Merry UXmas!

 No, it’s not a typo.  

If you’re involved in any sort of way in the UX field and spend any time on Twitter at all, you’ve likely seen UXmas.  As a spectator of the UX world (more like a super-wanna-be-UX-designer), I find things like this to be super helpful, and of course, interesting. UXmas gives site visitors 24 days of UX-related goodies. Each day, a new present opens for you. The other day I got to watch a webinar thing (I didn’t finish it; when I discovered it it was already 2:30 AM… so maybe this weekend or over Christmas break I’ll get through it).  Today, they’re talking about “Mobile Design from the Bottom Up”.  If I didn’t have to go and make sure my Jeep’s wheels aren’t going to fall off at any given second, I would be spending the day (well, before class) reading these.  Alas, it’ll have to wait a little bit longer for me. I just hope they keep this site up a little longer after Christmas, because I really would like to cover everything they have presented here.  The site is an effort in part by Thirst Studios and UX Mastery (UX Mastery has become one of my newest favorite websites with tons of great resources for a newbie like myself).

Take a looksie, you wont be sorry! (Plus the illustrations are adorable, and the rollovers are wayyy crazy!)

 

http://uxmas.com/Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 12.13.14 PM

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ENVY

I redesigned a project from 2011 over the last few days.   The assignment was to brand an emotion, and I was assigned “Envy”.

My solution to this problem was to design a line of “potions” that would give a woman all of her deepest desires. I identified three things that women in their 20’s and early 30’s might envy of other women: esteem (or recognition or prestige), sex (attractiveness to men), and wealth (duh, money).

The end result of this project is the brand standards manual. I also included the labels/packaging for the products, a webpage/mobile site, advertisements, and stationery system.  I want to expand on this project more, perhaps even develop a Men’s line! But here it is for you to see!

ENVY Brand Standards Manual

all_three_forweb

In Pursuit

A few months ago, I conducted a usability test of the website OperationSmile.org with my 77-year-old grandfather and my 44-year-old mother.  While my mother seemed to have no trouble navigating and performing the tasks asked of her, my grandfather struggled immensely. When I looked at the site, I agreed that it wasn’t the most usable, despite not holding large quantities of content. But, it was intuitive enough for me to navigate around it, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my grandfather and wonder how difficult it must be for him to use the Internet not having “grown up with it”. (My family actually didn’t get our first home computer until 1999; I was in 6th grade).

My grandfather has been sitting on his city’s council since I was a little girl. His office is littered with papers and books, typical of any retired professional.  The city council gave every member an iPad to ‘help’ make note-taking, communication, and productivity easier. After observing my grandfather’s experience on the OperationSmile.org website, I assume that it has become a hindrance rather than an aid.

After that moment of deep empathy I felt for my grandfather, I took some time to reflect on that experience. I thought about how I perceive design and how it may, and does, differ from others’ own perceptions.  I knew then that I wanted to design to make peoples lives better.

The iPad, as a tool, is an enrichment to daily lives of people and in the business world. There’s no reason people should be scared of it; my grandfather never uses it. It just sits there, looking at me, telling me to pick it up and play with… I look back at it, secretly wanting to take it home with me… (someday I’ll be able to justify spending money on anything but gas and diapers…) I imagine that these devices and website interfaces look horribly foreign to some users, like they just walked into Chinatown from rural Wisconsin.

How do we consider designing user interfaces for the elderly? I imagine & hope that my grandfather will be on his city council for more years to come, as well as still playing his solitaire, and maybe even opening up to the idea of using his iPad and computer for other ways of entertainment and learning. I just can’t help but feel a sense of guilt for older generations; like we younger folks have a “leg up” on them and they’re just falling behind.  I know that’s not true– they have the wisdom of life that one can only require through years, not an iPad or a high-tech GPS system.  As a tribute to our mothers, fathers, grandfathers, and grandmothers, web designers should probably hook up with a UX designer and design something to make their lives a little better. That’s my pursuit: life made better by design. That’s what I breathe.

So You Wanna be a UX Designer?

Yes.

 

Thank you, Whitney Hess.  You are my newest hero.  I will be following you.

Everywhere.

You.

Go.

Just kidding.

But I will be reading your blog… a lot. http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2009/06/30/so-you-wanna-be-a-user-experience-designer-step-1-resources/

Why didn’t I think of that?!

A new take on the baby book: Baby’s First Year Infographic. Fill in the Blank. I might just go at it and design my own. After I graduate. For sure. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671126/a-fill-in-the-blanks-infographic-for-tracking-your-babys-first-year?utm_source=twitter#1

Stefan Sagmeister & Team rock it out again…

http://www.rockpaperink.com/content/column.php?id=438#.UJpnCb94gQ8.facebook

Who says posters need to be made of paper?  Stefan Sagmeister defies convention once again.

Digitaria

I want to work here.  I want to work here. I want to work here.

 

http://www.digitaria.com/

typeform… coming soon to a device near you.

