Don’t Just Copy. Be Better.

I’ve always been annoyed by people who abuse the term Industry Best Practice. People need to start asking WHY and don’t just copy what others do. It’s very easy to copy, but difficult to be better. To be better, we need extra effort, finding out the WHY.

Definition of Industry Best Practice by some people that I’ve met recently:

Industry Best Practice, noun: We’re too lazy to think of better ideas and if the big companies are doing it then it must be good.

I have a dream to be a design leader one day, but my chance might be zero if I never act like one. Followers just copy. Leaders make things better. “They change things,” a line from Apple’s The Crazy Ones ad says, when talking about the people who have changed the world. It’s gonna be a challenging path, most people are comfortable with status quo, but I don’t wanna spend my time becoming a follower. I wanna change things.

Create Your Own Path. Be a Leader.

It’s easier to follow other’s path. Almost everyone is doing the same. Why would you need to spend more time to create your own path? The one who creates his own path might not be the most successful person, but there’s something priceless in creating our own path. Similar to the interface design. When something feels and looks good, people would start adapting that interface. Take Path interaction for the menu. More and more apps are doing the same with Path. Pablo Picasso once said “good artists borrow, great artists steal,” but does this mean copy-and-paste?

Path Interface

Path Interface

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” What does innovation mean? From the Continue reading

How to Get Ideas for Your Splash Screen Design

Even if iOS Human Interface Guidelines suggested you to ‘Avoid displaying an About window or a splash screen. In general, try to avoid providing any type of startup experience that prevents people from using your application immediately,’ people are still displaying splash screen for many reasons. It gives a good feeling to see your product’s and company’s name shown when the app starts. If you decide to ‘break’ the Apple’s Guidelines, and looking for inspirations for the splash screen, you can browse some UI pattern sites, which thousands of people browse the same sites as well, or you can try something different: find inspirations from Movie Posters. It’s a good exercise to be creative as well, mixing things to come up with a new poster, or splash screen in this case.

My favorites are from Pixar’s Collection
Pixar's Posters
So, what’s your plan for the first impression?

Using IDEO’s Methods Card to Understand People in Designing UX

The first important step in designing a good User Experience is to understand the people you’re designing the app for. Easier said than done, because many people thought they understand the people, yet they don’t really do anything to help them understanding people.

‘Intuitive’ interfaces are easier to build when designers have a deep understanding of the users.
Jared M. Spool

If you’ve been wondering where to start, then using IDEO’s Method Cards might be a good start point for your design team.

From the site: “IDEO Method Cards is a collection of 51 cards representing diverse ways that design teams can understand the people they are designing for.”

The cards are divided into four categories representing ways to empathize with people: Learn, Look, Ask, and Try.

Learn – Analyze the information you’ve collected to identify patterns and insights.
Look – Observe people to discover what they do rather than what they say they do.
Ask – Enlist people’s participation to elicit information relevant to your project.
Try – Create simulations to help empathize with people and to evaluate proposed designs.

Here are the methods that I use in one of my project:

Learn: Competitive Product Survey
How Collect, compare, and conduct evaluations of the products competition.
Why This is a useful way to establish functional requirements, performance standards, and other benchmarks.

Look: Fly on the Wall
How Observe and record behavior within its context, without interfering with people’s activities.
Why It’s useful to see what people actually do within real contexts and time frames, rather than accept what they say they did after the fact.

Ask: Narration
How As they perform a process or execute a specific task, ask participants to describe aloud what they are thinking.
Why This is useful way to reach users’ motivations, concerns, perceptions, and reasoning.

Try: Try It Yourself
How Use the product or prototype you are designing.
Why Trying the product being designed prompts the team to appreciate the experience the actual users might have.

Those methods can be used for (almost) anything: explore new ways to solve problems, find new insights/perspectives, and to inspire the team.
Using these methods, your team would know the people they’re designing the app for, and on the right path in designing a good User Experience.