Couple of hours before yet another iPad Event, we’re again sure that the famous and much expected iWatch won’t make an appearance. Unfortunately for the consumers (and probably for the shareholders as well) Apple won’t announce the revolution. The public will be forced to wait indefinitely for the premiere of probably the most useful wearable computer on the planet.
Author Archives: marcintreder
Who gets the job in UX? The qualities of the best UX Designers.
In my pre-uxpin life I had the privilege of being a UX Manager of a team consisting of absolutely amazing designers. I personally hired some of them and well…can’t say that the process of hiring UX professionals is an easy one. Finding people who are creative and analytical at the same time is always a challenge. What’s more – there’s plenty of job opportunities for UX professionals. As for now (September 30th) there’s almost 19k open positions listed on LinkedIn. That’s certainly something.
I thought it might be useful for all of you to know what UX Managers and HR people are looking for in UX Professionals. Below you’ll find my list of the qualities I’m looking for in UX Professionals and, for comparison, the list published on Quora by Jonathan Baker-Bates – experience UX Designer from London.
Design is an unfortunate mixture of art and science that simply hates any shortcuts. Designers on the other hand are often more than willing to take shortcuts. Who’s not guilty of falling in love with the first design idea? I know I am. You start thinking about the design and immediately afterwards you’re able to see the solution that seems to be perfect – at least in your mind. You’re not forcing yourself to come up with anything else and you simply start wireframing your first real guess.
This very moment of questionable epiphany can ruin the entire product.
Beautiful retail stores from around the world
I assume most of you deal daily mostly with digital design. Websites, Software, Mobile Apps… – that’s our reality. In my experience though, the design inspiration should be broad. The best projects I’ve ever worked on had some connection to the physical reality. eCommerce websites inspired by shop-windows, Financial websites with bank-style influences etc. – this kind of design inspiration always brings some kind of freshness into our skill-set and much desired familiarity to the minds of our users. It’s not about modelling the whole design to resemble its physical predecessor. It’s rather about taking the inspiration and creating something completely new with reference to the original.
Design discussions on Quora
Quora became a place to be if you care for an occasional conversation about Tech-related stuff. Best designers in the world are certainly present among Quora members. Take a look at the best design discussion and join the stream of conversations!
Have you ever wondered what Samsung employees think about design of their arch enemy – Apple? Wonder no more. Quora discussion reveals the truth. “Many of my coworkers consider Apple to be just a hype builder. Most of the time they don’t want to give credit to Apple engineers. But on the other hand, there are a small number of Apple users working in Samsung. We appreciate the quality of their ecosystem and the beauty of hardware-software integration…”
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”
At UXPin we believe that there’s only one way to the great quality of the product – listening to customers. We’re constantly trying to understand what you expect from us and what could help you design the most amazing web and mobile applications in the world.
The Relation of Psychology and Design
Psychology and design are inseparable. Design without knowledge about human beings is just a kingdom of chaotic expression. Design founded on a knowledge about human mind is a straight way to amazing products.
Let’s take a look at 10 best presentation about relationship of psychology and design. And at the end there’s a surprise! :)
Design is a funny word. Mention it in a conversation and it adds value without adding a precise meaning. If you hear “that’s the great design” do you know exactly what your interlocutor meant by that? Aesthetics? Function? Both?
How about “I’m designer”? Couple of months ago I was presenting for a group of experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. One gentlemen in his late 60′s told me after the presentation “I’m a designer as well. I used to design circuits”. Unfortunately that’s not the kind of design I can understand, so we didn’t find a common ground.
To say that „Flat design is extremely popular” is to say nothing. The Flat design took over the design world. Microsoft (since 2010), Google and Apple adapted flat design to some extent and thousands of designers followed (check out the Flat Design Showcase).
The simple and clear aesthetics of the flat design is easy to recognize and became a brand on its own rights. Some designers though tend to see it as beginning of the revolution:
„I believe that the flat design trend is a symptom of the growing maturity in the field of web and interface design. This maturity applies to our designers – who are getting better at making interfaces that encourage interactivity and engagement – as well as to our users.” /Marci Ikeler, Designer & Founder of Little Arrows
„In essence, the flat era of design has narrowed the constraints but surprisingly expanded our approach towards design. Skeuomorphic design was not a trend, it was necessary for technology to be adopted. Now that it is, flat design is another necessary step that will faciliate exploration of new design techniques that will take the industry to new heights” /Damian Madray
If they are right – there’s hardly a way back. Flat revolution will unify the digital world under the single rule. Whatever will be in a different aesthetics will be judged as an oddity. While all the big brands are switching to the flat, that view might be truer than ever.
