I don’t want to just get things done. I want to do things right.
Lately at Slide UX, we’ve been studying how people shop and the emerging role of the mobile device as a shopping companion. This app takes the idea of scanning products to a whole new level.
I think we’re living in this kind of mass fetishization of creativity, y’know? And you can see it in the way we use creative as a noun to describe some people. As if creativity is something that you own or are born with or whatever, as if it’s not just a tool in your toolbox of getting work done.
… most people visit a .gov site once or twice a year—if that. So designing a dynamic, fresh interface is irrelevant—rather, the idea was to make the user experience as simple and static as possible.
There’s only one typeface on Gov.uk, and a somber color palette of black and white gradients and classic blue links. There are no Pinterest logos, no blog content, and precious few images. “You shouldn’t come to the website and say ‘wow, look at the graphic design!,’” Terrett says. “You should come to the website to find out what the minimum wage is.”
One of the reasons I shy away from sources like The FWA for inspiration is that they seem to be nothing more than lists of sites that the editors found pretty. I’m thrilled that Design Museum chose Gov.UK as the first-ever website for their Best Design of the Year award, recognizing the team’s masterful IA and UX work as well as the fact that the best web design is far more than flashy graphics.
Avocado is an iPhone app that masters the microinteraction. I couldn’t help but smile and show off the feedback it gave me when I uploaded my image. The app smartly used the name I provided for my partner as a variable in the copy, making it all very personal. And the greatness continues, screen after screen.
The magic is all in the details.
In the forward for Microinteractions Don Norman writes, “Are microinteractions details? Damn right: The magic is all in the details.”
He goes on to explain, “…even if the big picture is done right, unless the details are also handled properly, the solution fails: the details are what control the moment to moment experience. It is timely details that lead to seamless interaction with our products. Alternatively, it is the lack of attention to those details that lead to frustration, irritation, and eventually an intense dislike of the product.”
The details are not just production.
Before Slide UX, I worked for an employer who envisioned a structure in which the senior designer defined the “big picture” and entry level designers would be brought in to flesh out the details. A Jr. UXer was to a UX Architect as a Production Artist might be to an Art Director.
The conversation around microinteractions crystallizes why that vision made me uncomfortable. While everyone battles to drive the big picture, there is often immeasurable conflict-free progress to be made in the details. And user satisfaction is in the details.
Making each small task easy is a part of design that I love. Apps like Avocado challenge me to crack open my next design assignment with enthusiasm.
As a UX specialist, I often leave discussion about “advertising” to my agency partners. But this is an absolutely stellar campaign by Ogilvy for Dove.
They hired a sketch artist to produce two sketches of several women - one as they described themselves, and another as they were described by a stranger. The differences between how each women accentuates her perceived flaws and how strangers hardly notie them is revealing and beautiful.
I recently came across a “hierarchy of design” where the most basic step was usability, the second was style, the third was problem-solving (usefulness) and the forth was redefining the problem. I think this work lives at the top of that hierarchy. Dove earns affinity by owning a topic so much bigger than soap.
It’s inspiring to see a creative team use their talent just to spread truth and motivate good. Poke is an interactive team based in London. They say that they built Global Rich List to challenge people’s perception of their personal wealth, and in hopes of raising money for good causes.
Developers can use conditions like days since install, minimum number of uses, and days since last prompt to guide the appearance of messages like these, which were a hot topic on a recent project we worked on.
Our client contended that the interruptive “Rate Me” prompts we see so often aren’t entirely self-serving, because feedback can lead to improvement, which benefits the user.
Grabbing a handful of examples from everyday iPhone use, I wasn’t surprised to see such prompts generally assume that users are happy and satisfied. After all, negative reviews are killer in the iTunes Store.
Facebook actually encourages App Developers to use their “Request” feature to prompt users to invite others. The requests appear as Facebook Notifications, can target specific users who haven’t already approved an app, and are context-specific, meaning that you may send an invite via a mobile app that is accepted via a desktop website if that’s where the recipient is when he clicks through.
After collecting these examples, it’s even more obvious that these sort of prompts disrupt the user in hopes of getting him to do something YOU want him to. That’s not good UX, but the positive impact (reviews) can be easily measured. I wonder how we might be able to measure the downside?
The Skype app’s “delete messages” function aggravates me to no end. My primary use case here is to get that count (5 in this case) down to zero. Most of the time, I’ve “consumed” these messages on another device - my home computer, my iPad - somewhere else.
In the iPhone app, I can clearly see the count associated with each row… until I click “Edit” to enable the delete function. Once I do that, the message counts slide off the right hand side of the screen and I am left to guess which rows the count is attributed to.