Apparently, large images are the way to go. Ryan Battles outlines the how the use of images can affect customer decisions – to buy or not to buy? Bigger images usually meant greater conversions. Saloman, a snowboarding company, increased sales by 40% with these two designs. The above image is the BEFORE – it’s not bad. The above image is the AFTER – emphasis on large graphics.
One of the hardest things to do is to get users to subscribe or join. That’s where most of the site bounces come from. I personally hate filling out long forms. But even when it’s just email and password, we all get a little squirmish – “ugh, they’re gonna send me spam. what’s the point in giving them the email address?”
The Smart Passive Income Blog does a good job with getting users to subscribe. Not only do they simply ask for name and email, they give a friendly, casual blurb of what’s in it for the user. All of sudden, I don’t think they want something from me (my information) but they are giving ME something. This makes a huge difference, and apparently surged sign-up’s by 25%.
My recent project involved designing a dashboard/control panel. What I played around the most with was the colors. I changed the header image to a variety of colors.
In his “7 Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI”, Erik Kennedy’s second rule is to start designing in grayscale, so one can focus on the layout and organization of the elements. It makes sense to me. He also demonstrates how when you design in grayscale, you can just add one color and everything looks visually appealing. Here are two of his examples:
I’m considering changing my portfolio to incorporate this concept. It looks really modern, but also photo-centered, which I’m unsure is appropriate for a UX Design portfolio.
Ian Storm Taylor goes on top say “Never Use Black”. It’s unnatural in the real-world – shadows aren’t black themselves. He pushes for saturation and the use of dark greys, playing around with brightness and hues. I remember considering using black in one of my designs and ditched it for dark grey. It looks much better.
Finally, this resource would be definitely helpful for myself. I have to play a lot around with what color goes well with another. I remember showing a prototype to some friends who instantly comment, “that blue and green don’t go well together” – and they don’t, I never thought they did either. Dribble allows you to see what other designers have usedfor color combinations. I looked up the blue color which I tend to gravitate towards, and just realized how good it looks paired with orange. I never thought of that – I tried green and yellow before, but I’ll definitely want to try orange in the future.
Communication and a quick feedback loop will save a significant amount of time, money, and work at the expense of just talking to team members a little more. I can relate this to one experience I had with a startup, who I feel did not communicate anywhere near what I would have wanted, and needed. A big problem was that I didn’t know their design goals clear enough.
I would submit deliverables (sometimes when they didn’t even request it…I just wanted to make their website so much better than it was!) and get replies days after or none at all. When they would reply, I would have wanted a ton more feedback, particularly on every design decision and why it wasn’t implemented. I couldn’t tell whether it was a limitation, a preference, a disagreement on ideas, or what. For instance, I may have raised a flag about a form error and I presented a potential fix (I’m always one to not bring up problems I see without also giving at least a shot at a solution). I got no feedback on it, so I submitted it again (along with other deliverables). Still nothing. I have no idea what they feel about the flag I raised, and it certainly is a reasonable issue. So I was at a loss at that point.
Lesson: to do the best work, designers need to know the team’s goals like the back of their hand. They need to get feedback on every design decision, especially when it is not taken. It can be frustrating to a UX designer when their recommendation, based on cognitive psychology research and standard UX principles, is not taken – it doesn’t make sense to them. The solution is overcommunication. Spend some more time with your team members and save a ton of wasted efforts. It’s well worth it, especially in a lean start-up.
Erick Eriksson, Product Designer at Spotify, talks about the general space of Product Design – what it is and what it isn’t.
In his post, Product Design is not just about visuals or attractiveness, although these are important. Product Design is about finding solutions, the process in obtaining said solution, and determining what problems have enough value in solving. It’s all about brand identity and communicating the product’s message and functionality beyond its appealing form. The process is rather comprehensive, and specialties have arisen to target specific tasks within Product Design, such as User Researcher, Prototyper, Data/Business Analysts, Graphic and UX Designers. It’s all about the final product and the value it serves. This means a combination of several disciplines. But this type of breakdown only really exists in large companies. Anyone playing this role in a smaller environment will quickly find themselves in a hybrid role.
The lesson here is that technical managers should never ask their team members to simply “make it pretty”. Defining the product and the visual design go hand in hand.
Does self-centeredness hinder effective UX design? It seems like it would.
We may describe a self-centered person as arrogant, intolerant of differing opinions, overconfident, and lack empathy. In addition, they can’t see different viewpoints. They are usually fixated on their own viewpoint and may harshly criticize others who don’t buy into their views. The Huffington Post even wrote an article “How to Deal with Self-Centered People” to shed advice on those particular individuals prevalent in our workplace and schools.
Egotism’s counterpart is empathy, often touted as an essential in UX Design in reference to utilizing personas. A persona is a (largely) fictional snapshot of a typical user. Personas enable designers to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters. It ensures designers keep in mind that they are designing for a specific somebody, rather than just generic people. If designers lose this sense of empathy, they may end up designing for nobody. Smashing Magazine wrote a compelling article on the possible effectiveness and reasoning behind personas.
Sure, personas can be sketched out, but do all designers know how to utilize the full potential of personas? Maybe self-centered people have difficulty relating even to the fictitious personas in front of them, especially if it goes anywhere near the line of empathizing with a possibly less adept or a less tech-savvy thinker. In an industry where brains is commended, prevalent, and sought, there ought to be those who are more on the egotistical side. Those would be the ones saying, “only an idiot would think that way” or asking, “how could someone be so foolish?”. How effective can a self-centered person be at user-centered design?