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User Experience Design

Using Constraints to Brainstorm Simple Designs for Mobile Apps

While a mobile app may do a lot of things, it’s essential to design the app so it feels simple to the user at any moment during its use. But how do you generate ideas that will make an app simple? Try the following approach. List the top ten features you want in your app. These should be the most important things that characterize your app. If you have more than ten that’s OK, but try to come up with at least ten. On
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How to Integrate Lean Startup, User Experience Design and Agile Development

I gave a talk at the Chicago Product Management Association together with Pathfinder Software’s Amy Willis and Reid MacTavish on the lessons we’ve learned in integrating Lean Startup, User Experience Design and Agile Development. Here are the slides from the talk – a video recording will follow soon.
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A Simple Way to Use Aspirational Thinking to Elevate Your Product Design

Your desire is to make a great product. Or take an existing product to the next level. It’s great to have the intention, but how do you put that intention into motion? Here is a simple exercise that you can try. Instead of thinking of the details of what might improve your product, simply consider your product as an “environment” or a place people go to get some kind of value. Try filling in the following sentences:
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Can Lean UX be Used to Design Complex Products?

Lean UX can work very effectively when designing complex products, including products that demand a heavy amount of science, complex workflows or handshaking between components. In this article, we’ll explore why Lean UX methods are effective. What is Lean UX? Three things come to mind when describing Lean UX. First, using very rapid (and usually low fidelity) iterations to get the user experience focused on the most
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Pathfinder in the News and Around Chicago in February

February has been a busy month for Pathfinder around Chicago! There was a feature in Technori on Pathfinder Founder and CEO Bernhard Kappe last week. There was an interview with Pathfinder VP of Product Development at midVentures. On Tuesday, Bernhard and Todd Wyder, Pathfinder’s Chief Product Office, spoke at Morningstar on Turbocharging Your Mobile App Sales. And this evening, Michael Walkden will be talking
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Designing Mobile Apps Using Quick Scale Prototypes

Mobile apps need to be designed and tested to scale to avoid surprises when actual human hands start operating the app. Designs crafted or presented on large monitors can be deceiving, because it’s hard to think in terms of two scales at the same time. Better to work at scale, and if possible even view key screens and simple prototypes on the device itself. Following are some simple techniques for designing and testi
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iPhone and iPad Application Design – to HIG or not to HIG…

It is amazing how much one company has influenced our digital lives. You can not seem to look at any “smartphone” today without seeing Apple’s influential design sprinkled in. Need proof? Take a look at the Android prototype before the iPhone came out. Now look at Android today. Does Apple get everything right? Heck no, but they have been setting the interaction trends for the last several years. Th
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Seven Questions to Ask When Designing the Feel of Your Mobile App

Feel Can Make or Break a Product Imagine you are shopping for a new car. You found a model that looks great and has all the features you want. It’s even in your price range. So you go to the dealer and take a test drive. After about five minutes of driving, you find you are mildly dissatisfied with the car. Perhaps it’s the way it takes the bumps. Perhaps it’s difficult to check your blind spot. Perhaps the pedals an
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Quick and Realistic Lauching of Mobile Apps

photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography Those who are out there designing and building mobile apps know there are certain tenants that are uniquely mobile. Successful mobile apps need to be user task centered, make allowances for users who are distracted and they need to be engaging. This requires considerable skill and effort from a designer. In addition, you will need a team of developers who can make the design rea
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Which is Harder? Simplicity or Power?

photo credit: the_moog We develop digital products. Lots of them. So when I talk about things that are hard or easy to do, it’s based on hard won experience. Two products that we’re about to help clients launch provide a perfect contrast on the two kinds of “hard” you find in software product development. First we have a data visualization app that cranks through 72 million point datasets and
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