Editor’s note: Contributor Marcy Kellar is a SharePoint Strategist and User Experience Designer. Follow her @marcykellar
Last summer, Marcy Kellar began a weekly series of her top picks of UX articles for that week. Marcy is going to pick up the series again so we’ve gone back to publish her original articles.
Here are the top 5 UX articles on branding this week:
Colors, pictures, creativity; designers are quite obviously a group of people that tend to gravitate towards using the right sides of their brains… right? Or is this simply a stereotype that doesn’t necessarily ring true? Is design exclusively artistic talent put to productive use or is it possible that the industry is equally full of analytical problem solvers?
Marcy Kellar: I’m an analytical person in a creative field and cringe when someone asks me to make something pretty. I prefer to work within conventions and science to solve problems. That’s what I do as a designer. This article gives you insight into the stereotypes applied to designers and is a great read. So I’m interested, which kind of designer are you? Right or Left Brained?
Have you ever had an idea for a website or application? It’s easy to come up with the idea, but the hard part is understanding how that idea will take shape in user interface form. This is where sketching is useful.
Marcy Kellar: When asked what UX tools I use, I answer "pen and paper first." It’s a good practice to be in when you begin to mold an idea into a UI. This article provides you all the reasons to not jump immediately into wireframing. And I’ll let you in on a secret, if you start with paper, they stop asking you to "make it not look like SharePoint" — at least for a little while.
There’s a lot of talk about wireframing, but what does our work look like beyond wireframing? Was I the only one with a simplified approach? What can we do to create successful designs? What does the process beyond "the poster" look like? Is there a pattern that works well for the majority of designers?
Marcy Kellar:A second article on wireframing gives you an in-depth look into ideal practices and process for managing the user experience and where the UI fits into that process. These are process often overlooked in SharePoint branding and UI design. Are there any ways you might improve your approach to the SharePoint UI based on these articles?
Marcy Kellar: Use this application to clean up the formatting or size of your CSS. Copy your CSS from SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio into this app for a little scrubbing. You can use it to format CSS. It doesn’t validate your CSS, it only optimizes and formats it but it is a step I use prior to transferring my CSS to another designer or prior to putting it in production. There’s even a setting to keep your comments. I use this every week at least once.
I am sure that my day job as a designer has a lot of similarities to that of the entire Smashing community. I create wireframes, mockups and concepts. I craft HTML and CSS using methods that I hope are fluid and adaptive.
Marcy Kellar: Please please please stop saying the designer will make your garbage site "pretty." The article is a little long and sometimes the author stretches to make a point but definitely worth it. It gives you some insight into why designers cringe when asked to "make it pretty" and what actually goes into making a site attractive. Make sure you check out the author’s examples of successful, usable eye candy sites.