CHIFOO meetup #2

speaker at meetup

Another CHOFOO meet up! As expected it was a great presentation, given by Whitney Quesenbery. Following the theme of applying storytelling to UX tonights focus was on using personas. Before diving into the surprisingly interesting topic the meeting went through its regular procedure; sharing what prizes would be given and offering a chance to perspective employers to announce job openings. Reminding me once again that I am so happy/lucky to be investing in such a thriving and fun field or “work”!

Whitney’s presentation was quite interesting to listen to… she had me listening quickly by pulling out a Norman diagram. She spoke of how data needs to be translated, which was a topic that we had not only covered in class but also something I had given great attention to. She was tying in this fact with how personas can help give proper context. That using the correct imagery you can not only give insight as to what the subject is but also connect with corresponding audience. She stated that a persona can fill the gaps in between what you do in-fact know and don’t.

While there were numerous great takeaways, I must say the true highlight for me was when she said,

Our brain creates its own reality

This is not only the singular greatest thing she could have tied in with her presentation, but also a notion that I deeply believe and care for. Applied to personas the idea rang very true, and as she noted, creating such a reality in the users mind leads to action. That was the greatest takeaway for me, that “personas embody data” and give richer understanding, involve real needs, are more persuasive, put a person in the center of the process/situation.

I’m excited to get out for the next meet up!

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UX – Putting it all to use!

You have seen me blogging endlessly about user experience design, today you get to see some of what that all goes toward!

I’m very excited to share with every one a project I am working on! I am fortunate enough to be a part of an extremely involved web development program at Clark College. Not only is my user experience class taught by Robert Hughes, the director of my program, but many of my other classes are taught by people who are truly working in the industry. I am taught WordPress by Lorelle VanFossen,  who helped develop WordPress itself! I learned all of my coding skills from Bruce Elgort, who owns a software company called Elguji among many other successes (to say the least). The project I am working on now has so much support that we have had the library staff and even the president of Clark College come into class and see what we are up to.

So what are we working on?

Our class is working with the library to rework their search page! A seemingly simple task that much is going into. We are not only changing the look but doing so is correlation with the movement toward  a new way of connecting users with the material they are looking for. What we do will be the face of a the libraries’ next big step to accommodate changing times and technologies. There is an article on Clark’s site covering what we are doing if your interested!

Here is what we are working with…

clark library site (looks rough)

Here is what our group envisions to be best…

our mock up of what the site should look like
*This is of course a mock-up, to be developed much further

Amongst a group of me and three other students ( including Jesse Byars) this is what we came up with. Later this week we will Continue reading

Embracing policy use

In my WordPress class we were prompted to participate in a discussion. It was in regard to policies on websites, our area of study this week.  We started embracing policy use in our class blogs and I will soon also be embracing policy use in this blog aswell, its a very powerful tool that can be and often is over looked

My contribution for the discussion…

Question 1. Why are these policies required, and should they be required on every type of site from personal to commercial?

Well they are required because they do two critical things. The first and most influential too your site is that you create the basis on which you and other interact with the site. This directly translates to a cleaner site, the site you intend to build. Secondly you are creating a safeguard for not only yourself but also your  Continue reading

Conductive

Fascinated with conductive materials found in every day things Daan Spanjers took on the task of giving function to these un-utilized materials.

Conductive is a combination of a several lights with prongs and a special table. The table has copper wiring running just beneath its surface as electricity runs about it. The prongs on the light can be matched up with the copper lines to make the light work. It is a very unique and clean looking deal.

I love this idea, the first thing it reminded me of was the charger for macbook’s. They primarily use a magnet to stay connected, minimizing the amount of moving parts. This really embraces the rule of KISS and works to ensure things work well. This product brings the beauty of apple charges to desk lighting.

Its ok to be excited about a neat way to light a desk, but thats really just looking at the small picture. Looking at the big picture in my mind I am imagining cool new house outlets, innovative ways to run power from place to place, and most importantly a way to get rid of my cell phone charger! If it became standard to use this form of energy transfer, things could get very interesting.

the light in question

Measuring less to feel more

This is a device used to check the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

This product is used to check blood sugar levels, but in a different way. It is argued by its creator that the stress experienced when using standard devices causes almost as much harm as good. In an effort to combat the intimidating number displays and utilitarian design of standard instruments, this product has a welcoming and functional feel. Feed back is given by a change in colors, and the instrument looks more like a piece of art than anything else.

I believe that this would be a very useful product. There was little to back the claims of sugar being released during standard testing, but regardless the concept holds water. Things of this nature need to come about, it just simply makes life more pleasant. I would argue that most medical devices are utilitarian in design. If this product is the first step toward medical instruments becoming more user friendly then I support it!

This may actually be the best candidate for our class to be looking at. I can only imagine   in what ways a full class could apply the idea that this product does. The medical field holds a huge amount of power and importance in society. One of the key elements in my vision of the future surely includes amazing forms of medical tecnology.

blood sugar tester

Donald Norman – How design makes us happy

Watched an interesting video in class, it’s an other Donald Norman video.  In this piece he was doing a TED talk about three ways good design makes us happy. These things consisted of the following…

Visceral

Things that make connection with reactions that are programmed within you. Such as colors that we find appealing.

Behavior

Things that do something functional, such as the teapot that given its position is not only brewing tea but also reflecting wether the tea pot is full or not.

Reflective

Things like owning a fancy or cool car that  reflects on yourself. A status or a statement is portrayed through ownership.

Donald Norman – Essay Analysis

This post is a secondary post to this on that looks at the work a Donald Norman, who Is a advocate of user-centered design. Here I am looking at several articles that spoke to me from Donald’s essays.

The Paradox of Wearable Technologies

In The Paradox of Wearable Technologies Donald looks closely at wearable technology, most notably google glass. He gives attention to studies and observations of his own and shares that wearable technology could prove to be a catalyst to many issues. Most notably that people will give full attention to glass, even if they don’t have to; he gave evidence to this but pointing out things like the fact developers sprung for full e-mail when this was not initially planned or that we get distracted by simple things already.

My opinion on what he has to say in this article can be summed up in its last few words, “Can wearable devices be helpful? Absolutely. But they can also be horrid.” I think that wearable technology will come just like a new generation of smart phones, people in time will learn to properly use them. Im sure the guy that takes calls in movie theaters and in quiet rooms will be doing the same thing with glass… but thats more of a personal problem than a technical one.

Why We Fail (My Foreword)

Embrace failure, avoid failure

This singular statement embodies the topic and deliverable of the whole article. That failure is a valuable tool and should be used wisely. Donald goes further and applies this concept to UX design, he says that this is one of the best things to learn from. He believes stories of failure are fascinating to look at.

I personally could not agree any more with this, all of it. First off I have given a lot of thought toward failure and what you can take away from it. In paragliding we go a step further and takeaway from things that should have been failures, ie. “know when you got away with something”. This all of course applies to UX design, heck thats what the whole book “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” was about; testing and finding failures.