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An Interface for Exploring Complex Products

At Home Depot, our associates are constantly working with customers to determine which products they need, assess their options, and make informed decisions about what to buy. It’s a very busy environment and time is precious for both the customer and the associate.

The QuoteCenter application gives associates access to a vast catalog of products — both stock and special order. Some of these products have a number of options like color, length, and edge type. …


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How I Solved a Design Challenge from the Folks at YNAB

Between June and August of 2016 I applied and was considered for a UX design position at You Need a Budget (YNAB), one of my all-time favorite companies. Out of 450 applicants I made it into their top 7, which I largely attribute to my unique application. Here’s my writeup for a design challenge they gave me later in the process.

Problem

For various reasons, users may encounter a state on the Reports screen where no data is present. When someone goes from seeing a nice chart to seeing “no data,” it’s jarring. …


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A “Today View” Widget for YNAB’s iPhone App

Between June and August of 2016 I applied and was considered for a UX design position at You Need a Budget (YNAB), one of my all-time favorite companies. Out of 450 applicants I made it into their top 7, which I largely attribute to this “pre-interview project.” Later in the process they posed an interesting design challenge to candidates — you can read how I solved it here.

I want to work at YNAB. So do hundreds of other designers, I imagine. …


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Connecting Problems, Business Goals, Research, & More

Building products is tough. The questions seem endless, and every time someone new gets involved they bring a unique perspective, a new set of assumptions, and another style of working. While a diversity of skills and varied perspectives can seriously strengthen a team, there are certain things that any product team needs to agree on.

  • The problem(s) we’re solving
  • What a successful outcome would look like
  • The business goals we’re trying to impact

When each member of a team has a different idea of what problem the team is collectively solving, what success looks like, or if they are unable…


A Quest for Consistency

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TL;DR

Here It Is In a Nutshell

Nearly 6 months into a massive overhaul of our core product, we noticed that the user interface was becoming less and less cohesive. In fact, it was becoming pretty fragmented. I was given the task of restoring order to the universe.


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There are basically three areas of concern in product development:

  1. Business
  2. Users
  3. Technology

The trick is understanding how the three coincide. In the day-to-day process of developing products it’s easy to become myopic and focus on just one or two of these areas. It’s really hard to get above the fray and see how they overlap and complement one another.

As we work on our product, we have to deal with many different voices advocating for each area, listen to their concerns, and be diplomatic while making difficult decisions. At times, it’s like we’re groping in the fog.

How do…


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As a product designer, I’m often alarmed at how different my perspective can be than that of my customers. I create a flexible system of semantic, consistently-styled, reusable user interface components, piece them together into a series of views that support complex workflows and tasks, and… people get stuck during usability tests and tell me, “I don’t know what to do now,” or, “That’s not what I expected.”

When customers react this way, it illustrates the gap between my own thinking and the realities of their world. …

Ben Berkompas

I'm a Sr. User Experience Designer with Home Depot, happily sipping cappuccinos in our far-from-headquarters office in southwest WA state.

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