IDYeah had a Voice

UX, Usability and Design

Side Projects

DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING.

Which activity are you more likely to succeed in or feel happy about?

One, where you know you have to be consistently delivering the goods over a long period of time, with people watching your work? Or one, where you have to do it once, with no one necessarily watching?

Your professional project(s), for which you get paid, has the capacity of wearing you down. What infuses spark, rejuvenation, a reset, if you will; is your personal project(s). Imagine that little vacation, where there is no real schedule, no administration, no evaluating tasks on monetary grounds, and no unreasonable expectations either!?

You know that it’s short-lived; hence the entire experience is dense, full of energy, and concentration of passion. I am not pointing to only hobbies or recreation here; perhaps something that fetches you some learning or advancements – indirectly helping your main profession. Experiments; thinking outside the box!

Dilbert – Thinking outside the box

At the risk of sound self-promotional, allow me to state for the record that without realizing, my side-projects became the ones that gathered more sincere appreciation and unexpected rewards too. The biggest reward was of course a work-life balance, which we all talk about and crave about. A sense of well-being started increasing, as my blogs, free designs, activities on social media, song collection, chess-playing, cooking custom recipes, and generally sharing contextual knowledge (advice) – found resonance with people around me. I could never become a professor in any of the things I have mentioned, but was effective as one (temporarily of course).

An analogy: Kid Vs Adult. You see kids perform and do better at so many things – shorter attention span relieves them of the noise that adults have to deal with. You unknowingly become child-like when we work on passion-tasks, and it yields either superhuman results (outside of the skills that people usually relate you with), or superlative delight (due to zero expectations). Another analogy is: Marriage Vs Courtship. The short-term angle, makes you experiment freely – with the same set of activities that you would perform during the long-term counterpart. But the difference is huge.

Most brilliancies are a result of need-of-the-hour, raw perspective, unbiased viewpoint and bold experimentation.

The world has many examples of personalities who would continue to do things in a better fashion, more often than most. They seem to have mastered the art of inducing passion at will by breaking down their main projects into conscious pockets of sub-projects (with smaller attention span). I know I have in my own limited capacity grown to deliver better output, in areas where I am not the perceived expert. Just a case of doing or building what I think I am capable of, not going by what the world thinks I am capable of. The key difference is that the focus is on doing something than on acquiring some skill and/or approval.

HR Managers and Corporate Management also weighs the “personal” side of employees a lot. The side-activities reveal your personality better than your work-activities. Since you “own” the side-activity, it reveals patterns about how you think and act independently, where your interests and passions lie, and how you feel inspired and motivated. Your work-activity is more institutionalized and can be semi-automated in most cases…as following some steps of a proven process. “What do you do when you’re not working?” – is a regularly asked question during interviews.

Your side-projects is that what makes you an Entrepreneur! Because that’s how you choose to freely express – your opinions and your craft.

It is not always easy to love what you do; but it is easy and rewarding to do what you love. Consciously fix that UX of your daily routine. Do the “U”sual, but not without doing the e”X”citing.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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UX Keeps Them Coming Back For More

UX Keeps Them Coming Back for More, Time and Again.

keyboard3Every website owner pays very close attention to conversion rates and how many people continue returning to their site. These two elements can typically make or break a site. There are several strategies you can do to make sure these conversions are helping your site. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to blaze past the competition and reap the benefits.

Before you do anything, you need to think about your users — even the ones who haven’t actually become users yet. It’s vital to think about this important question: why are people using your product and how did they hear about it? Too many sites and apps think word of mouth is strong enough to bring in the big bucks. Although this is true in many circumstances, WOM is hard to harness and replicate. While there are a select few who get lucky, many put a lot of hard work researching their target audience and getting as much exposure as possible.

Once you figure out how people come to your site, it’s time to examine how complicated your website processes are. The more complex these barriers are, the fewer customers will want to use your product. Though it seems simple, today’s user is accustomed to the simplest onboarding. Many people overlook the fact that the simplest websites are often the hardest to make. Anyone can create a page overrun with panels and buttons, but a true expert is able to trim off the fat and leave only the essentials. The more cluttered the site, the harder it is to navigate. It should go without saying, yet too many developers get caught up and add too much. Realize many of your users won’t understand the basics like you think they will.

In order to trim the fat, you need to get rid of any excess steps. Why have three pages to confirm a checkout when you can do it with one? Having to click through more pages than necessary isn’t just impractical, it can be frustrating. The easier it is for a person to achieve their initial goal, the happier they will be with the product. It’s understandable you want to show off all of the features and get people up to date on the latest programs, but it becomes an annoyance when it is thrown in their face. Have faith your site or app will be strong enough to do the heavy lifting and the interested users will dive in themselves.

Next thing you need to consider, users are very self-aware. Many will be very critical of their actions, which is not a good thing. It’s imperative to make the flow of your site as simple as possible. If users begin to doubt or feel lost, they’ll likely leave the site with a negative perception. Boost their confidence, and subsequent conversion rates, by easily portraying they succeeded in their goals.

Don’t underestimate the power of self-service. It’s understandable you want to help guide users as much as possible, but they don’t want to feel babied. Give them the tools to solve their problems, but don’t force them to dig for answers. Users appreciate when they are able to take care of an issue and keep their dignity intact. With WalkMe’s intuitive help tool, users in need of assistance can be easily guided through their respective task. Basically, the tool has the best of both self-service worlds: it’ll promote the confidence in your users while staying out of their way and not cluttering your site.

