UX Design


  • “You always wear such nice suits.” — General Ross to Tony Stark (“The Incredible Hulk”, 2008) People often talk about thinking “outside the box” but one of the things I find most exciting in modern technology is being able to design “off the glass” — meaning a piece of technology that isn’t bound…

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  • With the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rise in touchscreen interfaces on devices, virtual control panels are popping up everywhere, from in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems to medical devices. The interactive experiences they offer can be attractive and advantageous over their legacy physical…

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  • "Move Fast and Break Things," once Facebook's infamous mantra, referred to the company's emphasis on speed over perfection. The company was satisfied if new features on the platform were not perfect when rolled out, as long as they were created quickly. But that was 2014. Since then, the company…

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  • If you’re designing a natural user interface (NUI) you want to facilitate effortless interactions. It may seem obvious, but it bears stating: touch target size affects usability. Small targets are more difficult to hit because they require greater accuracy — hence effort — on the part of a user. So…

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  • “I will be there at home and then go to the gym and then I will send you the link to the video of the guy who was the guy.” This masterpiece was written by a robot — specifically, through the “top suggestions” in my SMS app. (I sent it to a friend without context. They are still rather confused).…

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  • In the near future the majority of user experiences will be NUIs. I was at a user experience presentation about augmented reality. At the end of an interesting talk, as audience members were gathering belongings and checking phones, the person sitting beside me turns and says, “I don’t know. I…

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  • Short answer: usually. But it’s worth it. Here’s why. A friend of mine, who works in a field completely unrelated to new technology, recently asked me whether the advent of simple digital products and voice interaction would make the profession of user experience (UX) design obsolete. Clearly, he…

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  • At a previous job, my boss brought her four-year-old son to the office. He immediately thought I was the coolest person in the world. It could be my keen fashion sense or the fact that I was the only male in the office (#feminism). But it was probably because he is four and clearly hasn’t met…

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  • We’ve become accustomed to minimalist design in app and web design. But with the Internet of Things (IoT), the trend in user experience (UX) design is toward even more extreme minimalism, at least on consumer side. Consider a few of the most well-known IoT products out there – FitBit, Nest…

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  • Yes. Ok, perhaps I should elaborate. If you were to pick any user experience (UX) blog right now and run a search, you’ll see one word repeated ad nauseum: empathy. This makes complete sense, as empathy really does get at the heart of what a UX designer does. (Although “empathy” in this sense…

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  • You’re a product manager. Your company is counting on you to get a new product to market quickly. Not just any product — a product your customers will love. So how do you rapidly develop something that works while ensuring it's something people will like to use? Integrating user…

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  • We’re back from another successful Qt World Summit in Berlin, which boasted the largest crowd (1000+) to date. The popularity of the conference is a strong indicator that the Qt community continues to grow as does the number of commercially available products built with Qt. Our booth alone…

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  • Thinking of building a new product, say a connected device or application? When a project is in the planning stage, one of the budgetary decisions revolves around the amount of time to allocate to design — specifically UX design — versus the time spent on software development.  Developers…

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  • User experience (UX) designers and developers are different types of thinkers and approach the same problems from different vantage points. That can be a good thing if designers and developers can find synergy as they solve problems for users. Fortunately, over the past few decades both groups…

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  • For connected IoT devices — including smart home and medical devices — to be truly transformative they need to deliver a well-designed and intuitive user experience. Running. It’s my thing. My favorite form of exercise. A way to clear my head. Usually, running loves me as much as I love it. But…

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  • People are impatient and distracted. You’re probably scrolling through your Instagram while reading this blog. Or replying to your boss’ email. Or ordering sushi. Point is, you’re busy and don’t have time to waste navigating hard-to-use sites, apps or touchscreens. Neither do the users you design…

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  • Participants in ICS’ recent webinar UX Design for Software Engineers posed a slew of interesting questions. I'm tackling a few here. Look for an upcoming blog with answers to even more of your UX-themed questions. You recommended designing for 80% of users but isn't that a lowest-common-…

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  • Remember when the Wii and the Nintendo DS first came out? They created the biggest buzz in the gaming world because of their revolutionary user experience (UX). The Wii featured innovative motion-sensing, gesture-recognition technology, while the DS featured a novel folding dual screen and…

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  • This year’s Qt World Summit has come and gone, and a good time was had by all. I had the opportunity to give a well-attended talk on user experience (UX) design tips for software developers. It was great to see that so many developers are interested in how users view software, and aren’t focused…

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  • Over the summer I visited some breathtaking castles in Northern Europe. Many were originally constructed as small fortresses and over the centuries have been rebuilt multiple times to reflect new generations of culture and technology. Unfortunately, all this change made it challenging to get even…

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  • Phrases like make it pop, wow factor, have fun with it, and jazz it up sound like nails on a chalkboard to a designer. They are meaningless buzzwords, no different than “synergy,” “diversify” or “innovation” — words that get thrown around so often in business. “Designers are missionaries for art…

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  • I’ve observed that people using large touchscreens experience varying degrees of fatigue and discomfort from the physical effort of swiping, tapping and zooming. The placement of the interface elements is one contributor to the discomfort. Repeatedly executing a gesture that is at odds with the…

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  • While I missed the recent 2015 Qt World Summit, I have been to and presented at Qt Dev Days for the previous three years running.  Each year, I presented two topics.  The first was related to a recent project or piece of software that we had been working on, including such fun items as an…

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  • If you’ve been anywhere near a media source in the last few days, you’ve probably heard about the epic gaff (http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/21/media/miss-universe-2015-donald-trump/ ) made by poor Steve Harvey at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.  It's hard to imagine a worse mistake at a beauty…

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  • Here in the U.S., the month of November makes us look at ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday, which for many is a time for being with friends and family, giving thanks for the good things in our lives, and eating copious amounts of turkey.  Professionally speaking, I’m thankful for the…

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  • Although design is a subject of much interest in this age of highly usable technology products, misconceptions about the user experience (UX) design process abound. A fundamental fallacy is that the design process is one-dimensional, involving essentially one kind of thought process. The ‘…

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  • At some point in any extended-length development project -- whether it’s a multi-year project or a multi-month project -- you’re going to need what I’m calling a Surge. What’s going to prompt a Surge? Here are some examples: The market shifts and the target customer changes: for example, the…

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  • When designers create user experiences, red is the color most often chosen in interface design to draw attention and signify an alert or warning. A message in red text might say, “Email is a required field” or “Invalid username or password." Sometimes red is just used to draw attention. The…

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  • Have you ever walked into a bank and wondered "what might be the best way rob this place?" Do you walk up inconspicuously to the teller and hand them a note that says, “If you don’t give me all the money in the drawer, I’m going to blow up my underwear and take all of you with me?” On the other…

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  • Let’s talk about a hypothetical scenario.  As part of a product launch team and as part of product management, you’ve just been appointed the dreaded process documentation assignment. To make things even more interesting, you have to both document the current process and identify…

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  • Does it seem like blue is the most common color utilized in interfaces? Besides black and white and the multiple shades of gray in between them, it only takes a quick analysis to see that blue is the color most used for links, backgrounds, window borders, icons, etc. This includes variations of…

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  • Visual design has the potential to make or break a user experience. The reason most people believe graphic designers exist is to make an interface look pretty. While this is an important part of the process, most people don’t realize that visual cues are designed with the end user in mind. When…

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  • To understand how to create visceral appeal in a user experience (UX) it helps to compare and contrast other forms of media that preceded the digital medium.  For example, in graphic design, color, composition and font choice can trigger our emotions. Industrial design is dependent on the…

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