May 16, 2023 Smashing Newsletter: Issue #405
This newsletter issue was sent out to 212,619 subscribers on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
Designing complex interfaces has its own rules and conventions. You won’t find much whitespace in enterprise applications, and when it comes to B2B environments, it’s difficult to get access to users to run usability testing.
Plus, you need to continuously track the impact of your UX work on business KPIs. In this newsletter, we’ll explore UX guidelines and strategies to better navigate in such environments.
When it comes to complex interfaces, we are getting ready to dive deep into front-end and tooling, with a few lovely events and sessions:
- SmashingConf Antwerp 🇧🇪 (Oct 9–11), on design systems, usability, product design and complex UI challenges.
- Smart Interface Design Patterns, with design patterns on enterprise UX + live UX training with yours truly.
In the meantime, let’s dive into some of the useful UX gems and pointers to better cope with the enterprise UX world!
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. Designing Complex Data Tables
Enterprise UX means that a lot of complex data needs to be displayed — be it in dashboards, internal tools, or web apps. Tables in different forms and variations are usually the number one choice to help users make sense of data. So what do we need to consider when designing complex tables?
Stéphanie Walter put together a useful list of essential resources and blog posts that help you design complex tables with a lot of data and interactions. It covers table design basics and specific table patterns, just like designing data tables for enterprise apps and how to fit tables with a lot of content in any screen size. (cm)
2. Ultimate Guide To UI Animation
Getting UI animation right can be an art. It needs to feel natural and be unobtrusive enough not to distract users from the task they want to perform. But how to achieve that? Taras Skytskyi wrote a practical guide to using animation in UX, covering all the rules and principles you need to be aware of to create delightful animation effects that, well, feel just right.
The guide explores animation duration and speed, easing, and choreography. You’ll learn to adapt your animation to different screen sizes and platforms, how to read animation curves, and how to guide your user’s attention when transitioning from one state to another. The guide doesn’t cover specific use cases but rather universal principles that you can apply to all kinds of interface animations. Handy! (cm)
3. Designing B2B Interfaces
Imagine you want to book a train ticket. As a consumer, you’ll want the simplest experience possible. But if you’re an employee of the railway company who uses the booking interface all day, you need a lot more information than a consumer. ‘Simple’ won’t cut it for you. You need a product tailored to your specific professional usage.
So how can designers find the sweet spot between not too simple and not too complicated? Morgane Peng introduces a strategy that helps you design relevant products while taking people’s business and interface expertise into account: the UX Efficient Frontier. It allows you to consider your users’ expertise levels and tackle projects differently depending on their audience. A great reminder that ‘efficient’ is not always simple and ‘simple’ is not always efficient. (cm)
4. Upcoming Workshops and Conferences
That’s right! We run online workshops on frontend and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
As always, here’s a quick overview:
- Architecting Design Systems Workflow
with Nathan Curtis. May 11–19
- SmashingConf SF 🇺🇸 — May 23–26
- The Power of Storytelling UX
with Chiara Aliotta. May 30 – June 14
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzović. June 12–26
- Figma Workflow Masterclass UX
with Christine Vallaure. June 15–23
- The React Performance Masterclass Dev
with Ivan Akulov. June 29 – July 13
- Data Visualization Masterclass Dev
with Amelia Wattenberger. July 4–18
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
9h-video + live UX training with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
5. Golden Rules Of Design Research
The importance of user research has gained more and more attention lately, and design teams have embraced the idea that they truly need to understand their customers to create products that matter. However, there are still some myths and misconceptions about user research. To correct them, Erika Hall summarized nine golden rules of successful research.
The nine rules help you adopt the mindset you need when conducting user research. It’s about being comfortable with being uncomfortable, knowing your goals and finding good questions, embracing imperfection, collaboration, and learning how your leaders make decisions before you try to use data to influence those decisions. Valuable tips that help you get the most out of user research. (cm)
6. How To Measure UX
Perhaps you’ve already been in a situation where a decision-maker rejected a great design because they had a bad day. Or maybe you pushed a solution forward without being aware of critical flaws that ultimately cost your project a fortune. To help you minimize the risks that human bias and non-objective evaluation can pose on UX design, Roma Videnov wrote a comprehensive guide to measuring UX.
The guide dives deep into UX benchmarking, scoring, and analysis and elaborates on four UX metrics: UMUX-L, Levels of Success, Time on Task, and Single Ease Question. Some of them require basic knowledge of how data is processed, but no worries, you don’t need to know about statistics; Roma explains everything that’s important in common words to get you up and running quickly. A must-read for every UX designer. (cm)
7. Designing For Realistic Attention
Most people only scan the content of a page rather than reading it word by word. In fact, Christopher Butler estimates that 80% of your page’s visitors are scanners and that 20% at most will read. So how to structure a page to make sure that your design efforts serve 100% of your audience?
In his post “Designing for (Realistic) Attention,” Christopher shares practical tips for structuring a page to better signal to scanners what it contains, whether it is relevant to them, and what they should do next. He dives deeper into arranging visual elements to communicate context and explores how subtle indentations and outdentations effectively guide a user’s understanding of a page — even if they only scan it. (cm)
8. Spotify Ways Of Working
Design is a collaborative effort. However, with designers spread out amongst cross-functional teams, multiple product areas, and perhaps even countries and time zones, a lot of work happens in isolation, particularly during the UI design phase.
To make UI design more interconnected and participatory, Spotify Design introduced an organization system for Figma: “Spotify Ways of Working.” It helps speed up the design workflow and organically exposes designers to their colleague’s work to ease collaboration and prevent inconsistencies in the design.
If you plan to create a Figma organization system for your team, too, Cliona O’Sullivan and Barton Smith share valuable insights into how Spotify Design tackled the task. They take a closer look at the goals they set for themselves, the challenges they faced, and how they managed to create a system that truly suits the needs and culture at Spotify. (cm)
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
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