By user12601026 on Jan 21, 2014
The Oracle Brand Creative Digital Design team very proudly rolled-out new responsive design templates for Oracle.com last week. This content is the Human Capital Management (HCM) site as the POC.
Overall redesign goals:
We received a glowing review from Site IQ on their blog.
"The design is spot on -- but it's the content that is astonishing." said Marty Gruhn
See full article here:
This is a great infographic that shows what "designers" use as their favorite apps, products and brands.
This infographic takes you into the offices of 180 creative professionals to see what apps they have open. Small sample size notwithstanding, the results are educational. From word processing to storage to email– there are usually clear winners. I completely agree on Gmail, though I’ve never harbored much affection for Google Docs. What apps do you swear by and why?
QUICK TIP: right click and view the image in it's full glory!
Happened to find a wonderful online design pattern library from the fantastic book called "Designing Web Interfaces".
15 Standard Screen Patterns, including 80 screen shot examples
30 Essential Controls, 30 controls for RIA design and development. Includes auto suggest, carousel, charts & graphs, collapsible panels, different modal windows, and much more!
15 Common Component Patterns, includes add another, drag and drop, contextual toolbar, full screen, build a list, and so much more.
Ultimate Guide to Table UI Pattern , includes in column filtering, inline editing, and inline editing.
I'm always looking for resources like this for when initial page comps and/or wireframes are being built. It's super helpful to have a quick scan at a handful of the best practices all in one place. Really like having actual screen shots of examples as well.
WELIE.com, One more resource I just found.
Adobe CS5 Photoshop will be released in April with this super cool new "Content Aware" fill tool. It's way better than the spot healing brush. It's basically cloning done for you in a matter of seconds. This just might put some retouchers out of business.
Take a look at this screencast demo of the new product. I'm just hoping my computer has enough ram to run this!
Here's what's in my emerging technology toolkit that looks beyond flash (and the evil page refresh):
I must confess, i'm not a big flash "tool hugger". I've spent many jobs rescuing sites out of flash because once the site was launched, they found out it was impossible to manage and update the site. My thought is, maybe flash designers need to not only design the sites... but then spend the next 2 weeks inputting the content into the site that they've built. Wonder if they would think twice before designing a site in flash again. Hmmm.
I'm a big fan of Google maps. Whenever i'm either traveling, or just going to a business meeting at a location i've never been before, I use Google maps for the street view. It helps manage my expectations of where i'm going. The basic technology is similar to QT VR which has been around for over 15 years.
This new Microsoft technology that was recently shown at TED shows huge strides have been made using the Photosynth technology. This rates pretty high up on the coolness scale for me. It builds a 3D space that includes photos and videos taken by anyone and uploaded similar to Flickr. And the super fascinating aspect, is we can now apply "history" to the mix and show how this spot looked months or years ago.
I'm ready to jump on the 4D augmented-reality bandwagon and travel around the world to places i've always wanted to go! How great for our children. They can potentially travel to the pyramids without leaving the comfort or the safety of their own home.
Elaine Wherry recently posted an essay on An Ethnographic Analysis of UX Professionals
She interviewed a handful of UX designers and discussed their forward-looking career paths. Her controversial analysis is that....
"UX professionals are some of the most professionally unhappy folks I've ever encountered."
Wow. That's a tall, negative stance on our profession. She goes on to explain that "professional unhappiness is very different than emotional happiness. It was clear that designers have fewer growth opportunities and are less valued than their engineering counterparts."
Let me clearly state that my experience at Sun has been the complete opposite.
I’m happy to be a part of a UX team that has allowed us to create, measure, fix, and improve the site we created.
My professional “happiness” stems from knowing that a creative problem has been solved. Design is all about problem solving. The reason designers want to come into a project early as a strategic voice is to make sure the problem they are being handed is the right one.
By using statistics (Omniture) to measure both business and design goal successes, in turn supports a stronger business confidence, rapid deployments, and our own design instincts.
Hope you have the benefit of having this same happiness.
And, that I will continue to work with Sun/Oracle (aka Snorkle) in the future.
In keeping with the upcoming New Year, here's my top 10 best practices (aka: good instincts) for web page design optimization:
A new web font service launched today called Typekit.com. They claim they can deliver an extensive library of high-quality fonts that can be incorporated into a site via a CSS line of code (@font-face). The idea of breaking out of the browser safe mac/pc fonts is liberating. But it just seems too good to be true.
This sounds very similar to the dynamic fonts functionality that was HOT a few years ago, but never caught on. Being the bleeding-edge designer that i am, we tried to use dynamic fonts on a site. But it only seemed to work sporadically. And the initial font download was bigger than we had expected. Ultimately, we could never be sure that the end user was seeing the same thing that we were. Just plain frustrating. So we never used it again.
