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Collaboration: The New Revolution In Design Software

UX Design

Collaboration: The New Revolution In Design Software

The recent release of Figma 3.0, a collaborative interface design platform, reminds us how far software has come since design went digital over 30 years ago. And it’s not just about the superior speed or technical capabilities of the tools we have today; it’s also about a cultural change that goes back to the middle ages.... Read more

Microcopy 101: How To Write For Successful Products

UX Design

Microcopy 101: How To Write For Successful Products

I know what you’re thinking. Microcopy? What is that even? Like, tiny words? You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, though let’s put a pin in that for now and just talk about regular words for a moment.... Read more

Service Design and UX Design: What’s the Difference?

UX Design

Service Design and UX Design: What’s the Difference?

Chances are you loaded this page because you’ve heard of service design but aren’t clear what it is. In this piece, we’ll explain the place of service design in relation to other design disciplines, including UX, UI, and product design. We’ll then look in a little more detail at what it means to take a service design approach to a problem, and we’ll identify the kinds of problem that service design is optimally placed to tackle. Finally, we’ll identify some of the opportunities we see for service designers in a global world facing increasingly complex, interconnected challenges.... Read more

3 Product Design Predictions for 2018

UX Design

3 Product Design Predictions for 2018

For better or worse, we begin 2018 in the wake of some historically significant political shifts. Across the U.S., Europe and beyond, establishment thinking and received wisdom failed to predict the electoral upheavals of 2016. In this piece, we explore some upheavals in the tech world that might also come sooner rather than later, manifesting a similar reaction against products and corporations that are increasingly perceived as both too powerful and too self-serving.... Read more

The Hawaii false alert wasn’t user error—it was a failure of design

UX Design

The Hawaii false alert wasn’t user error—it was a failure of design

The false ballistic missile alert issued to the U.S. state of Hawaii this week raises questions about user error and the role of UX design in creating resilient, usable systems that lead people away from mistakes rather than towards them.... Read more

Halloween special: the tricks and treats of UX design

UX Design

Halloween special: the tricks and treats of UX design

In the midst of the strange celebration that is Halloween, it seems fitting that we take some time to consider the ways that designers are also engaged in the business of disguise and deception, of tricks and treats. In this article, we’ll first ask how designers are called upon to trick their audience – whether by designing seductive packaging, choosing attractive typefaces, or crafting addictive apps. Then we’ll examine some examples from history, where the manipulative capacity of design has been used to glorify war, sanitize scandal, and draw people in with promises of meaning and belonging. Finally, we’ll look at 10 of the most common tricks and treats in user experience (UX) design today.... Read more

What does the iPhone X’s AR engine mean for UX Designers?

UX Design

What does the iPhone X’s AR engine mean for UX Designers?

Apple today announced the latest iteration of the iPhone – the iPhone X. Alongside the usual incremental improvements that most of us are now largely indifferent to, the arrival of iOS 11 does deliver something more significant: a mainstream, mass-market mobile product that for the first time has an Augmented Reality (AR) engine baked right into the OS. Read on for an explanation of what AR is, and a look at its current and potential future applications. We also explore what AR could mean for UX designers, and, finally, our take on the $162bn question: are people going to use it?... Read more

Are Notifications A Dark Pattern?

UX Design

Are Notifications A Dark Pattern?

Have you ever had a nightmare where you were literally drowning in little red notification badges? I did once, and it got me thinking: what actually are notifications? And are they just another dark pattern – a form of coercion and online trickery? In this article, I explore the phenomenon of “pseudo-notifications”, and conclude with some thoughts on what the future might hold for notifications as a design pattern.... Read more

Great Design Thinkers: Frank Chimero on The Shape Of Design

UX Design

Great Design Thinkers: Frank Chimero on The Shape Of Design

This is the second in our series on contemporary design thinkers. In the first article, we explored how Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO, developed the idea of “design thinking”. This time, we’re taking a look at the ideas of Frank Chimero, who describes himself as a multi-disciplinary designer, accidental writer, and lapsed illustrator. He’s best known for his beautiful and insightful book The Shape of Design, which has recently been reissued in paperback and is also available to read online for free. In this article, we’ll explore 4 key lessons from Chimero’s work.... Read more

Great Design Thinkers: Tim Brown on Design Thinking

UX Design

Great Design Thinkers: Tim Brown on Design Thinking

This is the first in a new series of articles on contemporary design thinkers. We begin with Tim Brown, who is CEO and President of IDEO, a global design and innovation firm founded in 1991. He is best known for his work advancing user-centred design–and in particular for developing the idea of “design thinking”.... Read more

