Another great blog post from my friend Keith, who’s been doing web design for about as long as there’s been web design. Here he offers some coaching to get everyone out of the office and talking to their users, which is exactly the same advice given to everyone at a recent software product development conference I was at last week. It seems intimidating or logistically challenging, but when you read what Keith has to say, you’ll realize it doesn’t have to be hard at all.
I’ve been asked a lot lately for resources for software design/interaction design, design for lean/agile startups, or just plain user experience design, especially as a starting point for non-designers or those looking to get into UX design. Here’s a list that includes everything I could think of to recommend off the top of my head, plus a whole lot more.
A recent epiphany of mine: There are tons of resources for designers from the agency/freelance point of view, but it’s harder to find resources for people doing software design in an agile development team*. This here is a one-stop shop for the latter. Check every single one of these links out. Thank you Janice and LUXr!
* Why? I think when you’re an agency or a freelance designer, talking about your work, speaking at conferences, and promoting yourself through blogs and social networks directly affects your bottom line — these things serve to win you clients and a higher pay rate. In fact, it’s probably impossible to compete in the market these days without doing these things. So it’s baked in.
When you’re on the payroll as a full-time employee of a software development company, on the other hand, it can seem like the opposite is true. It can feel like you’re in the trenches, and you’re doing everything you can just to keep up with the team. Who has time to blog or put together a presentation? I’ve been heads down doing this work for years, and haven’t taken the time to come up for air and see what the landscape is around me.
But there are plenty of other people doing this same job, and it can only help us to publish our findings, techniques, and thoughts and make sure our side is represented. It also helps your credibility, internally with your team, as well as for your company if you are a good representative for the design community. That’s my epiphany :) I will start trying to publish my own stuff as soon as I can get some thoughts together… For now, I’ll try and do a better job of linking to more of these kinds of articles and sites.
Last week I went to a Marty Cagan workshop about Building Products Customers Love. From there, I dug into the archives of Cagan’s blog and found some great gems for software product designers. This one is excellent for designers looking to define their role in a software engineering team, right down to what the heck to call yourself.
For the record, as someone who does both interaction design and visual design (and some product management and user research, thrown in), I used to call myself Product Designer, as Cagan recommends for peeps like me, but then I met an Industrial Designer who felt that term was confusing, as that’s what they are generally called (makes sense.) So maybe Software Product Designer would make sense? For now, I’m sticking with UX Designer as a representation of my passion for the holistic design of a software product.
It’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly…
Link: Future Friendly →
"The words “coincidentally” could easily go in front of a half-dozen of the sentences above. Things just sort of always worked out, even when they didn’t look like they were going to. I have put faith in people, and relationships - perhaps a foolish amount of faith, to be honest - to put me in the right place at the right time. "
Need to jazz up your portfolio? Want to show off your creativity and skills beyond what you’ve been doing to pay the bills? How to do a creative side project, just for the hell of it. This is epic.
Recently I lamented that I was getting sorta sick of the word “startup.” This article, in a way, describes why I feel this way. There is a lot of noise and hype that surrounds the “startup scene” that this article describes as the “years of summer.” But when winter comes, the hub-bub will fade and all that will be left is the hard work of “real entrepreneurship.”
I’m not interested in the noise and hype. I want to build a real company and a good product. Let’s get to work.
Excellent study from Laura Brunow Miner on the way editorial decisions and design decisions blend to create a successful online publication. A must-read for anyone who designs or writes content for the web.
Link: D. Keith Robinson →
I think design by committee is a sign of lack of trust. If a designer has the experience and the presence of mind to gather all the information from the people closest to the problem, they can then put their skills to work to solve that problem.
I ask for input a lot to make sure I’m understanding the problem, but if the design doesn’t work, that reflects on me, the designer. The committee should respect and trust their designers to make it work.
Some good advice from Keith here, both for designers and their teams.
Link: The Colour Clock →
This is amazing.
Email list unsusbscribe: A comparison
“Your request has been received, and is being reviewed by our support staff…”
Dear customer support software everywhere,
Can we please lose the autoreply? It does not reflect kindly on your brand.
It does not make me feel like I’m being heard, quite the opposite. And even if you anticipate a long delay before I get a response, don’t say so.
Maybe develop software with a bit of intelligence to wait a few hours, check if I’ve gotten a response, *then* send out a “we’re working on it” note with a little less “robot” behind it.