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Month: October 2015

Halloween 2015

It’s been getting harder and harder to get dressed up for Halloween. It used to be so easy, I looked forward to dressing up each year. I think it’s because the kids are getting older and don’t want to trick or treat with me anymore. Maybe it’s just because I am getting old and my inner child has been neglected. This year, I have been working on a project called Mercury, so I decided to be Freddie Mercury. Mustache and all. It’s not a great look for me. (Today is the “dress up day” at work – why wasn’t it…

Bat Face

Anna Zeman, designer extraordinaire, came up with this idea. I hated it at first, but it is somehow growing on me. Bat Face This is the face you make when you are talking to someone and they say something that is either stupid, offensive or ridiculous. You don’t want to fight with them, so you smile. Sort of smile. She even printed it out and framed it for me. She is weird. You know what face I gave her when she showed me the printed out version? You guessed it. I gave her the bat face. #batFace – feel free…

Goldilocks Scope

Everything has an amount that is “just right”. It’s often called the Goldilocks principle. Example: These planets either have too much greenhouse effect or too little to be able to sustain life as we know it. The differences between the three planets have been termed the “Goldilocks Principle” (Venus is too hot, Mars is too cold, but Earth is just right). See illustration. So what happens when the scope of your project is too big or too small? Too Small When the scope is too small, the team feels uninspired. They don’t try too hard. It feels easy. What I…

Icons8

I’ve officially switched my allegiance from IconExperience to Icons8. IconExperience They did a great job for many years of having a comprehensive iconset in a wonderful system where you could find what you wanted. However, after the V collection, the next bunch of sets were pretty low quality. The O-collection is too chunky and ugly, the M-Collection was just useless, the I-collection was OK if you were making an iPhone app, but not for general purpose icons. The G-collection was nice, but the two-toned color palette rubbed a few people the wrong way. Also, if you zoomed the icons to…

PM / UX as Peer Groups

In many organizations, the product managers (PM) are the ones who define the “solution” for their project. They create wireframes and detailed UI requirements. They basically put the product designers (UX) into the role of “make it look pretty”. UI Graphic design is important, but it is not User Experience Design. What is User Experience Design? Article to understand what UX Design is to me. I think this model makes designers feel pretty crumby and unimportant. I think there is a better model.  For many years, I have advocated a different approach. Product Managers (PM) should define the “problem” and…

Feeding or Slaying the Dragon

I’ve heard the expression from executives, “Let’s slay this dragon once and for all.” What they mean is “We have had complaints from customers on [topic x]. Let’s do a project that makes all of those complaints go away. The dragon in this metaphor is the complaints that customers have. I think this is the wrong way of thinking about it. You can not completely eliminate customer complaints. In fact, they are a healthy sign that people care and are actively using the product. If no one complains, that is a very bad sign.Also, when you do a project to…

The UX of ERP vs Loose Platform

As a designer, I have always appreciated tight integrations. The fact that I can copy a bunch of cells in Excel and paste them into PowerPoint is just awesome. When designing Marketo, I thought of the solution as one small city. There was the neighborhood of making landing pages and the adjacent neighborhood of forms, which go on landing pages. Everything connected together tightly. The roads and bridges connected everything seamlessly. Let’s call this model the ERP model. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that a company can use to collect, store, manage and…

If it ain’t broke…

Sometimes, you need to reinvent something. I’ve done it several times in my career and have successful.  However sometimes, you just gotta leave it alone.  Microsoft just released a new product called Sway. (I’ll review it later maybe). Anyway, they felt the need to reinvent this. Bold is no longer B. It’s E. E for emphasize! Why is that better? Who do they think they are? Did someone do some insane test and conclude that A = Accent?  It’s I for Italics! WTF! God, it makes me so mad! I just want to punch the screen and say, “It’s BOLD…

