Monthly Archives: February 2015

12 minutes of learning

Hello word!

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.

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Killing Two Birds?

with-titleI 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

HTML5 Full Screen Video Backgrounds

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/

Success: Lunch and Learns on Photography

presentationAs 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.

Its been awhile

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.