What I read this week #25

Dear designers: I need your help. In your humble opinion, which MacBook is the best for UX design? (I already have one in mind but want to see if there are other forces that may sway me to another direction.) My current Pro is going strong but I want to start researching early so that I’m prepared for my next upgrade. On a different note, I’m going to be robotically repetitive now that it’s fall. I’m so delighted that my favorite season is here. The chilly autumn breeze that is coming through my window is pure happiness. Complement this moment with a hot cup of tea and I’m set. Now, let’s get to the articles.

1. Why design-led companies do better in business
By Lee Coomber from Digital Arts
Last week, I finally saw InVision’s “Design Disruptors” documentary. One of the consistent themes was the necessity of design in business. I’m a firm believer in centering businesses around design, especially if companies represent innovation and value clients. The brands that are doing extremely well, whether they are established companies or brand new startups, have flawlessly blended business strategy with design thinking. When design thinking is involved, companies create experiences for customers rather than isolated services and products, which is the ultimate lure.

2. Why Facebook Is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing
By Leo Widrich from Buffer Blog
The simple answer is because Mark Zuckerberg is color blind. In a previous post, I shared an article on designing the UX for color-blind users. Although this article briefly mentions the topic of accessibility, the main part of the discussion is the science behind colors and its impact on marketing. It’s important to be aware of how certain colors evoke certain emotions and how that plays into the overall user experience. I also love the fun fact at the end on why hyperlinks are blue. It really is remarkable how simply changing colors can make a huge difference in UX.

3. Creating Good Content Is Your Best Business Strategy
By Brett Relander from Entrepreneur
I keep hearing that good user experience starts with good content. At first, I didn’t understand how or why solid content contributes to good UX but as I read more articles like this, I’m recognizing that strong correlation. Good content is necessary for business because a company’s website is, as they say, like a storefront. If treated as anything less than investment worthy, then it impedes on the businesses’ abilities to succeed. Brett also says that websites with good content are beginning to reach higher ranks in Google searches and we all know that’s important in business.

4. Know Your UX Terms: Common Words and Acronyms in User Experience Design
By Amber Stechyshyn from UX Beginner
Oh my goodness, this is my UX encyclopedia! I really like this list for two reasons. The first is that it allows me to familiarize myself with the language that designers user and understand what each word/expression means. The second is because this helps me identify which words I need to avoid when talking to stakeholders, especially those who are unfamiliar with UX and design. I like that this list is quite exhaustive and covers words and expressions that should be painfully obvious. I’m permanently bookmarking this.

5. Reducing Cognitive Overload For A Better User Experience
By Danny Halarewich from Smashing Magazine
It is often said that good UX is invisible. I haven’t fully grasped this concept until I read this article. I’m also reading Steve Krug’s book, “Don’t Make Me Think.” I’d like to think that this is the ultimate advice for creating the best UX. It has to be an experience that doesn’t require any thinking on the users’ end. In this article, Danny breaks down what cognitive load and working memory are and the implications that they have on UX design. The second half goes into some of the most common causes of cognitive overload along with examples that identify those design mistakes. This was a really engaging read.

6. The art of UX sketching and paper prototyping
By CanvasFlip from UX Planet
Even though I’m a “UX Designer,” I’m still a sucker for using the most hands on tools like post-its and paper prototypes. I’ve been a paper prototyper for as long as I can remember (though maybe not by that name) and love turning my hypothetical ideas into a simple prototype. First of all, I love that this article stresses the fact that paper prototypes are more than acceptable to put in front of people. Why waste time and money when paper prototypes can do just as good of a job to identify usability issues that may come up. The tips on creating great prototypes are wonderful.

Last week, I talked about changing up the format of this weekly reads segment. I’ve been thinking about it but realized that for now, I’ll keep it the way it is. The reason? I’m not a fan of dumping information. I personally enjoy a curated collection of content and that’s what I like about how I’ve been doing these. The week ahead is going to be insanely busy for me but I thrive under that hustle. Not only do I have an event almost every evening but I am also working on several blog posts and planning out a new project. I’m thrilled to be working on what feels like a billion things. But since I’m passionate about them all, I find it rewarding. Tell me, what drives you?




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