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April 11, 2012 - No Comments!

UI/UX and the Importance of First Impressions [Deck & Video]

UI/UX and the Importance of First Impressions [Deck & Video] is an overview of User Interface and User Experience presented to the teams of AngelCube 2012.


UI/UX and the Importance of First Impressions
Presented to the teams of AngelCube 2012
Diesel Laws, Designer & Co-founder of
Ask the world questions and get opinions in realtime.

I’m here to mentor & help you with UI/UX design.
angelcube all the way baby.

UX is how a user experiences your product.
UI is what interface they're interacting with.
UX is the intangible feel, flow & simplicity.
UI is the tangible buttons, forms and images.

Path, Apple, Clear, Facebook (Timeline)
Path - UI is consistent theme, cute animations & simple layout.
UX is intimate, fun & inviting.
Clear - UI is heatmap gradient, interactive animations & clean layout.
UX is easy, unique & clear.

Good products sell.
Gorgeous products sell faster.
How can non-designers create gorgeous products?
TIP: A doctor doesn’t have to break every bone in their body to know how to fix one.

1. UX is everyone’s role.
When a user visits your website, downloads your app and uses your product they are following your direction. Every day you are crafting someones experience.

2. Think like a user.
iPhone message from mum: Hi were having a great time in bali the weather is warm and the shopping is great miss you
My brain corrected it: Hi, we’re having a great time in Bali. The weather is warm and the shopping is great. We miss you.
No one explains what these buttons do.
I completely forgot to think like a first time user.

3. Break down every page to the most important elements.
Ask yourself, what one thing does this page need to do?
Then remove everything else.*
*I’m serious.

4. 3 clicks to get anywhere.
As a general guide, a user should be able to reach any page within 3 clicks from their home screen.

Edit Company Page on Facebook:
1. Search for company.
2. Click on Company name.
3. Click Manage button.

Edit Bio on Facebook:
1. Click profile name.
2. Click Update Info.
3. Click Edit button.

5. Consistency is powerful.
Font: Sansation Bold
Cyan, Grey, Yellow, White
Consistency builds credibility

6. Realise that great UI/UX can keep users happy.
What do users think when your product has a problem?
Great UI/UX + Problem = “Annoying, but I’ll get used to it.” “Support were really helpful.”
Mediocre UI/UX + Problem = “Crap product, I’m not using it again.” “I’m not recommending it to friends.”

7. Everyone judges a book by the cover.
Most users believe that your website, logo or app is the whole product.

8. STEAL. Most things you’re building have been built before.
E.g. Profiles. Same same but different.

9. Design can sell a product before it’s built.
Yay, landing pages! And screenshots, mockups, templates & videos.

10. They come for the UI, they stay for the UX.
Check out this, you can _____
upload photos, watch videos, download music...
I love using this, it’s ______
fun, easy, quick, simple...

1. UX is everyone’s role.
2. Think like a user.
3. Break down every page to the most important elements.
4. 3 clicks to get anywhere.
5. Consistency is powerful.
6. Realise that great UI/UX can keep users happy.
7. Everyone judges a book by the cover.
8. STEAL. Most things you’re building have been built before.
9. Design can sell a product before it’s built.
10. They come for the UI, they stay for the UX.

Lets get simple.
Investors love traction. Traction comes from users. Users love great products.
Products that have great UI/UX appeal to both.
It’s as simple as that.

March 21, 2012 - No Comments!

The Roller Coaster Threshold

So right now, if you're wondering what to do next - take action. Work out your options quickly, choose the one that feels right (physically and mentally) and just get on with it. Even if you should fail you have one less piece of confusion in your life and a win on the board for starting something.

This post was inspired by my Facebook update (thanks Will for the extra nudge).

Every day I get to read about, talk to and watch entrepreneurs go through the motions of building their various startups. Over the couple of years I have been working in this field I have been able to learn just as much about success as failure. In most parts, failing is an extremely important result in our daily activities but is often avoided like the plague, so much so that people stop taking action towards certain tasks. The problem this creates is a never-ending loop of self-sacrifice, low results and lack of excitement.

Failure Is Very Important

With what I have witnessed, I believe that failure has been a very important outcome of the various startups I've seen operating. This is as simple as failing to deliver on time, failing to communicate, failing to focus on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or even failing to actually build something of value to users. Everyone seems to handle these various failures in different ways but they all end up in the same place by learning from what went wrong.

