UX/UI Links, October 2017
New projects, like empty canvases, raise many questions.
Where do I start? What's the best possible way to do this? How can I collaborate better with my team?
It's good to start with a little research.
To save you some time, I curate many articles about UX and UI and share them on our social channels. And each month, you'll find my favorites here.
A couple of months ago, Alan Cooper posted a thread of 31 (!) tweets starting with the following statement:
Prototyping and testing is not interaction design. 1
— Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) August 24, 2017
To some, Cooper may come off —as he says himself— like "a grumpy old man telling kids to get off my lawn." But he's indisputably one of the wises voices in the technology industry. What at first glance looks like a rampage against modern methods, is an attempt to help us understand our craft and how to practice it successfully beyond trends, egos, and the establishment.
The Endless Battle: user-centered versus designer-centered, an extension of the Twitter thread, offers us a way back to this basic principle: knowing our users and their goals is all we need to create a good design. In essence, "doing real interaction design means subordinating your clever inventiveness to the needs of your user."
No matter how familiar we are with technology, our brains still need affordances that help us easily engage with digital environments. As Sophia Voychehovski, founder of Rewired, states in her article UX for Lizard Brains, "users may feel unsure when designers flout the perceptual expectations forged in the physical world."
We can design better interfaces to the extent that we can make them understandable for our users. Following the simple indications pointed out in this enlightening read, we'll get one step closer.
"The whitespace on a page can be every bit as important as the space occupied by UI elements." Specifically, it can:
- Improve text readability,
- clarify the relationship between elements,
- attract users attention to important parts of the layout,
- and create visual hierarchy.
There's a lot of information on the web to learn the ins-and-outs of using whitespace, but these 4 Things Every Designer Should Know About Whitespace by Nick Babich, developer, tech enthusiast, and UX lover, is a great outline to help us get started (or refresh our memory.)
Unobtrusive and useful are key characteristics to look for when evaluating elements to include in our screens. Breadcrumbs meet both conditions.
For further reading on Breadcrumbs and other indispensable controls, check out our UI Design 101 guide.
"Bridging the gap between design and other disciplines is certainly not impossible." Tanner Christensen, product designer at Facebook, shares three tactics that help him build and strengthen collaboration within his team:
- Involve your partners early and often.
- Invest in learning non-design skills.
- Build more rigorous design systems.
Building Design Collaboration Into Your Workflow, is full of practical advice, applicable to any role within a product team, to improve the quality of our processes and, consequently, our outcomes.
That's a wrap!
Hopefully, you've learned something new and useful.
If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. I'd love to know how to make this list better for you.
See you next month 😉.
Jess for the Balsamiq team.