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Tag: UX

Axure RP Revisited 2017

Just for kicks, I downloaded Axure RP. I have been using Figma and thought, “I wonder how long it would take me to make this in Axure. 10 min later, I was giving it a try. Meta Point Whenever you are curious about something, just do it. Don’t wish for it, don’t hem and haw. Just follow Shia LeBeouf’s advice. It’s amazing to me how many people think curious thoughts and then refuse to act upon them. OK, </soapBox> Axure Review Bottom line: Axure is by far the most flexible prototyping tool short of actually programming the UI. It is…

Removing Backgrounds from Photos

I have been an ongoing customer of Photoshop for the life of the product with steady upgrades every year. However, today, I canceled my Photoshop subscription. My main reason is that I just don’t use the program frequently enough. I basically use it to crop images or eliminate the background on photos. It’s not like I am an avid photo manipulator or a creative services production artist. I Googled Photoshop replacement and found two options that look fine to me. Paint.net and GIMP. I am trying the development version of GIMP right now. It’s taking a long time to boot…

A proposal for improving artboards in design tools

In Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD and others there is this concept called an artboard. It’s basically putting all of your different screens on one mega screen and you organize it as you see fit. You zoom in and out to go to where you want to go. Unfortunately, although its the new cool thing, I find the usability to be terrible. Here is a picture of my current project. On the left hand side you have your different artboards (or Frames in Figma) and a tree of all the different content. I have an alternative proposal for all of these…

Design Tool Sadness (2017)

I want the best of all my tools. Here is my perfect mashup: Powerpoint Table Editing Text formatting Ease of use Storyboarding Figma Symbols Constraints Concurrent editing Cool-factor Adobe XD Performance/speed Large community Stable financial resources Yesterday, I was trying to wire up the prototype of the system I am working on and Adobe XD was sucking so bad that I literally screamed. Their symbols are garbage. Who the fuck thought that changing a symbol on one artboard should change it everywhere?  You can’t see the changes you are making and don’t realize you fucked up your whole system! I…

Designing your prototype structure

It’s rare that you get to build a system from scratch. The early decisions you make will stick around for a long time. Last week, I built a new design system for my new job. For this project, I chose Adobe XD over Figma. When Figma releases new performance enhancements, I might change my mind, but its Adobe for now.  I refactored it a few times and have been thinking about the structure. DISCLAIMER: I don’t think I have all the answers. I am doing this on my own and no one has shown me best practices. I am learning…

Figma or XD (again)

I’m all set up at my new desk. I have a riches of monitor space. They are attached to arms so I can lift it up and show the work to someone standing next to me. My new laptop is the Dell XPS 13-9350. No USB port! Crazy, but its working well so far. I’ve been working in Figma designing my new product, and I just got an email from Adobe announcing their 2018 line including the new Adobe XD. I am still so torn on which tool to commit to. On the one hand, Figma has concurrency, constraints and a…

More (Unfortunate) Thoughts on Self-Driving Cars

I think the first big markets to pick up self-driving cars will be Long Haul Trucks and Taxi-Cabs. Long Haul Trucks It makes sense to transform shipping into a robotic effort. It’s cheaper and safer. However, I see one flaw. People are assholes. – Glen There was this robotic hitchhiker experiment where the little guy would travel around the united states. 2 weeks in, he was found decapitated in the woods. People are assholes. Not all people. Some people are assholes. If there were self-driving 18-wheel trucks, some people would want to derail them or even hijack them. In fact, it…

LinkedIn Loose Connections

Linked does not care if you know the people you are connected with.  Look at this screen they just put in front of me. Add 381 connections!!  I don’t know those people! LinkedIn is saying to me, “Hey, why don’t you send out 381 emails to people you don’t know asking to connect?” I guarantee that other people click this button all the time. LinkedIn is making a mockery of what a connection is. It’s not someone you know. It’s meaningless. I don’t even understand the point anymore. If everyone is connected to everyone, then NO CONNECTIONS MATTER! LinkedIn needs…

Moving on from Engagio & MarTech

After 9 years of Marketo and 2 years of Engagio, I am moving on to a non-martech product. Engagio has a great future ahead of it and as a shareholder, I fully expect them to go public and be worth billions of dollars. I think I have built a good product foundation at Engagio that hopefully will serve them well for years to come. I have made great friends there that hopefully will stay in touch with me. As for Marketing, I have appreciated all of you and how wonderful it is to design products for you. There are so many…

New iPad OS – Worse

My iPad asked me to update the OS. Unfortunately, it changed a whole mess of stuff that made the usage worse. Everything seems more complicated. Some first day thoughts: I don’t want a more complicated dock at the bottom – I don’t want frequently used apps I don’t want to split screen I never ever want the video to play in a tiny window at the bottom. Never. I don’t want to 5-finger twist whatever gesture. I don’t want to pay money for iCloud so I can have apps that aren’t actually on my iPad. I DO want to adjust…

