Blog Posts

The Poop in the Ice Cream

The Poop in the Ice Cream

One bad touchpoint can ruin an entire experience journey. Sometimes we can forget this, or not take it as seriously as we should. A good metaphor can help us remember, especially if it’s a little gross. Don’t be the poop in the ice cream.

The Birth of the Shoelace Bootstrap Grid Builder

The Birth of the Shoelace Bootstrap Grid Builder

A while ago, I got this idea to create a Bootstrap grid builder called Shoelace (open it up and follow along!) that is super simple, easy to use, and didn’t try to be a WYSIWYG tool at all. In fact, the opposite. It had 3 purposes – to build the grid HTML, to show you how it will work and change responsively, and teach you how it works by making it impossible to make broken or non-conforming grids. You can’t build your own pages with it, and once you build a grid and use it, you’d have to go back and sort […]

Service Experience Conference 2014

Service Experience Conference 2014

Come see me as a speaker at the Service Experience Conference 2014 in San Francisco. I’ll be giving a behind-the-scenes look at a service designer’s odyssey at software (and service!) giant Intuit! You’ll pay for the whole seat, but only need the edge…

The Service Design of Coffee

The Service Design of Coffee

It’s an interesting phenomenon, realizing that you just passed through an awesome service experience. Great ones are transparent; they just happen and you don’t have to think about it. It’s UX on the user journey. That feeling of walking in to a place where everybody knows your name.

View on UX

View on UX

There is so much to UX, it’s hard to capture what it means. At least I can try to so for what it means to me personally; the view I believe in.

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Design for Delight has No Match

Design for Delight has No Match

A delightful user experience. That is what we call it. All the work and effort we put in to research, design, testing; all in pursuit of that final goal. An entire, complex UX process, yet with an outcome that can be reduced down to just one simple phrase.

The First TajRiba; Bringing UX to Africa

The First TajRiba; Bringing UX to Africa

TajRiba; the Swahili word for “Experience”. There’s a wellspring of design happening in Africa right now. In ways you wouldn’t expect. I had a chance to take part and give a pair of talks at the TajRiba, the first sub-Saharan Africa UX conference and workshops. I think I ended up learning more than anyone, and saw the value in the idea of “intelligent engagement over aid.”

Bootstrap 3 Grid Introduction

Bootstrap 3 Grid Introduction

Bootstrap 3 is here with an all-new “mobile first” CSS framework and grid. It’s super cool, so round up the gang and let’s get introduced to the new grid system guide and tutorial and check out how Bootstrap 3 works!

The Brain Behind UX

The Brain Behind UX

Just what happens in the brain that makes UX possible? Experiences only occur in the brain, and knowing how UX occurs neurologically can help us all better know why we design the things we do.

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The UX Psychologist

The UX Psychologist

Psychology and UX go hand in hand. One could even consider UX as a subset within the school of psychology. UX often talks about how it incorporates psychology, but what would a UX Psychologist actually bring? So lie back on the couch and let’s dive into the mind.

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UX Artifacts and Adventure

UX Artifacts and Adventure

UX is the business of context and meaning. Getting lost in creating artifacts without meaning leaves us lost. For real UX to move forward, we need to stop designing for artifacts and start designing for experiences.

Bump the Lamp: The Reason for Caring

Bump the Lamp: The Reason for Caring

The attention to fine details. Things that may only be noticed by a tiny fraction of your audience, or maybe not at all. Do you do it to set yourself apart from others? No, that’s not why. Your reason should come from a different source altogether. From a lamp, for instance.

Know Your UX Hats

Know Your UX Hats

User experience is in a strange stage of its evolutionary cycle. Companies want to get UX into their products. And every day more people shift their focus to UX, trying to break into discipline. I’ve received a series of emails from both UXers, as well as companies, who are looking for clarification on what all the different buzzwords mean so they can portray themselves or the roles they are hiring for more accurately. Both parties need to know what to expect when they are evaluating their needs or opportunities. One of the problems we face is that the various UX […]

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What I've Learned as a UX Interviewer

What I’ve Learned as a UX Interviewer

Having been a UX interviewee many times, my recent opportunities to be on the other side of the table as the interviewer has given me a lot of new insight into the process – insight I want to pass along. If there’s one thing that is true about UX, it’s empathy. So step in and let’s empathize about the UX interview process!

The Ouija Toggle

The Ouija Toggle

The Ouija Toggle is a mystical sliding toggle UI based on the iOS sliding toggle. Is it just a vessel to another plane of existence? Or a needless iteration on the sliding toggle which hasn’t really been proven relevant on anything but touch devices. Only the spirits know. But it sure is fun to play with, so come join this seance and give it a try!

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UX is not UI

UX is not UI

UI is what people see and touch. It is what comes to mind when thinking of a product or an experience. But the UI stands on the top of a huge UX mountain. The better the UI works, the bigger the UX beneath. The message we must spread is simple: UX is not UI.

