Page 2 of 37

My point here is that we can still practice these observational research techniques even if we don’t always get the chance to do so on the products we get paid to design. And we can document these moments to make a case at our companies for why this kind of research needs to be part of our product development cycles. There’s value in these exercises, even if the results don’t immediately show up in our companies’ products. It’s an activity I’d encourage everyone to try.

via Honing Your Research Skills Through Ad-hoc Contextual Inquiry « Boxes and Arrows.

#WCTO 2014: Call for Suggestions

We’re looking for suggestions for WordCamp Toronto 2014.

If there’s something you’d like to see, this is your chance to get your voice heard. :)

Call For Suggestions: What do you want to see? | WordCamp Toronto 2014 (#WCTO).

Without realizing it we ask questions that yield biased results. That means that if we aren’t careful, we might actually build features or entire products that customers say they want, but actually won’t use.

via What Not to Ask.

CMS Crash Course @ Toronto Net Tuesday

I’ve been playing with CMSes for 10+ years, starting off with scripts like CuteNews & Coranto/NewsPro before cozying up with WordPress around 2007.

And while I’m heavily biased towards WordPress — I’ve been co-organizing WordCamp Toronto since 2011 — I know that it’s not the best solution for everyone.

That’s why I’m excited to be presenting at the Toronto Net Tuesday meetup on July 8th. It’s an opportunity to go beyond WordPress and talk about the overall CMS ecosystem.

My session, CMS Crash Course, will draw on the lessons I’ve learned from evaluating and working with different platforms over the years.

Talking points will include:

  • Defining criteria for choosing a CMS.
  • Things to investigate before you commit.
  • Comparing a few different CMS options on the market.

If you’re in Toronto on the 8th, I’d love to have you join us.

Blogging before social media.

Blogging before social media was like drinking with friends. If someone adjacent to your conversation said something interesting, you would pull up a chair and invite them in.

via Tiny Letters to the Web We Miss — The Message — Medium.

Content before wireframes.

Starting with the content helps focus the message you’re delivering to your users. When you build the design out from there, you can more easily determine where the appropriate places are for each type of communication. The site map and hierarchy are born out of the real content that will exist in the final product. You end up with a more cohesive and clear experience.

via Steph Hay – Content-first User Experience » UIE Brain Sparks.

A better offline shopping experience.

Sleeping cat in a record store.Yet for each Radio Shack and Barnes and Noble fighting for its life, there are still those beloved corner stores and discount chains that manage to thrive. Many keep a close eye on the prices being charged by their digital competitors, and work to keep theirs from straying too much higher. Most learn to emphasize their advantage in immediacy. More than anything, these successful brick-and-mortar stores know to compete on experience.

via Make Customers Want to Buy Offline – Sohrab Vossoughi – Harvard Business Review.

Photo credit: Eva Prokop on Flickr

Better than last year.

Don’t look at something you made and think “this is shit”, think “this is so much better than the shit I was making last year”.

via Finding Confidence in Your Work – 99U.

Build for decisions, not options.

When I set out to create that theme, I did so with the intent that the user would be able to install and begin writing as soon as possible with as few proverbial knobs to turn as possible. I made decisions on behalf of the customer in order to help their blogging experience, gave them just enough options to personalize the theme, and then shipped.

via A WordPress Theme Developer Introspective | Tom McFarlin.

Maintaining the mood with small details.

It’s a small detail, but it does a big thing. That little treatment, the photos, colors, big type, and pull quotes are all used to maintain a mood. They pop up at intervals to check in on the reader, and to keep the story moving. They function almost like the chorus of a song, maintaining a thread to a story, sometimes alluding to where you’ve been, where you’re going, or to punctuate a point in the journey.

via Sunday, 15 June 2014 – The Pastry Box Project.