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Mac vs. Windows: Should You Really Be Using a Mac for Design?

There's this thing about the design community, especially visual designers. They generally prefer to use a Mac for design work. I get it. The first time I saw my company's website on a Mac using Netscape, "Wow!"  I've always been a Windows girl, even for design work. I live in the Seattle area. What do you expect? But seriously, there's more to it than that. My first experience with Mac versus Windows was when I was working as an office administrator in a small business with an open office and no conference room environment. My boss, the owner of the business, met multiple times with a designer to create the logo for the company and I always overheard the meeting conversations. My boss kept telling the designer that when he sent over his mocks and she looked at them on her (Windows) computer, the colors were different than when the designer showed her his work (on his Mac). The designer was forced multiple times to look at her computer screen at the color bein
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Stop Using Sketch for UI Design & Learn Basic HTML, CSS and JQuery

Lately I've been loaned out to another group at my company, but not just to another group. I'm having to work with a third-party consultancy helping with a consumer facing application. They had already been working on the project for over a year when I came on board. Because the consultancy's design group was lead by visual designers and they didn't ask our EUX group about our process and tools, I've been forced into using Sketch and all of its accouterments. Sketch is THE most miserable software I have ever used for enterprise UI design, followed by Abstract the version control I was forced into. I happen to be heavy-fingered on the mouse. Because of it, layers unknowingly move around on me constantly. Even when I'm aware, it can happen and I'm trying hard not let it happen. I screwed things up in a master library file royally. But I wasn't alone. 3 of the other 4 designers have done the same. Sketch is probably quite fine for small consumer produc

Doing User Research When You Have No Access to Your Users

For the 12+ years that I have worked at my company I have had extremely limited access to users. I’ve only made 3 branch visits over that time and what little access I have had, has been reserved for usability testing the applications I was working on. And, when branch visits are set up UX is usually the last person considered as a candidate to go. But when you are starting a project you need to know who you are designing for. What do you do? Covert user research! Believe it or not there are a lot of ways for you to find out about people without talking to them directly. Find User Representatives User representatives are people who are not the user, but may have been the user at some point in their career. Sometimes your business representatives can be user representatives if they did the job. I would give a word of caution here. While your business representative may have worked “in operations”, they are also heavily invested in the business goals of the company. So, you rea

37 Questions to Ask When You're Interviewing for a UX Design Position

Interviews are supposed to be conversations. As the interviewee, you’re supposed to be able to decide whether you want the job equally as much as the company decides whether to hire you. The problem is, in my experience on the interviewer side of the table, people don’t really ask good questions about what they’re coming into. You should know enough about your own discipline to ask good questions about the work you would be doing and the environment in which you would be working. This way you can decide on your end, if you would be happy at a new company. The following questions are grouped based on areas of issues within the enterprise environment. Many of them could be used for interviewing in a customer UX situation, too. The State of UX at the Company Knowing where the company is at in their journey towards user-centered design will tell you how well you will be supported in your job role and whether or how much you will have to fight to do the entire spectrum your job, i

Stop Using the Word Delight in Enterprise UX

Last week I participated in on UXPin’s Enterprise Summit (2017) . On the last day there was a panel discussion by UX gurus on the state of enterprise UX with Jeff Veen of True Ventures, Lou Rosenfeld, and Marcin Treder of UXPin and Sunita Redd of UXPin. Over and over and over I kept hearing them use the word delight. So here’s what I want to say: Dear Enterprise UX Gurus: STOP! Please stop using the word “delight” in the context of enterprise UX. Just stop. I’m not the only one who wants this . Delight is creating an emotional bond with a user through pleasurable experiences IN ORDER TO SELL THEM SOMETHING. This is wholly a consumer-side idea. Enterprise users have absolutely no choice in whether they get to use our product. It’s already been decided by management. I’m up for a replacement. I personally say I want to give the user a good day, but more importantly I’m trying to make users more efficient. I’m trying to create human capacity for the company. Yeah, it’s still

Font Sizes for Dense Applications

Recently one of our UX designers floated the idea of going with a font size smaller than our standard because they needed the extra space. Being the avid researcher I am I went out and started hunting for information on best practice font size on the web or in applications. I mean it's been years. Someone must have done a study. I came across someone else on Stackflow asking the same question , but none of the answers were anything supported. Just unsupported tribal knowledge. To make a long story short I managed to find a great study, The Uncrowded Window of Object Recognition , done by Denis G Pellli and Katharine A. Tillman, 2008. It comes down to this. Letters in a word are an object and must be recognizable by the brain. As you reduce a font, you need to add a little space around the letters so they can be recognized. It really doesn't have anything to do with size. Here's an example in the standard Verdana/Helvetica at 13 pixels: "You saved my life,"

Don't Fall in Love with Your Product

I don’t know what your calendar is like, but at my company at the beginning of the year business and upper level IT managers will prioritize their needs and I’m assigned to different projects depending on priority. Sometimes at this time of the year the air feels electric. It's almost like going on a first date. Will the project be exciting? Will it match my skills? It may sound silly to compare working on a new project to a first date. But, it's far more relevant than you might guess. While we want our users to fall in love with our products, it's wrong for us as technologists to fall in love with them. If we do, we lose the objectivity we need to keep our biases out of our work and we lose the ability to clearly see and measure the results of our work. Psychology of Attraction First, let's learn a little about how falling in love works. There are three stages:  Craving or lust - is used to filter all our options into a group of what we desire in some way.