P.

Prototipar aplicaciones Windows 8 con PowerPoint

PowerMockup ofrece un kit gratuito (y otro más completo de pago) para realizar mockups de aplicaciones Windows 8 en PowerPoint en cuestión de minutos. También incluye assets para diseñar otro tipo de aplicaciones como sitios webs o apps móviles.

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Y es que PowerPoint es de hecho una de las herramientas más populares para hacer wireframes y prototipos low-fi. Permite diseñar interacciones, animaciones, crear tu propio stencil, etc.

Lo extraño es que no sea Microsoft quién promocione este tipo de utilidades sino otra firma, Wulfsoft de Andreas Wulf, en cualquier caso es más que bienvenido y ofrece una oportunidad ideal para diseñar con una herramienta a la que muchos estamos familiarizados.

W.

Windows 8 UX – “first impressions”

Read the original article in spanish at UXSALAD Blog

One of the best things that Microsoft style guide emphasises to design Windows 8 applications is the importance to make a good “first impression” of our solution.

They suggest several ways to accomplish considering the concept and application architecture within its new visual metaphor (also known as Modern UI).

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Tiles and Notifications

The tiles are the face of your application and highlights your brand identity. The relevant notifications will always return the user to your application.

If we consider that “a tile” must be distinguishable from a good list of tiles is important to keep it as simple and clear as possible. We do not know if the rumor of abandoning the current home screen of Windows 8  the tiles will lose strength. In any case, I hope never to retreat from the Live Tiles  surely his most original proposal.

Splash Screen

It expresses personality and should load as fast as possible.

There is some confusion between the resolution that recommended guidelines and the final result of the logo. The image used in the splash must have a resolution of 620×300 pixels, which is not to say that the logo must conform 100% to that resolution. In any case there is freedom to take advantage of every pixel as you like.

First launch

Give the user the contents of examples so that you know how to use the application.

Given that any toolbar could be hidden by default and send the contents, examples of contents are a good place to hitch.

But I’m not convinced that this can be applied to applications in which the user must generate content or, for example, in games. In this case, follow the pattern of instant gratification and for that we would have to get the user to do or interact with the application easily and quickly and be compensated for it, and not relegate it simply to see or be a spectator.

Home page

Use the content just to show what it’s made for your application.

If your application is fully oriented content this should be the place where offer that shows you belong to the first level of hierarchy of information architecture. Of course, do not forget that there is the Semantic Zoom and if the contents do not speak enough of your structure the user can always do “pinch” (zoom out) and see everything a little clearer (after labeling).

 

The combination of all these elements reinforce, as we said, the effort to generate a good impression and make it clear why your application is the best for the purpose it is designed. Although they are strongly linked to the mode of operation of an app for Windows 8 are extrapolated to any other standard, there is more to see how patterns have evolved on other platforms where the contents retrieved his reign.

P.

Propuestas para UXSpain

La segunda edición del UXSpain, encuentro de profesionales de la Experiencia de Usuario, está en marcha y nos piden colaboración. Hace unas semanas les envié brevemente mi sugerencia, pero me gustaría aprovechar este espacio público y más extenso para exponer mejor mis propuestas.

Interfaces de Usuario

El año pasado pudimos ver excelentes charlas y ponentes que hablaron sobre diseño, testing, tecnología, metodologías, etc. todo ello muy orientado al desarrollo de páginas y aplicaciones web (diría que casi un 90% de los contenidos del evento).

Si bien es cierto que la web es un origen común de muchos de nosotros, las interfaces de usuario y, por tanto, la experiencia de usuario puede encontrarse en muchos otros paradigmas, a saber, aplicaciones de escritorio, móviles, gestuales, videojuegos, etc. 

Mi propuesta sería incluir más ponentes que nos hablasen de ese otro tipo de interfaces en las que la interacción hombre-máquina no se realiza necesariamente a través de un navegador web.  

La pregunta ahora es ¿quién se apunta?

Ponentes y temáticas

Recomendar ponentes para el UX Spain debería ser fácil, sin embargo, tengo la impresión de que al igual que el año pasado, habrá más críticas hacia cualquiera de los ponentes que admiración por su trabajo. La verdad sea dicha: no todo el mundo sabe hablar en público aunque tenga algo genial que contar, pero no todos los que creen que saben comunicar tienen algo interesante que decir.

