When i was a kid, i loved cars. I grew up with cars. My father used to race, illegally on the street, which you could get away with back then but not so much these days. You can’t outrun a radio, and with all the drivers on the road it’s just plain dangerous. But before I get off track, let’s get back to the story at hand. To this day I am still a car fanatic. I go to the drag strip and to car shows. I am even putting a car show on this year to benefit the dog rescue I volunteer for.
So when the opportunity came to redesign a car race/show event web site i thought it would be a great opportunity to put it through the ux process. One of the research tactics used, probably the most important one at that, is contextual inquiry. I had the opportunity to interview someone that both attends the event and frequents the website and even though the setting wasnt optimal (people were coming into his house) I felt the opportunity couldn’t be passed up.
It’s quite amazing the valuable information you can learn from a quick 12 minute user test.
I will be performing several more before analyzing my data and moving on to prototyping. Stay tuned for more updates.
I have a portfolio site that I have not touched in quite sometime. It is also very Design oriented and not so much a Ux portfolio which is more centered around Ux process and stories.
I recently joined a great Ux community at Uxmaster.com ( http://community.uxmastery.com/ ) and they seemed very engaging and interacting. I had a great idea.. why not use the forums as a mock-ux team and have them help me take my new portfolio site through the Ux process.
This allows me to both learn more about how others and their Ux processes, and at the same time working towards a goal of creating a great portfolio for myself. So far it has been very fun and engaging. We have had a strategy kickoff meeting and we are now in the research phase.
Feel free to follow along if you like. It might be very helpful if you are like me and new to the ux process.
Stage 1 – Kickoff http://community.uxmastery.com/forum/process/5027-stage-1-strategy-project-portfolio-kickoff-meeting
Stage 2 – Research http://community.uxmastery.com/forum/process/5175-stage-2-research-project-portfolio
I was ahead of the curve on using HTML5 full screen videos. I am starting to see them everywhere now. I was not the first to use them, but I applied it to my companies public facing web site (www.jonasfitness.com) Feb of 2014. Now I see it on Paypal, Spotify and a on quite a few other sites as well.
When I designed it for our site, I used various CSS3 attributes. The downside to that is browser availability. To maintain graceful degradation on older browsers, the CSS will display a full screen background image in place of a video. In addition, the videos we used were hosted on our site which was in turn a shared hosting environment. This affects speed of loading a large video necessary to cover a screen. On average, the file sizes were 5-8Mb.
I recently came across an article at Designmodo (http://designmodo.com/video-background-website/) which is one of my favorite design shops. (I have purchased and used their Flat UI framework and it is very well made and worth the money). The article shows you how to achieve full screen video while using Youtube as the host. This had never dawned on me but makes a lot of sense. Youtube servers are much higher end and can load video faster than a shared hosting environment.
Anyways, if you have always wanted to try a full screen HTML5 video background I recommend this route. Good luck!
Examples of HTML5 Full screen video backgrounds
Paypal – https://www.paypal.com/home
Designmodo Startup Framework – http://designmodo.com/startup/
As I posted previously, in order to sharpen my presentation skills I offered a lunch and learn series at work to teach co-workers on how to take better photography. I got quite a response back, in fact I had to break it into 4 different session.
I finished up the all the sessions and asked attendants to rate my performance. I got great reviews so I would say it was a success. Co-workers now want me to put on a field trip lunch and learn now when the weather gets warmer. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot as well.
Your humble narrator apologizes for not writing a post recently. Life and work have been kicking my butt. That aside, let me give a few updates on my journey.
I am taking an online course through UDEMY that came very well recommended by other Ux practitioners on the forums. The class is called “User Experience – The Ultimate Guide To Usability” by Dr. David Travis. Let me just say, the course is fantastic. The amount of knowledge I have learned already is priceless and I am only 50% complete. For the price, I believe it was $250, it is beyond a bargain.
I highly recommend it if you are like me and looking to learn more about the Ux process. I was proud to say I aced my first mid-term exam without looking at notes hehe. Of course the exams are just for fun, but glad its sticking. Dr. Travis is very well spoken and explains the process in great detail.
The area of Ux that gives me the most pause is the analyzing data phase. I am a pretty visual guy, so the various statistics that you need to process for both analyzing data received and for measurement of success is going to be a learning process.
