09/29/2017 - No Comments!

Web App Design 101 — Layout Essentials

I’ve been completely focused on designing complex web applications and dashboards for years now and I’m realizing there isn’t much education in this niche. I’m hoping to share some of the essential web application design tips, tricks and design theories with this new series–Web App Design 101.

Hit the comments if there’s anything specifically you’d like me to write about.

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06/02/2017 - No Comments!

Sketch Power User – New Course on Designers.How

Becoming a power user in Sketch is all about knowing the tiny ins and outs of the interface. Recently, I collaborated with the great team over at Designers.How to craft a 5 lesson course all about this subject. In this course, you'll become a better designer through deep knowledge of your tool, shaving seconds and reducing strain from repeated actions. I've gathered up a huge volume of those little tidbits and secrets and bundled them into this jam-packed course!

The first episode is FREE, you'll need to become a member of their incredible community to get into the rest.

Check it out

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03/23/2017 - No Comments!

A Brief Information Architecture Primer

A Brief Information Architecture Primer

Recently, I co-delivered a webinar detailing the basics of information architecture, specific to the design of human machine interfaces (HMIs). We discussed the basics of Information Architecture (IA) and the benefits made possible when you add or invest in an information architecture stage for your product/project. The primary benefits being 1) Meaningful content organization and 2) Intuitive layout organization. I’ll be writing in detail about each of these subjects shortly, but for now let’s focus on IA itself.

This is a quick primer on the subject and the concepts involved – I’ve worked to distill down a ton of information into simple, actionable concepts for you. If you’re interested in more depth–grab a book–but for now, lets get started!

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03/22/2017 - No Comments!

Design for Style Guides

How to craft and document modern component libraries

A primary point of contention in the product design to development workflow comes at the point of hand-off. As a project deadline looms, designers are typically scrambling to write specifications and export the necessary graphics to ensure the intended pixel designs are fully realized in the browser. This stage of a project is fairly fragmented industry-wide with each team doing their own thing with their own tooling. It’s a difficult stage that is regularly underestimated in terms of the time needed for proper completion.

In my experience as a product designer, front-end style guides are the missing deliverable at this stage of a product’s development. When supporting teams of developers, a style guide as design documentation is invaluable in contributing to a project’s long-term success.

When supporting teams of developers, a style guide as design documentation is invaluable in contributing to a project’s long-term success.

That said, I’d like to outline my approach to designing component-based systems with style guides in mind. Each project and the folks involved are unique, so be sure to bend and mold this process to your own situation. Design documentation doesn’t need to be perfect or even beautiful. It’s sole purpose functional, to ease the transition from designers to developers.

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03/22/2017 - No Comments!

Using Social Proof in User OnBoarding

Boosting conversion rates while improving the user’s experience.

During a recent project’s research phase, I spent some time exploring the use of social proof as it relates to product design. After studying the subject and using it as a tool to effectively boost conversion rates in this recent project, I’d love to share what I learned through this article. When used correctly, I’ve seen first-hand how social proof can be leveraged as a powerful tool in the hands of a product designer.

So, what is social proof?

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01/02/2017 - No Comments!

Reading, 2016

I made a personal goal in 2016 to read two books per month. The subjects which I explored covered the full literary gamut from design and fiction through to non-fiction and self-help style books. I've designed simplified book titles here, click a cover to view it in more detail.

In 2017, I've set a goal to read 30 books and write a short summary of each.

Here's what I read in 2016

10/12/2016 - No Comments!

Practical SVG, Notes

I'll occasionally publish my personal notes from reading a new book, attending an industry conference or something similar on this  blog. I personally refer back to my own posts frequently, revisiting technical skills or refreshing myself on the highlights for a new project.

This is one of those posts. I just completed reading Practical SVG by Chris Coyier from the A Book Apart series. As usual, it was a fantastic read and brought me up to speed on the current state of SVGs for the web! My notes follow.

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10/10/2016 - No Comments!

Boosting User Experience Awareness Company-Wide

You’re convinced, some folks within your team are convinced but there’s still a few hold-outs to incorporating user feedback sessions into your product’s development cycle. Over my years as a designer on various software teams, here are some methods I’ve found to be successful in gaining larger buy-in for the UX processes within an agile environment.

In a nutshell I recommend that you clarify any misconceptions of UX testing, iterate in public and then stay consistent with your processes.

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03/31/2016 - No Comments!

Leveraging Benchmark Usability Tests, part 1/3

Internal User Experience Training

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In last week’s edition of my Product Design Newsletter, I wrote in detail about conducting regular benchmark usability tests. The described process worked quite well within my agile software development team to ensure the ongoing high quality of our software. If you haven’t read that article just yet, go here and read about the process behind monthly benchmark user testing.

As the data from months of these benchmark tests accumulated, my team realized there were some additional positive, though unintended, consequences of the new testing schedule. Once these were realized, we were able to leverage these and attain even more results from the regular testing schedule. These results included:

- 01 — Internal User Experience Training
- 02 — User Testing Awareness
- 03 — Increased Team Empathy
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03/24/2016 - No Comments!

Benchmark Usability Testing

Benchmark Usability Testing A baseline strategy for core user flows Paul, an early supporter of my product design mailing list recently reached out to ask me about the specifics of my process & strategy surrounding new features. Simply put, how did I get new feature ideas ranked, validated and built? 

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A fantastic question and one that led to some introspection about my validation process from past projects. What worked and didn’t work? What could I recommend to a fellow product designer to save him time? In short, the answer is to talk with your product’s target users. Then talk with them some more.

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