Running a Distributed Design Agency: a One Year Retrospective

Almost exactly a year ago, my partner Jason and I decided to start an agency. This is not an odd or unusual decision for designers with over a decade of experience like ourselves. But we chose to do things a little differently. Instead of renting a shiny office space and hiring some full time employees, [...]

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Designing for Complexity

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein Simplicity is a frequent mantra for designers, and even a perpetual goal. How often have we heard or said – make it clean, make it simple, increase the white space, decrease the clutter. To be sure, simplicity is an utterly worthy [...]

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Planning for Pixel Perfection & Mastering the Art of the Meticulous

High-quality, professional design is instantly recognizable. Every pixel is in place, every font considered, every interface element carefully selected, every color chosen intentionally. The end result glows with quality and effortless clarity. Perfection not only thrills and pleases the client, but makes the entire design process easier on you, the designer. By getting the presentation [...]

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User Stories, Scenarios & Use Cases

What’s the difference? Are they the same? Why do I even care? Introduction When designing and developing software and sites, I hear these three terms – user stories, scenarios and use cases -  employed all the time, often interchangeably. While I am not intending to issue a didactic nomenclature smack-down (how tedious!), some definition and [...]

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Book Review: Thoughts on Interaction Design

Most books on designs tend to be focused on how to do stuff, what to make, and what deliverables should be. I have read a lot of excellent practical books along these lines. Jon Kolko’s Thoughts on Interaction Design takes a very different and quite enjoyable approach. This is a book explicitly for Thinkers, not [...]

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Low-Fidelity vs High-Fidelity Wireframes

Wireframes are a basic part of the application or site design process. They allow the interaction designer to quickly sketch out screen layouts without delving into the niceties of visual design. Wireframes are generally considered blueprints – they define structure, size and layout without proscribing any decorative details such as colors and fonts. However, all [...]

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