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LDS Interaction Framework

The Interaction Framework (IxF) is the result of a collaboration between members of the Interaction Design Team in Church’s Information and Communication Systems Department. The goal of IxF is to make development and prototyping faster, to ensure best practices in UI design and ultimately to save sacred tithing funds and make the user experience better for the folks who use our apps. We are excited to formally announce this project and introduce you to some of the work we’ve been involved in.

posted by wade on Thursday, Jun 24, 2010

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Playing catch-up on the web

It continues to perplex me how so many basic interaction conventions did not make it onto the web. With each browser revision, we’re slowly improving experiences online, but so much of it is simply catch-up and not new innovation. Sure, it was born as a method for structuring and sharing documents, but once we started building things with it that involved interaction, why didn’t we at least start with what we knew thus far? Simple patterns designed decades earlier are slowly starting to show up on the internet but so many are still not even technologically possible.

It’s unfortunate because it limits the internet’s potential. By requiring experienced users to learn new behaviors, requiring users to deal with a sub-set of features, or lowering standards and expectations by providing new users with a sub-par experience, we are doing them a great disservice.

posted by wade on Wednesday, Jun 16, 2010

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The mistake of over-designing

In our quest to design simple, intuitive, and efficient things, we must be careful to not over-design. I have run into several examples recently where I believe the designer (or more often, the business employing them) is trying too hard—too hard to be everything, too hard to have too many options, too hard to up-sell, too hard to be original or innovative, too hard to be too simple—and has failed. A fine line is walked between questioning traditions and standards for irrelevance, age, or oversight, and respecting them for their tenure of existence. A delicate balance must be struck between production costs, competition, patents, marketing, aesthetics, work-flow, and usability. While we most often are not the one with the final say, I believe it’s a designer’s duty to satisfy a project’s many requirements simultaneously while diligently advocating usability—resisting and preventing the mistake of over-designing.

posted by wade on Monday, Jun 29, 2009

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Designing for color-impaired users

During some recent testing, we discovered that two of the most critical icons in our application failed for color-impaired users. My current project is an accounting application which contains many screens that utilize a common pattern for adding and removing. This pattern makes use of individual icons for each action. The icon for add is a plus symbol set within a green circle and the icon for remove is an “x” set within a red circle.

To the majority of users there is enough contrast between the symbols and the color for the user to distinguish between the two icons and to use them confidently and accurately. For a color-impaired user, however, this is a much more difficult task.

posted by wade on Saturday, Feb 07, 2009

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Testing before you design

In interaction design, we talk a lot about user testing. After we have put together some rough prototypes, we like to put them in front of our users, give them some scenarios, and observe them attempt to perform some predetermined tasks. Something that I think is often overlooked however is observing the user using their current system. Most of the time the applications that we are designing are replacing current systems—even if the “system” isn’t a software application and it is paramount that we understand it.

posted by wade on Saturday, Feb 07, 2009

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Search diligently in the light

Stumped? Have a question that you are trying to answer? Trying to solve a tough design challenge? Well, quit trying to do it yourself! I know; it’s hard. Most of us are independent and head-strong. We’re opinionated and over-confident. We’re artists.

I’ve learned something important recently and it’s to get over it. I don’t have all of the skills or strength necessary, and I can’t do it alone. I need my wife, I need my friends, I need my colleagues, and most of all, I need Jesus Christ. Where are you sitting right now? What’s in your studio? What are you listening to? Tired of wasting time? Tired of struggling without progress? You need to “search diligently in the light of Christ.”

posted by wade on Sunday, Jan 11, 2009

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Visiting with Rob a few days ago about our role as experience architects, he mentioned that we are creators and that our work is to lead people.

My first thoughts when he said those words were about Heavenly Father: how He is the Master Creator and how His entire work is centered around leading people. As our Father, he is the ultimate architect, crafting experiences—such as our lives on this Earth—to lead us and to guide us so that we may become like Him and return Home to live with Him again. I then thought of His Son, Jesus Christ, and how He completed the largest and most significant design project in the history of this world when he lead and orchestrated it’s creation.

posted by wade on Sunday, Nov 02, 2008