Creo que sería positivo que entre las charlas y los ponentes se pudiera ver con facilidad quién pertenece a la vieja y a la nueva escuela, gente con proyectos recientes prometedores (startups) y otros con una buena trayectoria a sus espaladas (seniors). 

Respecto a las temáticas, a lo mejor podrían ofrecerse charlas paralelas de diferentes temáticas: diseño, estrategia, testing, etc; incluyendo más variedad. Me encantaría conocer a UX Developers contar cómo se integra el desarrollo en los procesos de diseño y no a la inversa, y a analistas contar cómo se puede hacer investigación de necesidades de usuario de bajo coste.

No obstante, no quiero perder la oportunidad de apuntar al menos dos nombres propios a los que me gustaría que la organización invitara para el próximo UXSP:

Organización

Entiendo que UXSP es un encuentro, no es un máster ni un taller, sin embargo animaría a los organizadores a proponer charlas, independientemente de los ponentes, con un carácter más didáctico. A este encuentro me gustaría ir a aprender o a inspirarme y ya en los pasillos a encontrarme con la gente que quiero conocer. No me gustaría ver charlas del tipo “este soy yo y esto es lo que hace mi estudio”. Me aburren muchísimo los porfolios no así las historias sobre casos de éxito y fracaso. 

Tras el evento de 2012, una gran cantidad de participantes del evento que compartimos nuestras conclusiones. Una de las consecuencias más interesantes que ha derivado de este evento es que ahora se comparte incluso más. Hay nuevos eventos, más encuentros y más ganas de mover la máquina (a mí personalmente, me ha animado a escribir más sobre mis propia experiencia).

Lo que realmente espero de este año no es solamente que eso no se pierda, sino que se transforme en una nueva aspiración: ¿existen ahora mejores profesionales de la Experiencia de Usuario?

L.

Let’s be there…

…UX designers can do more. Learn about the problematic healthcare cultural characteristics that dominate and that need to change… Don’t limit yourself to incremental innovation and work that is narrowly focused on UIs.

Richard Anderson

It is, with no doubt, a designer commitment, to go beyond the line that limits the user interface, the software and contribute to transform the healthcare industry by improving processes, patient care, and services.

It’s even more crucial nowadays, when there’s an uncertain investment in healthcare from public sectors.

 

U.

UX in Spain

UX Spain – the first event about User Experience in our country – has been successfully celebrated this week with a pretty high number of attendees, almost 400.

We’ve had the opportunity to meet, know, share and discuss hot topics that concerns to our profession at every level and with a very varied kind of people.

Now that we’re back having our minds in the next #UXSP, we all seems to feel like if the Pandora box was opened. So here are some thoughts and conclusions of this rich exchange of experiences:

What’s UX?

As the 1-million dollar question with hundreds of doubtful answers, the UX exists and cover many areas, we can spent our whole career wondering which kind of UX we are, but the only interesting question is what’s the UX we do and how it helps to create big things.

Coding, Technology, Psychology, Aesthetic and what else?

Misconceptions only bring poor-quality products, services, UIs … or experiences. Attending to all these conferences has made me remind the importance of understanding and learning always something different, something new, something old and, why not, something “borrowed” of other specialisation, whatever it is.

UX is your business, your company is your business

Honestly, it is the first time I hear about “Intraprenuer” and I love it, mainly because it highlights the power of changing a company for better. We’re on track 😉

Are UX roles real? The talent is searched

Companies that expressed their failure hiring “UX people” where there, by the way, offering jobs. Some old-fashioned discussions where developers (wrongly called  technologists) and designers (probably conceived as visual designers) where both considered in this big world hiding the most difficult-to-admit true: the only thing that really matter is talent, and it’s not something that everybody can have it. Rest of us we’ll think how to be as good as possible.

Share, share, share…

It’s time to share again, to get rid of confidentiality, or shame, or fear, or mistery… it’s time to tell the truth about our failures and success. We have even a bigger responsibility since we’ve had people to admire who made this before. We have to give something to the community as we have received it in the past.