The Roller Coaster Threshold

What's a harder lesson than failure? The roller coaster ride from failure to success, back to failure and so on. The constant up and downs of working on a startup are extremely challenging and can happen just as fast as the actual ride. In many cases, the fear of the 'Roller Coaster Threshold' is actually more debilitating than failure.

When I first started Barkles, it was built on top of WordPress. At the time, Rhys and I were running the show (I was designing the front end interface and he was working on the back-end development) and we had just heard about our acceptance into the Angel Cube shortlist (more details here), basically proving that the initial concept and networking we had done was paying off.

That moment of extreme excitement was shattered when Rhys made a decision to leave the company on that day after hearing the news. While I respected his decision and we parted amicably, it still hit me like a truck. I had gone from extreme excitement to complete freak out in a matter of minutes. However, I knew that this was a great thing. Barkles had succeeded (validation, albeit early stages) and failed (The only developer quits) in such a rapid time-frame right before the pitch.

Later that day I called Jay (who was only a contracted developer at the time) and told him the news. I openly asked if he wanted to keep going with Barkles and he quickly jumped at the chance to be further involved. Jay stepped forward and said that he would be able to take our demo app and turn it into a Rails app. This took me from a low point of failure back up to a level ground knowing that we could still move forward as initially planned.

That extreme roller coaster happened in the space of a few hours. Entrepreneurs will experience this at least once in a day in some form and more often than not, the success will match the failures.

This leads me back to the original message that started this post: Take action. Don't avoid making a decision because you fear an outcome. If you have a variety of options in front of you, take the risk and actually choose one path. Make the call from your gut and be prepared for high points of success and low points of failure.

Take action by following me on Twitter.


December 22, 2011 - No Comments!

Great Design Is Now The Currency

With the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Path taking big steps towards 'great' design we are starting to see the era of design come to light. It may seem biased from a designers point of view, but it only takes a moment for anyone to look at all the old/new services being represented with incredible user interfaces, solid user experience flow and gorgeous branding throughout. Great design is now the currency.

Many of us should be thankful to the behemoth that is Apple - who played the underdog for many years until finally finding its feet with the 'iRange'. Companies have since replicated the simplicity, elegance and beauty that is the Apple products as Apple moved to become the most valuable company worldwide. Their push into top position sparked the adoption of gorgeous design across the web and mobile alike. Of course, it's not just Apple that pushed the envelope. Many companies had already started shifting their focus towards a cleaner look, sexier user interfaces and a focus on seemingly irrelevant design details that even Steve Jobs would have appreciated.

There was a time recently where designers were an afterthought, an addon to an already existing product. Now designers are leading services with their unique vision, giving their products the edge needed in an over-saturated market. This big push into design has spurred on a flurry of activity in terms of new hires, incredible apps, designer co-founders and more. But what will the currency of design look like as the year rolls on?

Late 2011: Designers create new vision & push the boundaries in various areas of the tech landscape

As we've witnessed, Google+ has brought their UI/UX into line across multiple products (Youtube, Gmail, Reader, Google+) while Twitter pushed a completely new interface for its mobile market (to be later rolled into their core product). Many other companies have developed into new fields and led the way with new designs that have inspired many.

Early 2012: Customers/Sales define the leading designs - Companies start redeveloping to utilise the most popular design aspects

In a matter of months we are likely to see duplications of previous designs, layouts, buttons and other UI components at play. Naturally, this will alter the user experience and effect how websites and apps are used. Customers will request (design) features from other successful products and companies will adopt elements to suit.

Mid 2012: Many products become visually aligned - Interfaces are continually tweaked with small updates vs large redesigns or redefining concepts

Websites and apps will be at a stage where the functionality of their products will only slightly differ in the way of design. Animations, icons, flow and overall styling will have a familiar feel as customers jump between different platforms. In light of this, many companies will begin to alter their focus away from design, leaving only small tweaks in the spotlight.

Late 2012: Design hits a peak of awareness and alignment - Design begins to take a sidestep to the next focus area of the tech landscape

Design as a currency will funnel into a merge point. At this time, many companies will already be focused on the next big 'edge' for their products and stepping up to put that into motion. Design will not disappear - it will become an important element of a product but not nearly as powerful as the months prior.

Do you believe great design is now the currency? Share your opinion in the comments.

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