Top 10 Tips for Creating a UX/UI Style Guide

Your website or app is changing all the time. Technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate, so in order to stay current, you’ll often have multiple teams of developers working constantly to update features and optimize how things work. But no matter how much you change and update, it’s important that you remain “on brand”: that the basic user experience and user interface stay familiar to your users no matter how many updates you go through. How do you maintain that overall continuity with multiple developers? You need a style guide. Here are some tips for creating an effective one. Areas to Include Layout. Different people will be accessing your site from different devices, from computers to smartphones to tablets, all with very different size screens. What will the site look like on each of those devices? Will the basic layout be maintained no matter what size the screen […]

Getting an ROI from Your UI Redesign – How Can It Impact Your Bottom Line?

Your app needs an overhaul. The user interface is outdated and clunky and needs to be redesigned. And doing it right will take time, talent, and other resources that all add up to money. This is why a lot of companies are reluctant to update their designs. They see what it will cost them to do so and immediately run for the hills. But like anything else your company spends money on, UI redesign is an investment. And UI, in particular, is one of the most important and potentially profitable ones. It’s estimated that every dollar spent on UI redesign can yield between ten and a hundred dollars in revenue. Let’s take a look at the importance of UI to your profits and how you can maximize your ROI. Why UI Redesign Is a Good Investment UI is all about how users interface with your app, or your website, or […]

Embracing Simplicity – Why Craigslist’s Text Only Design is So Effective

Every website design tutorial or advice column tells you the same thing: the visual component is one of the most important there is. The images you use, the color scheme, and general aesthetic can make or break your site within just a few seconds of the user’s arrival. If your site doesn’t impress them visually, they’re likely to click away and move on to the next site instead, without a second thought. But if that’s the case, then how do you explain Craigslist? It’s just a bunch of blue links and black text against a white background. There are no images or photos, unless someone chooses to upload their own along with their ad listing. It was founded in 1995, and their aesthetic hasn’t changed since then. It’s incredibly simplistic by today’s standards, and some would even call it ugly. But it works for them! Craigslist thrives in over 700 […]

Does Your App Need a UX Design Refresh? Here Are the Signs That It Does

Your company launched its app a few years ago. You were very proud of it at the time. But lately it just hasn’t been producing the business metrics that you had anticipated. Maybe the app was great in the beginning, but your results have fallen off as of late. Or maybe your results were never what you’d hoped. Either way, you do not necessarily need to rebuild your customer experience from the ground up, in fact with modern coding practices there’s a good chance that basic UX issues can turn your metrics around. Here are some signs to help you tell whether your app’s UX design needs a refresh. 1. You’re Losing Money Customers spent over $430 billion online last year in the U.S. alone, and that number is only growing. But your website revenue is flat or sinking. More than likely your behind the times when it comes to […]

6 Usability Testing Methods That Will Improve Your Software

Successful software projects please customers, streamline processes, or otherwise add value to your business. But how do you ensure that your software project will result in the improvements you are expecting? Will users experience better performance? Will the productivity across all tasks improve as you hoped? Will users be happy with your changes and return to your product again and again as you envisioned? You don’t find answers to these questions with a standard QA testing plan. Standard QA will ensure that your product works. Usability testing will ensure that your product accomplishes your business objectives. Well planned usability testing will shed a bright light on everything you truly care about: workflow metrics, user satisfaction, and strength of design. How do you know when to start usability testing? Which usability tests are right for your product or website? Let’s examine the six types of usability testing you can use to […]

THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

UX/UI Design Tool sets allow designers to transition ideas and concepts into a visual user interface for clients to review. Designs are published as a prototype, providing valuable feedback and a chance to experience the look-and-feel prior to code development. A designer may need three or four different design applications to organize the required design artifacts for the developer. Moving from application to application is cumbersome. As a UI designer it is important to stay competitive and efficient in the digital design space. There are a handful of popular software applications designers utilize that stand out as industry-recognized design tools. Photoshop, Adobe XD, Axure, Sketch and InVision are a few that have proven reliable and provide high-level professional results. Design Application Review Adobe Photoshop is a powerful photo and image editing application that provides a feature-rich toolset for digital image manipulation. UI Designers started using Photoshop more than a decade […]

TRANSITIONING BUSINESS LOGIC INTO THE UI DESIGN

It’s always exciting for a UI Designer to get a UI Concept approved. But then, you need to weave business logic into those beautifully designed page concepts.This can be a complicated task, particularly in integrated web applications. Financial, medical, or business workflows often have business rules or regulatory constraints that add complexity and risk. The transition from the design layer to the business logic layer to the data layer is vital for a successful web application.  If not approached correctly these transition points can severely bog down project momentum.  There are various approaches to this transition. In some projects, the designer receives approval for the UI design and hands it off. The hand off transition may work for a simple web page, yet in many web applications complex business logic is involved and additional documentation is required. Many UI Designers, myself included, are expected to understand the platform business logic, […]

UX? UI? U what?

So you’ve got a digital application in your sights. You’ve got visions and dreams of massive return on your investments floating on cloud computing with number one customer satisfaction stars shooting at you like a machine gun, riding rainbows into your pot of revenue gold. How do you realize this dream? Start the Ride Whether you are a small or large business, you want success for your digital product which generally entails levels of financial investments. You may be redesigning a legacy system, building a custom web app, or launching the next mobile app to take the market by storm, but if you don’t know how to navigate the UX/UI road your visions may soon become unfocused. The road can become treacherous because of the various opinions on what UX is and how it adds value. Well, here at Surge, we’ve been down this road before, let us help you […]

UX 101: Creating WOW! Moments in Your Software/Website

One of the biggest revolutions of the past 5-10 years has been the focus on the user for both software and website design. At one time, user experience issues were an afterthought, something to be caught during testing (if at all). The focus was on the company’s version of how their product was to be used and whom would use it. This shift in focus has largely been due to the fact that many of these assumptions were wrong. It is often illuminating for a development team, not to mention designers, to watch actual users use their products. Anyone who has ever taken part in a usability test know that, quite often, users use products in unexpected ways. Even companies with a robust UX process (user stories, personas, etc.) can be shocked to see their product used by actual people. Plus, as the people who build things, it can be […]

The Vernacular of Icons

Icons are a wonderful thing.  Whether used in software development, the custom-designed interface of a SaaS application, or on a website, icons can be a useful design shorthand.  Especially when it comes to software, where it seems like the most successful designs are the simplest designs, every pixel is scrutinized for its overall effectiveness.  Often, icons can be used to make designs more efficient, clean, and usable.  Icons can make copy more skimmable, features more discoverable, and application functions more accessible.  However, like anything else, there is a danger to the over-reliance on icons. The problem with icons, as we see it anyway, has to do with the common language of the web.  That is, often it is the least common denominator that is used to judge an application’s, or website’s, usability, and icons (especially in the context of the web) just have not been used long enough to establish […]