Monthly Archives: December 2012

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!) Shot 2012-12-06 at 12.13.14 PM



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


In Pursuit

A few months ago, I conducted a usability test of the website 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 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.