Category design

Don’t be that guy

We needed a design for a t-shirt, and we needed it fast. It’s early 1995 at Trilogy, a 90-person enterprise software company. I’m in product marketing for Conquer (a new initiative which got renamed the slightly less hubristic “pcOrder.com”). We had just made a snap decision to buy a booth at a conference that was… Continue reading

Increase Collaboration Through Sketching

“treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone…” – Paul Cezanne, 1904 Effective Agile UX turns product design into a collaborative, cross-functional process. A great way to do this is to pull non-designers into a fast-paced, fun sketching workshop (I’ll post more notes from the Agile UX conference on this soon). One… Continue reading

Strategic UX vs Tactical UX

There are strategic UX leaders, and then there are tactical UX implementers. To be a strategic leader, one needs to broaden thinking beyond design and usability, and start thinking holistically about critical business goals and risks. As the broader UX profession moves from being artifact-based to results-based, this is going to be critical. However, I… Continue reading

Free Your Mind

A core concept in “lean startup” is that validated learning needs to be your initial measure of progress, not deliverables of other kinds. However, I suspect that many people struggle to internalize this and fully put it to work. Learning doesn’t feel like traditional measures of success. It’s not a line up and to the… Continue reading

Lean Wireframing

Will Evans, who does UX design at The Ladders with agile-UX champion Jeff Gothelf, recently wrote a tweet that caught my eye: The hi-fidelity vs. lo-fidelity wireframe debate is silly. You use the weapons you need based on the war you face. (link) A wireframe is meant to communicate and test. You want to do… Continue reading

Problem > UX > UI

Jason Cohen’s recent post got me thinking about the difference between UX and UI and the order in which I think about design when coming up with something new. Here is my rough order (and tomorrow I will post a concrete example): 1. The Problem Understand the customer’s problem and ask yourself if you are… Continue reading

Getting in the Way in a Good Way

As a general rule, I believe that you want to get users to the “goods” quickly and easily, reducing friction wherever possible.  However, sometimes this can go too far, and sacrifice the needs of the business.  I thought I would share an example from Aprizi where we did exactly that. First, for context: Aprizi was… Continue reading

When UI Innovation Isn’t Progress

As a visual person, I have always fantasized about being part, even a small part, of the creation of a major UI innovation on par with what Apple/PARC did for the modern desktop. I have learned some lessons the hard way about how skeptical one must be with UI “innovations”. I fell for 3D twice… Continue reading

Waiting for Perfection

My former colleague Jerry Paffendorf, who is off re-inventing Detroit, shared a great clip of Pixar’s Ed Catmull talking at Stanford, via Protoshare’s blog. At around the 6 min mark, Catmull is discussing Pixar’s constant “peer sharing” process: “In the process of making the film, we reviewed the material every day. Now this is counter-intuitive… Continue reading