UI Design

Designing desirable products: How to get started

In October 2015, I gave a presentation titled "Designing Desirable Products" to a group of design students at the University of Central Arkansas. I was invited to show them how they might get started on digital design projects. In the talk, I make the case that good digital products are defined by their desirability. Then, I go into more detail on how we plan for and measure desirability while designing.

This talk is made for students who are just getting started in the world of web or UI design. If that's you (and even if it's not), take a look!

Creative Labs gets the axe

From The Verge's overview:

Since it was founded two years ago, Creative Labs has been one of the most interesting parts of Facebook. Built as a startup within the company, it built a series of experimental social apps designed to test new interfaces and interaction patterns. But the experiments have come to an end: Facebook said today that the division has been shuttered.

Disconcerting news to say the least. We depend on these innovation labs with deep pocks to propel the UI industry forward. I hope Facebook is just moving them to a less public-facing lab (ala Apple) or distributing them to work on more popular projects.

Talking to Robots

I've been looking into "Invisible" apps a lot lately. The concept meshes well with my thoughts on ubiquitous UIs. For the uninitiated, Invisible Apps are those that don't require a visual interface to interact with the service. Most of them involve SMS in some way. You often just text a request or command to the app and they complete it for you behind the scenes. Magic (and GoButler, which appears to be a Magic clone?) and Clara are two of the more interesting apps that I've seen but there is a more complete list with other services that might interest you on Product Hunt.

These apps seem to promise more personal interactions with technology. Although, as evidenced in my screenshot below, I wonder how long it will be before these robots will stop outing themselves. I think maybe you're not real, Ian!

The tools we use

Khoi Vinh has a nice rundown of what software designers use today. In every class I teach, I get questions about what software should be used to design websites. The students just want an answer ("go use Photoshop") but, as Khoi has points out, it's much more complicated than that. My own research in this area has very similar findings. Although, I would say that Sketch has taken more of a foothold on the West Coast than he insinuates especially in small shops.

An especially nice quote from the article:

Overall, the visits confirmed to me that the landscape is significantly changing for how we designers do our work and what tools we use, but it seems clear that there’s room for a lot more innovation going forward.