Smashing Mag : A Small Study on Big Blogs

Busy day at work, so don’t have time to get into it, but thought you might like this article from one of my fav publications ever.. Smashing mag. In a two part study, they do a great overview on the site elements of the fifty top blogs (US). This is second part, where they look at “the navigation design, information architecture, advertisements and functionality” – might be a cool quick read.

Everyone has to pay their dues…

Sometimes, in my less stellar moments, I wonder if I will always have bad projects. You look at the “stars” of the IA/IxDA community and they always talk about really cool projects, but they don’t really talk about all the bad projects they’ve worked on.

I’m not talking bad as in the client being difficult with the design, but more in terms of:

  • A design can only be as good as it is designed AND implemented. What you might express in your design may not translate if the programmer doesn’t know the latest and greatest.
  • A design can only be as well defined as the vision is. You can sometimes try to get a client to focus, but sometimes it is impossible to get consensus and vision, written requirements. It’s also difficult to get people to stay away from changing visions.

As a freelancer, the years have given plenty of clients and projects. When I have a rash of bad projects (where, for me, I feel I am not creating the best I can create given the situation), I start to feel that “maybe it’s me.” In my quiet, sad moments, I think “Maybe I’m just not that great at what I do.”

And, coming back to those “stars,” they must have been low on the totem pole at one point in time; must have had bad projects (those not worth mentioning but were typically frustrating and de-motivating).

This morning I was trying to console myself with Happy Bunny thinking: “It’s not me, it’s you. If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t hate you so much.” (or something like that)

Imagine a world without UX Designers…

Though this video is pretty funny, it’s definitely something we can all relate to and a great reminder of why simple is always better – its also why we are who we are.




Stop signs are one of the many things we take for granted. It’s hard to believe that there was a time before the stop sign existed, and that someone had to invent it. The Process is a fun short about how things would have turned out if it were designed by committee.


Was working on a presentation at work and came across this tidy little compendium of ux quotes. A few words can paint a thousand pictures, eh?


Oh, and as an afterthought to this, my current favs are:

“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
—Charles Eames

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
—Charles Mingus

Teresa.. to your earlier post: I am still a bit a-wonder about the big IA v little IA. I am definitely big-IA minded, but as soon as I get that initial idea on paper, step back, and take a look.. all that runs through my head is the tiny nuances of every interaction. Then again, I am a “UX team of one”.. so would be interesting to delegate.. so long as the team I delegate to understand the overall philosophy. Tough!

Tell me if I’m a bad Person

After having done years of UI design, requirements analysis, content writing, I’ve decided something: I do not like requirements gathering and writing. Much preferred is the creative work at the beginning – user analysis, business analysis, interviewing users, personas, scenarios, UI design, navigation, content models, planning structures.

But when it comes to the nitty gritty “email validation rules” and “auto-numbering schemes” and “what happens if a and b and c happens…” and “what happens if a and b and z happen,” I easily tire. I’ve always known I’m not a details person, that I much prefer the up front creative work and like to hand off to someone to wrap things up.

Does this make me a bad user experience person? Isn’t the devil in the details? Aren’t the details where people get tripped up? Should I be paying more attention, be involved longer?

What do you think?


Miami pics

Hi all,

I went to the Adaptive Path UX Intensive last week that was held here in Minneapolis, and had a great time. We hosted a happy hour at space150, and it was fun getting to know people from the conference (another duff&puff happy hour, haha).

Of course, it wasn’t as fun as Miami with you guys! It did remind me, however, that I still haven’t put any pics up from the Miami Summit, so I’ve finally uploaded some of my pictures from the Duff & Puff night! Check out the pics here:

The Paper Version of the Web

Hi Strangers!

This article is a few months old, but thought I’d post for posterity. Fun?


People have been sketching user interfaces since the birth of the web (possibly even before) but the sketches usually stay locked away in old notebooks and discarded bar napkins in Austin, Texas. Many of the websites we use started out as scrawlings, and with people like Jakob Nielsen and Bill Buxton spreading the gospel of faster, cheaper paper prototypes, “next year’s Twitter” may already exist on paper.

We don’t usually get to see this handmade stage of the web, but some folks have been thoughtful/narcissistic enough to upload photos of their UI sketches, and I find them fascinating.

This blog is 5% Real

Are any of you “REAL” IA’s? Cause if you’re not…You shouldn’t be messing around with this stuff. Someone could go down the wrong path to get information. Which could result in the destruction of both time and space.

UX Intensive Week

Anyone heading to the UX Intensive Week sponsored by our friends Adaptive Path in a few weeks? It’s only a few blocks from where I work. Not as fun as traveling somewhere else for a conference, but I’m sure it will still be incredibly inspiring. 🙂 It would be great to catch up if anyone is going!

Whatever you do…

…these days its recorded

Is that Jim being man-handled?