Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

I’m Hiring … a User Interface Designer

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Hi! I’m on the lookout for a talented User Interface Designer in Toronto. If concept sketching, visual design and prototyping are your thing, then please checkout the job posting and reach out to me. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Interactive Sketching Notation v1.2

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The next version of the Interactive Sketching Notation is rolling out today. One of the biggest adjustment was to the Adobe Illustrator template by adjusting the scale of all the icons, screens and widgets from a way smaller scale to a more screen friendly set. Before, when I tried to export my sketches from Illustrator I realized that all the work is so tiny that it is unreadable. So now the template contains 1024×768+ and 1366×768+ scaled screen outlines (along with additional iPhone, iPad, Android device screens) that are all to scale on a standard computer monitor. Screens edges have also been straightened a bit to make it easier to align items.

Another big improvement was expanding the set of sketchy style icons to 49. I spent a few good hours drawing out typical icons for things like: zooming in, zooming out, cameras, social icons, trash cans, settings, attachments, portraits, shopping carts, etc, etc. Hoping this might be useful.

Finally, the other improvement is in expanding the range of widgets such as sliders, progress bars, date pickers and an android keyboard.

Although the notation itself is shareable under Creative Commons, the Illustrator Template is now a paid product ($19 CAD) – as I’m putting more time into it (and plan on in the future).

Please let me know if you have recommendations, requests or just want to give feedback.


Interactive Sketching Notation v1.1

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Here is a quick and minor update to the Interactive Sketching Notation. The new release comes with a few additional icons (thumbs up, thumbs down, starring, file, portrait, folder) which I found I use on many projects over and over again. Another thing I’ve done was to clean up the Character Styles to have more “dark text” styles, as well as an orange “Feedback” style. Two new back and forward buttons, as well as a larger default standard button were included as well. Finally, I’ve also added an additional pagination component. Will try to throw in a couple extra ones in the future. Oh, and for those who wish to support the project, I’ve enabled the option to purchase a royalty free license. Cheers.

Interactive Sketching Notation v1.0

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

The time has finally come to update the Interactive Sketching Notation for the new year. This time around it now comes with an Adobe Illustrator template that’s loaded with swatches, character styles, and symbols ready for use (pen tablet highly recommended). The whole sketching system has also been elaborated to also include such things as: variation, notes, and multiple user types. Please let me know how you use it or if you have recommendations. Enjoy.

User Interface Refactoring

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

In the world of software development there is a well established practice of refactoring which aims to improves code quality without changing the core functionality. Instead, other attributes such as greater maintainability or reduced complexity are achieved. I very much well find that time and time again, design work on an interface (especially with multiple designers and over longer periods of time) creates inefficiencies, divergences and breaks in consistency. interface design then I see benefiting from such a refactoring like practice, just as the following two articles suggest as well:

Personas are like statues

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Immobile. Static. Fluff. Over simplified. Minimalistic. Artificial. Plastic. At least that’s how I feel about them. There I said it.

Anthropological ideas of situated action suggest that the complexity of human activity varies from situation to situation. Personas in this respect by showcasing a unified image fail to capture a more complex range of possible activities which can be very inspirational. The form of representation is often a few textual paragraphs and a picture which is questionable at its effectiveness in developing empathy. If the aim of such a design activities is to inspire team members then I would say that more powerful methods of context mapping exist which look beyond the boundaries of a person into the environment. These empathy encouraging methods can also be strengthened with the use of video which Jacob Buur has been exploring thoroughly in Denmark. Furthermore even richer empathy can be achieved by means of team participation when designers join ranks with users in eliciting their latent needs through design research. Given the choice between uniform personas and more granular, video based, participatory scenarios my preferential vote is cast on the latter.

There has also been quite some interesting debate on this topic elsewhere with voices from both sides:

Interactive Sketching Notation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Last week I posted the Interactive Sketching Notation. This emerging visual language contains my own approach to drawn user interactions with pen and paper. The general idea behind this notation is the desire to visualize user interface states as well as user actions in a clear and rapid manner. Thanks again to all those who made this possible and please let me know if you find it helpful or have any recommendations. If this inspires your own approach to sketching, I would also love to see some samples of how people use this.

Granular Fidelity of Prototyping

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

When it comes down to prototyping (or any other desing artifacts) people are often accustomed to taking a stand on fidelity as an absolute that applies to the whole prototype or document. On the two extreme opposites it’s either a very rough prototype (such as a paper model or sketch) or on the other end it’s a highly functional and detailed prototype (such as working code with proper visual styling and relationships). However, to think of fidelity in a more granular fashion opens up some doors.  Say on the same interface representation or prototype, some areas can be left less defined and some become more detailed. This gives the designer more flexibility to choose where to spend his design attention on. No longer is the designer forced to detail out a particular area to the fidelity which the document or prototype proposes. Instead, some areas are detailed and some less. Just thinking that our design documents and prototyping tools could support this granular level of fidelity a bit better, as opposed to dictating it to us.

How many alternatives, concepts, or sketches are enough?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Just carried over a discussion onto the IXDA forums around the adequate number of alternative sketches from where it picked up, only for it to come back where it originially came from. Still continuing to ponder how to chart out, visualize or measure a design space over time.

Transparencies + Paper Prototyping

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Just did a quick user test for a project here at TU Delft. One thing which I did different than usual was the placement of some transparent paper over the interface print outs. This helped to keep the interface more stable as people interacted with the model.