Missing the Mark

One of the most important skills of a UX Designer is understanding problems. At my current position, I get to see the work of many UX Designers. The part I enjoy the most is figuring out the problem a design solves. It’s like logic – an argument is only as good as its premises. A design is only good if the designer understands the real problem.

To find the real problem, a UX Designer questions everything. Requirements from Product Managers are questioned. Estimates from engineers are questioned. All opinions are questioned. Hidden premises are surfaced. This  requires soft skills and a thick skin. Doing so allows a designer to truly understand problem. Only then can solution be proposed and not miss the mark.



Moses and UX Principles

A long time ago a man by the name of Moses was hanging out in the middle of the desert. He was called to free the Israelites out of Egypt. The only thing that stood in his way was the most powerful man in the region – the Pharaoh of Egypt. What followed was one of the most epic encounters ever. There was plagues, darkness, disease, and death.  Eventually Pharaoh realized that keeping the Israelites was not worth the trouble and he let them go. Why do we still know about Moses and this epic encounter? Because Moses wrote the Torah – essentially the design  principles for Israelites.

The Torah Defined a People

The Torah is translated as “instruction”. It basically told Israelites who they were and how they were supposed to behave. These instructions set them apart from the rest of the people in the world. An Israelite could always know what he was supposed to do thanks to the Torah. The inverse is true, an Israelite could know if his behavior or actions were in contradiction to the Torah. A second benefit was that the Torah ensured the Hebrew Nation would live on long after the death of Moses.

UX Principles Define a UX Team

UX principles provide instructions to a team. Principles help when identifying objectives or deciding on a new UI pattern, control, ect.  By  defining and using UX principles everyone in a project may know what is acceptable and what is not. This helps when a Jr. UX Designer needs to make a decision and the boss is not around. Facebook and Google published their principles. For example, a UX Designer in Google knows what makes something  “googley”. At Marketo, I’ve heard customers talk about how things in the app feel like “Marketo” and when something does not.

Every Jewish child today is taught the Shema – the core of Jewish identity – it was written by Moses. Every UX team needs principles so that UX designers know what is expected of them. Individuals come and go – it is the principles and ideas they leave behind that matter. Something is eternal when it is passed from one generation to another.



The UX of Wunderlist Confirmation Modals

Wunderlist is beautiful, functional and overall awesome. There is one area that needs some extra love: Confirmation Modals.

Example 1: Deleting a list

Wunder List Modal

There are too many words on the buttons.  Why not do something a bit more simple like:

Example 2: Deleting a task

Why should a person apologize to an application:

Instead, keep things short and consistent:

These tiny changes would improve the UX of Wunderlist.