Ain’t nothing wrong with making your ugly site suck a little less

Giff Constable design

Via Josh Porter, I just read Aral Balkan’s rant about a recent article that made the rounds on hacker news called “How to Make Your Site Look Half-Decent in Half an Hour“. The thrust of Aral’s rant is “design is not veneer”. And yeah, I get it. My colleagues and readers here have heard me make that same grumble. Some …

You can’t judge a designer by glossy buttons

Giff Constable design

A common meme in tech circles has been the death of the resume. It goes: judge developers by their Github account, and designers by a Dribbble portfolio. The latter begs the question, what does design mean to people? To me, product designers solve problems. They solve problems concerning motivation, usability, desirability and alignment with business goals. I love a beautiful …

Don’t be that guy

Giff Constable design

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 literally about to happen. We …

Increase Collaboration Through Sketching

Giff Constable design, UI/UX

“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 of the first things you …

Strategic UX vs Tactical UX

Giff Constable design, lean, startups, UI/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 see the online UX community …

Free Your Mind

Giff Constable design, startups, UI/UX

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 right; it’s not a successfully …

Lean Wireframing

Giff Constable design, UI/UX

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 the least amount of work …

Problem > UX > UI

Giff Constable design, startups, UI/UX

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 solving the right problem Example …

Getting in the Way in a Good Way

Giff Constable Aprizi, design, UI/UX

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 a personalized discovery engine for …

When UI Innovation Isn’t Progress

Giff Constable design, UI/UX

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 in my career – once …