Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Notes from "Creating User Experiences: Fundamental Design Principles by Billy Hollis

Here are my notes so far from watching Billy Hollis' course, I'll add some comments and take-away's when I get home.

Proliferation of devices
Touch computing
Ubiquitous connectivity
Cloud storage

For the history of software, it's been good
enough to make things possible. Now
success also depends on making things

Why not just stay in the ruts?
It's hard to get out - really hard
It requires investment of time and money
For some systems, it's not worth it
It gets us out of our comfort zone

The payoff can be huge
Higher productivity
Lower training
Fewer errors
More satisfied users

Applied imagination is creativity.
Creativity is working on solutions
to real-world problems.

Applied creativity is innovation.
Innovation is producing the
tangible real-world results that
apply a creative design or solution.

Our ecosystem has changed, new touch based devices like the Ipad, Kindle, Android tables, and touch based phones have changed the expectations of users.  The Kinect and vision/gesture based systems are going to change it even more.


Inattentional blindness
High resolution area of visual field is very small, about the size of the moon. 
How the human brain works, and what designers need to do for the results to work in harmony with the way people really see, think, and work.

Warning messages close to this source, blinking is annoying (maybe limit the number of blinks?)

Every time an option is added to a list it decreases the value of every other option in the list
Actively look for ways to expose functionally to the user that makes them the most productive

Fundamental Principles of Designing Things
Here are my take-away's so far:

  1. Developers should be doing more than making things possible, we should be striving to make the user's job easier.
  2. Users are no longer satisfied with the "grey battleship" design of business apps.  The prevalence of devices such as the IPad, IPhone, Android Tablets, Windows Surface and touch enabled phones has made them expect more responsive and user friendly designs
  3. Learn from real-world designs,  both good and bad.  
    1. Keep aware of archetypes that users are familiar with (buttons, signage, etc.).  Keep aware of recent developments, i.e. square button familiarity due to recent usage in applications.
    2. Gestalt - principle of proximity
    3. Fitts Law -  the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.
    4. Pareto Principle (80/20) rule
    5. Hicks Law -  increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically.
    6. Consistency, Symmetry, Alignment.
  4. There are a couple of canonical books to read:
    1. Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler
    2. Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson
  5. We need to "exercise"  our right brains (developers mostly exercise the "left" brain - the logical, mathematical part) to develop 
  6. Users outnumber developers - it's worth a lot of effort to save the users even a little bit of time.
More to come as I finish the course.

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