Design – Usable Doesn’t Mean Useful

The term “usability” receives a lot of attention in the web design space and with good reason. Usability implies users can effortlessly accomplish the goals that brought them to the website in the first place, and is the primary metric in determining whether a site is successful. Implementing usability in terms of simply meeting user […]

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How to Create Personas for User Experience

User personas are one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of your designs. Often created during design discovery, personas are a tool to better understand and align everyone around your target audience. When used properly, they ensure you stay on course and end up with the strongest possible design concept. In this […]

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The Principles of Minimalist Web Design

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” While Antoine’s message was about writing it very much applies to design. The benefits of minimal design are numerous, but most importantly with everything unnecessary stripped away all the focus […]

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User Psychology in Website Design

Usability discussions are plagued with self-reflection. Designers assess how obvious something is by putting themselves in the user’s shoes. The notion behind this practice is if it’s obvious to you, then it must be for the user as well. This approach contains two fundamental flaws: It provides a false sense you’re designing with usability in […]

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The ROI of Usability

Usability and investments are alike in the sense you get what you give. Very few design projects have an unlimited budget, so resources have to be distributed based on priority. Prioritizing usability over other design layers ultimately results in greater returns. Additionally, usability returns are multifaceted. Where other layers have the potential to affect revenue, […]

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Usability is more than a checklist

Some designers treat usability as a series of checklists, assuming usability is no more than including the right elements. Usability isn’t that cut and dry. It’s true that using conventions will improve usability, but there are bigger factors at play. Design is usable when it’s created with an understanding of how users think. Usability isn’t […]

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Getting Past the Blank Canvas

I’m sure you can picture a time when you’ve been ready to start a new design, opened up Photoshop or Sketch, stared at a blank canvas and felt totally clueless about where to start. This used to be a common issue for me but less so these days. While there is always some low level […]

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Think Twice About Adding that Feature

Anyone managing a product will often be tempted to add features as a way of improving the product. Most often the temptation is prompted by customer feedback. This is sometimes mistaken for validation, if customers ask for it then it should be added, right? Well, not always. Adding a feature is no trivial matter. Even […]

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Designing for the First Five Seconds at WordCamp Chicago

Below are my slides and summary of a talk I delivered at WordCamp Chicago, 2014. Link to video record will be forthcoming. People make snap judgements. In fact, most users only take 50 milliseconds to form their first impression of your site. This impression lasts the remainder of their visit and even influences return visits. […]

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Reviving the Hierarchy of Design Needs

When I was approached by a large publisher to author a book on design I was humbled by the notion. I spent a great deal of time researching things I already knew but didn’t limit myself to only web-design topics. I explored all different design niches, from industrial to fashion. During this time I came […]

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