Have you ever heard of “dark equations”?

Quick and colourful wireframes of 3 different mobile interfaces.
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User experience design, or UXD, refers to the creation of user-friendly, user-empowering, and user-pleasing interactions with products. The word “user” really is the focus here. We should design for accessibility, for people of all backgrounds, and should ask real people to test our product before we put it out in the world to ensure the quality and efficacy of our design.

Since many similar design problems are often found in several projects, repeatable solutions — or UX patterns — were born. For example, if you need to break up a single website into different sections or pages, you may use…


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Around 2 months ago I started my first full-time job as a UX designer. Until then I had only worked at a research institute, so it was my first job in a more “corporate” environment. And it was my first time living in Lisbon, so a lot of firsts happened at the same time!

Because of the amount of changes, I was definitely counting on learning a lot of new things, but some of them were very surprising. Let’s break it down:

1) Any knowledge is always a plus

Coming from a software engineering background, I was afraid I wouldn’t feel at home among so many graphic…


Photo by rawpixel.

A short primer on health literacy

The information age is upon us and for the first time in History we have virtually endless knowledge readily available at our fingertips. If you have any question about any topic at any time of day, odds are you can discover the answer in mere seconds. That wasn’t a reality mere decades ago.

So why is there still misinformation? Why don’t more people know basic health concepts? Where did we go wrong?

What is health literacy?

To answer those questions, we should start by defining health literacy. Even though there are several slightly different definitions, health literacy is most commonly understood as a person’s…


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If you look far enough down the road, the future looks very different from what many people think

Countless articles and opinion pieces have been pushing for the learning of programming in schools for the last years, and almost invariably the justification is that since coding is the language of the future, our children should learn it to be better prepared for what’s to come. It’s true that there is a huge demand for programmers nowadays and that it’s a growing discipline. But is that all that we’re going to be in a few decades?

Programming is an exercise in logic and rational thinking, regardless of language. It’s a way of approaching problems and formulate solutions, it’s not…


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The user experience (UX) of a product is how that product interacts with its users and how they respond to it. No matter how perfect or ingenious your solution is, if people cannot understand how it works or think it’s too cumbersome to use, they may not even bother with it.

Even so, many developers only start thinking about their product’s UX after everything else is done, and often after it’s released to the public; it’s an afterthought that has the lowest possible priority. Here are 5 reasons why I believe that’s the wrong mindset to have.

1) First impressions matter

“A delayed game…


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It started with Snapchat, but now everyone is doing it

Snap(chat) Inc. struck gold. They came up with a quirky app that was misunderstood by most (and still is, including its own devs), but found a place among younger crowds who wanted to share a lot of moments from their day-to-day life that would not be visible after they became irrelevant.

As it turns out, Snapchat discovered an untapped market. No other social network was doing it… until the day they all were. Facebook and its subsidiaries shamelessly copied Snapchat’s “story” concept after failing to buy the company. …


An amazing payment app with a usability problem

The interbank network Multibanco (MB), owned and operated by SIBS, is something that I’m very proud of as a Portuguese. Having lived in and visited many countries worldwide, I have missed its endless functionalities and amazing user experience too many times to count. It honestly is by far the best ATM system I’ve ever used.

A few years ago, SIBS created a mobile app called MB WAY. It is an amalgamation of helpful and diverse features, some of which were already achievable in other ways such as creating free virtual credit cards; and a few new functionalities, including paying with…


Photo by Pavan Trikutam.

Google made one giant leap for humankind, but it is still just one small step

Last week, Google Duplex was shown to the world for the first time at Google I/O. In case you missed it, Google Duplex is an AI innovation that allows a user to ask Google Assistant to make a call for them, avoiding wasting time calling businesses to do tasks such as making dinner reservations or hair appointments. This is especially useful if those establishments do not have an online presence and calling them is the only way to do those tasks remotely.

See Duplex’s announcement at the 35:08 mark.

After the event, Google Duplex was met with awe but also…


Most mockup-building apps are paid, from Sketch to Moqups; even simple wireframe-building apps such as Balsamiq Mockups are often not free. And while professional designers may want to acquire at least one good solution, I was until very recently a full-time grad student, so my budget has always been quite tight. I also don’t work exclusively on UI/UX, so buying a dedicated program to design mockups felt like an extravagance. But I found my perfectly adequate solution in a program we all have and usually ignore: Microsoft PowerPoint.

Yes, good old PowerPoint.

I’ve always loved PowerPoint (PPT). In high school…


Android 8.0 introduced a new kind of launcher icons: adaptive icons. The idea is to adjust each app’s icon to specific versions of Android, since some OEM give preference to squares, circles, squircles, or teardrops. It also has other benefits, such as adding animations when moving the icons around or when selecting them.

This is how adaptive icons… adapt. [Source]

It works by using two separate layers: one with the logo and another with the background. Then the OS just crops it to the preferred shape for display, and uses parallax effects for the animations.

Icons such as the new Instagram icon are easy enough to adapt…

João Monteiro

Empowering users through good usability

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