Cheating the Customer

I try to buy nice shirts from designers like Zachary Prell, sometimes Canali. I used to be a Men’s Wearhouse sort of guy, but once I tried on a shirt that fit me well, I couldn’t turn back. These shirts generally can not be washed in the washer/drier at home. They usually need to be dry cleaned. The reason I am telling you this is because I have a suspicion that my dry cleaner is cheating me. I got my shirts back and they smelled like body odor. (Hopefully mine) My fear is that they take the shirts, throw them…

PowerPoint Design Memes

I know that many designers love their Sketch. It’s a good tool and is making Adobe scramble. However, when it comes to UX for enterprise applications, I still believe storyboards are the way to go. Invision is a great tool, but I still think storyboards are better than clickable prototypes. The best tool for Storyboards? PowerPoint of course. My designs are fairly high res, animated and ridiculously fast to produce and iterate. Many designers feel that anything from Microsoft MUST be bad. They are missing out. The ONLY thing it’s missing at this point are reusable objects (like Sketch Symbols). …

Bernie Sanders is Larry David

I was watching some clips of the debate and Bernie Sander’s voice kept poking me in the brain. It sounded exactly like someone else. As if Bernie was doing an impression. Then it hit me. He was doing an impression of Larry David.  Check out these two clips. The first is Larry David on 60 minutes. You only need to watch the first minute or so. Then here is Bernie at the debate. His cadence is awesome. It has a comedic timing and rhythm that makes you want to listen to him. I think this was a smart move on…

Tailoring the Position to the Person

Once I had a job as a project manager. I was terrible at it and eventually was fired. The job was designed for someone with alot of process in mind. This is clearly not me. Remember my personality results? For a project manager, you want high EXAMINE. Obviously, mine is not suited for that job. Another job I failed at was Systems Administrator, also a high EXAMINE type job. Once I became an interaction designer, my skills and personality started to shine. And of course, my skills in a startup environment were much more effective than in Intuit’s corporate world.…

Winning the Internet: Vitamin D Edition

Someone just told me they were Vitamin D deficient. I immediately Googled “How to get vitamin D”. (This is what I do, don’t ask.) What is shocking to me was the first link.  It’s the Vitamin D Council. There is a whole non-profit, a council dedicated to Vitamin D. You get Vitamin D from sunlight or supplements.  Here is their history blurb: The Vitamin D Council was formed in 2003 by current Executive Director John J Cannell, MD. He believed that there were likely bad consequences in getting so little sun exposure (cough, vitamin D deficiency) and wanted to do…

About Face 4

About Face 4 by Alan Cooper has just been released. I first read the initial version and it was a revelation to me. Although Cooper’s ego saturates much of the text, the technique and craft of interaction was undeniably accurate. My own design style is heavily influenced by this book, as well as his other book The Inmates are Running the Asylum. Most of the technique has become internalized, but with this latest version I think I am going to re-read it. I have been doing more individual design work lately and a re-read would help sharpen my technique. We…

Serendipity

It’s a great word, rolls off the tongue. ser·en·dip·i·ty ˌserənˈdipədē noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. If it happens to you, you might call it Karma, Good Luck or even Life Favors the Prepared. When it happens to someone else you might call it a Fluke, Dumb Luck, Miracle or Winning the Lottery. Certainly, preparation and hard work put you in the position to be lucky. Showing up is half of the battle. No one ever won the lottery by declining to play. Also, having a great…

Science Joke

There is a joke I tell sometimes. An engineer that I know turned it into a t-shirt. It reads alot better in English, but he added standard scientific notation anyway. Now it requires a bunch of work to understand it. I won’t give it away. Try to get the joke. Your momma is so μ that she has no σ. Get it? Google it.

Great Copy Writing Example

I get alot of spam, but this one really caught my attention. It has great copy writing and is funny. I don’t want the product, but I figured I should share it anyway just for good technique. The tip here is avoid being too “professional”. Be creative and unique. Here is the email copy: Glen, It pains us greatly to find out that you must have been eaten by alligators. We’ve been offering to buy you lunch for a while, an offer that you haven’t taken us up on. It’s a well known fact that the only people to turn down…