Stuff- The extended version

Developers make stuff work, UX Designers make stuff work well, Visual Designers make stuff look beautiful, Product Managers make stuff earn money, Project Managers make stuff happen, Marketers make stuff visible, Sales sell stuff

Designers & Developers

Developers make stuff work, UX Designers make stuff work well

Do not disturb…

I’m making time for Design

‘…it has no longer become profitable to carry newspapers ‘

Pull Push, Pull Push

Seen at the otherwise fabulous AOL’s new Headquarters at 770 Broadway in New York’s East Village.

Design is in the details…

…but its only too often that the details are left out in a hurry to get the product out -and then never fixed in a hurry to get out the next release, leading to poor experiences. Like the one I had today with Microsoft Entourage (my enterprise email client…sigh!). Overall its not too bad a tool and I recently began using it as a Project Management tool, but today’s experience has left me mightily sour.

I got the following message while I was trying to send an email:

The message either exceeds the message size limitations or the recipient’s mailbox is full

I assumed it was the latter since I was sending a small attachment. When I realized that I got the same message to anyone I sent emails, I called support who asked me to reset my account. Did that- same problem again. After a four more frustrating and wasted hours, I was told that ‘my’ account was full.

What obviously happened was the designers (developers?) used the same generic message. A simple modification of the copy would have saved me time (and frustration) and Entourage some bad reputation (and karma).

Norman Doors (literally)

This is how I almost seriously injured someone. The community often debates whether to limit IxD’s definition to digital products (that tend to be a lot more complex and hence a more focussed value proposition). I generally tend to agree with that argument, but everytime I see something like this, I wonder. One can call this ‘common sense design’- but if its that simple why do we have to go through stuff like this rather often.

Norman door

Die in hell Hotmail, no I’m not coming back and get a copywriter!!

Die in hell Hotmail, no I\'m not coming back and get a copywriter!!

See full resolution

P.S: This is a legacy account, I swear!

In the workplace with me

Name: Vishal Iyer
Title: Sr User Interface Designer (I prefer Interaction Designer though)
Location: New York/Washington D.C.

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
I did my undergrad in Computer Science, then switched over to Design in grad school. Go Spartans!

Tell us about your current job.
I work for AOL in the eCommerce division. The design team works as an internal agency and I work on their Shopping, Autos and Travel websites among others.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Meeting with other stakeholders (business, product and dev teams) to discuss the project, brainstorming with designers about different ideas, designing wireframes/ prototypes. Repeat.

What kinds of documents do you produce?
Concept mocks, Wireframes (of various fidelities), prototypes and design requirement documentations.

What communication skills are needed for your job?
Communication is key, especially in large projects because a cohesive vision needs to be distributed among the entire team. We all work on different aspects of the same project and there will be a mess when things are lost in translation. Constant communication (f2f meetings, emails, IM etc) is essential.

How did you prepare for your job?
Building a portfolio of projects similar to the ones I wanted to do helped in getting a better understanding of what goes into it.

List three of your favorite professional resources/references/tools and tell us why they’re your favorite.
IxDA ( Great, active community geared towards Interaction Designers

Design of Everyday Things: This is why I became an Interaction Designer [editor’s note: check it out on Amazon]

Blogs/Websites of companies/People I admire: Adaptive Path, 37 Signals, IDEO, etc.

How do you stay up-to-date in your field?
Professional Organizations, conferences, books and talking with peers siting next to me.

Do you have any tips to share with other professional designers/writers/editors?
Your professional community is an invaluable source of information and inspiration especially when your starting out. Find the one that fits you, not necessarily the largest one. Same thing while looking for jobs. Look beyond Monster, Career Builder, etc. And of course have fun in what you’re doing!

The secret to making money online: 37signals edition

37signals is one of those companies you really gotta admire. They are often criticized for being arrogant and opinionated, but the argument is flawed because they never claim that their way is the only way of doing it. They talk about what works for them, and thats about it. Build a solid foundation and know what works for your company. Look beyond the surface and you’ll see that they propagate building a company based on simple, yet strong values and convictions. Too often startups (even big companies) are in a ‘me-want-fad’ mode. That is certainly not the way to build great companies. And the proof is in the pudding. They have some of the best products in their respective categories.