This year, September and October were for learning. I had some free time and money in my Education budget, so these are the workshops and conferences I attended:
- In September I started with the Lean UX Workshop given by Jeff Gothelf , author of the book Lean UX.
- A couple of weeks later in October, I attended a UX Masterclass conference on UX and Market Research.
- Near the end of October I attended Measuring the User Experience: A Workshop on Usability Metrics, which was sponsored by the NYC UXPA and given by Bill Albert.
Though the methods varied, all the speakers stressed the importance of research and testing in creating a viable, usable product. However, first you need to decide what you are creating, who you are creating it for, what it is supposed to accomplish and how you will measure the success of the outcome.
Now that it’s been a while since I attended the above sessions, two things stand out to me from my experience as mid-level working towards senior UX designer:
- Information about project goals is often not clearly communicated to the more junior members of the team, especially when the team is spread out over different departments.
- Good research will update information about user needs, the market, etc.. and goals will have to change to accommodate that; not an easy task within a large corporation.
I haven’t had the chance yet to work on a Lean/Agile type project, but I would really like to as the approach appears to prevent those issues.
I’m currently working on what will be a responsive WordPress website for a theater incubator and have noticed for a while that Photoshop comps are really limited when it comes to designing responsive websites. How many screen sizes should you design for? What about accommodating a CMS?
Instead of comping every screen size, I’m going to create Style Tiles which were introduced on A List Apart by Samantha Warrren. If you have never heard of Styles Tiles before, go now and read the A List Apart article. I’m serious – read it!
The concept is still making its way around the Internet and now other people are sharing their own methods and templates. Samantha offers a Photoshop template, Adrian Gould collected templates in Illustrator, Fireworks, InDesign and Keynote as well. Namanyay Goel created Webstiles for a HTML/CSS version. I also found a WordPress theme called WP Style Tiles created by Steve Fisher and Jesse Friedman.
I’m going to try out both the WordPress theme and the Photoshop template to see which one is more helpful to my workflow and presentation.
My client Alyse Liebowitz of 3 Chicks that Click Photography has an updated website and a new business focus. After keeping a blog on the WordPress platform, she decided to move the entire website to WordPress to better manage her content. She explains her change in strategy on her own blog.
Though I started with a commercial WordPress theme, the color and typography are customized to match 3 Chicks’ branding. I have to mention one of the plugins we are using that becomes more and more useful everyday: WordPress SEO by Yoast. I’m not the only one – here’s an article on 6 Reasons you should be using it too!
I’m trying out WordPress’s own responsive theme, Twenty Twelve. I used a version of Twenty Twelve for a client website and decided to use it on my own site to make it responsive. So far it’s working out well, but if you see anything odd, please let me know!
I’m starting a new project with Taproot: a redesign of the website for Riis Settlement House. I’m really looking forward to working on this because I get to wear both my IA hat and my Front-End Developer hat. There isn’t a dedicated IA on the team and they need someone to create the sitemap and wireframes. Naturally I volunteered.
The most exciting thing is that we are going to use Responsive Design principles to design the site so it can be viewed on mobile devices as well as laptops and desktop computers.