UX of Software Things

The UX of Software Things

If you’re part of a team that build software products, you’ve probably heard about UX before and you know it’s kind of important. But often in stand-up’s, I hear developers say: “the work I’m doing at the moment doesn’t really form part of the UX”.

Just the other day a developer said to me that he was doing work that wasn’t part of the UX. He was optimising the speed of database queries, so that the reports in our system can load faster to lessen the load on our servers. Naturally, I explained to him that his work was indeed part of the UX, because it would directly impact users in a positive way.

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Usefulness of Useful

Origami Frog

The biggest challenge in designing a great product is figuring out what the core features are that will fulfil the users’ needs. Not only should the product fulfil those needs, but also deliver it in a way that is easy to understand and pleasant to use.

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Did we butcher wireframes?


Wireframes are dead…or should be as we’ve lost the reason for creating them in the first place…and it’s our own fault. (I’m specifically referring to static low-fidelity wireframes). It’s not because wireframes are bad, it’s that we’ve butchered them into something that tries to achieve the same thing that a high-fidelity wireframe does (Photoshop look and feel design).

Far too often I’ve seen designers (myself included) spend countless hours tweaking wireframes meeting after meeting until the business/client is satisfied with the perfect version of the wireframe – and this is a really bad idea.

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Does User Experience Design Exist?

I stumbled across a post this morning (from back in 2008 by Zurb) titled “User Experience Design Does Not Exist“.  It caught my eye, because this is something that has crept back in my mind (again and again) – and as a user experience designer myself, it makes me feel a bit uneasy…but that’s a good thing.

User Experience Design Does Not Exist

The designers that work on amazon.com don’t create the experience— they’re responsible for building the system, product and service that allowed those different experiences to happen. The designers work to understand how the user interacts with the website to create the most desirable and profitable experiences. We call that interaction design.

Designers need to stop thinking that they’re creating experiences. They’re allowing them to unfold with sound design decisions.

What I do like about what Zurb is saying is that designers need to carefully think about their design decisions – those design decisions will unfold an experience.

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Prototyping the MVP


There’s something that’s been bothering me for quite some time in how digital products are being made today. Far too often I see great engineering behind products, but with poor execution of how it works within the lives of people.

The Lean Startup movement and the buzz around a MVP (minimum viable product) has made the problem worse.

Maybe it’s time to stop developing or worse – building – MVP’s and just start prototyping? For years the interaction design community have been using prototyping to get to results early in the process, eliminating waste.

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Stop making bland things

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 7.46.19 AM

Download or view on SpeakerDeck

Here are my slides from my talk at UX South Africa 2014.

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Fail fast, succeed faster, learnt a lot!

Lean Startup Machine Cape Town 2014

Recently Cape Town’s finest of up-and-coming tech startups and entrepreneurs got out of the building to attend the Lean Startup Machine Cape Town 2014, thanks to Alan Jaffe, from ROI Media, who persevered in getting support to unlock the first LSM workshop in South Africa.

Lean Startup Machine is the world’s leading training for ‪Lean Startup where you learn to build a successful business in three days by failing fast and succeeding faster.

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Freebie: Unbiased Mobile Wireframe


Wireframes help stop you from debating in endless eat-my-wrists design critique discussions, so in the same way I decided to create a neutral, unbiased wireframe for a mobile device in Balsamiq Mockups and thought I’d share it with you guys.

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Taking Your Dev Team On The UX Journey

Taking your dev team on the UX journey

Last week I gave a talk at the SAUX Cape Town meet-up at 22Seven’s vintage theatre, sponsored by Flow, 22Seven and BSG. The evening was something out of a fantasy: from a popcorn machine that greeted you at the door leading into a moody red-seated theatre with big giant pencils and ink pots completing the scene.

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Walkers. Flesh Eating Personas


With a whispering breath of warm light the sun carved its final shadow on the girl with the golden hair. This is the closest I’ve been to her and I could finally see her every detail, every little scar telling its own story of a hard enduring journey. I have been watching her for days, observing her every move, studying each unnatural behavior and I was mesmirised…but things were about to take a turn for the worse as she suddenly became very aware of my presence next to her.

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