if & else in design
I’ve been thinking about how we can leverage the principle of if & else in design.
101 programming classes always teach you about if else statements fairly early on.
In design, we ramble about responsiveness with regards to the browser size. But what about responsiveness due to content? And, no, I don’t mean hiding useful content.
I mean, IF information is missing, just don’t show it. IF that information needed additional chrome, don’t show the chrome either. Or how about when input is necessary, we kindly ask them for input and clearly demonstrate the benefits? IF input ELSE input prompt. How do our interfaces change depending on what cards we have to show? IF rich input then rich output, ELSE input prompt.
When we design in photoshop, these details are lost.
In photoshop, we always assume we have all the pieces.
We need to think about all the edge cases.
But it’s hard just to think about them.
We actually need to live and breathe them.
Force yourself to use what’s on production servers.
Use the product you are designing for and dig for the ugly stuff.
Be motivated by the fact that this ugliness is something you yourself can truly make better.
“Can I see the insides of your sketchbook?” Now you can. Kind of. Photographs!
Eric Reiss’ talk two Thursdays ago. P.S. There’s an IXDA series, UX in Space next Wednesday @ Trulia’s 9th floor rooftop penthouse. All 8 talks from DxFSF.
In < 24 hours, I illustrated 9 talks.
Thinking about it makes my right hand pulsate a bit.
on freelancing, or simply, designing for others
One of the things I have had trouble handling is a suboptimal client experience.
I try to remind myself these things before signing-up for a new project.
Just one rule, if you hire me as your creative, trust me. 
These are the questions I try to get answered with the right reasons before proceeding.
What do you want me to do for you? Figure out if there is some actual thinking involved in the project, not just pixel monkeying. Sure, I know how to use Photoshop, good question, but so does the 13 year old manipulating her mirror self-shots. Clients: Keep in mind the person you are hiring is likely competent. Trying to micromanage every creative decision defeats the purpose. You might as well do it yourself. NO ONE is working for you as a “pixel monkey.”
How long do we have to do it? For some reason, the true time is the estimate x2. That’s just the nature of iterations and that’s cool. But on a bad project… It drags on and on and on. Beware of anyone who thinks “more is more.” Set a deadline and discuss what happens if it takes longer than planned. Clients: You want this result fast? A competent freelancer will make it happen. That’s why we ask about timelines. If you’re equating fast to sloppy, don’t bother dragging the experienced creative in. Hire the 13 year old.
But most importantly: Do you like my style? A surprising amount of individuals supposedly hire based on portfolio and yet, with one critique from a third party, suddenly decide it should “look like Apple.” Not even the most patient take this well. This one is hardest to safeguard. Bring it up, but put in the eject button in case the project target suddenly shifts. Get paid for what you did do and move on. Clients: Why did you hire this person? And is your conviction in your own product so weak that someone else’s one opinion shines over your entire vision?
I apologize to everyone who’s given me a fantastic freelancing experience. This is post is advice I wish I could give my past self, advice I try to give new(er) freelancers, and solidified resolution to stand my ground in the future.
Client used liberally. This easily applies to school organizations, favors for “friends”, or cheap labor styled internships. An unfortunate slew of things young designers and artists put up with.
The legendary story about Pablo Picasso’s one stroke portrait sums up why you should trust your hired creative gun. It’s in the experience.
She’s a wrap! Latest moonlighting project, just a selection of the bits and pieces which make up our darling Zoē. Project details @dribbble »
It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be. (Amazon)
Just a shortlist of my favourite lessons:
- Don’t try to look for the next opportunity. The one in hand is your opportunity. No project is too insignificant, too small. No job is beneath you. -Thanks Randy Pausch for that one.
- It’s wrong to be right.
- It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. People matter, a lot. It pays not to be a prick! Take sensible risks on the job and the smartest people will love you for it.
- Don’t give a speech. Put on a show.
- If you get stuck, draw with a different pen.
- Do not try to win awards. I forget this one a lot.
- Present on a Tuesday. Hahaha, this lesson had a cute metaphor. Read it for yourself.
This one is a quick read, I started and finished it today mostly on a train ride up and down to the city. ~2 hours total.
I really missed physical books. Nothing like how ink and paper smells. Though I try not to snuff my books in public because of the weird looks.
portfolio 2012 sneakpeak. placing imagery inside respective chromes helps immensely to both convey context and, well, just look good. e.g., why didn’t I do this before?
thoughts about visual refreshes.
- lots of “the fuck is this, the fuck was that?!”* moments while perusing an older file’s organization structure (or lack of thereof).
- a visual redesign of something that wasn’t too bad to begin with feels like a waste of time at first…
- but then, after a few hours of effort, it’s evident the little things start to add up quickly.
- they are amazing for practice.
p.s., these were all dribbbled. :)