Thinking Out of the Box

Posts Tagged ‘Design Process’

Save your project idea’s living space

Miriam Julius
Miriam Julius
October 2nd, 2018

What’s with all the hype around AirBnB? Booking.com makes it much more effortless to book your stay and if you are lucky, you can get some insane discounts.

Both apps, or the portals behind them, serve the same user need: „I would like to stay overnight at a foreign location“. However, both have a wildly different mission statement and completely different user interfaces. Resulting from that, they have defined their focus areas totally different. UX Designers who are working with Lean UX or the Centigrade-approach Continuous UX are consistently building their user experience concepts based on a suitable Persona. But if both apps are building on top of the same user need, how can they be so different from each other?

read more…

Is it enough to create a Design System?

Günter Pellner

This article won’t cover the basics of Design Systems like “What is a Design System?”, “How does it work?” or “Do I need it?” (to which the answer is “Yes”). It will also not cover tool specific topics (Carbon, KSS, Pattern Lab, Sketch, AdobeXD, Invision, UXPin… it is too much). It is a fairly broad overview of the challenges companies have to face, when they try to install a Design System for the very first time.

The main question we usually get from clients, regarding Design Systems, is something like: “How do we create a Design System?”. Or: “We want you to create a Design System for us”. But actually, what this means for us as a service provider is:

“Is creating a Design System enough?” The short answer is: No.

Congratulations, you don’t have to read any further. Now you can go outside and enjoy life. If you don’t like to be outside or if you want to dig deeper, here is the longer answer:

read more…

Spoilt for choice – comparing four concept tools

Laura Festl

When a small concept turns into a hundred wireframes that quickly turn into a prototype, sometimes the question arises too late: Which tool would have been the right one? In our work at Centigrade, we often consider which tools we can best use to create concepts. As always, this depends on many factors and we decide on different criteria in every project. First, the context matters: Will the concept be directly implemented? Are specifications to be written? Do we do the visual design for the concept or do we hand it off directly to the customer? The decision could also hinge on whether a click prototype should be built, whether a usability test takes place or whether animated transitions between the individual wireframes/screens are prioritized for the project from the very beginning. Finally, customers also may have preferences for tools that they use themselves.

The bottom line is: there is no general recommendation for a particular tool. Still, I want to break down what advantages and disadvantages I see in some of the common tools to help other designers to decide.

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Picasso didn’t need usability tests

Günter Pellner
Günter Pellner
June 30th, 2016

Please take the following with a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a big portion of good-natured humor: Below we dive into the fictional world of a very naïve designer. The situations are exaggerated on purpose to illustrate some of the difficulties designers can fall prey to when they do not have an overall understanding of the design process with its stakeholders on client- as well as on user-side. Each issue of the fictional designer is contrasted with that broadened perspective.

The first Feedback

Monday morning. I am launching Outlook and, behold: The e-mail I sent on Friday has just been answered. There is feedback on my newest design – yay! With a humming growing louder and louder in my ears I read that almost everything looks ok – which, of course, to my artistic soul feels like a slap in the face! Because “…almost everything…” and “…looks ok…” basically means that my, oh so perfect visual concept will be taken apart.

All my work for nothing! Researching for hours to find the perfect font. Putting so much thought into every margin. Wisely selecting colors with the pantone catalog I stole from the hardware store specifically for that purpose. And now someone dares to demand changes to my creation? Did da Vinci have to make changes to the Mona Lisa? Did Picasso do usability tests? Did Van Gogh ever read his e-mail? Who knows… I, for one, know immediately and with certainty: After all the changes that are being demanded the design will be ruined and, adding insult to injury, I will have to be the one to destroy that work of art.

I Love my job. read more…

How Morticians and Industrial Engineers play – A Gamification User Type Study

Sebastian Korbas
Sebastian Korbas
May 26th, 2015

Tutorial

Part of my Master’s thesis, which I wrote here at Centigrade as a student trainee was to design a mobile application for more sustainability in daily life. Due to the focus on personal energy consumption, the main goal of the application was to create more transparency and generate awareness of the background story of energy transition. The intended effect was to hopefully initiate a possible behavioural change of the potential users, inspired by works of serious games (for change). Essential for this project obviously was – next to a proper usability and an appealing look – to create a motivational design, which tries to engage the user on the long-term. Due to those goals, it was an easy decision to take a look at gamification and its specific possibilities regarding user motivation. But my main challenge in the generation of a concept could be summed up in the question: How to design for an unknown user?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users? Photo: Jay’s Brick Blog read more…

