How to instantly improve the UX of your design

My friend, Thomas Bishop, posted the other day what is the single best piece of UX advice you have ever gotten.

This question got me thinking about the feedback I have received over the years as well as the feedback I have frequently given.

Some obvious UX best practices come to mind, but the feedback I kept coming back to as being consistently overlooked is the necessity to walk through and present your design.

For young designers, I get why this creates anxiety and is often avoided. After you slave over every pixel, the last thing you want to open yourself up to is someone telling you to make changes. Here is the problem: by not presenting and explaining your efforts you are dramatically increasing the likelihood that they will, in fact, make changes.

“But it looks cool! I shouldn’t need to explain it” is the quickest way to have a design dismissed. I have seen plenty of moments where a design would have survived a review, whether by peer or client, had the designer prepared to present their work. Putting the design up for review without explanation does a disservice to all the different permutations that went through your mind during creation.

A foundational yet simple design presentation from a UX standpoint answers three questions for me:

1. Who do we expect to come to this page?

2. What do they want to accomplish?

3. What do we want them to accomplish?

When I say “Who” I do not think there is a need for an ultra detailed persona report. I just want you to level set on whether we are on the same page for the type of user that would be using the design we are talking about. Is it your parents or your sibling in high school?

When we talk about “what they want,” here is where empathy for user comes in. Have we considered what the critical path is for the end user? Are we creating a bunch of hoops for the user to jump through because it looks cool? Focus on making sure whatever the top goals are for our “who” that you explained that you accounted for that.

Lastly, what do “we want” to happen. Presenting how you are keeping the business objectives in mind is key to getting your work approved. “We” make money when ______ happens, so here is how I have considered that in my design.

Thinking through these questions will inherently make your design better. You’ll start thinking through the reasoning of your decisions as you are working and in turn, will give you more confidence. I tend to keep a notepad open for each design, gives me a space to think through anything I want to remember about why I decided to lay something out in a certain way.

Something else to consider is I have used “we” a lot in the above. I think it is important to remember as a designer that everything you do is a collaboration. You need users to use your design. So you should be open to the “we” in explaining your design. It helps you think through the usage of your design, we all want you to be successful.

Presenting your design will make all the difference in the world in how great it looks.


This was originally posted on Medium


New Site

Finally happy with the new site. This was sorta a lab project of sorts using a CDN for the site files, html5 for semantic code, css3 for most of the style, responsive design so the content scales best for the user all the way down to mobile and then a little jQuery to have a new navigation approach.


Logic By Design & WordCamp Miami

Ten days ago we relaunched our company site, Logic By Design, the feedback we have received has been amazing. In the last ten days we have had 7,000 visitors from 118 countries and only 1% were using IE6 (hooray!). We were also featured in cssmania.com, thebestdesigns.com, wpinspiration.com, mostinspired.com, & designfridge.co.uk. We built our site as a platform, so everything on the site is content managed even the images in the header and it is all powered by WordPress.

On that note, a month or so back I was asked to speak at WordCamp Miami, WordCamps happen all over the world and they allow WordPress users of all skill levels to meet/hear others using WordPress. wordcamp-miami-12WordCamp Miami was this past Saturday and what a great time. It sold out a few days before the event and the venue at the University of Miami was fantastic. I was batting leadoff for the day (9 am start), so I expected not that many people to be able to make my talk… we started a little late but the room of about 100-150 was packed. My talk was about the plugins we use at LBD to help keep all of our clients on the same platform, WordPress. Based on the people that came up to me and the feedback on twitter everyone really appreciated the talk, which makes me so happy. My goal was to keep the talk fast paced and cover a lot of ground so hopefully no matter the skill level they were able to learn something.

Speaking and shooting video is going to be more of a focus of mine moving forward. I have always enjoyed sharing my experience with others with the idea of whatever I put out there will come back ten fold in feedback and value. So, stay tuned…

Update: Video of my talk.


Internet while traveling in Europe and Some new Photos,

Hopefully this will be helpful to some of you who travel abroad. Internet access to me is often expensive and hard to find in most European cities. Over the last couple years I have used everything from dailup connections to sitting on street corners that I find open wifi on. This year I decided to spend some money on an option that I can use this year and for the years ahead. Many cell phone providers here now offer usb internet sticks that are pay-as-you-go so I can put some money in the account and just use it for the time I’m here. Connection speeds vary depending on the city you are in, but I tried it in Sicily, Rome and about 100 miles outside of Rome and I was able to get a 3G connection (or faster) almost every time. Right now I’m sitting on a cruise ship about a mile off the coast of Sicily without issue.

I got my “Internet Key” from Vodafone for 69 euros and I put 25 euros in the account, 25 euros supposedly is good for about 5 hours of usage a day for a month. I won’t use anywhere near those amounts but I’ll have some for the next time I’m here. Internet on the ship is something around 89 euros for 1 hour, getting the Internet Key from vodafone makes sense to me if you want/need to check the internet while you are away.

Some General Notes

  1. The cruise ship Celebrity Solstice is Las Vegas on water, we love it. 99% of the ship is geared to adults; the food, furniture, atmosphere, etc is all top notch. There is a kids level of the boat but it is tucked away, not in your face. We are super happy with Celebrity cruises, everything so far has gone really smooth and we have already talked about how to get our friends to take this same cruise with us again.
  2. I floated the idea of moving to Rome to my wife earlier this week, it was promptly shot down. However if we have the money summer months were approved when we have kids.
  3. Here are some photos from the trip so far…. we just started on the cruise so these photos were just from the week we spent in Rome and Siciy with my family.