Lastly, be sure your site has a good look to it and flows well. User interface and experience too often go overlooked. Nobody wants to visit a clunky eyesore site, so be sure everything flows and they look forward to coming back. When you master these concepts, you’ll be able to increase your conversions, maintain your user-base, and expand to new customers.

Megan Wilson

Megan Wilson

Megan Wilson is the Lead Author & Editor of UX Motel - the User Experience Blog. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe. Follow her on Twitter @UXMotel

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Flat Design Color Scheme – PSD

Flat Design

Who invented the flat design colors that seem to dominate all the new designs that are cropping up? Well, I don’t know.

But the colors are really complementary and it’s handy to have a quick resource that aids your design. The site: Flat UI Colors has done a neat thing by creating a 1-page palette in grid format. You can “click” and “copy” the HEX code or RGB code of the colors you like. This online resource is very useful; I appreciate the site owner(s) to have this up and available.

flat-color-schemeWhat may also be useful if this palette is available in PSD format too; it becomes easier for a Designer to have a palette as a layer/group that he can view and use at will. I know all good designers have a layer for color scheme that they define for a site/brand.

Go ahead and download the PSD for Flat Design Color Scheme and feel free to share!

Download with a Tweet!

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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Facebook Broken

Page Not Found!

A common web experience is hitting a ‘404’ error or a page-not-found. Many companies have smartly used turnaround this erroneous behavior into an engagement tool; read my post full of examples here

I hit upon another witty and guiding 404 engagement – by Facebook. Notice the neat graphic of a broken thumb in its trademark “like” icon, suggesting the obvious. Also, to aid the navigation, Facebook provides 3 links at the bottom to go to a proper location instead.

facebook-brokenCheck out other examples on how to engage when you’re not found!

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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Pencil UX – Staedtler

Drawing Pencils

I hate to admit that even though my work involves some doodling, drawing, sketching – until recently, I didn’t purchase the pencils I used during my school days.

Staedtler.

Apart from the quality and country of origin (where most well-engineered products come from), I had no other thoughts or recollection in mind – when I placed an order for “Staedtler Tradition Drawing Pencil” – a set of 6 grades – B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe day it arrived, I was ready with my son’s pencil sharpener – imagining which grade to start with. The moment I opened the box, I realized why certain brands will continue to be ahead of others, miles ahead! All pencils were neatly pre-sharpened, ready to use! “Brilliancy!” – exclaimed my mind. Simple, direct lesson in UX and Usability. Why waste time, right? Just pick up the pencil and start drawing…

They do the same with color pencils and any other pencil products they have.

Well done, Staedtler.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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9 UX Tweets: #014

14th Helping of UX Tweets…

uxtweets

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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Skeptic or Believer?

Copy.

User interface messages (copy) play a crucial role in today’s emotionally influenced audience. Many inspirations are floating around for us to learn and consume in our next communication strategy, as copy material. A past post of mine has a collation of examples – read here…

Today, I came across another great example of a smart copy.

TeuxDeux.

While signing up, it uses “connecting” words such as Skeptic and Believer – respectively for a monthly subscription and yearly subscription. Really smart. Another little gem on the same form is the play on phonetic similarity with the action: “DO”; notice the action button saying: LET’S DEUX THIS!

teuxdeux

Neat stuff!

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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What Are You Measuring?

Measure.

A person with smooth grasp over English language and fluent usage of “heavy” vocabulary is measured as someone with superior communication. Is language skill and communication skill, the same? What are we measuring?

measurement-cartoonMeasuring something that’s tangible, finite, mathematical – attracts us to measure those things, with enviable accuracy. But we fail to (refrain from) treading the path of measuring something that’s “gray”, limitless, and abstract – which is actually THE information we need.

Do you care about the number of Twitter followers or the followers that actually have meaningful conversations and conversions with you? Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, Page likes, Klout score, Google Analytics, Movie Box Office collections, School Grade, Years in industry, Revenue – these are the most obsessed metrics used with pride everywhere! What’s the purpose? Sure, even a child or a robot can measure these things with same accuracy; but is it useful?

One perpetual debate I have with many is regarding the efficacy of PowerPoint presentations – one of the frequently used formats to communicate something. When (invariably) asked to reduce clutter in the presentation, most people measure the number of slides and strive to cut down on that number. In the process, poor fonts become smaller, some keywords and statements find themselves omitted, and bullets become dense! The result, I say, is that the audience consumes no more than a tiny percentage of what seems like an overwhelming report, even if the number of slides were reduced. The information processed per page is far more critical metric than total number of pages. Look at the following comparison. A 15-slide PPT makes the reader spend 10 seconds per slide; the same PPT if stretched into a 40-slide presentation, with minimal information on each slide, the reader spends 3 seconds per slide. And the information that actually registers is far more as the actual noise is reduced. Think again – does the reader really care about the total number of slides?

Case closed!

Revenue is not the same as earnings; years in industry is not the same as experience…

Wake up to the dawn of measuring things that mean something, even though it may be difficult. Escape the lust of measuring what’s easy to measure with accuracy, but mean nothing.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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Where Does Coffee Come From?

Where Does Coffee Come From?

Never before I’ve witnessed a “live” infographic that tells a consistent story – with no risk of different interpretations – no matter who the audience. Kudos, NowSourcing – you continue to be my biggest source of inspiration for the most creative infographics.

Check out “everything” about coffee…

Brought to you by:BizBrain.org | Open in a New Window

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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