Does Skeuomorphic Design Matter? | UX Magazine

Skeuomorphs and Affordances

Since the introduction of iOS 7, the blogosphere has been alive with debate on Apple’s departure from skeuomorphism—the yellow lined legal pad of Notes, the leather bound folio of Calendar. We are now deeply mired in a flat vs. skeuomorphic debate that reduces skeuomorphism to coddling kitsch and equates flat design with high-modernism. Both sides have missed the point.

Skeuomorphs in design aren’t useless decoration, but contextual clues. Like design metaphor they are the visual equivalent of figurative language—enabling designers to quickly tap into shared cultural understandings and convey complex meanings in a straightforward way. They work as a new kind of affordance, one that communicates not function but identity.

READ MORE: Does Skeuomorphic Design Matter? | UX Magazine.

YouTube has a good sense of humor in handling errors

500 Internal Server Error happens when the server encounters a generic problem

500 Internal Server Error happens when the server encounters a generic problem

I checked in to access my daily dose of YouTube in the evening when this popped up on my browser screen.

So, what is  “500 Internal Server Error”? Well, who cares, the message had a sense of humor and that’s what mattered at that moment. A couple of attempts and the site was available for viewing. What I liked was the error handling done by YouTube at the server side. An “500 internal Server Error” means that something went wrong at the website server. It’s a generic message and yet flexible to be customized. Websites can take this opportunity to address error handling in a manor that will ensure that user inconvenience and emotional reaction can be contained by

Why is this error handling unique?

1. To start with, this error is not in your control. Sometimes servers fail to respond or probably your code fails.

2. This error is lot more detrimental to your site than when a typical 404 error. When the site does not load, user walks away.

3. There is no least resistance path for the user, there is no safety net and nor is there any graceful degradation. Your user actually might think its his fault or perhaps that he has reached a dead end.

How to handle server errors

The only possible way is to convey to the user that an error has occurred and its not his/her fault. Be graceful and honest about the situation. Google took this a step further by adding humor to the messaging and giving the user something to laugh about and in doing so, dilute the inconvenience that the user might have felt. That’s clever.

Do you agree?

 

 

How to get graphic designers excited about your wireframes

How to get designers excited about your wireframes

How to get designers excited about your wireframes

As a usability or user experience architect one is very passionate about their output, and why not. You have spent long hours banging your head trying to understand requirements, getting stakeholders excited and convincing your model to the business. When it comes to getting your design implemented, that’s when you have a visual designer at hand who is brought in to develop your vision into reality.

Then there are others who involve user experience designers in this process and have then get involved at a certain stage of development so as to have them limber up to the main event of creating the user interface. I am not drawing any conclusions here but I do have an opinion that a designer is a designer. And if he is designing a website or an application, he is good at his game. To create fantastic visual interpretation of the user interface. Graphic designers have a special significance in a creative team because they have the tendency to think out of the box. I like that attribute to be associated and be an asset in a product development team.

Let me start by underlining the importance of good graphic designers –

  • They thrive on challenges
  • They always think out of the box
  • They are not limited by conformity
  • They know their game, and goal is to create the wow factor with attention to detailing
  • Always listening, always curious

A good designer would always be a good learner. If you trace all the design evolution till date in software and web, designers have been always been there tinkering with the latest in technology and business and software solutions. They have always been working hand in hand with core teams and absorbing skills that complimented their own core skills. So, when it comes to user experience, I see no different situation.

Here are some points one which I follow when involving a designer in a project. I have created this list based on my personal experience with them as a user experience professional.

  • Give them an orientation about them about the software or product. Allow them to absorb and understand the product. They will feel a lot more engaged with their work.
  • Identify and share challenges with them. Engage them by taking critical inputs or solutions from them. They will feel as an important part of the team.
  • Engage them early, even if their work is not yet taken off in the project time line. It gives them some breathing space to creatively limber and be prepared with ideas and thoughts that they can bring in on a tight schedule.
  • If your disagree with their designs, do not criticize them. Instead challenge their solution by giving your counter argument on why it would not work. No one appreciates negative criticism but everyone respects and accepts rational debates.
  • Sometimes you need to cut a slack and focus on the critical issues. Designers tend to get bogged down by creative issues that you might not find critical. Instead of telling them to hurry things up, your should assist them plan design tasks based on criticality.
  • Balance your appreciation with criticism. Excess of both are not good for our product. You need to know when to balance things by adding the right amount. This is applicable even when things are going in the extreme ends (good or bad i,e).
  • Even if its not their concern, it sometimes feels good to share some insights with them to address certain issues. And vica versa, you should take inputs from them and if possible consider its application, and perhaps apply them. Its no rocket science that most of the times, if not always, experience teaches is more than books do.
  • Given them responsibilities and watch them become responsible. I am yet to see a designer who has not taken his responsibility seriously. They may not be good at taking big ones but when set in small sets, they tend to do wonders.
  • Acknowledge their contribution to the larger group in your organisation. They will appreciate it and also take pride in their work.

I guess the last point holds true for all of us too, doesn’t it?

[Image copyright: logolitic.com]

How stories help build a experience

Every product has a experience to offer. Be it a software or a hardware product. People dealing with industrial design will know better. Even the service industry has customer experience as the fulcrum of their service design. So, why then is it that software should be any different? Its used by people and they can be for personal consumption or business or exerprise objectives. What ever the purpose, there is a value proposition that the software offers to the user.

So how does one go about building a good experience for their product? The answer is actually quite simple in essense. Give them value proposition and a feeling that it was made keeping them in mind.

Value proposition
So what is valued by the user? There are various possible values that you can deliver.

  • product features
  • user experience
  • aesthetics
  • intuitiveness
  • effective delivery

Tailor-made for them
This is the icing on the cake. And this is where your product design tells a story. Remember the stories your mother or grandmother told you when you were a kid. Remember your excitement even when the same story got repeated again and again. why was it so? the story had the same ending, the moral was the same and the person telling you the story was also the same. But the experience that you got from listening to the story never diminished in excitement or intrigue. That is the highlight of a good expeirence.

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