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How to build a successful design company

UX Movement has published an eight step guide on how to build a multi-billion dollar design company.

1. Make design everything. Everything!
2. Let design report to Steve Jobs
3. Let a very small elite team design all major products
4. Let designers make the design decisions
5. Make pixel-perfect mock-ups
6. Make designers and engineers work closely together
7. Don't do market research. Trust your own taste.
8. Don't let anything that isn't perfect go out

P.S. If you don't have a Steve Jobs, a Jonathon Ive might do.


  • 8 Things You Didn't Know About Apple's Design Culture Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 04, 2019

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Implementing user-centred design (9) 



Wireframes as thinking devices

In this article, Will Evans writes about how he sees wireframes as a process rather than an artifact. Wireframes should be understood as a design process rather than a design delivery. It's a thinking devise for exploring design problems and a framework for conversations between designers, developers and stakeholders.


Henrik Olsen - May 01, 2019

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (120) 



A fable of user-centered design

David Travis has written a booklet that, in a narrative style, tells the fable of a young man's journey as he discovers the secrets of user-centered design.

From the designers that our bright young man meets on his journey, he learns what user-centered design is and how early and continual focus on users and their task, empirical measurement of user behavior and iterative design are the corner stones of user-centered design.

Great for reading aloud for your kids.


Henrik Olsen - December 25, 2019 - via Putting people first

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (120)  Usability testing (71)  User research (24)  Personas (19)  Primers (14) 



Podcast: Todd Zaki Warfel on prototyping

In this podcast, Jared Spool and Todd Zaki Warfel discuss popular prototyping tools and how to successfully implement prototyping in the design and development process.


  • SpoolCast: Prototyping Experiences Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 26, 2019

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How to make Agile and UX work in harmony

Agile development and user experience design are polar opposites when it comes to the way they approach the development process. Agile is about getting on with actual development from the get go, while user experience designers prefer to spend time up-front to make sure that the design is right before it's put into production.

In this two part article, Jeff Patton gives advice on how to make the two get along. It's basically about having the designers work ahead of the developers in a separate track where they do some focused up-front research, create low-fidelity prototypes in collaboration with the developers, test them with users, and fix the errors right away.


  • 12 Best Practices for UX in an Agile Environment - Part 1 Open link in new window
  • 12 Best Practices for UX in an Agile Environment - Part 2 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 01, 2019

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See also: User research (24)  Usability testing (71)  Prototyping and wireframing (120) 



How teams make design decisions

Over the last few years, UIE has been studying what strategies teams use to inform design. They discovered that there are five common decision styles:

- Unintended design: one on the team pays attention to design

- Self Design: the team design with themselves as the target users

- Genius Design: the team draws on previous research experience

- Activity-Focused Design: the team base their decisions on research of users' activities

- User-Focused Design: the team informs designs on in-depth user research that goes beyond activities by investigating the goals, needs, and contexts of the users.

UIE found that the most effective teams are skilled in all the styles and capable choosing the right style in the right situation.


  • 5 Design Decision Styles. What's Yours? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 22, 2019

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See also: User research (24) 



Design processes of leading companies

The Design Council has published an in-dept study of the design processes used in 12 leading global companies, including Yahoo!, LEGO, Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Sony.

The study looked at the way design is used in these firms, how designers work with staff from other disciplines and how the design process is managed to deliver consistently successful results.

The report includes case studies looking in detail at the processes used at each participating company.


  • Eleven lessons: managing design in eleven global brands Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 30, 2019 - via Usability In The News

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Don't rely on interaction designers

According to Jakob Nielsen, having a good interaction designer doesn't eliminate the need for a systematic usability process. It's true that you're better off hiring a good designer over a bad one. But it's wrong to rely solely on the genius of a designer for several reasons:

- It's hard to get hold of a top 100 interaction designer
- Even superb designers can have bad ideas
- Usability tests provide empirical data on which ideas work and which don't
- User research provides insight into what customers need
- Even a very good design can be improved though iterative design and testing


  • The Myth of the Genius Designer Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 29, 2019

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See also: User research (24)  Usability testing (71) 



The book Getting Real

37signals have made their book Getting Real available online for free (you can still buy a PDF and now they also have a paperback).

The book is about how to build successful web-based applications the "smarter, faster, easier way" and features a short chapter on interface design.


Henrik Olsen - November 05, 2019

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See also: Web applications (6)  Books (47)  Online books (5) 



User experience podcast

Tired of reading about user experience? Then you might enjoy listing to Gerry Gaffney's user experience podcast UXpod.

I can highly recommend the interviews with Jesse James Garrett about "Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams" and Donna Maurer on card sorting.


Henrik Olsen - September 17, 2019

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See also: Blogs (12)  Audio and video (48)  Interviews (30)  Card sorting (13) 

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