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👨‍💻 I design stuff for the web and co-run uxtools.co
UX Design for navigation menus
UX Design for navigation menus

Original article on uxtools.co

Navigation menus are one of the most-viewed and most-clicked-on pieces of interface. Let’s look at some principles of nav design that will help our users have a better experience.

1) Placement matters

The web has developed a clear pattern for where navigation goes (very top, left side, or in the footer). When menus are placed outside of these areas, it feels awkward, confusing, and hard to find.


My partner Taylor and I just launched some new UX Challenges.

👉 https://uxtools.co/challenges/

We made these so that designers can learn and practice crucial UX skills. There are too many clichéd UI exercises out there. These challenges are different:

👩🏻‍💻 Based in the real world. This isn’t another fake redesign or “create an ATM for a centaur.” Every exercise looks like a project you’d get in real life.

🛠 Practice important skills. UX is more than just UI. Each challenge helps you understand and train a specific UX skill like card sorting or usability testing.

💪 Stop reading: try UX…


The UX industry puts a lot of emphasis on processes. But is that the best way to think fundamentally about design?

What no one explains about the design process
What no one explains about the design process

Originally posted on uxtools.co

The UX industry puts a lot of emphasis on process.

As a result, I hear from stressed-out designers all the time asking questions like this:

  • Where do I start on a new project?
  • How do I know what to do next?
  • Which process should I learn?

It’d be great if UX design was as simple as, “do this, then do this, then do this.” In practice, unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

So what method do we use to answer these questions? What is a better way of looking at the practice of UX design?

What about XYZ process?

Design Sprint


User personas can be problematic. Is there a way to turn them into a useful resource?

How can we make user personas useful?
How can we make user personas useful?

Original article on uxtools.co.

User personas are controversial. They’re built with great intentions, and then break down. People aren’t sure how to create them. They sit in drawers and hang on the wall, forgotten or ignored.

But personas can be very beneficial if they’re created and used properly.

Here are a few reasons why your personas may be failing, and some fixes to turn them into a useful resource.

What’s the problem with personas?

The issue isn’t with the tool itself, it’s the fact that they have been misunderstood and misused over the years. …


Original article on uxtools.co.

Over 4,000 designers responded to the annual UX Tools survey.

Here are some key takeaways from the results.

1) Miro had massive growth


User Research: Is It Worth It?
User Research: Is It Worth It?

Original article on uxtools.co.

Meet Maria.

She’s sitting at her desk, thinking about the design project she launched a few weeks ago.

Maria is a talented designer. She has good intuition and a solid understanding of design principles.

But her latest project hasn’t gone off well. There have been more customer complaints than usual. And what’s worse, the complaints have turned out to be completely valid. She’s already had to redesign a few things. And this isn’t the only time this has happened.

Lately, Maria has been hearing a lot about user research: user interviews, journey maps, usability testing, and…


The largest tech company in the world just launched new software.

Original article on uxtools.co.

There are problems with Apple’s Big Sur, but let’s look at a few UX decisions they (mostly) got right.

User-first

Emphasis on the UI was reduced in order to keep the focus on the user’s content. Buttons and controls appear when needed and recede when they’re not. Borders and bezels have been softened or removed.

The interface is there to serve the user — it shouldn’t draw attention to itself. Remove visual complexity & increase the signal to noise ratio.


How can designers support the actual decision-making process of users?

Original article on uxtools.co.

We like to apply labels to users: they’re irrational, lazy, unpredictable, rushed, and so on.

To some extent that may be true — we aren’t machines.

But research shows that users actually make decisions based on a set of predictable subconscious patterns.

To create satisfying digital experiences, UX designers should be aware of — and support — these cognitive habits.

Heuristics

Human beings use psychological tactics and biases to get to decisions quickly. These mental shortcuts are called heuristics. We use heuristics in everyday life, but we especially like using them with software.

We don’t follow these…


Usability testing in 4 simplified steps
Usability testing in 4 simplified steps

Original article on uxtools.co.

Are you intimidated by usability testing? Don’t know where to start? Feel like it’s too time consuming or expensive?

Usability testing doesn’t need to be a fully-fledged psych experiment with a formal lab, big team, and lots of time and money. In the real world, it can (and often should) be much lighter and faster than that.

Here are four manageable steps that anyone can do to perform a free remote usability test. I’ll include some tips to make sure you get actionable data.

1) Start with a clear goal


The ability to create and think in user flows is one of the most important skills in a UX designer’s toolkit.

Original article on uxtools.co.

What’s a user flow?

The short definition is:

A series of steps a user takes to achieve a meaningful goal.

It shows the path a user takes through the product as they complete a specific task. It has things like a title, wireframes, and notes in a flow chart. (More on this later 😄.)

Why do we make one?

What’s the benefit of adding user flows to our process? Here are five important benefits:

Increases our awareness of the user

When you’re in the weeds of designing, it’s easy to get lost in project requirements, technical jargon, and personal opinions. By the end, the user isn’t even part of the conversation.

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