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Sketch Basics Video Tutorial

Wow, look at me go! A blog and two video posts all in one day… I just wanted to put out this quick video to showcase some of the core UI controls within Sketch. I have to be honest for the longest time I did not give Sketch the credit it deserves because I was so focused on Axure. However Sketch is so simple and easy to use that I now use for almost all of my projects. It is really basic but provides all the right things to quickly throw together some concepts or designs.
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Axure RP Basics Video Tutorial

This video is the first of many tutorials that will get you started with learning a new tool for your designer toolbox. Take a moment to check it out and subscribe to my channel.

Evolution of UI/UX Designer Tools

Over the last 15 years I have used many different tools to help me create great design experiences. One of the largest changes I have seen is the shift to using one tool that basically does it all. I have sort of come full circle when it comes to software / hardware within my design career.I first started off in school using a Mac to create digital art using Adobe Photoshop and Freehand from 1998-2001. My first job out of college I was producing illustrations for a publishing company and I used Photoshop, freehand, and illustrator exclusively. Then came 2003 and what I call my era of SharePoint where I ditched the Mac, grabbed a Windows Laptop and started doing all my wireframes in Visio. It was not until 10 years later (2013) that I came back full circle. I jumped back on the Mac Powerbook bandwagon and started using Axure. Axure for me has been amazing but I am starting to see another shift where Sketch has become that next best thing.Sketch by itself is pretty limiting, however wha…

UI Trend with Modal Windows

You may say that Modal windows are what pop up were 10 years ago. Like them or hate them they have become an essential UI design element for almost any website or application. Recently I have started to see a transition of how these screens are being used. We first started seeing modals about 8 years ago when a developer named Lokesh Dhakar created a Javascript Library called “Light Box”. It was a very simple way of putting focus on one image at a time and graying out everything else.
This became so popular that many people starting to throw anything and everything in these smaller focused screens. Some people call them Dialog boxes, others call them Modals but they really all mean the same thing. The main purpose is to present the user with additional information while putting the main parent page on hold until they are done.Of course with any UI design element they have been misused and abused in many different ways. I have seen some applications that have more than 3 levels of modal…

UCD Process

Over the last couple of years UCD (User Centered Design) has become a buzz word just like RWD (Responsive Web Design). 5 years ago when I wrote my SharePoint Branding book I use to call it the 4D’s of User experience. It included Discovery, Definition, Design, and Development. I had a nice little picture and everything to depict the different phases.
Now the picture is much nicer and clean however, I really don’t think it matters what you call each phase it matters more what you do within them. I have seen so many different variations sliced and diced in different ways. To me it is about adjusting your approach based on the needs of your users and your client. In a more traditional waterfall project you have a tendency to over burden yourself with documentation because there is no chance of going back. Also those types of project are usually the ones where you scope out in the begging a full solution without ever fully knowing what the real need actually is. I would much rather only sc…

New Scrollable Tabs Design Pattern

By nature most people are resistant to change. I have learned the hard way that just because something has been working great for the last 10 years does not mean it is always the best solution now. So much has change with technology not only within the last 3 years but over the last 6 months I have seen drastic evolutions of the art of possible. Users are demanding more and in faster timeframes. We as designers have to keep up with the latest trends, patterns, and interactions or you will be left in the dust. I recently had a design challenge that required the ability to display a horizontal sub navigation for mobile. Since we already had a main navigation being taken up by the parent hamburger menu I was in a bit of a jam on what to do.
My first instinct was to group all of the navigation elements into some sort of drop down so that when users clicked on the drop down they see the navigation list options. This would have been fine but was more of an old school way of looking at thi…

UX Tools of the Trade

The tools we use to help define UI experiences is constantly changing. The fact is that Photoshop and Illustrator are no longer the preferred tools in an XD designers tool kit. We have transitioned to more flexible and robust applications that allow both low fidelity sketch like concepts to Pixel perfect high fidelity visual designs. Sketch does a really good job at providing both of these levels as well as the in between. In combination with Zeplin and Invision these three applications provide a pretty solid output for creating great experiences for both desktop and mobile applications. Zeplin has been a great tool to lessen the burden on our visual designers for creating redlines to our developers. It has some really neat features that would take weeks for to pull together in a style guide around spacing, colors, fonts etc. They are even experimenting with providing HTML and CSS outputs from the designs.When creating wireframes I tend to use both interactions that provide some level…