Good Design Not Equal To Good User Experience

I read a good article today, Usability and UX (part 1). It got me thinking a lot about good design and good user experience. I do need to preface that I am NO UX expert in the slightest, I am going to leave the hard core UX to the experts, like Scott McAndrew. I just know bad vs. good when I use it.

A common misconception among web designers is that good design delivers good user experience by default. Too many of us focus on the visual design and so-called “accessibility”, without paying sufficient attention to what really underpins UX. mpress

I do believe that UX is one of the most important aspects of building a site or app, but I also think that good design is even more important. I do think that good design leads to better UX, in most cases. I have worked with designers that have been educated in using the tools to produce a design, BUT they don’t really have the creative eye or attention to details. I don’t think that design is a skill can be taught, I think it can be honed, but its just something that is part of someone’s makeup.

During my time at one of the greatest universities ever (U of Arizona), I spent a couple of years in the Architecture department. It was so obvious that you could not teach someone to be a good architect. Without the basic understanding of spacial relationships it just doesn’t work. I believe its the same with design. You can teach someone to be better with layout, typography, and color, but without the basic understanding and chemical makeup, they just don’t get it. Ok, I got a little bit off topic, back to UX.

I also just read a good article – The Five Competencies of User Experience Design. It talks more about the process and deliverables, but still very interstings.

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Start With The Photoshop Grid

Ya know those moments where you just have to sit for a minute and stare at the wall, and say ‘Duh’.

I had one of those moments today.

I have been thinking about grids and CSS frameworks a lot lately, and did not even think that ‘Wouldn’t it be a great idea to start the grid process in Phootshop’? I read this post today, and I really felt stupid for not thinking along these lines a long time ago: 960px Photoshop Grid Template – Genius!

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Widescreen Mail Plugin For Leopard Released

So I made the update to Leopard a couple of weeks ago, and did not realize how much I missed the Widescreen Mail Plugin. Well, today it has been updated for Leopard, YAY.

If you have not seen it, go check it out:
Widescreen Mail Plugin

It makes Mail.app soo much better and easier to use. A ‘must have’ in my opinion.

Funny sherkaner on digg has to say:

Good lord, why is this not simply a checkbox in Mail.app already, if not the default? I had forgotten just how much less usable Mail is in the top/bottom display until I upgraded to Leopard and lost it. Seriously, do people prefer it the other way? If so, are you using a 15″ monitor in portrait mode or something?

UPDATE: Dane has released a new version: WideMail 0.1.0 Released, go check it out.

UPDATE 2: WideMail 0.1.1 Released.

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Semantic HTML

So, since I mentioned it yesterday, I might as well talk a little bit about it. I am not going to go into my super long speech or anything, just some basics, and what some others say.

Semantic HTML – What is it? Basically – HTML is for describing the structure and meaning of content – not for describing presentation.

As much as possible, the tags surrounding the content of a document should describe what that content is and/or what it’s for. – Jason Kottke

Semantic HTML is just regular HTML, “semantics” is just a fancy word for “meaning”. Its just using the given elements the way they were meant to be used.

Here is a pretty cool presentation that gives some examples: Joseph Lindsay – Semantic HTML, and its from May 2005.

I used to start every site with just the HTML first. NO image, NO CSS. I have gotten out of that habit, but really need to get back to it. It makes building site so much easier.

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Beauty in HTML

So, HTML, it seems so boring to most, but when you spend all day everyday knee deep in it – its passion. I have had a love/hate relationship with HTML for some time now, but I came across a great article the other day, and it really hit home.

In HTML, it really comes down to craftsmanship.

Here is the link: What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like written by Chris Coyier.

There are so many people that think HTML is just tables and font tags, and if the web site or application works, its DONE.

In one of my previous jobs I tried really hard to have other people understand the importance of HTML and how it is all about craftsmanship and attention to detail, but I just kept getting ‘Oh, that’s easy, one of the programmers will just put it in some nested tables.’ Really? It wasn’t until the designers were starting to get really upset that their designs got butchered and the final web site looked like crap. But it worked said the programmers.

I dunno, don’t get me wrong, I love programmers (I wouldn’t have a job without them, and I don’t want to lump them together either), but the look and feel, and UI/UX is just not important to them most of the time.

HTML should be embraced and loved, it is the foundation to everything online.

Another link that came from the comments on Css-Tricks was this one by Roger over at 456 Berea Street – POSH – Plain Old Semantic HTML. Which brings me to another favorite topic of mine, semantics, but I will save that until another time.

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Phoenix Facebook Developer’s Garage

Mark your calendars for November 14th, it’s the first Phoenix Facebook Developer’s Garage. Here is a little blurb:
Phoenix Facebook Developers Garage

Terralever will be hosting the Phoenix Facebook Developer’s Garage on November 14th. This free event is open to those interested in learning about Facebook, and the building and marketing of Facebook Applications.

A few other have posted about the event also:
Joel – Facebook Developer’s Garage – Phoenix
April – Facebook Developers Garage in Phoenix
Scott – How to get feedback on your Facebook App
Terralever – Facebook Developer’s Garage – Phoenix

It’s going to be a really fun night at the Tempe Center for the Arts, there will be lots of people speaking, including – Dave Morin from Facebook, Chris Johnson from Terralever, Nate Warner from Red Bull, Scott McAndrew & Joel Neubeck also from Terralever.

For more information, check out the Facebook Group.

Update: It’s Over – Phoenix Facebook Developer’s Garage

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Terralever Front-End Production Team

Terralever just had an All Hands Meeting on Friday. We went over all the numbers, goals, and got lots of info on our Strategic team. I figured it would be a good time to point out the blog that the production team has put up.

Check it out:
http://tlfrontend.wordpress.com/

Thanks to April and Ritchie, the other two members of the team.

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It’s November 1st

So, I have been away from the blog for a while. I know… excuses are like a-holes, and everyone’s got one, with all that aside. I’m back.

To start thing off with a bang, I am going to participate in National Blog Posting Month
(my profile).

I have been looking for the motivation to get the blog going again, and I think this is the ticket (even though there are some folks at work hounding me everyday).

So, last week I came across a sweet video that we all watched at the office, and all had a good laugh. They have now updated the post, and put links to all the references.

The Internet Stars Are Viral

Check out the orginal post from the Cakke Team.

Wasn’t that awesome. April also posted about the video.

So, quick update. Now working at Terralever, check out my LinkedIn Profile, or take a peek at my Facebook Profile.

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Moving All Family Related Content

Ok, so I am starting to focus on this blog, and I made the decision to move all of the family related content.

Check it out here:
The Newlin Family

Enjoy!

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New Editions

Since a bunch of people know that I enjoy cigars, I have a few new editions to add to the humidor.

cigars_birthday30.jpg

This all star selection were all given to me as birthday gifts, awesome.

From left to right:
Graycliff Chateau Gran Cru – Nassau Bahamas, more info
Ashton Classic Series, Crystal #1 – Dominican Republic, more info
Ashton Classic Series, Crystal Belicoso – Dominican Republic, more info
Partagas Limited Reserve 1995 – Dominican Republic, more info
La Aurora Preferido Corojo Gold -Dominican Republic, more info

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