The set of browsers that don't use the @font-face tags are browsers older than Firefox 3.5, Safari 3.4, and IE 5. So if you think of it, that's a pretty sad group of legacy browsers. Looking at the general browser averages, that's less than 20%.
Well, let's all go download the free version of Typekit and start testing this stuff out. If this technology is stable, elegant, and delivers what is says it will, it could potentially change everything for us designers.
I must confess I love watching usability testing. When there are a few hours of usability video sessions available for me to watch, I go get some popcorn and watch 'em all.
The real value of these videos is actually watching the users interact with pages that we've designed. The things we see and the things we hear are so incredibly insightful, illuminating, and unpredictable. So empowering.
Luckily we have a company that facilitates the "interview" process. Not sure i'd be so quick on my feet with those questions -- definitely a learned skill. But i certainly LOVE being on the other end and able to watch and see what engages the users and why.
Most users are incredibly forthcoming with WHY they like or don't like a web page. And, sometimes they offer-up insightful suggestions. One user dropped this perl of wisdom, "We don't click on things we're not looking for." Ha! Brilliant.
Jakob Niesen says "It only takes five users to uncover 80% of high-level usability problems". He's right. It's that simple.
So go and watch your next batch of user testing videos and learn. It's the best way to get a finger on the pulse of your users without any analysis or distortion. The findings are a great way to identify problems and help informed decisions.
I'm not big on passing on fake videos, but this one made me laugh. It truly captures how the iPhone has an incredible mind-share on taking care of our personal needs.
There really is an app for almost anything. Even when there shouldn’t be.
Yes, i love my iphone lots.
The Sun Student OSUM community today launched a contest that allows users to VOTE and pick the new design for the social Ning platform. It's an interesting concept: by letting the community vote and choose, will the wisdom of the crowds ring though?
This is the first time that I've personally been involved in a design project were the users get to pick the final design. Typically, we define the overall goals, create the different design options, and then let the "executive" in charge pick the final design. But here, the users ARE the the final say.
So the question is: does the wisdom of the crowds theory really work in this instance? Will the best design get picked by the community? Does the theory show that people are smart in groups? Anyone who's seen an angry mob will dispel that theory.
The truth is is that crowds, presented with the right challenge, in the right context, can be wise. When it works, the crowd is wiser, in fact, than any single participant.
And, hopefully, i'll be a little bit wiser and informed about social community platform designs.
As every good executive needs to be in the know, here are some great new words from the "Slang Dictionary":
Please let me know any other good ones you know! We'll add them to the list.
There is a belief that interfaces are made enjoyable just because they are easy to use.
My question is how important does the aesthetics play in shaping how we come to know, feel, and respond to interface elements?
On a daily basis, I have to consider how far to push design elements down to a pixel variation. Would the addition of a very subtle drop shadow, gradient, or highlight help the users find what they are looking for? Do these small moves make a difference? Or are they just "eye candy" and of no nutritional value?
My firm stance is Less is More. But that said, i've also instinctual applied a level of details to all interface work that not everyone is attuned to with the main goal of a "pretty design".
Ask yourself which button below do you prefer?Which would you be more inclined to touch/click?
Can small design moves make items more approachable and interactable (is that a word?).
My instincts say hole-heartedly "hell yes". So I'll keep going with that assumption.
>>Read the Full Article
Who would have thought that I could potentially be an anomaly? And that Sun, in general, is very supportive to minorities? Well...
According to over 30,000 readers who took part in the 2008 A List Apart Web Design Survey "The Survey for People Who Make Websites", women make-up ONLY 16.2% of website development teams.
It's been fairly obvious that Sun is supportive of women because of the large number of female executives in play. And, it's quite true that many meetings that I've attended have lots of knowledgeable, technical women are core on the team. And, come to think of it, more than half of the core web publishing team are women.
I just didn't realize that this is not industry standard.
Well, kudos to Sun then!
Searchme.com lets you see what you're searching with a quick visual preview of the website. It not only displays the actual website as a visual stack that can be flipped through, but also the category which it's within.
This technology seems similar to ThinkMap, but a more visual and linear presentation. I'm going to go download their nifty iPhone app right now!
Here's a great list of usability problems that websites commonly face.
Our new president has embraced a contemporary and rich media form of communication — a weekly video address broadcast on the whitehouse.gov site.