LinkedIn’s Windows 10 App

I use Windows 10. But Glen, you are a designer, why don’t you use Macs?!? – Everyone Here are my answers since everyone brings it up: I’ve been using Microsoft operating systems since 1986. I’ve beta tested every OS they have ever released including Windows ME (Yuck!) Most of the world (and about 35% of my users ) have Windows. All of the engineers here use Macs, so SOMEONE should be looking at the product the way that our customers do. I see no benefit to switching. The Mac doesn’t have better software for me, isn’t faster for me, doesn’t…

I miss Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts. (Examples) Im in Windows → Chrome → WordPress and almost all of the shadows, gradients and rounded corners have been eliminated. I miss buttons that had heft and affordance that screamed Click Me. The Nielsen-Norman group recent published a study that found significant reduction in task completion because of flat design. I know design fashion is a real thing that makes a difference, but I think flat design has had its time and now we need to bring back rounded corners, shadows and gradients. Bring back affordance! Affordance is when an…

The UX of Figma

The CEO of Figma recently visited me and gave me a quick tour of their product. I think it holds great promise as a prototyping/design tool and I am giving it a try. The main benefit is real-time concurrent usage. In other words, two designers can collaborate live at the same time the way you might use a Google spreadsheet. I know that Adobe XD has been promising this feature for 6+ months, but the tool doesn’t even have a workable Windows version yet. I ran out of patience and am trying the competition. My initial usage is slow, I’m…

The Simple Volume Control

We have Sonos speakers here at the office. The Sonos application is pretty cool. However, there is one part of the system that bugs me and it’s extremely simple. This is the volume control. Now when you have a Sonos speaker in a group environment, the volume is actually a crucial function. Some songs are recorded louder or softer and when people are working a high volume can be very annoying. To use this control, you have to put your mouse onto the slider and drag right or left. It is very sensitive, so finding the right setting is tricky. The volume…

My Dream Prototyping Tool 2017

Here are the requirements for my dream prototyping tool: Cross-platform There are some that are mature and cross-platform like Axure, Justinmind, Balsamiq, MockPlus, Figma and Microsoft PowerPoint. However, the two that are not are Adobe Experience Design (XD) and Sketch. I clearly need it to work both in Mac and Windows. Has symbols (reusable components) This is crucial. Tools like Adobe XD and MockPlus have this, but PowerPoint and others do not. (Come on Microsoft, listen to me!) It’s essential to speed up design time to have these sorts of embeddable elements. Links / clickable prototypes Adobe XD and MockPlus have…

Adobe Experience Design (XD) – Almost

My design tools: Pencil (#2 Soft HB Dixon Ticonderoga) and paper Microsoft PowerPoint on Windows 10 However, over the years, I have tried numerous alternatives. So far, none have been better in terms of quick iterations, high (enough) fidelity, portability, and ease of communication. I have tried numerous prototyping tools, graphics editors of all shapes and online services. No joy. Recently, Adobe has been working on a product called Adobe Experience Designer (XD). They first released it on the MacOS, which means I couldn’t really use it. Then they released an Alpha for Windows. They called it a beta, but let’s…

The UX of Android Auto

I recently got a new car lease. (Kia Sportage 2017) I liked the Nissan Rogue but the Kia has Android Auto and I wanted to give that a try. Otherwise, the cars were very similar in price and features. Here is my run down: The Good “OK Google” works well for a specific set of cases. Call person, directions to, etc. If you stay in bounds, it is nice. It’s better than nothing. The Bad and the Ugly It takes too long to boot up. I turn the car on and it’s about 20 seconds until the phone can play…

The Department of Redundancy Department

This elevator control brought to you by the department of redundancy department. Why do we call the first floor L in this scenario? Why not just say 1? L for lobby just seems unhelpful. Plus, the door-close button doesn’t do a thing. It’s totally useless. Pressing it has no effect at all. It’s the little things in life that make all the difference, yes?

New LinkedIn UI is Slow

I don’t know how many people have the new UI in LinkedIn. I can’t seem to get out of it. (Yes, I tried) It’s slow af. Come on guys. You have buko resources. You should focus on speed, speed, speed. This is unacceptable. It’s ugly af. Look at the picture above. Seriously, is this an improvement? Looks lame to me. I hate the icons at the top. It’s confusing af. I don’t know where shit is anymore. I get used to stuff being in a particular spot. Stop moving it. Congratulations LinkedIn! You hit the UX trifecta. Slow, ugly and confusing. Pat…

Mac Designers Need to Test on Windows

An open letter to designers who only see the world through Apple products. I’ll just jump right to the point. The rest of the world doesn’t see your work the way you intended. Take a look at this screenshot from my Windows 10 machine running Chrome. The site is a designers portfolio. I can’t read the text. It looks terrible.  I can see that it is embedded Lato from Google fonts. So why does it look blurry? The answer is “Font-weight: 200”. When I turn that off, the font looks slightly better. (I am not a fan of Lato when…

