I’m Breaking Up with UX

UX, I’m breaking up with you. I still love you; I just need some space. I need to try out being independent for a while and see where things go. Honestly, I think I’m outgrowing our relationship, and you’re holding me back.

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Why You Shouldn’t Separate Strategy From Execution

When you think of strategy and/or execution, do you think of them as two sides of a yin-yang or two things you need in that order (strategy, then execution) to meet a goal? And do you believe that strategy is the magic brilliance that comes from the hilltop and execution is the tactical busy work to make strategy’s brilliance shinier? Of course you don’t—but this thinking is a little more common than you may believe.

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The Power of Art in User Experience

I believe that experience designers should use the power of art to make digital experiences more compelling. You might think, “well, that’s great but I’m not an artist. I can’t draw or perform music or dance or act. How am I supposed to use art in my designs?” To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly, because everyone is different. Everyone will have a different process — or perhaps no process at all — for creating a sense of artistic expression in digital content, whether it be through visual, auditory, interactive or narrative devices. What I have come up with, though, are three points to help you discover your own approach.

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Mastering Simplicity

When designing, regardless of whether the thing you’re creating is an interface or a physical product or a piece of content, it’s important to dive deep into the problem you’re trying to solve with your design. Develop a thorough understanding of the problem through rigorous research on how people react to it, how people are currently solving it, different people’s understanding of it, and the context surrounding it.

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Pre-Production: Making Sure Your Set is Set

Perhaps not the most glamorous part of the production process, pre-production’s (pre-pro’s) potential to elevate the overall quality of a final product is massive. The ability to think outside the box and employ new techniques plays a crucial role in the success of a production. Using innovative approaches to assess the clients’ needs and offer new ideas is extremely valuable. This value often relates directly to the amount of time spent in pre-production.

When allotted an adequate amount of time for pre-pro, a project can receive input from other departments (animators, editors, etc). Getting multiple, talented people from different disciplines eyes on a project in its early stages is certainly a good thing, as it allows a vast array of ideas to be put on the table.

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Going From “Cool” to Useful

To understand how web designs and interactivity effect the end user, I’ve been reading up on website design, modular layouts, adaptive hypermedia (web content that adjusts to the specific user – mostly seen in educational settings but could also be interpreted as suggested links or products), and spatial hypermedia (where the web user can move and adjust the website – adjust the layout or other elements of the webpage).  Sounds kind of nerdy (and it is!), but doing the research taught me a few key points that I think should be considered for every digital project.

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Your Content Is Your Product

What are all the parts of a transaction? Is it merely the exact moment in time when I hand someone money and they hand me a product in return? Or does it include the information gathering I do before I hand over the money? And the research I might do after?

I think it does. And that’s why: Your Content Is Your Product.

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Anticipation: The Often Unopened Window of Opportunity in User Experience

I’ve learned that not only does anticipation improve long-term memory of an event, people generally experience the highest levels of emotion about the event while they’re ‘looking forward’ to it. Therefore, I believe there is a huge window of opportunity in the anticipatory period leading up to the release of a new design that we should take advantage of by focusing on four things…

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The Making Of: CEI “Raster In The Community” Broadcast Commercial

It was amazing to see our latest spot for our good friends at CEI air during half time of Super Bowl XLVIII. Perhaps more amazing is all the time and talent that was poured into the project to make it happen. You can see both the final spot and visual effects breakdown here.

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February Three For All: The Power of Abstraction

When you’re an expert, detailed information is part of your diet. Yet when we attempt to share our expert insights with others, doing so with clarity is often a challenge. This month we will take a look at the power of abstraction in animation, and the simple idea that less is more.

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