How To Get Started In User Interface (UI) Design

UX Design

How To Get Started In User Interface (UI) Design

In Part 1 of this series, we explored the history of user interface design, from MS-DOS and Windows 1 through to iOS and Material Design. In this second installment, we take a look at what UI design means in today's market, and examine what separates good and bad interfaces. We also discuss why looks aren't everything. Finally, we sneak a peek at some of the new patterns emerging in UI design – including Google's "Fuchsia" and Microsoft's "Fluent Design", and point you to a bunch of great resources to help you get started in UI Design.... Read more

From MS-DOS to Material Design: A Brief History of User Interfaces

UX Design

From MS-DOS to Material Design: A Brief History of User Interfaces

A while back, we took a look at how to get started in user experience (UX) design. In this article, we're going to follow that up by looking in a little more depth at one aspect of UX–user interface (UI) design. In this installment, we’ll explore the importance of interfaces, examine how UI design is distinct from UX design, and take a brief look at the history of UI design. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we'll discuss what UI design means today, check out some case studies, and point you to further resources.... Read more

Where will UX design be in 5 years? 5 Predictions

UX Design

O'Reilly's recently published 2017 Design Salary Survey showed not only that designers working in UX command the highest median salary ($89,000), but also that those adopting new tools like Sketch, and agile, iterative ways of working, attract the highest pay. In this article, we explore the future direction of UX design within the wider industry, and explain why we believe the trend towards hiring UX expertise will continue in the years ahead.... Read more

User Personas: What Are They And Why Use Them?

UX Design

When I started learning design, I had never heard of a “user persona”, and certainly had no idea how to research them or use them effectively in my projects. In this article, I’m going to summarise what I’ve learned since then about what a user persona is and why they’re important not only to experience, interface, and interaction design–but even to visual and branding design.... Read more

3 Obsolete 1990s UX Design Classics That We Love

UX Design

In this article, we’re going to take a look at three iconic pieces of consumer gadgetry from the 1990s, and analyse what it was about their user experience design that made them so popular. We’ll examine the Psion Series 3 line of palmtop computers, the much-loved Nokia 5110 cellphone, and the PalmPilot personal digital assistant (PDA), the last of which helped to push the mobile device sector towards embracing touch screens and gesture input. Picking up where we left off in our Getting Started in UX Design article, we’ll analyse how each device matches up to the UX honeycomb, and conclude by asking what today’s UX designers can learn from these products, how they succeeded, and why they declined.... Read more

Getting Started in UX Design

UX Design

Ask anyone who’s recently browsed design job listings, and they’ll tell you that the demand for UX designers is high. More importantly, the demands made of those designers are constantly shifting in light of new and improved technologies, and in response to changing user needs. In this article we’re going to explore what UX design is, and how it’s different from user interface (UI) and visual design. To help those deciding whether to embark on the journey of becoming a UX designer, we’ll demystify core UX terminology, introduce some key tools, and point to further reading and resources so you can continue your learning.... Read more

What is Service Design?

UX Design

Most design disciplines draw from other areas and fields. Technology, cognitive science and aesthetics all contribute to design as we know it today. Service design, a more recent application of design expertise, is no different. Service design draws on many concepts, ranging from user experience, marketing and project management in order to optimize new services.... Read more

Designlab Course Review: Engineer Alicia Jackson Gets Creative

UX Design

Designlab

As an engineer, Alicia Jackson’s day-to-day design experience was mostly technical drawings and blueprints over typography and color palettes. But, she says, “I’ve always had a love of designing more creatively.” For the past 10 years she worked on her graphic design skills and developed her talent into creating invitations, flyers, and web designs. So why would Alicia choose to take a design course after her success with self-study? She says, “Although I heard many good things about my work and have done some independent study, it was not until taking Design 101 that I really got a chance to work with someone that is a professional in the industry.” Read on to hear more about Alicia’s experience as a Design 101 student and first-time online learner.... Read more

Pattern Libraries: What They Are and Why You Need One

UX Design

Not every design project should start from scratch. It's true – there's a time and place for creativity, and there's also a time and place to use fail-proof and time-tested solutions. Some of the best UX and interaction designers rely on pattern libraries to bring previously tested and usable solutions to their digital projects. Here's what you need to know about pattern libraries and how to make them work for you.... Read more

Why User Research Matters

UX Design

Let’s tell the story of a typical tech product. It starts with a great idea — maybe a personal pain point you’ve faced, or a hunch about where the market is headed. You spec out an amazing app. You get a team of engineers to build it, and find a designer to make the product look and feel awesome. You’ve nailed it! Only thing is… you launch, and no one cares.... Read more

Startup Essentials: You Should Be User Testing

UX Design

You might have heard about how usability testing is all the rage these days. But, you’re a 2-person startup working out of a garage (or, more likely: a coffee shop in the Mission). Resources are tight, time is of the essence, and you wouldn’t even know where to find a UX Researcher if you wanted.... Read more

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