UX = Value minus Friction

It’s a simple formula. UX = V – F UX = User Experience V = Value F = Friction If the friction or effort of doing something is higher than the individual perceived value then the majority of people will not want to do it. Some examples where the effort outweighs the perceived benefit and therefore have the majority avoid it, despite its obvious value. Working out Doing your homework or studying for a test Voting Practicing piano or a new way to serve in tennis Logging phone calls in Salesforce Entering in JIRA estimates Writing tests for your code Usability…

Hiring UX Designer 2016

I am starting my search for a UX Designer to join our team at Engagio. I actually prefer people in the earlier stages of their career. (Directors need not apply) Designer Characteristics: Creative. Can come up with new solutions to problems. OCD. Does it bother you that their is a mistake in this question? Productive. We have a lot to do. Lots of context switching and multi-tasking. Concise. Confident. This position will have interactions with lots of people, including executives. Positive. It’s not personal; it’s always about the work. Special. A parent or loved one must vouch for you. Smart. Knows…

Happy is not my preferred state of being

My mom asks me all the time, “Are you happy?” I find the question to be annoying. (Sorry mom) The reason is that I don’t actually want to be “happy”. Happy to me implies blissful cow-like behavior. It implies sitting and staring at the sunset and thinking, “Gee, this is swell.” To me, it’s boring to want to be happy. I want to be focused. I want to be filled with purpose and drive. I want to be a man on a mission. Of course, there have been moments in my past when that purpose and drive led to a moment…

The Gooey Emotional Center

Marketo Retrospective Part 9 As part of a series, I am doing retrospective lessons from my 9 years at Marketo. This might be the last one. It’s the part that very few people understand, but I think it is the reason Marketo did well. Some people call it Product Market Fit, but to me that doesn’t do the concept justice. I call it the The Gooey Emotional Center of a product. There is a particular thing Marketo power users say to me. They say, “Thank you for my career.” This is a big deal to me. We didn’t just build software that…

UX and Technical Debt

Marketo Retrospective Part 6 As part of a series, I am doing retrospective lessons from my 9 years at Marketo. Today, I focus on product development. Specifically about a philosophy I have around maintaining products after initial innovation. When you have a startup, the first innovation is complete free from existing customer complaints. It is pure in that sense. It is only after you deliver that first product and customers are using it that you start to accumulate UX and technical debt. Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is…

The Power of a Single Word

I am a firm believer in retrospectives. How can you expect to improve without looking back at what you did? I am going to do a series of lessons learned from my 9 years at Marketo. Doing one giant post will be too long, so I’m breaking it up. This is Lesson 1. The Power of a Single Word Early research (2007) led me to understand how Salesforce.com labels different core entities. The one that was most important was the word “lead”. In speaking with SMB companies, the word lead meant “a person”. When they went to a conference, they collected…

My Design Process

I’ll try my best to be concise. Step 1. Receive commandment from God Or your CEO or your PM or boss, whatever. They will say something like, “We need _____” Fill in the blank with any two word feature. (Example: Dynamic Content, Enhanced Security, Cool Dashboards. Step 2. Talk to users Is this obvious? I say users instead of stakeholders because I actually want to understand the lives of the people who will actually use the system. Who are they? What do they do for a living? Look for painful parts of their job. Step 3. Design a mid-fidelity storyboard Nothing that…

Paying Attention

Before they can pay money, they have to pay attention. Make no mistake, it’s a real currency. Every waking moment is accounted for. Whether it is social media or a smartphone game or even staring at the wall, you are paying out your daily allowance of attention. Most companies want to earn your attention dollars. They are a key performance indicator of marketing departments the world over. Companies shell out billions to get little slices of your attention. Billboards, commercials, ads, product placement. It’s a huge industry. However, measuring attention has been dicey at best. Usually, it is some form…

Engagio closed $22M Series B

Original Haiku Post I am currently Head of Magic (PM/UX) at Engagio. The experience so far has been excellent. The culture is authentic and vibrant. The product vision is very strong and the market dynamics couldn’t be better. Engagio has a strong analytics product already in the market, which is doing very well. Additionally, we have built a new product called PlayMaker and Scout that I believe could revolutionize how companies organize and coordinate their account activities. It is what keeps me awake at night. Today, we just announced a 22 million dollar investment by Norwest Partners. We plan on using the…

The Decline of Facts

I’m not looking forward to the presidential debates. The reason is that facts will not be part of the discussion. Imagine this fictitious argument: Fact Person: “The world is spherical.” Feelings Person: “I feel that it is flat.” Fact Person: “There are pictures, science, facts. It’s provable!” Feelings Person: “All of that is faked. Photoshopped. It’s all paid for by Big Round, the round earth lobby. Fact Person: “How can I prove to you that this is a fact.” Feelings Person: “You can’t. How can I prove to you the world is flat?” Fact Person: “What?? You can’t. It’s spherical!…