The website has been completely overhauled with a lovely redesign to support this goal. Nice visual design, typography, color pallet, and overall architecture. A featured home page rotating carousel leads with rich visuals and supporting CTA from either the new video address or highlights from the Blog. The weekly video address is accompanied by a text transcript. So even the users who can't watch the video can read the message as well.
Only time will tell if this medium will support the message. But this re-branding exercise definately conveys a new direction: new design, new content, and new technology.
We come out of art school with the notion that we'll be spending about 80% of our focus and time on designing fabulous widgets and eccentric interfaces. But the truth of the matter is, in the real world with real people, we end spending about:
This makes perfect sense when taking a closer look at the definition of Politics:
"Politics is the process and conduct of decision-making for groups. Although it is usually applied to governments, political behavior is also observed in corporate, academic, religious, and other institutions"
It is possible to make politics more of an art form by applying some good old design thinking:
Be brave enough to fail.
That's the message behind Honda's new Dream the Impossible documentary short film series. Here's a fabulous new short film called "Failure: the Secret to Success"
Failure. The mere thought can paralyze even the most heroic thinkers and keep great ideas off the drawing board. But is failing really that bad? Get an inside look at the mishaps of Honda racers, designers and engineers to learn how they draw upon failure to motivate them to succeed. From poor color choices to blown race engines, these risk-taking individuals provide an honest look at what most people fear most. Watch the film and discover the upside of failure.
In the spirit of the Martin Luther King Holiday... here is an inspiring design story.
In 1966 Charles Harrison solved an everyday nusance—the early-morning clanging of metal garbage cans—by designing the
first-ever plastic garbage bin for Sears. "When that can hit the market, it did
so with the biggest bang you never heard," wrote Harrison in his 2005
book, A Life's Design. "Everyone was using it, but few people paid close attention to it."
Harrison came from a home where money was tight and became skilled in solving problems. "That set the stage for the rest of my life." Harrison said. He also struggled with dyslexia. But found his strength in art. In 1956, Sears refused to hire him because of an unwritten policy against hiring black people. To get around it, they hired him on a freelance basis through a vendor/contractor. In 1961 when they finally hired him, Harrison rose to become the first black executive and overseeing 22 designers. He worked at Sears for 33 years until the department was shut down in 1993 and was the last employee to leave. Harrison currently teaches at Chicago's Columbia College. Read More
Here's a great list of 10 useful interface design techniques and best practices used in many successful web-applications. This list can vastly improve the user experience in web designs as well.
Interface elements on demand (Simplicity achieved through reduction. But deciding what to show and what to keep is key)
Disable pressed buttons
Shadows around modal windows
Empty states that tell you what to do
Pressed button states
Link to the sign-up page from the log-in page
More emphasis on key functions
My interface design sketches on paper tend to look similar to what my 7-year-old daughter kicks out. But with this handy sketchpad, complete with browser window, and grid, and this awesome website interface stencils, i'm confident my sketches could improve.
Inspired by the NYTimes buzzwords of 2008 article, here are my list of the top 10 buzzwords:
While watching many hours of user testing screen casts, a few choice bits of crowd wisdom came screaming though:
I have a confession. I'm ready to stop pretending content is somebody else’s problem. Let's jump on the content strategy bandwagon—it’s time to make content matter.
Defining an organizing principle that will guide why we need to say it and how it could be said is key. Then figuring out which content could go where and in the best layout/format possible will be clear.
As content strategist Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic says:
"Until we commit to treating content as a critical asset worthy of strategic planning and meaningful investment, we’ll continue to churn out worthless content in reaction to unmeasured requests.We’ll keep trying to fit words, audio, graphics, and video into page templates that weren’t truly designed with our business’s real-world content requirements in mind. Our customers still won’t find what they’re looking for. And we’ll keep failing to publish useful, usable content that people actually care about."
Amen. Have a great New Year!
As we move into the new year, we're all faced with the challenge of how to design customer web experiences that sucessfully integrate the best that social networking Web 2.0 tools has to offer.
The opportunities to engage consumers are vast. But solving the front-end design and customer experience is not as simple as it seems.
Principles to consider:
Watch the Related Video "Recovering from Negative Reviews" Discusses Dell's recent forey into it's customer communications. "A Web site can be a marketer's lifeline with its customers, but what happens when it's marred with negative reviews and comments?
Xhilarate is a website that displays bookmarks in an unique visual presentation -- called supercharged creative bookmarks. Originally started off as a simple idea of sharing a personal bookmark collection and then launched as a open resource.
Wish this functionality would be offered up as a Firefox plug-in. I might be able to consume my bookmarks a bit better this way.
Sara Shuman is the Senior Interactive Design Director for the Oracle Brand and Creative team.
Her design philosophy: less is more.