How to create and test assumptions in order to rapidly learn and iterate.

In a time when dev teams are moving (or have already moved) towards an Agile software development methodology, why aren’t more design teams moving towards a Lean UX design process? Innumerable new products come onto the scene everyday, which is why it’s becoming more important than ever for designers to be able to move quickly. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on designing for an MVP (minimum viable product) by embracing Lean UX.

More likely than not, you’ve already heard about the concept of an MVP. In case you haven’t, it’s essentially an idea in…

Progressive Reduction is the idea that interfaces should be adapted over time as users become more acquainted with applications. This is how to apply it.

I’m a big fan of minimalist design, so whenever I have the opportunity to reduce the information presented on a screen to just the bare essentials, I’m happy. With that in mind, I realize that certain patterns that we (designers) want users to execute require learned behaviors. For this, we often use labels, tooltips, etc. so that users know where to go and what to do. However, this can often lead to visual clutter, especially when we start looking at mobile screens or applications with a shit ton of icons.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g), the best approach…

Using the Zeigarnik Effect to keep users coming back for more

Understanding what drives users to be deeply engaged in one app over another can feel like you’re trying to read tea leaves. To solve this problem, you need to understand how users think. Fortunately, someone has already done much of the groundwork for us.

That person is Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik, a Gestalt psychologist and psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the establishment of the discipline of experimental psychology. In 1927 she discovered that incomplete or interrupted tasks are remembered better than completed tasks — this phenomena is now known as the Zeigarnik Effect. It’s based on the idea that the…

An examination of the process of intentionally revealing functionality to a user.

While some people argue that a user should be able to figure out how an app works just by looking at it, walkthroughs are becoming an increasingly popular user experience strategy as apps become more complex. Today’s users and their usage patterns are so varied that to say that all apps should be equally intuitive is like saying that controlling a bicycle should be as intuitive as flying an airplane. While they’re both modes of transportation, they’re on completely different levels of complexity.

Therefore, designers must always keep intended users and usage patterns at the top…

British Cycling’s system of marginal gains and how you can use it to improve as a designer.

As a UX designer, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to improve my design chops in order to reach my full potential. Similarly, during my years as a bike racer, I was constantly looking for ways to gain an edge on the competition. Along the way, I encountered the philosophy of marginal gains — a method of achieving high performance through “the aggregation of incremental improvements.

This approach was made famous by David Brailsford, the Performance Director of British Cycling. During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, he led Team GB Track Cycling to…

Dan Birman

Product Designer. Lover of visually powerful and intellectually elegant design. Always in pursuit of purity and simplicity.

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