Striking the balance between user needs and efficient development

As a designer in a team working together to deliver improvements to a product or service, there will be many times at which you will have to deal with compromise. But compromise isn't necessarily about having to make trade-offs that result in a worse user experience.

How do you know when your design work is done?

Without having all of the requirements and specifics to hand, the designer's path to completing their design work are obfuscated by the nature of design work itself; the discovery and exploration involved in the design process to uncover what it is you should be building for your users. So how can you know when your work is done?

4 things that make a good user story for designers

What makes a good user story for a designer or design team to pick up and run with in order to design a solution that can be researched and refined with your users? This isn't about acceptance criteria or dependencies, but how a user story can be used to fuel research, discovery, prototyping and testing in the early design process.

Picking your battles in the war for better user experience

You will need to be pragmatic at times to continue improving your product, although sometimes that may not be as fast or to the order of magnitude that you would like. In those pieces of work that you feel are of paramount importance to the user and their experience, you will need to stand your ground and be prepared to make your case.

The 8 hallmarks of great content design

What are the things that you need to think about to create content that is useful to the people in your audience? What does good content design consist of, and how can you improve what you write for the people who use your online product or service?

How communication turns a good designer into a great designer

Take a look at any design job description for a design role and it will no doubt require good communication skills. But somehow the importance of this skill is underplayed and perhaps even undervalued, and is the skill that will take you from good to great.

How to design without a user researcher

Research is a tool that helps you to gain a better understanding of your chosen subject and can save you and your clients a large amount of time and effort. What steps can you take as a designer to make sure that you consult with your users to make sure that you're on the right path, even without the aid of a specialist?

How to deliver better design without good feedback

Perhaps you've been asked to ‘make it pop’, or that ‘something needs to change but I can't quite put my finger on what’. What are the things we can do to deliver better-designed solutions without having good constructive feedback?

7 ways to get better feedback on your designs

Getting feedback from your stakeholders helps you to design the right solution to the right problem. Here are seven ways in which you can improve the feedback you get on your designs to create better solutions for your users.

How to design a better product using the 6 minds of experience

We are never directly designing an experience, we are designing something that a person will have their own experience with. One of the ways we can better understand how to design something to create a better experience for our users is to use the 6 minds of experience.

How to make the case for user research in the face of adversity

Have you heard things like 'there is no time for research' or 'there is no budget for this' as corners are cut in the design process? Here's how to convince the powers that be that doing research is a sure fire way to deliver the right solution.

How And When To Use The 5 Whys

The 5 Whys is a problem-solving framework that can be used to drill down to the root cause of a problem to develop a counter-measure to prevent that problem from recurring. Today, we can utilise this technique in User Experience Design as a pre-emptive tool to understand if we are solving the right problem in the first place.

How to utilise recognised patterns to create new interactions

Designers should understand how we can leverage the learned behaviours of our users to create new and innovative interaction solutions to deliver a better experience. Here's how you should go about building new interaction design patterns.

5 things hiring managers are looking for in your UX portfolio

Getting noticed by a potential employer is the first hurdle to overcome when you're looking for your next role in User Experience Design, and one of the key ingredients is your portfolio. Here are the 5 things you need to have in your portfolio to stand a chance of success.

How to be a better designer by understanding human perception

The human brain works in such a way that we try to make sense of everything we see. If we want to design and build things that are easy to understand as well as easy to use, we should have an understanding of how we, as human beings, perceive and organise the world around us.

Why is there no easy way to measure user experience?

The human brain is so complex that it is impossible to map an emotion or experience to a specific area. In attempting to distill a multitude of measurements into a single metric for UX, are we doing a disservice to our users and the insight they can provide?

How to build relationships for your future in UX

Whilst a portfolio is one of the key assets you'll need to prove to your potential employers that you can do the job that they are recruiting for, there are a number of things you'll need to do before anyone even gets to lay eyes on your portfolio...

The inherent exclusion of edge cases

Edge cases are talked about when deadlines are tight and bugs are found, but shouldn;t we be considering them much earlier than this?

5 reasons why you should make a career in UX

If you're thinking of starting or switching up your career to get into the field of User Experience, you should think about the reasons why you're looking to do so before you get to the how.

The creation of my 'new normal' career in UX design

I've always enjoyed sharing what I have learned over my career. I find it rewarding to help others in their career journeys, and it provides others with the chance to question the way I do things. In turn, this helps me to become better at what I do, creating a cycle which means I can pass everything I learn onto those that are open and willing to listen. So what's next?

Measuring the little wins

Surely I should be able to write more, to share more, to help other people learn from my experiences, my mistakes, my successes? I would have thought so, but my ability (or perhaps concentration, maybe even just the spare time) to sit down and write just doesn't seem to arise very often.

The Return of New Adventures

I feel inspired, refreshed, and full of ideas and drive. But this isn't the usual lip service I may pay to the conferences I attend. New Adventures is something special to me.

On Creating Design Principles

For years I’ve had an understanding of how I should design and build things for the web, and that understanding has stemmed from an organic, ever-evolving process of thought. And not once did I write anything down. Here’s why I should have.

Compromise: Balancing Project Needs with Internal Ideals

There are certain ideals that, as a designer, you strive for. For me, working with my focus firmly on the field of User Experience, it is to put the user at the heart of our design and decision making processes... #StartYourShift

How to Make the Web Better

To coincide with the redesign of my website, the move from WordPress to Jekyll, and the rekindling of my desire to write and publish more on an ongoing basis (and yes, I may need you to hold me to that), I've taken the opportunity to #StartYourShift.