Getting Users to Subscribe – give me your email!

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%.

Good form


New HERSHEY Logo – Public Reactions

So after many years, Hershey’s has finally updated their logo:


I think the font is a good choice against the white background. The color is good too. “The Hershey Company” is a weird tagline – I don’t understand why it will be there and makes the overall logo look wordier than it needs to be. The 2D image is a perfect capture of what we all associate with Hershey’s – the chocolate kiss. I thought it looked fine and modern, until I saw a lot of people saying it looks basically like a steaming pile of turd. And whether that is more apparent to some than others, it’s still bad enough. My guess is that Hershey’s will grab notice of this and decide to make the kiss image silver in color, like the wrapper.


Mobile Settings menus – comparing UX

I’ve recently had to create various Settings menus and stumbled upon this article that compared the Settings menus of different OS.

The article comments on the:

• screen space used by persistent menus (largest is by Windows, for no reason)

• the length of the menu (as you can see Windows clearly loses)

• the ordering of the settings (Windows has no order, and therefore loses again)

Here are the conclusions drawn from the article

Windows Phone does not have many sub-levels as in iOS or Android. However, something crucial is to engage the user from start, and help him quickly find what he’s looking for. Right now, Windows Phone is well behind the goal, relying too much in users’ ability to adapt to a complex, unordered system.

iOS and Android are the big, leading OS. Each one constantly outdoing the other. In the current state of UX, iOS is the most easy-to-use, where Android empowers users the most. Some believe Android is on track to have the best UI (Lollipop), and to become the new leading experience in mobile.

At the end of the day, the mobile experience as a whole is a project Apple, Google and Microsoft are building together, and its crucial they have different approaches to it.

Image showing the length of settings screens.

Image showing the categories of settings.

What Color should I make that Box/Popup/Widget/Icon…?

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.

Product Design: OVER-communication is key!

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

Egotism vs. Empathy in User-Centered Design

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?