… and much more

  • User testing not needed anymore, really?
  • Missing something else rather than web pages, web sites, web architectures, and web design… the app world is coming and we cannot forget desktops.
  • Agile, is it new? Shall we say only Lean UX? The challenge of big teams working smoothly, my favorite 15-mins speech of this event powered by Ujue Agudo and Tona Monjo. The design process matters.
  • Universal design is not possible but disabled users have preferences, as any other users (Thanks to Idioa Soto and Nacho Madrid)
  • Prototyping is your communication tool – use it A.L.W.A.Y.S (Thanks to Dani Armengol)
  • The UX is made for something good (Thanks to elecciones.es and Mònica Zapata)

 

I personally don’t have any user-mantra to repeat again and again when I go to the office every day, but I’m in love of my work because I love create things, I love beauty and great ideas that can positively impact in other people.

That’s all, such simple such pretentious.

That’s the way I honor this profession and makes me get by to the uncertainty and disappointments that, being honest, sometimes just happens. I have seen same vision and feelings in UX Spain and I’m looking forward to repeat it again next year, so hope to meet all of you keeping the same energy.

D.

Designing and developing HTML5+CSS3 webistes and mobile apps

In my previous post “CSS3 Tools” we saw I few well-known websites which provides frameworks and tools to start with CSS3.

Here, I’d like to complete and extend that list with more useful frameworks, libraries and other assets to play with the new version of the html markup.

Applications

Libraries

Frameworks

Helpers

Documentation and Books

I’ll update with more resources soon, just keep tuned.

C.

CSS3 Tools

Digging into web and gathering recommendations, I’ve created this post with a set of tools for CSS themer who wants to develop with the latest version of cascade style sheets CSS3.

Hope you find them useful, too.

Modernizr

Open-source JavaScript library that helps you build the next generation of HTML5 and CSS3-powered websites.

Selectivzr

JavaScript utility that emulates CSS3 pseudo-classes and attribute selectors in Internet Explorer 6-8. Simply include the script in your pages and selectivizr will do the rest.

CSS3.Me and CSS Generator

CSS3 Generator helper tools.

CSS Template layout mode

This specification is part of level 3 of CSS (“CSS3”) and contains features to describe layouts at a high level, meant for tasks such as the positioning and alignment of “widgets” in a graphical user interface or the layout grid for a page or a window, in particular when the desired visual order is different from the order of the elements in the source document.

Font Dragr

A revolutionary way to test custom fonts in the browser. No coding, no uploading, just drag and drop.

Compass and Sass.

Compass is an open-source framework that uses Sass.:an extension of CSS3 which adds nested rules, variables, mixins, selector inheritance, and more. Sass generates well formatted CSS and makes your stylesheets easier to organize and maintain.

CSS3 Cheat Sheet.

A complete listing of all the properties, selectors types and allowed values in the current CSS 3 specification from the W3C. Each property is provided in a section that attempts to match it with the section (module) that it is most actively associated within the W3C specification.

S.

Should the Software Industry learn from other fields?

I’ll share with you an interesting reflection found in the book “Prototyping” by Todd Zaki Warfel regarding why we don’t expect prototyping as stage in the process in software development, regardeless the myth of the “return of investment”:

I think the first reason is that in software development, the emphasis is often placed on the development process and not the design process. The industry doesn’t call it “software design”; they call it “software development.“

In software development, design is often an afterthought. The emphasis is on the technology or features—not the design. In architecture and industrial design, however, the emphasis is on design. Form follows function.

Another reason is that software development is seen as a manufacturing process, but architecture and industrial design are seen as a craft.

In the following pages we’re introduced to the concept of Design studio, which is very common in other design fields:

In studio classes, you design or prototype and present to your peers. Your peers critique your work, highlighting the strengths and areas that still need some work.

Prototypes are not just a tool to communicate or to describe ideas, but also a work methodology, a phylosophy where sharing, colaborating and criticizing can speed up the process, prevent future failures and empower peers into trust and success.

It’s not a believe, fortunately I could check it by my own in my short experience, so the answer from my viewpoint is clear:”Yes, the software industry must learn a lot from other fields and design can help to lead that subversion”.