Tag Archives: UX

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Flat Animated Liquid Style

One thing I am really obsessed with right now is the use of animation in an enterprise SaaS product. I think, done well, it can dramatically enhance the experience. Some places it can be used: Loading images Page transitions Empty states (like when search yields 0 results) New objects that haven’t been set up yet Marketing… Read More »

Product-Market Fit – a metaphor

I imagine myself holding a basketball while in a space suit orbiting the earth. I’m floating in some particular direction. Off to the right is the hoop, traveling in a completely different direction. Our paths are orbital and curved. The good news is that our paths will get near each other soon. So I start… Read More »

How to React to New Ideas

In general, people don’t like new ideas. What I mean by this is that the first reaction “most” people have to a new idea is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.) It’s natural based on how our brains work. We love patterns. Things in motion stay in motion, things at rest stat at rest. A new… Read More »

Abstractions vs. Literal Names in Branding

Take two brands: Apple and Microsoft. The word “Apple” is an abstraction. It doesn’t mean anything related to computers or phones. Microsoft, on the other hand, is named for the fact that the company started by making micro-computer software. Although Microsoft has been incredibly successful, their branding has always been less than they deserve. Contrarily, Apple’s… Read More »

Logo Projects

Designing a logo is never easy. After a while every single logo looks the same. You start playing that game where you are trying to tell the difference between 18 different kinds of the letter g. Serif, sans, friendly, edges, the options are endless. Finding a logo is like searching for a black cat in… Read More »

GotoMeeting Strange Sentence

Open a new GotoMeeting meeting. Now, dial in with your phone. After you put in the meeting number you should hear the following sentence. You will no longer hear beeps until someone else joins the conference. What does that mean? Did people used to hear beeps until someone joined the conference and now they don’t?… Read More »

Privacy vs Value

The news today about Apple is very interesting. They were ordered by a federal judge to give prosecutors backdoor access to the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. Many privacy advocates are aghast. Apple has refused to comply. This is likely to go to the Supreme Court in the future. It raises a larger issue when weighing… Read More »

My Favorite Part of Design

I saw a rockumentary about the band Kansas. They told the story of how Carry on My Wayward Son was written by Kerry Livgren. From Wikipedia: On the last day of rehearsal for the new album, Livgren brought the band one more song, which they performed once before heading to the studio. The song, “Carry On Wayward Son“,… Read More »

Feature Idea for Calendars

People at work often have very (VERY) busy schedules with back-to-back-to-back meetings. Of course, they are usually in different places so you end up being late to every single meeting when you just count travel. Additionally, travel isn’t the only thing you need to do. You need to prepare for the meeting. This means reviewing… Read More »

UX Candidate Design Challenge – v3

UX Candidate Design Challenge – v1 UX Candidate Design Challenge – v2 This was the last design exercise I made for people interviewing for jobs. People didn’t do great on it, like the previous ones, but I keep trying. Design Challenge A rich, famous comedian (Louie) employs 4 aspiring comedians. Their job is to write… Read More »

The UX of Google Calendar (2016)

I reviewed Google calendar previously (2007). It was quite good. I had very nice things to say. Fast forward 9 years. It’s the same damn thing. No noteworthy enhancements. What the hell is going on over there? The styling is old and crusty. Do I really need to see 12am-6am? Can’t it zoom? Free busy… Read More »

Right hand needed for two weeks

The doctor said not to use my right hand at all for two weeks. This gave me an idea. This is a long shot but I figured I would ask. Is there a junior designer without a job who wants to sit at my desk and be my hands for two weeks? I’m right in… Read More »

The UX Pie of Caring

I just realized that I really don’t have a blog post about this design principle. It is not specific to the design, but rather to the process of designing within a company. In the real world, you don’t get to define 100% of the product, nor should you. You need to collaborate with other people to… Read More »

Talking to Users

I just spent some time talking to a user about a design I made. I walked her through it and we started talking about the possibilities. The worst version of this exercise is when the user says, “I don’t know.” in response to questions. The best version of the exercise is when they get excited and… Read More »

Working “As Designed”

I just updated my LinkedIn App. Previously, I had complained that it didn’t work in landscape mode. They “fixed” that. So now, if I rotate, this is what I get. Do you see what they did? They just took the layout and flipped it horizontally. In other apps, it redraws the screen and uses the… Read More »

Designing Middle Out

I believe that you shouldn’t design in the chronological order the user will use the product. In other words, you don’t need to design the login screen first. You can pick a point in the middle. I call it an “anchor point”. This point serves as one of the important foundation interfaces. It shows a… Read More »

Craigslist is a Great UX Case Study

A colleague once asked me why Craigslist had become so successful with such bad design. Craigslist is a complicated company without a ton of information online. It doesn’t employee many people and has made a good deal of money. On the surface, it looks ugly. However, it has been very popular. Fascinating reading on Quora about why… Read More »

Something from Nothing

Yesterday, I was staring at my screen trying to figure out how a user would create and manage the object I conceived. I wasn’t even staring at a blank canvas. I was staring at a hole, a nothing, an absence of something. It was my job to get rid of this “nothing” and replace it… Read More »

Timeless or Noteworthy

When designing something new, you have to choose what it looks like and how it acts. One designer said to me, “It should be timeless and classic.” I disagreed. If you are designing something new, it should be noteworthy and contemporary. One example is the iPhone. Pick up an original version and it will not at… Read More »

Open Letter to LinkedIn

Dear Mr./Mrs LinkedIn, You have the most potential and most fuckups of any site on the web. I love you and I hate you. The Good You are THE defacto social network for professionals. There are plenty of times that your user interface does the right thing. Discovery of new people is usually pretty accurate.… Read More »

Who I Follow and Connect

Twitter and LinkedIn have very different algorithms for me. Who I follow on Twitter Hardly anyone. The stream gets to be too much for me. I can’t follow it. So I end up following just the accounts I really care about. It’s just 5. Codrops – I am in love with the effects on this… Read More »

Information Architecture FTW

I crushed it today. Yes, I’m not humble about this. No apologies. Let me rewind. I’ve been working on the information architecture for the Engagio application over the past couple of weeks. This means that I am wrapping my head around the various objects you need to do Account Based Marketing. Think about a random… Read More »

Slack: Life without Email

I often told people that Eloqua had more functionality than Marketo. I also said it didn’t matter. Marketo beat Eloqua for a different reason. It wasn’t what you could do, but HOW you could do it. UX Rule #12: It’s not how many things you can do, it’s HOW you can get them done. It’s… Read More »