Optimizing Images in the User Experience

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.
salomon1

salomon2

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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?”

emailupdates

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:

hershey

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.

hershey_company_logo_detail

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.

Considering a Career in Product Design

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.