What consistency means for a cat and what it means for your interface

Jonas Stallmeister

In interface design, the term consistency is part of the professional jargon. It is used for everyday feedback and in long term concepts. It is also common ground with developers and clients. Consistency is an important evaluation criterium. Enough reasons to get a good handle on the term. read more…

“Form Follows Function” – An unclear design principle

Andreas Burghart

Introduction

“Form Follows Function (FFF)” – You can think for hours about these three words and for their explanation quite some words are necessary, for it is a frequently misunderstood design principle. read more…

Everyday User Interface Annoyances

Jenny Gemmell

In April I blogged about metro style pictograms being the new sliced bread in icon design. Remember? The article was, of course, highly interesting, incredibly important and not to mention terribly knowledgeable – and naturally it was in no respect longwinded. Well. Let’s just say it was rather formal and academic. Today, dear reader, I am going to be emotional. And pretty much so. Why? Because bad user interface design can drive you up the wall.
read more…

User Interface Architectures – Four Things Architecture and Interface Design Have in Common

Jonas Stallmeister

When I started working at Centigrade, I wondered what the “User Interface Architectures” tagline in the company name is about. New terms are common in our line of work; the terminology is still young and changing all the time, many people try to influence it with their own terms and definitions. Still, I thought “why architecture” – maybe you, as a reader, did too?

The short, upfront answer: drawing attention. Readers are supposed to be teased by that line. So, of course it is supposed to stick out, elicit associations and set Centigrade apart.

Still, “User Interface Architectures” is not just another empty cliché buzz term, which brings us to the long, more profound answer. These words sum our work up for newcomers quite precisely and descriptively. We always have to expect that customers, users and external designers or developers may not have a clear understanding of our work. By comparing our services to the field of traditional building architecture, we offer a way to approach it.

Of course, we and other interface designers are familiar with the typical tasks, processes and results of our field. If, however, we get lost in our own work, the comparison to traditional architecture and to traditional architect’s way of working can bring about new ideas and give us new drive. Internally, “User Interface Architecture” forces us to re-evaluate our way of work and view it in a broader context. We want to present four things architecture has in common with user interface design to show how the comparison works internally and externally. read more…

“Make it Like the iPhone” – Revisited

Markus Weber
Markus Weber
November 30th, 2011

Three years ago, we published a blog article that shed some light on the development of the iPhone. The motivation for writing the article was the fact that the iPhone was often used as reference when talking about usability goals and user interface design ideals and that design requests often could be roughly summed up as “Make it like the iPhone”. The blog article described of aspects of iPhone development that did not get the same publicity as the product and its user interface themselves. Those aspects were

  • Apple’s complete control over design, manufacturing and marketing,
  • a completely new operating system that had been created and
  • the considerable effort in terms of time and money that had been invested in the project.

In the meantime, Apple has created several new versions of the iPhone and even included a completely new product in its portfolio: the iPad. After those success stories, it is no surprise that reference to “user interfaces like Apple” is still made. It is therefore appropriate to revisit the topic and add some insights regarding the “Apple design process” in general that have become known to a larger public, not least through the Steve Jobs biography. Such insights can prevent misguided approaches in which Apple-like results shall be reached without implementing a corresponding process.
read more…

Come Talk to Me: Communication in UX Design – Part 2

Markus Weber
Markus Weber
January 24th, 2011

Communication is essential to UX design. As with other contexts, communication can be impaired by – sometimes very subtle – influencing factors, some of which were described in part 1 of this article. This second part of the article deals with additional aspects that can be detrimental to communication, such as (unconscious) language barriers and the “human factor” in UX design.
read more…

Come Talk to Me: Communication in UX Design – Part 1

Markus Weber
Markus Weber
December 16th, 2010

There is a multitude of roles and job titles in the field of UX design. But regardless of what the involvement of someone in a UX design project is – communication is a key activity when it comes to successfully accomplishing many of the tasks in the collaborative domain of UX design.

Whether with users, project stakeholders or within a UX design team, “communication” entails much more than simply talking to respective receivers and making sure that the words come out right. There are certain pitfalls to avoid. This two-part article examines the role of communication in UX design in order to provide information that helps in communicating efficiently. In the article, the term “UX practitioner” is used to refer to the diverse roles in a generic fashion. The ideas described can be applied to in-house as well as external (consulting) UX practitioners.
read more…

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