This is rather exciting… I love when there are tools out there that make it easier to develop an excellent user-interface rapidly, especially when they are smartly designed by smart designers.  Watch the videos, I especially like the “how to create typeforms” video… makes your heart pump like crazy.

 

http://www.typeform.com/

Atomic Playpen

November 16th, I am likely going down to the Cities for a little event at space150 sponsored by the MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) for students to learn about design agencies. They will give some insight and understanding on who is responsible for what and what all of those obscure titles mean. Like, what does the Account Manager do? Manage accounts? Okay?

 

There is a panel of folks from local design agencies that will be speaking. One of the panelists, Jenny Perona, from Atomic Playpen will be there, as well as reps from Little and Co, Colle + McVoy, and space150.  Not sure if I am going to be able to afford the gas, but it’s free for students and I could use a little “me” time.

Anyway, this even led me to do some research. I was already familiar with Little&Co and Colle +McVoy (which is WHY this event is super important that I go to– I love the work from both of these firms). So I explored Atomic Playpen and they pretty much rule.  They did the website for the National Pork Board.  C’mon, guys. That’s awesome.

Here’s a link to Atomic Playpen:  http://www.atomicplaypen.com/Index.aspx

Here’s a link to the special student event, “Who’s Who in the Agency World?” sponsored by MIMA: http://www.mima.org/events/event/special-student-event-whos-who-agency-world

Okay, bye!

apps in the customer service scene.

I was skeptical about joining Twitter when my professor made it an assignment to sign up with it. Now,  I can’t figure out why I didn’t ages ago.  Forget facebook, man.  That’s all just drama and life-haters. Oh, and cute babies and puppies.

 

Anyway, someone tweeted this link and I curiously clicked on it.

 

http://mashable.com/2012/11/07/coaster-app/

Right now I am working on a project for my Senior Studio II course where I am designing and developing a a new movie theatre concept. A whole new experience. One without wild children, snarky teenagers, loud, ringing phones, sticky floors, headlice, and gross bathrooms.

This new movie-going experience will invite the guest to bring in their technological devices, such as smartphone or tablet, to help bring a night of luxury into their lives. Similar to the app described in the article above, the movie theatre will have its own app available for download that will allow the user to order up drinks and snacks before, during, and after the show. Guests can make reservations ahead of time or show up at last minute. They will be given a code, which will be available on their phones and printed on a ticket stub for ephemeral purposes, to remind them of their one-of-a-kind movie theatre experience. They can “time” their order: say, they want their beer delivered 25 minutes into the show. Or, they want a bottle of wine and chocolate waiting upon their arrival so the dude can impress his hot date.

What about distracting screen lights from neighboring guests? Don’t worry about it.  The seats are spaced far enough away from everyone else that you wont even notice. And we’re not talking typical stiff theatre seats. Uh uh. The theatre boasts private sky boxes, seperated “nooks” with couches and coffee tables that are divided with a half-wall and curtains, then a sunken pit with a lounge area to seat up to 8 people comfortably, and rows of recliners and love seats with built-in massagers.
Well, what about servers getting in the way of the screen that is so devilishly displaying Rene Zellweger’s boobies? Not to worry, lad.  The floor is like Disney Land, in a sense.  Servers bring your whiskey-ginger zinger and gourmet bacon popcorn underneath you, and then it pops up through the floor and you can then guzzle it down. You didn’t even have to get up. And no one missed Rene’s ta-tas.

Don’t like sitting through the movies? Or are you in need of a biology break every 20 minutes? That shouldn’t be an issue, for there are screens displaying the feature film above the urinals and in the stalls so you don’t miss a second of the gory slaying of zombies or the heartfelt display of affection between a man from seventy years ago and a modern day lady. After you take care of your business, you can mosey down to the whiskey and cigar lounge, get a complimentary Cuban cigar and chat up your neighbor.  Now you should probably go back to your date otherwise you will probably lose out on some action later.

You get back and see that your date’s drink is empty.  You so chivalrously take out your iPhone and order another glass of reisling. She is grateful and no longer parched.  You’re a genius.
After the flick is over, you and your date get up without worrying about delivering your trash and dishes to a garbage receptacle– the concierge service will take care of it for you. You and your date decide to go to the theatre’s bar and have some appetizers and conversation.  Your date runs into her old college roommate and her manfriend, so you join together. The decision has been made to split a pitcher of beer and an appetizer. You order via your smart phone, notify the service of your current location before placing the order, and then the other guy offers to split the cost with you. Before you hit “confirm order”, you go back and choose “split order” from your basket. You scan your new buddy’s ticket stub so 1/2 the cost of the beer and app is directly sent to his basket. Your beer arrives two minutes later and by the end of the night you’re pink in the face.
When the time comes to go home, you can pay for our entire order (reservation tickets, drinks, food, etc)  directly on your mobile device, and include the tip right there as well. If you forget to pay by the time you get home, your order will be charged to the credit card you made your reservation with and an 18% gratuity will be automatically entered. Hey, at least you don’t have to run around to the all the bars you were at the night before trying to re-locate your credit card.

 

Sounds good, huh.   Hellllll yeah.