2009/01/09

Code Mash session: A Programmer's Guide To User Experience

  • Look for most experience, honest, and knowledgeable people for coming up with UX
  • When "interviewing" people for what they're looking for in the app, need to have a conversation.  Given through scenarios: "Process a credit card", "Answer a support call"
  • Put all scenarios into a very high level view into a specification document
  • Give a one-sentence description of what the app does
  • Group features together into sub-projects.  Go over these sub-projects with the users to see if they really fit together and make sense to the user.
  • "Is this REALLY something we're really going to need?" <-- feature that you might want to take away/never show to the user
  • "Is this something we CAN'T do without?"
  • "Maybe we need it..." <-- nice to have's
  • Use a sharpie marker for designing the interface so you don't get into the nitty-gritty details
  • No laptop during the design phase.  Gets you really thinking about the UI from the user's perspective
  • Use native controls for web pages because people know what the controls look like and know what to do with them.
  • Typography is extremely important.  Serif fonts are useful for print/small text sizes (< 14pt), San Serif more important for headers.
  • Black on White is not always readable.    Use a dark gray #333 or so
  • 1.5em line spacing helps improve readability
  • Whitespace is helpful because it improves readability
  • Blur the design.  Can you still tell what the point of the design is?
  • Designing interfaces is the same as Agile methodology.  Iterations are necessary to build them out appropriately.
  • Great way to verify usability when you toss the UI in front of the user
  • Watching a user sometimes provides the best way to find out if the UI is really working.
  • Paper prototyping can be the most useful that doesn't end up costing too much in terms of development time.

Overall the session was pretty decent.  A little short on length without the Q&A though. 

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