I was born and raised in sunny, swampy Central Florida, the land of Mickey Mouse and alligators. I received my two AS degrees from Valencia College in Central Florida, on focused on Print Design & the other on Interaction Design. I worked among the palmettos & pine trees for the first four years after graduation, handling design for both print and digital applications throughout Central Florida. After spending most of my life in a sweltering and humid land I had the opportunity to move farther north, and I’m currently drifting northward towards the Arctic at a steady pace, enjoying the change of seasons as I go. I love doing interactive and digital work, and in creating design that solves real problems for both users and businesses. If you need UI/UX work and live in a cool climate please contact me with the form below. I look forward to talking to you.
UX Design is incredibly important for any digital effort. It ensures that the right approcah, the right people, and the right resources are all being used for any given product. All UX starts with the right questions.
The best way to answer all of these questions is through research
The first steps of any project should be research. After recieving the design brief the users for this product need to be identified, along with key information about their demographics, goals, interested, level of technical experience, and potential budget. There should also be a round of research conducted on competing products as well to see what are commoon paradigms, what are they doing righ, and what they are doing wrong. This allows for differentiation within the market, along with building a product that serves the users better than any other product.
While not actual users, Personas put a face and a name to users, allowing a design to be held up to an archetypical user. Design designs can be assessed base on whether or not they will serve these examples, and are a constant reminder that all development should happen with the end user in mind and not in a vacuum.
Figuring out who your example users are is killer. It allows you to figure out what they are trying to accomplish when they use your product. If you can picture their goals, you can trace how they will flow through your product. What links will they press? What will they be looking for? What will they try to accomplish before they close out of your app? User flows are the story of why someone uses what you are building.
Once you know what people are trying to do, you can organize the information so that it follows both logical and intuitive patterns. What goes on the Homepage? What links does someone need when they first sign in? What is the most important facts to communicate to potential customers? These question can result in anything from sitemaps to complex content strategies and networks of information, but anything that is more than a couple of pages needs a considered approach to Information Architecture
Knowing where information lives allows for it to be laid out in a rough, low fidelity way to hammer high-level layout questions. I prefer using sketches to start my thinking in this way, and moving into either Sketch or Axture depending on the level on interactivity needed to communicate how a page will behave. Intentionally a big vague, wireframes are easy ways to iterate through a number of options without the time needed to create high fidelity mockups.
When it is necessary to show interaction Prototypes are incredibly useful for demonstrating complex interactions. Whether including animation or just demonstrating how multiple screens will work together, prototyping allows for a great deal of communication in a straightforward format.
Finally, all of the above work is dependent on testing. As soon as their are paper wireframes it is good to test out these designs, from informal meetings to monitored usability tests, it is always important to test the design in the wild to challenge assumptions and see how users respond to the work.
While not as intense in regards to strategic thinking as User Experience Design, User Interface Design bears more in common with Graphic Design, focusing on the psychology of how typography, hierarchy, color, and layout will accomplish the goals that have come out of the UX Process. However User Interface Design relies more heavily on psycology to understand the design decisions that should go into the creation of interactive projects
The screen size is incredibly important in figuring out where to begin with a User Interface. A mobile app presents different problems than a website, and a responsive design that needs to function well on a laptop, tablet, and phone presents the most challenges. Prioritization is incredibly important here, and figuring out what can be hidden as screen sizes shrink, what needs to be offloaded onto separate pages, and what should be reflowed should be considered first before other Visual Design work has been done.
The content is always paramount in a design, and typography has the greatest effect on how users consumer and use the product. A good type system is invaluable, and can solve many design problems up front. By establishing clear hierarchies and focusing on legibility good type can set the tone and feel of the entire experience.
A grid structure is the best way to give users what they expect. Layouts that follow a predictable system of rows and columns look for the same information in the same place. Like the tones on a musical scale, good use of a grid allows users to predict where the next button will be placed, and what convention are being followed.
While accessibility is a consideration in making color non-essential for key tasks, color has its greatest advantage when it can be used to set the look and feel of the app. Whether the palette should be warm or cool, color can also reinforce design decisions that are created first with the type and layout.
Finally, as the large scale choices are made, a myriad of smaller elements can be standardized into distinct patterns that can be reused through the application, whether that be the styling of images, the system used for buttons, text, and similar pieces of content.
I come from a print background, having slung ink for my first internship screen printing posters. I still love laying out text, working up illustrations, and designing logos. The underlying principles remain the same for both digital and print design. The goal is always to serve the need of the project, whether that be an interface that allows for easier use of a checkout system, or a series of posters to raise brand recognition in the local area.
I have experience with a wide range of different projects, designing t-shirt graphics, marketing collateral, posters, logos & branding, typesetting, lettering, and custom illustration work. All project start with the same key questions.
After understanding the scope of the project the first thing that needs to be handled is the right solution. Brainstorming and sketching is the best way to produce a solution that solves the problem in the best way possible, and hopefully in a novel way. Sketching allows me to iterate on a number of different ideas quickly without having to being them all to a high polish, saving time later on in the project where changes take much more time and effort.
After figuring out the approach for the project, the next step is communicating with other stakeholders in a project. Rough comps allow for input and correction on layout, color choice, and imagery while still working quickly to produce different design solutions before narrowing in on the chose plan of action.
Mockups allow for a tighter focus , approaching the level of a finished piece when there is still space to make larger changes before the final rendering and production is done.
Finally the final piece is produced, including final files that will need to be sent to he printer for prepress work. These include any deliverables for the current projects, including source files depending on the scope of the work.
While it feels great to hit a home run on the first try, revisions are a key part of the design process. From the initial decisions regarding the start of a project all the way into the final tweaks on the finished design, revisions happen throughout the life of a project, and ensure that all efforts are still on target.