this content is now being presented is in the form of cards. The card-based interaction model is spreading pretty widely, and you can see digital cards almost everywhere — from news sites to food delivery apps.
In this article, I'll explain what cards mean to UI designers, and I'll review three popular card-based services. If you're interested in prototyping your own card-based user interface, you can download and test Adobe's Experience Design CC for free and get started right away.
Remember the days when hovering and clicking using the mouse were the most used trigger for interaction with site or app? Those days are gone. When Apple introduced the iPhone, multi-touch technology became mainstream and users learned that they could not only point and tap on the interface, but also pinch, spread, and swipe. Gestures are the new clicks.
The rise of touch and gesture-driven devices has dramatically changed the way we think about interaction. Gestures are more than merely entertaining, they are very useful and feel familiar. Today, the success of a mobile app significantly depends on how well gestures are implemented into the user experience. Even Adobe introduced a new design and wireframing app called Experience Design CC (Adobe XD) that lets you prototype on everything from simple wireframes to multi-screen experiences.
The best user experience is the one the user doesn’t notice. It appears smooth and simple on the surface, but hundreds of crucial design decisions have been made to guide, entertain and prevent trouble. If the user experience design does what it’s supposed to do, the user won’t notice any of the work that went into it.
The less users have to think about the interface or design, the more they can focus on accomplishing their goal on your website. Your job as a designer is to give them a straight path to their goal by clearing out the obstacles beforehand.
Prototyping is essential to help your team create the best product possible. It’s a chance to experiment with ideas and turn them into something tangible that you can test and build upon. When you fail with your prototype, you land softly — there’s always the chance to iterate and improve.
The team behind Adobe’s new prototyping tool Experience Design (Adobe XD) uses prototyping as a method to test new features before they make it into the program. Being a product manager on the Adobe XD team, I'll share some insights into how the team uses prototyping to build and improve Adobe XD, and make prototyping more efficient for designers.
Designers, developers and managers often work with compressed timeframes and multiple projects simultaneously. A team must be able to respond quickly to feedback on their product from clients, project managers and developers. Each minor revision in the UI or UX needs to be reflected in the documentation, so that designers and developers always have the latest information.
A style guide ensures that your project doesn’t encounter serious problems when you implement the initial design. Making sure that all specifications are accurate to their designs is critical, because an inaccurate specification means that developers will have to either rely on guesswork when building the app or go to the design source to get answers to their questions.
Criticism is easy. It seems like everybody has an opinion, but, as the author Harlan Ellison points out, "You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion." To become informed, though, requires exploration. Design critiques are an important part of any product exploration.
A design critique — where the creator discusses and explains the creation with the rest of the team and/or client — is not about badgering the designer or pushing them to justify every decision they made. That’s just criticism. A good design critique is meant to explore the design, find where it is working and where it could be improved. If done well, design critiques allow everyone on the team to feel as if they have been heard and allow clients to give valuable feedback.
Dariel Fitzkee, the famous magician, once said, “Magic is both in the details and in the performance.” Interaction design is just like that. Designers love to get the big picture right, but if the details aren’t handled properly, the solution will fail. The magic is all in the details. That’s why well-designed microinteractions make experiences feel crafted.
To get a better understanding of how your design benefits from microinteractions, it will help to sketch out your app ideas. Adobe introduced a new design and wireframing app called Experience Design (or Adobe XD) which lets you design wireframes and make them interactive. You can download and test Adobe XD for free.
We've all been there. You spent months gathering business requirements, working out complex user journeys, crafting precision interface elements and testing them on a representative sample of users, only to see a final product that bears little resemblance to the desired experience.
Maybe you should have been more forceful and insisted on an agile approach, despite your belief that the organization wasn't ready? Perhaps you should have done a better job with your pattern portfolios, ensuring that the developers used your modular code library rather than creating five different variations of a carousel. Or, maybe you even should've sat next the the development team every day, making sure what you designed actually came to pass.
The two charts pictured below changed the way I think about thinking. Reproduced from a classic 1996 psychology study, the story behind these charts is a vivid illustration that the way we humans feel in the moment as we experience the world can be very different from how we feel when we think back on those experiences later.
Understanding the difference between experience and memory — and the ways they are related — can make us more sophisticated experience designers. In this piece, I’m going to provide some tips for designing for experiences that leave a lasting positive impression. But first, I need to explain the following two charts.