UX Heroes Visual Prototyping Bundle – Name your price on 3 great prototyping tools

UX Heroes has a great offer available on several tools for UX Designers.  The UX Heroes Visual Prototyping Bundle offers a deep discount on three visual prototyping tools to help you diagram, wireframe and prototype. You can choose your own price using the slide control at the bottom of the page. This bundle only runs until September 27th, so act quickly if you’re interested in it!  You can get the following tools worth almost $200 for any price you choose:

  • Gliffy Online: Create diagrams such as flowcharts, UI wireframes, floor plans, network diagrams, UML diagrams, web site maps, or any other simple drawing or diagram.
  • HotGloo: Collaboratively create low and high fidelity wireframes or prototypes.
  • Mocksup: Share your mockups on any desktop, tablet or smartphone, collect feedback via comments and sticky notes, and create quick UX prototypes by linking mockups together.

Plus, you can get Chalkmark (worth $109) if you spend $40.

Get the bundle now!

If you use the link in this blog post for the offer, you will be able to get a discount if you go on to buy the main bundle when it is launched in a couple of weeks. That bundle will offer even more UX tools for a fraction of their retail cost.

UX principles in action: Feedback systems and Ford SYNC

UX principles in action: Feedback systems and Ford SYNC

The importance of providing system feedback

Providing the user feedback during an action is one of the most basic user experience principles that must be considered when designing systems.  Feedback can come in a variety of forms: a confirmation message upon completion of an action, an error message if something goes wrong, a progress indicator while the system is performing an action, or other visual techniques that indicate a system’s state.  Providing feedback in a design helps to minimize errors and gives users confidence while performing tasks or actions.

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Challenge can lead to more engaged, informed, and self-sufficient users

“Challenging users in the correct manner will ultimately lead to more engaged, informed, and self-sufficient users. Informed users have a better idea of what they want and can better articulate why they want it. Most importantly, a user who is engaged with a subject is more willing and able to grow with it.” – P.J. Onori

Read more in P.J.’s article “In Defense of Hard” from the Adaptive Path newsletter.

The purpose of user experience design is to create personal value

“The purpose of user experience design is to create personal value. We’re not here to reduce risk. We’re not here to massage conversion rates. We’re here to make things that improve people’s lives. In doing so, our companies profit in both senses of the word. It’s insufficient to judge our industry by the ROI we generate, or our contribution toward GDP. We should judge our industry by the happiness we create.” – Cennydd Bowles

Read more in the transcript of Cennydd’s IA Summit 2011 closing plenary speech “The fall and rise of user experience.

Focus on finding the right design, not the right tool

“I’ve noticed that some attributes are common among the people whose work I admire. The people who are the most effective seem to continue to study their practice, and perfect their craft. After long hours of use, they find the way to flow within any app at their disposal, and become as fast and effective as they can using it. The key is what they do with the app once they’ve become expert at their craft, expert in finding the right design, expert in communicating, and expert in refining… Don’t let anyone tell you that what [tool] you choose is wrong or inappropriate. Find the right design and keep winning.” – Michael Angeles

This quote is from Michael’s article “Have a nice day.” Click on the thumbnail image above to view the full sized quote card.

Top 6 Help Design Patterns for iPhone Apps

Top 6 Help Design Patterns for iPhone Apps

User Experience Designers usually aim to make application interfaces intuitive and easy to use without relying on help or a manual to guide the user through how to use the app.  However, there are times when an interface is most effective and efficient to use once some initial behaviors are learned.  In these cases, designing an application to be completely intuitive upon first-time use can be impractical or detrimental to repetitive use.  There are also times where a quick introduction on how to use an app simply makes the user feel more comfortable interacting with it for the first time, and is not a reflection of a poorly designed interface.

iPhone applications that introduce new, innovative interaction models or that allow the user to access a wide range of information or complete several tasks often use first-time use help screens to help users learn how an app works.  This help can come in a wide variety of styles: demos, tutorials, single screen overlays, walkthroughs, tips, or short screen summaries.  These first-time help screens are often supplemented by a centralized help or FAQ area within the app.  Below is a look at how different apps have leveraged these help patterns to introduce functionality to their users upon first use.

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