AMC Pacer

The AMC Pacer: proof that UXD is important

On this July 4th holiday I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and thinking back to summer picnics growing up in Wisconsin. One of those regular summer picnic events will be near and dear to me always — when our family all went to my dad’s annual company picnic. It was a special event for more reasons than just the hot dogs, ice cream and three-legged races. You see, my father worked for American Motors and at the summer picnic each year, the employees and their families got to see the upcoming new model year cars unveiled before the general public. As you might expect, that made an impressionable young guy like me feel pretty special. But maybe not so much the year the AMC Pacer was unveiled. What does any of this have to do with UX? I’ll come back around to that soon.

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960 Grid System in Axure

Start your Axure project using the 960 Grid System

When starting a new project in Axure you should start with a grid so that your layouts stay consistent from page to page. (An updated version of this post is available here.) I recommend using the 960 Grid System as the basis of your Master page layouts. This will ensure that you are designing your wireframes at a size that is optimized for 1024×768 browsers and that your page templates will be compatible with good responsive design practices.

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Woman at Computer

What is User Experience Design (UXD)?

Let me start by saying I hate the word “user” in the phrase “user experience design.” If you walked up to someone on the street and called him a user he would think you were mistaking him for a drug addict. Spending countless hours on Facebook or Angry Birds may be addicting, but not like that. Problem is, there isn’t a better word to describe people who engage with, consume and experience digital content. “Digital consumers.” “Experiencers.” “Engagers.” Bleh. “Users” is just so direct, simple and practical that it’s hard not to prefer it to some contrived substitute. “User” is the convention, and it would be hypocritical of me to eschew convention, since I believe strongly in the contrary when it comes to UXD. But I still hate the word. So here’s a better one: person. (But I doubt that “Person Experience Design” will catch on…)

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Simple usability testing can save a brand

Well, it happened again – the same thing that happens every time any digital product is put through usability testing. We found out that the people designing the thing (people who know exactly what it’s supposed to do and how it’s supposed to work) are not the same as the people actually using the thing. And the people who are supposed to use the thing don’t get it. And because they don’t get it, they have three options for how they might respond.

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