Rudderless and a Sense of Progress: What Brings 2021?

A few days ago my wife told me she wanted to plan for her future professional career. After a few hours, we arrived at her mission statement.

“To use creative arts and crafts to visualise heartwarming brand stories to make them positive, memorable experiences.”

That statement allowed us to set objectives, expectations and actual tasks. It gave us a sense of direction.

And it feels great…

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A Defensive Attitude Makes You Tired and Sad

Like everyone, I occasionally feel tired and sad.

Most of the time that is when I had a period of a defensive attitude towards work (and life).

Only reacting to what the world throws at me. “Respond to this notification.” “RSVP to that meeting”; “work on this ticket”.

We slip in this mode because it doesn’t require thinking.

Playing defence keeps me in a state of worry. Wondering if I am making any progress. Anxious about what the next day holds.

This is a reminder for us to shift back from defence to offence.

Make your goals visible. Make your expectations known.

Stop only solving problems and minimising risk. Stop focusing on others and their priorities.

Instead, be proactive. Rewrite your to-do list with that what helps you get where you want to be.

(If that is doing tasks your boss dictates, so be it. Add your own, too.)

Find ways to improve processes. Try something new. Prioritise your own goals. Take back control.

The Curse of Consistent

Consistency in interfaces is misunderstood. I address this often in client meetings.

A predictable interface results in a better experience. Having the same elements act the same way is a goal all UI designers should have.

Yet, confusion starts with suggestions like matching the height of a table row to the button’s. Or a hard-coded button width — disregarding the length of the labels.

“That’s consistent”, layman argue. It is not. Not in the sense of interface effectiveness.

That ‘sameness’ can even hurt the UI. Differences in size and shape influence efficacy, as well.

Instead, steer the discussion towards consistency based on familiar patterns. The experiences the person had with similar behaving software.

Use your designer's eye and common sense for the visual aspect.

The Simplicity in Making Your Own Solutions

In the world of bad business models it’s refreshing to be able to see in your own needs.

Examples of me building solutions fit to my needs are:

  1. A simple HIIT interval timer:
  2. Convert Kg ↔ Lb
  3. The calories calculator I made on Codepen

I forced myself to think simple. And, to target my specific need without bloating the software.

Do not let your excitement get in the way of a good experience. It’s better to have one great feature than 5 mediocre ones.

Keeping Up With Design Trends

Apple is paving the way with new skeuomorphic design. Those tendencies first appeared on the toolkit in Apple’s Notes app.

MacOS their recent version Big Sur caused a big nostalgia trip with reintroducing three-dimensional product icons. And, many people find them ugly.

I have always been a fan of a tactile feel of what we do on screens. Making visual design look ‘closer to the real thing’ helps with that.

That’s why I am considering getting into 3D design. Are we going to see a change to ‘neumorphic’ user interfaces?

How would this website look in with neumorphic touches? Take a look here:

Do You Recognize an Excellent Marketer?

Here are the things I’ve observed that make an admirable marketer.

Skillful marketers have pinpointed a niche. Because, “when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

The experts write strategies on the opportunities and bottlenecks in their customer’s journeys.

Marketers understand what resonates with their target audience. And, they are empathic of the needs of the target group. They sell benefits, not features.

Admirable marketers are consistent in their messaging; they’ve written an engaging story that gets repeated.

Great marketers understand they can’t work in silos. They work together with copywriters, designers and user experience researchers.

They always have the answer to the question ‘why’.

5 Easy Steps To Design a Dark Mode for Your Product

Get started designing a dark theme for your digital product.

  1. Inverse the text colour and the background colour.
  2. Take remaining colours and reduce their saturation and brightness by 10% — 30%.
  3. Reduce the brightness and saturation of images. (I use 60% brightness and 70% saturation.)
  4. Increase the contrast of UI elements until compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  5. Make all colours fit together. Use common sense or get a designer’s eye on it.

For my blog, I’ve used the Media Query ‘prefers-color-scheme’ to overwrite my default CSS variables.