The UX of the Asus Zenwatch

I love my Asus Zenwatch and use it all the time.

The best use case: My phone (Nexus 6) rings in my pocket. It buzzes my wrist and I look at the watch.  I see a picture of the caller and their name.  I can swipe left (answer) or right (voicemail).

This simple interaction is so much more pleasant than taking out my phone to do the same thing. It doesn’t save THAT much time, but it is much more usable and elegant.

Second, it is stylish. I like the way it looks. It’s got swag. It’s not thick like the moto 360 and not smallish like the iWatch.

asusZenwatch

The operating system works well and shows me relevant information.

The watch face (after messing with a dozen different ones) I settled on is called Street Art. It looks great and has different art every 30 minutes or so.

I strongly recommend it if you use a Android phone.

 

Don’t Link the Word “Here”

I see it constantly. It’s a bad practice and I wish people would stop. Stahp!

Bad: See our great content about marketing here.
Better: See our great content about marketing.

Reasons

  1. Google uses the link text as a hint to good keywords someone would use to find it. The word “here” isn’t something people search for.
  2. The link is small and hidden when it’s on the word here. 4 letters, versus 26 in the longer version.
  3. The underline is actually a great affordance for clicking. Make the affordance on the actual word they are interested in.

It’s not hard to do. Just put the link on the description of the content. Don’t be lazy! I know what you are thinking.

aintNobody

Ugh. I weep for the future.

 

The UX of 404 Page not found

There are tons of great 404 page designs out there. However, most applications ignore this important page. It’s a chance to show creativity and humor. Don’t be so serious. We only get one life, maybe you should try to make people smile a bit more.

Here is the one I designed for the Marketo application 404.

raven

I am an agent of creativity and humor. Not everyone is good at it, but most people appreciate it when they experience it.

 

 

Product Idea: Memium (Meme IM)

I thought of a great app idea, free to anyone who wants to build it. It’s an instant messenger but instead of text, you can ONLY send memes. No emoji, no text. Just memes!

This is the next billion dollar app. Forget Yo and WhatsApp. It’s time for Memium!

A guy on my team said that there could be a paid version, Premium Memium!

Sometimes, I astound myself with the good ideas I have.

genius

 

You don’t like it? Well what is your app idea?

UPDATE: I realized that some memes need text.  There would have to be a limited way to add the text.

onedoesnot

UX Trade Schools

In the past couple of years, we have witnessed the rise in the UX Trade school. I am familiar with General Assembly and Tradecraft and have provided some mentoring to students. They typically cost updwards of $10k and last for a few months. Recently, I have heard senior designers lament that the graduates are not very good and are flooding the market with people giving UX a bad name.

Generally, when I look at a UX candidate, I don’t think much about their experience. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think that the numbers of years worked correlates to UX talent. Especially if they have worked in dysfunctional software companies that kill the spirit of the designer. Years worked, in those cases, is actually a detriment.

One person that I have worked with has UX skill in spades and she was a junior in college when I met her. Another designer I have worked with started with nothing and I had him spend 3 years in an immersive apprenticeship situation under me. I worked with him on every single design for years.  Now, I consider him to be a solid designer.

How can 10 weeks accomplish the same thing as 3 years? Short answer, It can’t.

Some of the graduates will already be talented. Others will learn a few industry words like affordance and personas but not become good designers. Employers will be faced with many candidates and no good way to determine if they are difference-makers.

It’s not a simple or pleasant situation. Great designers are being lost in the shuffle and UX is being used as a term to mean everything and anything.  I see candidates who design web pages for small businesses and call it UX. I see candidates from the trade schools who are desperate for work and need mentoring and a chance, but there are just too many of them.

I don’t feel that HCI degrees from the university are any better. They certainly last longer and cost more. In my opinion, the best way to learn is to design things on your own and post them on your website. If nothing else, it is at least free.

How to Become a UX Designer

Last night I was at a meetup for new designers. Some experienced managers and I reviewed people’s portfolios and gave them mentoring and advice. Alot of the advice I gave them reminded me a presentation I gave last year titled How to become a UX Designer. I figured I should post it.

Most of my presentations have very little text. This one has a bit more. However, it probably still doesn’t make that much sense without the talk track.  So if it doesn’t make sense, then just ignore it.

Links: Microsoft OneDrive and slideShare version.

Ill try embedding them below. Your mileage may vary.

Ask questions in the comments if you want to know what the talk track was.

My First Patent

I actually hate patents. I think they undermine the creativity and progress of technology and startups. There is a great radio program on how software patents are awful and have lost all modern meaning they once held. (Produced by This American Life in 2011)

However, when I was told that there was a bonus involved, I quickly threw my morals to the curb and signed the documents. Yes, I see the dilemma here. How can I be proud of having a thing that I think is terrible?

I have no answer other than plain vanilla greed for money. I won’t justify the patent as “defensive”. I just wanted the money. (Honesty is my brand!)

The patent is for a feature called the Opportunity Influence Analyzer. A nice piece of design, mostly because it hits the emotional heart strings of the marketer. My hypothesis was that marketers (human beings actually) are more interested in anecdotal evidence than statistical certainty.

In other words, a great story is worth a thousand pivot tables.

The design tells the story of a single sale… What happened? Who was involved? What did they do and when? This visualization tells the sales person and the marketer that Sales didn’t do the deal all by themselves. It was a team effort and can be shown visually and clearly.

My mom and dad can now say their son is a patented inventor. (They don’t know what I do anyway) I feel a mixture of pride and embarrassment. Oh well, as Dory from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.”

UPDATE: It looks like I have two patents! The other one is all about metadata!  Woo hoo!