#DayofUX in Tampa

I made it out to a meetup last week – actually, my very first one. It was cool meeting a few locals in the area.

What I took away from that shin-dig was the following:

1. Research your users (as well as what ‘problem’ or ‘task’ you’re bringing to the table), before you start designing and ‘laying out’ your foundation. You have to be sure you know the tools before you start arranging them. Be empathetic towards your users – in more ways than one. However, you cannot know what tools they need, or how to find empathy, without doing the research first.

2. Be willing to get as much feedback, criticism and whatever it takes to have someone tell you, not only what he/she thinks, but also including feelings, as you can find.

3. Reiterate — The UX (and UI) of your product is never a closed chapter. Continue steps 1, 2 and 3 as long as you want to gain more users, and touch base with the ones you have.

One thing discussed during the meetup that I’m not too quick to agree on is the idea to avoid being abnormal, or not following common expectations and break out of the box. It’s very hard to break the norm, so to speak, and be innovative and ground-breaking… So do that for experimentations sake, just don’t expect to win the types of users who don’t give more than 10 seconds of their time to figure out what is happening in front of them.

Typecast: Sample and design the text for your next website

I stumbled across this tool today while browsing the latest Google fonts.

Pick your font, set your type, choose your character styles (size, line-height, letter-spacing), design your container (margin, padding, borders), and export the result as html/css.  Export your designs as a png to share with others,  or use the png as a background image for your site.

I can’t wait to have more fun with this!  I feel that it’s going to bring some creativity back to my projects.

Typecast: ”Design a working prototype using our simple visual controls then export production-ready HTML & CSS or share by URL.”

Try it out at http://typecast.com/

Goodies: Google Analytics

I’ve been in the Google Analytics docs a bit too much lately — as they are currently running 2 platforms,  ga.js and analytics.js.   You can serve both on your site, until analytics.js is out of beta, and I have no idea when that will be.

So, as I was updating the analytics for my employer’s websites, I came across a few useful tools to help get the work done.

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html5rubik – Create a Rubik with Javascript

I was going through my Twitter followers and noticed this hashtag – #html5rubik – my heart skipped a few beats.

http://www.html5rubik.com/tutorial/

“After some research I find out, that most of the websites were really old (with a really ugly UI)…” It’s as if the last time someone created a website for solving cubes was back when commercials were still being aired for them!

As for me, I’d much rather have a tangible puzzle than learn to solve a cube via a screen.

If you want to learn the easy way – http://www.thecubeschool.com/lbl-beginner-method-1/
or start learning more advanced moves – http://www.cubewhiz.com/

I’m going to jump into this tutorial and get a bit more javascript practice.

=) cube away!

W3C Validator Bookmarklet

Save this script snippet as a bookmark in your browser — When you click it, it will pass your current url to the W3C validator.


javascript:(function(){javascript:location.href='http://validator.w3.org/check?uri='+(location.href)+'&charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline&group=0';})();

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

I’ve had Screaming Frog SEO Spider for almost a year now — and I’d be lost without it.

(I didn’t realize how silly I sounded saying “Screaming Frog” until I saw this video; Now, it’s not the same.)

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Here are some ways the program is useful. (Tutorial’s coming later…)

  1. Search deeper pages for broken links
  2. View all external links from the domain (of course, the pages that link to them)
  3. Check title, metadata, canonical references
  4. Search website source code for references to the scripts or hyperlinks
  5. Check if any page does NOT contain references (such as ga.js or html5shim)
  6. Export a XML sitemap
  7. Download csvs from Google WebMasterTools, such as 404s under the Crawl Errors report, then upload the file to Screaming Frog to search for inbound links to those pages

If that’s not enough to get you excited, check out the more technical uses and SEO thoughts at their blog – http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/blog/.