I will report back when I finish the class.
I always admired people who could get in front of large audiences and speak with great authority… I am not ashamed to say that being a good orator has never been a strong skill of mine. I always had to work at it and even with work, it still pales in comparison to people who can really inspire with a speech. Watching a guy like Simon Sinek talk about how great leaders inspire people into action, I often wonder if he knows he has the very same qualities of the leaders he is speaking of. I highly recommend you take a few minutes, sit back and watch his speech. It fascinated me.
To that end, I think Ux designers need a certain ability to at least present in a clear and precise fashion. We are after all facilitators at our core right? My progress into Ux at work might be slow and prodding, but that doesn’t mean I cant take every opportunity I can to polish the skills I need to be a good Ux designer.
Two weeks ago I sent out an email to my office, offering to host a lunch and learn on how to take better pictures. In the email, I specify I would offer both a basic and advanced class. The basic would cover some bare essentials that anyone can apply and it was geared towards point and shoot and phone camera users. The advanced class would cover DSLRs with the specific task of getting users off of the auto modes and into the creative modes.
I was quite shocked at the response. I got so many wanting to take the basic class I had to break it into 3 separate lunch and learns. I finished up the presentation and I am ready to give the classes next week. I’m excited, of course it helps that I am passionate about photography. Ever thinking of Ux as I give the classes, I intend to use the opportunity to do some user testing on my performance in the form of surveys at the end.
Stay tuned.. I will let you know how they go.
Or something like that I guess. Ok maybe its a bad developer joke but this is my first blog so give me a break. While the blog is meant to be taken seriously, your humble narrator likes to keep things light. So why am I here? Why are you here? Well I hope its to read about my story as I progress into my career as a Ux designer. I hope to use this medium to document my decent into the wonderful world of the who, what, where, and why that makes Ux such an interesting career choice. So, without further adieu… here we go
I have been a web/interface designer for 15 years. It was sheer love of design that drove me into the world of web design back in the late 90’s. I was one of those guys who could never really figure out what he wanted to do. I had changed my major several times finally ending up in Medical Technology. It wasn’t until after being in the med tech program for 2 years that I had an epiphany.. it wasn’t fun. Coincidentally at the same time I had started messing around building web pages for fun and I loved it. I loved the challenge of the preferred tech of the day (which was basically HTML and Flash). I decided that it was what I wanted to do but I had yet another problem. I lived in Youngstown, a rust belt city in Ohio that had well… more rust than tech. I had to move and so I did. Armed with a computer and some clothes, I moved to Columbus where I was hired by Liebert as a web designer. I spent the next 13 years there, developing some great relationships and friends along the way. I started doing development work as well, using classic .asp and sql. Eventually I was promoted to manager of design where I oversaw a team of 4 with two of them in Manila. Eventually I began doing other roles within the company including some Share-point administration and writing user stories as a BA. Unfortunately, all the design work was being moved to our parent company and my design work was few and far between. Instead of becoming a BA I made the decision to leave… after all I am a creative. I didn’t want to be writing documentation eight hours a day.
I now work at a smaller software company in the fitness industry. I was hired as a Ux designer and I was so happy that I would be able to explore true Ux and put the processes to use. Unfortunately, when it was discovered I had a strong technical design background I was forever relegated to being and HTML coder. It was time for me to do something… I wanted to be a Ux designer, not a web designer. I wanted to use the processes that, as a designer, I always wanted to but never could sell to management. So what am I to do?
Well, I am taking the initiative to enact change where I work. I am subtly evoking change and hammering home the importance to management of how important true Ux is. I basically dug my heels in and sold the fact that I would not let the Ux process affect the code I needed to get done. I was able to secure a few projects that are far enough out that I can begin running through the process of Ux. Realizing this is going to be a lot of work for me.. Not only am I running the Ux process, but I also happen to be the Ix person as well. But that is ok.. I am willing to do some extra work and in fact I am excited about it. I am finally getting the opportunity to learn Ux the proper way, apply it in the proper way, and make a project be the best it can be.
I am also excited networking with various other Ux pros on various forums (such as uxmaster.com) and I am beginning courses this weekend from UDEMY. In addition I am going to be taking certification classes at The Team W. So, thanks again for learning more about me, and stay tuned as I use this blog to document my processes and training.