And this is exactly where I see the danger. While I admire the flat design aesthetics I’m afraid that many designers might fall into the trap that will ruin their design ambitions (and life of their users in the same, unfortunate, time). Oh yes… Flat design is tricky. Let me introduce you to 5 obvious dangers of the Flat Design:
- Forgetting Affordances
- Misusing color & contrast
- Lacking the beauty of typography
- Poor rather than simple
- Lost Visual Hierarchy
In many cases texture, gradients, drop shadows and other ‘non-flat’ user interface elements hold an important information value. They help to create affordances in the interface. A button that looks like a button brings in the right mental model to the minds of users. That helps them understand the connection between a button and their goal – that’s a highway to interface efficiency.
If you’re working on a flat design – make sure that you took care of affordances.
Flat designs must rely on color & contrast as the indicator of interaction in the interface. That’s not an easy task. Colors got their meanings and lead to certain physiological reactions. To master color as an obedient information carrier – that’s certainly one of the biggest challanges in front of the flat design.
Flat designs rely on typography as on the primary carrier of aesthetic value and information. That’s absolutely great. Who doesn’t love beautiful typography? Right? The only problem is that typography is the art on its own. Lack of typographic skills will be more visible than ever in a bare flat design.
Ornaments and any „extra” ingredients are banned in flat design. That’s cool. It suppose to lead to the beauty of simplicity. The danger is though that the interface will look poor and unfinished rather than simple. Creating something beautiful, useful and simple is the ultimate design challenge.
Back in the days, designers were really concerned by the visual hierarchy of information that they are forcing on users. Having full spectrum of effects: shadows, gradients, textures… designers could try to guide human perception of the interface. While it’s still possible in the flat design, it’s definitely harder.
All 5 dangers might be summed up in a single sentence: Flat Design is hard.
And here’s your takeaway – a handy graphic:
Photo Credit: x-ray delta one
3 Things That Every Startup Has to Build
8 years ago, soon after the high school, I’ve worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken for couple of months. Tough job to start a career, but I really wanted to buy an awesome guitar and I needed money for that. First day wasn’t particularly good. I was definitely the slowest, most confused, KFC employee in the history. Customers were going mad, so one of my supervisors took me for a Face to Face meeting and said “Marcin, I don’t know if you really understand the meaning of words fast food…let me explain: it means that food must be served in a really fast way”.
As mean as it was, I got it and survived inside the KFC the next 6 months.
I took this miserable life lesson with me to both: the User Experience and the Entrepreneurial world. I’m always deeply thinking about the expected outcome that guarantee success and the real meaning of the situation. For User Experience Design the outcome is always a great, efficient, product. For entrepreneurs… well that’s a little bit more complicated.
I’ve learnt (and believe me…it took me some time!) that, on the very basic level, every startup must do only 3 things to survive. Three things that define the meaning of a startup, just as serving food quickly, defines the existence of a fast food.
As far as I know, that’s it. Only 3 things!
At UXPin we spent months talking to you (our customers), observing your reactions in the social media, changes in metrics… and we were iterating, like crazy, on the product. Finally, thanks to your amazing feedback, we’ve started to grow.
When you know that your company actually works, that’s an amazing, powerful, feeling. When you see the growing satisfaction of customers and the growing revenue, that’s makes you jump high in the air!
And we’re just having our best month in the history. February was the previous best month and before that – January. That’s our sustainable growth.
The number of paying customers will be, again, more than 30% higher than in the previous month.
In fact, we’ve sold more accounts last week than in the first 6 months of the company.
But that’s not what’s most important today. Company had the best week and the best month in the history, while we (Marcin Treder and Marcin Kowalski) are in the Silicon Valley, working on the next step for the company (lots of legal and financial stuff ;)). That’s the clear sign that we have in place the third factor that every startups need to succeed – great team.
So here’s to you! The greatest startup team ever!
Without the right team startup means nothing, just as without loved product and sustainable growth.
/Marcin Treder, UXPin CEO