TUT #40: Difficult Data, Designing with Code and WeChat’s “Mini Programs”

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TUT is a UXBeginner publication, curating the best UX news & training worth reading.

This article is another great reminder to NOT use lorem ipsum and avoid what most designers do: picking data that “fit” your designs. Writing with real data helps account for edge cases, and create more flexible designs:

  • Highlight: “When it comes to design elements that may display widely variable contents (profile photos or names, for example), you can do better than using real data. Go beyond realistic data. Get difficult data. If you are able to pull in real data, dig through it for the worst cases.”

Matthew Strom wrote about his process of designing WSJ.com’s homepage, starting from Sketch then turning designs to code. Strom makes a great point that designers can generate many more ideas and iterations through code:

  • Highlight: “In my simple prototype, there are 26 configurable features for each article card. That means, for just one story, there are well over 1,000,000 possible cards. Managing this system in Sketch would be an unmaintainable nightmare.”

Super in-depth read of how a digital agency leverages eyetracking to design new iterations of dashboard designs. Since cryptocurrency platforms are relatively new, the implications of this study are helpful to establish design conventions in this space.

  • Highlight: “If the dashboard’s interface is cluttered, the user’s nervous system will perceive one indistinct mass and will frantically scan the screen for something to grab onto. Tests demonstrate the effectiveness of negative space.”

NN/G shares 5 UX lessons learned from Wechat’s “mini programs,” which are apps built for and within the WeChat platform (there are mini programs for games, food delivery, shopping, etc…) Just as there are apps within the Facebook messenger system, the ones in Wechat are hidden by default and but enable access to an entire ecosystem that doesn’t require users to install new, separate apps. I found this one finding about designing for infrequent users to be fascinating…

  • Highlight: “Many of our research participants said that they prefer mini programs for services that they only use occasionally, to save space on their phone. ‘I don’t need to download an app for dry cleaning. I could just use the mini program.’ Designers should figure out the needs of occasional users and address them in the mini program directly.”

A roundup of the products & companies that made it into Fastco’s 2018 design awards. Wearable tech makes an expected appearance, but the themes of privacy and empowering users are especially notable.

  • Highlight: “[Are.na and Relay] both highlight an emerging design trend: removing some conveniences in order to give users more control over their experiences and digital identities.”

Should you create your own website if you already have a portfolio on Behance or Dribbble? Here’s a simple way to decide: if you’re job hunting, apply with your current portfolio and see what results you get. If you’re getting callbacks and interviews, you may not need to spend the extra time spinning up your own custom site. However, building a personal site can be helpful for controlling the design and web presence of your brand, especially if you want to blog.

Keep learning,
Oz, founder @ UXBeginner, instructor @ UX School

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