I haven’t written any blog post for around a year and 4 months. Time flies. I’m giving myself a challenge now to spend only max. 7 minutes everyday, to write and post a blog post. I’ve been hosting my blog at WordPress for long, while it’s a great platform to write a blog, the community – readers, is not that engaging. So I write my blog now on Medium. I’ll still keep this WordPress blog, but the updates would be on my Medium. Here’s the link: Talk to you there!

Ps. Here’s my post today: Why Design Review with Other Designers Is Useless.

Celebrate Small Succcess

I attended my youngest son’s graduation day. He’s in Kindergarten. He’s still have a long way to go, but it’s always good to celebrate small success. Success breeds success, and we’ll have more confidence after we celebrate each success that we get, no matter how small it is.

I got a chance to talk to Ms. Foo Mee Har, she’s an awesome Parliament Member who takes care of the area that we live in. I’m always amazed to see how energetic she is and how she makes people comfortable sharing their thoughts with her.

Context Is The Key To Understand Everything

You designed an iPhone app wireframes using your Mac, showed them in a meeting to the others, got feedbacks, had discussions, improved the design, showed them again, this time you printed them, and you had another fruitful discussion with others.
It seems like a perfect process, except that you’re missing one important thing: context.

For me context is the key – from that comes the understanding of everything. -Kenneth Noland

The people who are going to use the app are not using laptop, or even papers. They’re using iPhones.
The feedback and the direction of the discussion would be very much different when you’re look at the design on the phone itself.

When you see the design on the phone, you can immerse yourself in the experience of using it directly on the phone, even though it’s just a pdf of a series of pages.

I always try to show my design on the phone using .pdf or clickable .pdf.
I use Omnigraffle most of the time to design wireframes, link pages, export them to .pdf, and then open them using GoodReader on my iPhone.
GoodReader is good because it has annotations, highlights, and markups. I can just add any feedbacks, or add any interaction ideas that can’t be solved during the meeting.

Remember that context is very important in designing User Experience, and put the design on the device itself will help you to think from users point of view.

It’s Not How You Feel, It’s How You Measure It

A friend said that User Experience is subjective. A person might say that one interface is hard to use, thus giving him a bad experience, while another person might say that the interface is super easy-to-use. That really depends on each person’s knowledge and past experience. So yes, I agree with him that User Experience is subjective.

Making everyone happy is impossible, that’s why you have to set your target users, which somehow share a common characteristic, and design the best user experience for those users.

Same thing can happen to the team who’s involved in the development of an app/website. A person might say that the design, created by a UX designer, is boring, not usable, doesn’t have a good user experience. But don’t get distracted by these kind of people. Many times, this kind of people just wanna show their ego, that they thought they know many things. It sucks, but don’t take it personally. Instead, challenge them to further explain their thoughts using constructive and users-focused solution.

Behind every argument is someone’s ignorance. -Robert Benchley

One of the things that I like to use, is the five quality components of usability by Jacob Nielsen:

  1. Learnability
  2. Efficiency
  3. Memorability
  4. Errors
  5. Satisfaction

You have to be able to measure your design by those components as well. You can’t just say “I design it because I feel that’s the best way of doing it”.

I understand that some things will become automatic, we’ve designed a lot of things, and somehow we, as UX Designers, just know that it’s the right design. But it’s not enough, especially if someone says it’s a wrong design. It’s not how you feel, it’s how you measure it.

Don’t accept the invitation to argue on subjectivity, instead focus on the users, and apply those five quality components to improve your design.

Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Good Design

Dieter Rams‘ Ten Principles of “Good Design”
Dieter Ram
Good Design Is Innovative— The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful—A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Good Design Is Aesthetic—The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Good Design Makes A Product Understandable—It clarifies Continue reading