Stay up to date with our monthly round-up of the best user experience, wireframing and product management posts published this month
February has been a great month over here at Justinmind HQ. We updated our prototyping platform to version 7.7, we wrote some great guestposts for UXmatters and UsabilityGeek, and we interviewed experts from Zendesk and Yelp. Inbetween all the excitement, we also found time to read up on everything product design, prototyping, wireframing and UX-related online.
In our list of February’s best posts, you’ll find awesome content such as Nick Babich’s discussion on mobile animation and UI design, 22 free ebooks for UX/UI designers, and Shaun Russell’s reflection on product management challenges.
3 key uses for animation in mobile UI design
Animation, says Nick Babich, is not longer a user interface option. It’s a functional requirement. In 3 Key Uses for Animation in Mobile UI Design, Nick examines the link between animation and both the functionality and emotional impact of a mobile user interface. Nick posits System Status, Navigations & Transitions, and Visual Feedback as three areas in which animation can add tangible benefits to a user’s experience of an app. As always there are lots of great examples to back up the arguments, and explanations of core concepts. This post is great for anyone looking for more information on why they should use animations, and some key tips on mobile animation best practices.
Time to read: 5 minutes
Takeaway thought: “Visual feedback is crucial for any user interface. It makes users feel in control and for the user, control means knowing and understanding their current context in the system at any given time.”
Things nobody told me about being a Product Manager
Shaun Russell did his research before becoming a PM – peer-learning, workshops, reading and more reading. But none of that prepared him for the truth behind being a successful Product Manager: it’s hard! In a 15 minute presentation, Shaun muses on everything he’s learnt from fellow PMs and from his own experience. His ‘existentialism for product managers’ covers topics such as ‘the trouble with stakeholders’ and ‘finding your own meaning’ in your career. If you’re looking for a Dao of Product Management, or if you just want to manage products more efficiently, then Shaun’s video is a good place to start
Time to watch: 14 minutes
Takeaway thought: “Being a Product Manager is, to be honest, a pretty strange job.”
What is fundamentally possible with chatbots today?
2017 is, officially, “The Year of Conversational Commerce”. And this means that chatbots are going to be big. In fact they’re already big. Writing in Chatbots Magazine, Joey Tan attempts to get to the truth behind the chatbot – are they really going to revolutionize our digital lives, or are we in a “hype cycle with disappointment ahead for users”? Joey looks at 3 chatbot concepts to find the answer: intents, entities and conversation. Through the example of a weatherbot he built for Singapore area, Joey explores the limitations of bots, but also their huge potential. His explanation of infinite permutations probabilistic approaches throws new light on chatbot design for anyone new to conversational interface design.
Time to read: 6 minutes
Takeaway thought: “Chatbots are not the self-learning (and far from sentient) machines in the movies. They are limited by the intents they are designed for and the APIs available to them.”
Design for the feedback you want
If you struggle to get anything useful out of design critiques, Denise Spiessens advizes you to “design for the feedback you want.” The ex-Shopify designer counsels that, frist off, stop presenting interactive mockups in design critiques. First, get feedback on the concept using sketches and journey flows; focus on talking to people with different perspectives on the final product, such as developers and data analysts. next move up to basic wireframes and ask for feedback on layout, hierarchy and basic interactions. Finally, you can bring out the high fidelity prototype and get feedback on visuals. This way, you’ll get the feedback that works for you at every stage of the design process, and won’t feel like you’ve been crushed by unfair critique. Good advice!
Time to read: 8 minutes
Takeaway thought: “Presenting work can be similar to the process of designing products. The design is a product (even unfinished) that is being tested.”
On Instagram’s inverted UX iceberg
Sometime in 2016, Instagram replaced its camera icon with an inconspicuous Plus button. Ali R. Tariq concedes that this moght not seem like a huge deal – after all, no functionality changed, now you just click Plus to upload an image, rather than the camera. But in On Instagram’s Inverted UX Iceberg, Ali shows how such a tiny interface change could actually reveal a whole lot about Instagram’s UX strategy and direction. Basing his post around the idea of the UX iceberg – “the notion that the surface level details of digital products that people get to see and interact with are just the tip of a gigantic level of complexity that lies beneath” – Ali makes some bold guesses about Instagram’s future strategy. A great read!
Time to read: 7 minutes
Takeaway thought: “Its smallest UI change is likely a message about its biggest overall UX changes since Instagram’s inception.”
22 free eBooks for designers
And finally, who doesn’t love free stuff? CreativeBloq’s 22 Free eBooks for Designers gathers together some great new resources for UX and UI designers, whether you’re just starting out or are already a pro. From primers like ‘The Building Blocks of Visual Hierarchy’ to ‘The Future of Product Design’, there’s enough in here to keep UXers happy for months. Don’t forget to check out Justinmind’s free eBook, Making an Enterprise UX-Friendly: A Quick Guide (PDF)!