What I read this week #8

Doors. They are ubiquitous and such an everyday part of our lives. However, Don Norman makes me think of them in a new light. Before getting into design, I never noticed how many poorly designed doors exist in this world. I recently used a door that initially convinced me to push and almost broke it because I had to pull instead. I need to start a new segment on this blog where I round up all the bad (and good) designs I come across and my reflections on them. Until then, enjoy this list of articles that I read and liked this past week.

1. Why The Best UX Design Is Invisible & How To Measure It
By Larry Marine from momentology
Here, Larry opens the article with the door as an example of an interface that should not require users to pay attention in order to use it. Invisible design should be intuitive and fluid. If I have to think about how to use something, the design has already failed. This article provides great examples of how to create invisible design that minimizes negative feelings and leads to “delight,” because delight itself cannot be designed.

2. Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research
By UX Booth Author from UX Booth
This is going to be my textbook for a while. As nerdy as this sounds, I love research and being in touch with my curiosity. I genuinely enjoy asking questions and learning more about others rather than talking about myself. I found this article to be incredibly informative by providing me with detailed descriptions of the research process. It almost felt like taking a crash course on UX research.

3. When You Should Use a Breadcrumb Navigation
By Anthony from UX Movement
Articles like these remind me of how the tiniest things can make the biggest difference in the user experience. Pointers such as not linking to the page that the user is already on or using arrows instead of slashes sound quite obvious. However, I have noticed several tools that don’t follow these rules. As a user, this can be extremely frustrating. It gives me enough reason to stop using an app or a website. This was definitely a great read!

4. How to run an heuristic evaluation
By Luke Chambers from UX Mastery
Heuristic evaluation is something I often come across in articles and have studied it in my Coursera lectures. However, it’s not something I fully grasped yet. Luke lays out the good and the bad in using the heuristic evaluation technique, which helped me understand it better. This was a solid article that provided references to a great reading list and a step-by-step guide on running a heuristic evaluation.

5. What it takes to be a great leader: A recommended reading list
By Thu-Huong Ha from TED
Thanks to articles like this, my mile-long reading list continues to become longer. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I believe that keeping up to date on leadership trends is valuable and necessary. It’s important to surround myself with literature that continues to inspire and encourage me to set positive a positive example. Even if I am not seeking to start my own business, everyone has the duty to be a leader in their lives and that’s what makes this reading list relevant.

6. How to choose the right participants for your UX research
By Jennifer Winter from User Testing Blog
Apparently, five test participants can uncover up to 85% of a product’s usability issues. I would have never known. This article covers the topic of choosing the best participants well and brings up a lot of things to think about. Ultimately, the rules for choosing participants for a user testing study changes every single time. Each approach must be tailored to the situation. I learned a lot from this article and will definitely refer back to it often.

7. Improve Your Designs With The Principles Of Closure And Figure-Ground (Part 2)
By Jon Hensley from Smashing Magazine
I can always count on Smashing Magazine for great articles on design. Last week, I linked to part 1 of this series. This one goes into the topic of using closure and figure-ground to enhance design. I especially enjoyed reading about the ways that various companies are using these principles in their logos and designs to enhance the user experience. Jon provided excellent examples and communicates his points clearly.

I recently tweeted out that last week, I could barely run for 15 minutes without feeling like I’m going to collapse. Yesterday, I ran for a solid 40 minutes feeling exhausted and sore but accomplished. The human body is so remarkable in unexplainable ways and running allows me to constantly push those limitations. Although I’m not sure if I’m ready for my first race in three weeks (eep!), I’m looking forward to challenging myself. Also, running alone is hard. It’s cathartic and refreshing but motivating yourself to train hard and give it your all is a struggle. I can’t get a refund on my races so I guess I’ll have to just do it.




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