Collecting Design Principles

UX design principles 1-10 Over the years, I’ve picked up certain rules that I use as design proverbs. At Engagio, I put them on the wall to remind me and to decorate my area. I just added my 11th and 12th design principle. 11. Vertical Space is Expensive. This refers to the fact that most… Read More »

Social Network Connection Categories

I have Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Google contacts. If you put most of them in front of me, I would have no idea who they are. Why am I connected to all these people? I actually know about 5% of my social connections. How does that help me or anyone else? Think… Read More »

Confident or Intelligent?

My world has just been rocked. At the end of the movie, The Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow receives his diploma. He then immediately rattles off what I thought was the Pythagorean theorem. Until this morning, I thought was he was saying was correct. Today, on NPR, they disabused me of that notion.  Here is… Read More »

Silicon Valley Product Marketing

I am not officially trained in anything in particular. I’ve learned from practice for the past 22 years. Over the years, I have headed UX, Product Management, Training, Documentation and Product Marketing. Each area has a different set of mental models and techniques to do a good job. I have seen people who were masters… Read More »

Application Performance Model

The following is a model to determine the optimal response rate of an application. It is optimal and therefore difficult with today’s technology. However, the answer of “instantaneous” is not correct in most circumstances. I + T + D = P Input + Thinking + Delight = Optimal Performance I = Input. This ranges on a… Read More »

For Goodness Sake

Someone once told me that you should be happy doing nice things for people, for its own sake. You should never do something nice with the expectation of getting something good in return. In other words, if you save someone’s life by pushing them out of the way of a truck, don’t expect them to… Read More »

The Future of Email

I have been emailing for around 25 years. It was the original killer app of the internet. Quick communication with immediate delivery. It has had a tremendous run, but I am starting to see signs of its demise. Here is a brief timeline of my email experience: Compuserve – You emailed people based on their… Read More »

Marketo Summit 2016

My first summit was in 2010. It was a simple affair, more like a meetup. There were about 120 people total all fitting in one room. It was fun and familial. I remember we had a thing called Marketo Idol where users would describe the coolest thing they did with a Smart Campaign. Alexandre Pelletier won.… Read More »

Bad UX: Signing into Google Analytics

Something has gone horribly awry at Google Analytics. You click on the Sign In button and get this menu: WTF? I can’t find the damn thing I want. What is all this shit? Here are the flaws: Skimming text doesn’t work. Every single item has the word Google in it. Is that needed? I came… Read More »

Movie Review: Whiplash

My son and I watched the movie Whiplash last night. He is a drummer and guitarist, so he was interested in this movie. (He loves Rush, but appreciates Jazz and Buddy Rich). My definition of great art is when the piece evokes thought and/or emotion in the audience. Whether it is writing, music, paintings, sculpture,… Read More »

Wrist Progress Update

Im starting to get annoyed that this is taking so long. The therapist says this is normal and I’m doing well, but I just want to play tennis unencumbered. It’s not just the flexibility, it’s also the strength. My wrist, fingers and forearm are still a bit weak. Here is the updated flexibility. The backward… Read More »

MVP Deconstructed

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. I have had a long distaste for this acronym, but I think it is worth a deep-dive. I found an image on this website that sums up some of the problems. I’m going to deconstruct it to explain better. Strategy #1: Build too much before launch In this scenario, you… Read More »

Color Inspiration

When designing a new product or brand, you need to get inspiration from somewhere. We are about to launch some new stuff and I realized where my inspiration came from…it was the view out of our window. During the day, it’s especially bright and the reds in the wood glow. The combination of the reds,… Read More »

Product Camp 2016

Product Camp is a free, user-driven, collaborative “unconference” for Product Managers and Marketers. It’s in a few cities now. This weekend was the 2016 Silicon Valley edition. I usually go every other year. This year seemed to have diminished in attendance from previous ones. Accordingly, the number of sessions was also diminished. One of the… Read More »

Make Something Great Again

I’ve seen two advertisements leveraging this Donald Trump meme.  One was a billboard on 101 that stated “Make your data great again!” and today, I got this email that proclaimed, “Make your events great again!” Both times I saw the ad, Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan came to mind along with a bunch… Read More »

Head of Magic Business Cards

My title at Marketo was Mayor, Awesome Town. I requested it on a lark, as a joke of sorts. They let me have it. Since then, I loved giving my cards to people. I figured I should leave Awesome Town behind with my new gig at Engagio. Now my title is Head of Magic. I… Read More »