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An Exercise in Making a Portfolio

An Exercise in Making a Portfolio

Not everyone has a expansive portfolio to bring to an interview. But that doesn’t mean you have to show up empty handed. As a budding UX designer in England found out, building a mock portfolio is easier than you would think. Part 2 of my series on UX interviews and portfolios!

What people want to see in a UX portfolio or website.

What people want to see in a UX portfolio or website.

Here’s the tl;dr version of this post: I am redoing all my personal materials to be something much more deliberate and efficient. Starting with this website. Everything will be new. I’ve learned some things recently. Partially from poking around the internet looking at other UX designer’s sites, and also from having to sift through some resumes for UX designers here at my place of employment. See, I’ve learned 2 things. People usually don’t build their resume for what employers want to see. In fact, they usually aren’t ‘built’ at all, but instead they are just a thoughtless collections of data […]

Pigs and Bowling Balls; Lipstick and Lace

Pigs and Bowling Balls; Lipstick and Lace

What do “putting lipstick on a pig” and “putting lace on a bowling ball” have in common? Two things: Neither has ever worked. Lipstick has ever made a pig more attractive, and lace has never improved a bowling ball. Neither fool anyone, and often insult the intelligence of the target audience. Both sayings are often used by people as a acceptable solution to a fundamental problem with design or function. They aren’t metaphors that are supposed to be answers; they are metaphors that are supposed to point out pointless and ineffective measures to improve something. If you say “it’s like […]

Horses, Camels, and Committees. Not all things are created equal.

Horses, Camels, and Committees. Not all things are created equal.

“A camel is a horse designed by committee” is a terrible metaphor. Every time I hear it, I feel like the point of the metaphor is lost. A committee is a cul-de-sac into which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled. Let me explain. A camel is a animal perfectly adapted and finely tuned for its environment and purpose: living in the Sahara Desert in extreme heat with little to no water for extended periods of time. It is a marvel of evolution. When the needs of the “user” arose in the Sahara, a camel was the exact right product […]

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

  This isn’t a post about Apple, or their product. This is about a man who lived the type of life I want to live, but have not. And may not. A man who cared about what he did, and pursued it with a fury. Only a fool would believe his goal was to become rich. Being a billionaire was a byproduct. A byproduct of passion, and a relentless refusal to succumb to fear or mediocrity. A man who would rather lose everything and fail than forget that passion and creativity matter, both in your personal life, but also in […]

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Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence This is a confusing as hell statement. It takes me a while to get what it means every time I use it or say it. So, I’m going to try and draw a parallel as to why this relates to UX design. You’re a stakeholder, and you’re looking at your product (be it a site, app, whatever). You don’t see anything wrong with it, so you assume that this proves there is nothing wrong and that everything is great. But just because you don’t see anything wrong doesn’t mean that things are […]

Portfolios: The problem with NDA's and Internal Projects

Portfolios: The problem with NDA’s and Internal Projects

User Experience Portfolio’s aren’t the easiest thing to portray online. I liken it to other fields where the deliverable result is usually a series of intangible activities and the usage of talents; talents gained through experience. For a Graphic Artist, it is very easy to make a portfolio. Show examples of your work, make a gallery, and maybe make a few notes on your technique. People want to see your talent as an artist. The same can be said for a web developer. A long list of websites created, complete with screenshots, links to the live site, maybe a few […]

Viewport and Screen Resolution

Viewport and Screen Resolution

  Preface: I am not suggesting that you abandon best practices and trying to easily include as many edge and near-edge cases that you can. I am just trying to point out a line of diminishing returns, and eventually you’re optimizing your sites width and usability for the grandma at the library kiosk on a Pentium 150mhz running a 13″ CRT at 800×600 in IE6 and Windows 98 Special Edition. So I’ve recently been developing the UI for a browser-based application. It is for internal use only, so my user group is set to the company employees that use it. […]

UX Roles and Terms - What do they mean?

UX Roles and Terms – What do they mean?

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. UX is all the rage. It’s always been around, but now it has its own nomenclature. It’s usually divided into five areas, sometimes more or less. There is alot of overlap, both in domains of expertise, and in roles performed by one or more people. In this post, I’ll try to break it down in the way I understand […]

The Growing Role of User Experience

The Growing Role of User Experience

“We choose to do User Experience, not because it is easy, but because it is hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – Adapted from President John F. Kennedy, in regards to putting a man on the moon. It is the year 2011. The internet and business have become indistinguishable from eachother. No longer are there many “brick and mortar” businesses that don’t have some sort […]

Treatise on User Experience Design: Part 2 - Process and Workflow

Treatise on User Experience Design: Part 2 – Process and Workflow

Welcome to part 2 of my “Treatise on User Experience Design.” In part one, I went over how I saw user experience as a paradigm, and the disciplinary makeup and nomenclature of said paradigm. This is the fictional tale of how I work. Not only in the sense of “how I perform my job” but also “how my mind works in this process.” Not every project requires every step, but for the sake of this writeup, I’m going to try and cover an end-to-end scenario. As I said in part one “Never time to do it right; always time to […]