Category: Design By Doing

Both the arts of technique and thinking more critically about what you are communicating.

The simplification scrub

Once you’ve got the functionality you need, there’s plenty that can be done to simplify an interface by stripping it down one piece at a time.

A picture is worth a thousand questions

Choosing the right photos, especially those photos that are meant represent your users themselves, can be powerful tools in a user-centered approach to design. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the questions they raise.

Destroy the zombie UI

Leaving old experiences alone is simply not a neutral choice. Old UI incurs a cost: it decays over time, and as long as it exists, it will come back to bite you. How do you deal with the zombies in your UI?

Using the object at hand

The objects we can grasp in the real world can become a reference point for describing a number of things: a comparison, a structure, a volume, an interaction. Does that world ring true for your users?

Personas with personality

Personas are stand-ins for real people – abstractions that can be as specific or general as you need them to be. That kind of abstraction may seem unnecessary, but I’ve have come to realize that they are extremely useful for a particular type of project.

Put on your black hat

You’ve thought about the happy path your users will take — time to anticipate how it could break so you can build in some safeguards. Time to put on your black hat.

The proper use of beautiful imagery

No matter how well-arranged your interface is or how simple your flows are, the imagery you use in your designs will have a disproportionately large influence on how it will be received. Beautiful imagery, when done right, can be a powerful force for progress.

Use sleight of hand with muscle memory

Designing for a product that’s been around means working within expectations. How do you (gently) break someone free from a timeworn path to discover a new one? Use a few cues from magic to shake things up.

Reasons to march forth

I can’t stand seeing designers hit walls. The nature of designing is creating a reality from the kernel of an idea…but a vision isn’t enough. This is my attempt to explain the techniques that I have seen work.