UX Hall of Shame: Venmo Email

I just got this email. It has several major UX issues. Problems: Alignment. It is harder to read centered text than left-justified. Contrast. Gray on white is hard to read. Size. Text is too small and hard to read. Serif. Serif is harder to read than sans-serif, especially when small. Disconnect. The words reference things… Read More »

Browser Extensions: The New Platform

There have been many business software platforms over the last 20 years. Usually, these things go in waves of popularity. Some examples that were very popular: Novell Windows 3.1/95 Netscape Flash (short lived) IE6 iPhone/iPad Android Facebook Salesforce I see a new platform gaining in popularity: Browser Extensions. I have been compiling more and more.… Read More »

Wrist Progress – April 2016

It’s slow and steady progress, but you can almost see the diminishing returns. Getting to that green line is going to be difficult. Whenever I see data, I want to visualize it. I hate looking at tables of data. The line shows a trend, the numbers are harder to understand. There is a UX lesson… Read More »

Google Inbox/Calendar vs Outlook

I have not had an easy time adjusting to Google Apps. GMail is ugly, Inbox is pretty but severely limited and Google Calendar is deeply frustrating. More and more, I have been missing the power and elegance of Microsoft Outlook. I decided to try and use Outlook on top of Google Apps. At first, I… Read More »

Interesting UX Interview Question

Based on a quora question, I was inspired by Bert Green‘s answer. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to make it shorter (20 min) and possible to do in an office. Here is the question: Show me how you would build a 6″ wooden box. Show me the design and the steps.… Read More »

Product Idea: Microsoft UX Storyboards

CAVEAT: I design B2B Applications, not marketing websites. The following is specifically targeted at that kind of project. I’ve been using PowerPoint since 2007 for UI storyboard design with much success. I’ve posted several blog posts about it: Using PowerPoint for Storyboards Suggestion for MS PowerPoint PowerPoint 2007 for UX Design Storyboards or Prototypes? UX… Read More »

Kids Frozen in Time

No matter how long I live, no matter how big they get, my kids will always look like this to me: It was taken in 2009 during our infamous Tahoo trip. It’s funny how kids get frozen in that moment. This one picture of pure boyish joy was the moment they stopped growing in my… Read More »

A Few Rules for a Good Resume

I’ve been helping my sister with her resume. Here are a few good rules of thumb: Make it look nice visually Before anyone reads it, they look at it. The first impression happens in less than 2 seconds. Make it look nice. I downloaded a free template and then modified it. If you aren’t sure, ask… Read More »

My Nightmare Wrist Timeline

My wrist adventure has just been a nightmare. I want to chronicle it so far. Date Doctor Prognosis Sep 2014 Me I hit a tennis shot funny and my wrist hurt. I said, “Ow!” – Unbeknownst to me, I tore ligaments in my wrist. 1 week later Doc #1: Kaiser She said it was a… Read More »

Direct vs Indirect Manipulation

Both are needed. However, direct manipulation should be used way more than it currently is. Whenever I look at UI Designs from other designers, I am struck by the plethora of indirect manipulation cases. Here is an example to clarify. Case: You have a table of data (columns and rows) and you want to reorder… Read More »

Blog Post Pivot

Sometimes I’ll write a whole post and throw it away. The post made more sense when I started than when I finished. It happens in startups as well. The company starts off in one direction and then changes. It is called a Pivot. A pivot is actually great in a way. It lets you build rapport… Read More »

Never use the word Cancel in your UI

I like Calendly alot. However, some parts of their UI are not very good. They bury functionality in strange places and use a few anti-patterns. Plus, it’s a little bit ugly. One thing however, is a serious UX no-no. Do you see the problem that causes confusion? UX Rule #81: Never use the word Cancel… Read More »

Android N Beta Testing

I am addicted to beta testing. I saw an article about Google allowing Android N beta testing to anyone who wanted it. It warned that there are tons of bugs and that you should never try to use it on your everyday phone. I literally clicked the button to install it within 10 seconds of… Read More »

Amazon.com is down

I don’t think I have ever seen this. I heard a story about Amazon building something called a Gremlin which would randomly take down a particular service in the Amazon stack. This would force the engineers to build redundancy into every layer of the system. Seems smart, doesn’t it? So what happened? They are down.… Read More »