New era for design tools

I was having coffee with a friend, where I shared about the recent trend I’ve seen with some great new design apps that allow you to design (and prototype) across multiple devices and platforms…mobile, tablet, desktop, Apple watch, you name it!

It’s great to see this kind of focus in making it easier for designers to iterate, prototype and do user tests on their designs from the start. This new era of design tools brings with it a fresh perspective on how design software can be made with the designer in mind.

Of course, there’s no better design tool other than pen and paper, but these apps do come in handy in the design process – in fact one of them works with your paper sketches.

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Design Quotes As Principles (Part 3)


The key “ingredients” to a well designed product are the people who will be using that product. If you don’t design the product for (or around their needs) you will get it wrong. Spending time to understand your users is a crucial step in the design process.

Last time, in part 2, I shared design principles on keeping things simple in your design and emphasised that it is not the easiest task to achieve. In this final part of my “Design Quotes As Principles” series, I’m going to focus on one quote that puts people in the centre of your designs.

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Design Quotes As Principles (Part 2)


There’s a lot of focus recently on the value of design at companies, from start-up’s to large corporates, and how a design culture and a design process can help companies innovate and solve real problems. The thing is though…people don’t realise just how challenging it can be to get this “design thing” right.

Following on from part 1, where I shared two principles that played a big role in my life as a designer, it seemed fitting that I shared principles that I think can help you get this “design thing” right. I’m not going to try to tell you how to get it right – I simply hope you will feel inspired by these quotes/principles to make better design decisions.

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Design Quotes As Principles (Part 1)


We hear quotes on design all the time, up to the point where they become cliché’s and lose their meaning. In the next few months I want to explore and remind myself of my favourite quotes on design, explore their meaning as well as where they came from.

In part 1, I want to start by highlighting the first two quotes that have played a big role in my life as a designer, which I’ve been using as inspiration in the work that I do.

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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 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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