UX is a burgeoning field. If current design job listings are any indication, you are likely to find UX precedes and emphasized above the other design disciplines (UI, graphic, etc.) Yet the same listings a few years ago would not have contain any mention of UX, but simply “web design” as an all-encompassing description.
As web design matures as a craft, there’s a greater understanding and segregation of its various parts. And UX became more valued because of the focus on users, research and data. UX promises to bring a controlled and duplicable process to creativity and innovation. Whereas visual design still remain largely channeled through individuals, and out of the grasp of organizations. So the emphases on UX then is an attempt of organizations at controlling the creative process.
Anecdotal stories of Google A/B testings various color buttons have become legends in UX design, and a proclamation that the UX process is mathematically greater than individual designers. By gathering massive amounts of data and research, have organizations solved for creativity and innovation?
In fashion, the colors black and white can be “in” one season, and be “out” the next. Only to return again sometimes down the road. So too in art the classics make way for the modern and then return as the neo-classics.
People say that skeuomorph is dead, and iOS7 was the last nail in it’s coffin. But I beg to differ. I predicted its rise as a way for people to emotionally connect with digital interfaces and saw its demised in the way that it was over abused in recent years.
But skeuomorph will never die. And when people finally get sick of everything looking like today’s Google/Android apps, skeuomorph will return.
And I for one will continue to use skeuomorph where it makes sense to be ahead of the curve in the future, and stand out from the pack of sheeps in the now.
I’ve been doing a lot more interviewing as of late as we are looking to fill a junior designer position.
No one have ever showed me how to conduct an interview, so after some trial and errors, I’ve put together a simple process to follow. Help me add to it.
1) Look at their past projects and go over it together in some details.
2) Talk about the position you are looking to fill. The responsibilities, expectations, and possibilities.
3) Ask them how they see themselves fulfilling those roles.
I found these 3 rules simple but effective in seeing if a candidate is the right one. Tell me your interview process so we can learn together.
CSS3 allows you to ellipse overflowing text inside an element of known width. Either by “px” or “%.”
But what if the width of the element is flexible, and therefore, unknown?
Consider the image below:
The highlighted row contains two DIV elements side-by-side. As the right DIV grows wider and to the left, it squishes the left DIV and force it to ellipse any overflown text.
This cannot be done simply with DIV elements as their width are wholly independent. The trick is a clever use of the <TABLE> tag, and “position:absolute;”
I find myself using this hack more and more as mobile UI becomes ever more the standard.
A few weeks back I attended the SASS meetup ran by the awesome Claudina. The topic for the night was SASS and how it can be use to implement Responsive Web Design. The presentation was very good and it got me thinking about the topic of RWD again. Now if you have been following my blog, you would know that I’m not a fan of Responsive Web Design, and nothing have changed, if anything, my resolve has only strenghtened.
The presenter stated anecdotally that Ethan Marcotte, the face of RWD, was 50/50 on it’s future. That even he has reservations about RWD is telling, now allow me present yet another argument against RWD.
In my work I go back and forth designing the same product for various platforms (iPhone/Android, then desktop website, then iPad, then mobile web, rinse and repeat.) It’s a linear process, where I solve for one platform before moving onto the next. And with each new platform, I make changes based on the lesson learned from the one before. Sometimes the changes are radical. So it’s not about deploying one product across multiple platforms that you have with RWD, but many iterations of the product.
By the time I get to the mobile web, the product would be much evolved from the iPhone design where I started. It’s an incredibly valuable process of evolution that you get from designing for individual platforms that would missing from any Responsive Web Design project.
There are people who changed the course of your life in such a visible way you don’t know how much of it you owe to them.
I interned for Hillman as a SVA student studying a completely unrelated field to web design. It was suppose to be a semester long internship, something to put on my resume, and some change in my pocket. But at Hillman’s requests, I stayed on, for close to two years.
He was a man of very few words, and I guess I was, too. Each day, we would speak briefly about the tasks at hand, and get to our work without another sound.
There’s steely inscrutable silence to Hillman. There’s no telling what the man was thinking. He did not preach, and rarely did he instruct. But when he did spoke, it was in a few words, loaded with his thoughts. I would try to unravel each word like clues to a riddle, to get to know the man.
What I learned from Hillman I learned from watching him. I observe his creative process, and made it a template for mine. I see where and when he breaks the grid, and what for. He showed me what it meant to be an artist, and a web designer.
But above all, it was his support that changed everything for me.
I remember two weeks into my internship, I was fetching some equipment in the storage room, and telling Liz Danzico, who was working with us at the time, that I have no clue what I was doing, and how well I was doing it. With Hillman, it’s hard to tell his opinion on anything. She said that he liked me, that he thinks I was doing fine.
Years later I was having lunch with an architect friend who shares office space with us. She told me that they talked about me, I asked who, she said Hillman and my co-worker. They think that I am special, that I will do something good.
These episodes instilled confidence in me when I’m filled with doubt. It pushed me to try harder in the face of failures, and made me believe that I can be a great web designer, like Hillman.
I got a chance to thank him last year at the fundraiser for his unfinished collaboration with Stefan Sagmeister, the Happy Film. It is obvious to me that I would not have a career if it wasn’t for Hillman, not to mention his numerous recommendation letters over the years.
I remember our last conversation well:
Me: Hillman, I don’t want to be the one that have to tell you this, but you need to eat something, you are all skin and bones.
Hillman: Ah, you see, Du, I’m sick. I eat five meals a day but nothing seems to help.
Me: But, you are going to be okay, right?
Hillman: I hope so, but the doctor don’t know, no one knows.
My heart goes out to his young children, Jasper and Tess.