All Posts in ux thoughts

August 4, 2015 - Comments Off on Daylight Colors for Mobile Devices

Daylight Colors for Mobile Devices

This week I was asked to help out on an application that was going to used out in the daylight on a tablet. I should say the application was already developed, but they couldn't see the application on the screen when out in the daylight. I've never had to worry about this type of situation when designing interfaces in the past, so I was intrigued by the challenge. The hunt was on for a color palette.

As I typically do, I jump onto Google and start doing some searches. I found a lot of folks out their with the same questions I had. "What colors are easiest to see in the daylight on a tablet?"But there wasn't definite answer. Some folks say use high contrast, but don't specify colors. Other's rattled off pastels, which didn't make a lot of sense to me. Then I came across this article, "Display Battle: Which phones and tablets dominate in the sun?" which helped me out tremendously. Though they were not talking specifically about the use of colors in an application, I still found it useful to understand the technology behind the color displays.

So after reading this article and studying the graphics placed in it, I came up with a color palette that works. Let me warn you right now, there is nothing pretty about this color palette. I find it to be quite over the top and outrageous, but there is no place in good interface design for my personal taste.

With that said though, I did add into their interface a toggle to be able to switch between the "Daylight" color palette and the one they were originally using. There is no need for this crazy color palette when the user is sitting indoors working with the app.


Color palette for daylight viewing.

July 25, 2015 - Comments Off on Designer Insight for Developers: Know Thy People

Designer Insight for Developers: Know Thy People

A series of tips to help developers improve their interfaces.

Being the sole designer in a company 50ish developers can be a daunting task. With 100’s projects, I’m not always able to jump in and help when there are interface woes. I’ve been wondering for the past several months how I can make a bigger impact without going thru the awkward process of cloning myself.

After our company meeting, Unplugged, it came to me. I needed to take the approach of working smarter rather than harder. In this instance, it means I need to share more of my knowledge, rather than piling on more projects. So this post marks the beginning of my knowledge transfer to developers who want to enhance their interface design skills.

Know Thy People
Typically, this is called “Know Thy User”, but I’ve changed it to people. I believe using the generic term user removes emotions from the equation, which is wrong. People use our applications and people are emotional creatures. It’s in our best interest not to forget this crucial point.

You need to get an understanding of the people who will be using your application by any means possible. Conduct interviews. If you can’t talk to people in-person or via phone, talk to someone who can give some insight. Some information, even secondhand, is useful. Gather whatever data you can find. Be it Google Analytics reports, 3rd party resources, or internal analytic reports. Perform user tests. If a system already exists, gather some users and run them through some of the core tasks the application does. This can be done in-person or remotely. There are several tools out there that can help you out with recording sessions remotely and locally so you can share with a broader group.

If it’s a new application, get wireframes in front of the people, so you can get feedback as soon as possible. The sooner you catch issues, the easier and cheaper they are to change. Don’t worry about things being polished. People like to be involved in the process and see their feedback acted upon.

After all of this curating, you should have a better understanding of how your people differ, what their goals are, what their needs are, how they think, and how they feel. You will begin to see trends/similarities between them, which will provide you with natural groupings. By having these groups to design for, this allows you to focus on the important features that meet the needs of the group instead of random individuals. This makes your job easier.

You maybe be uncomfortable with conducting interviews/talking with strangers and tempted to skip this part, please don’t. You will end up creating something that you “think” is what they want, but the flaw there is it’s your thoughts not the people who will be using the application. So boldly go where you haven’t before and get out there and talk to people!

Originally written for

Don’t make something unless it is both necessary & useful;
But if it is both necessary & useful, don’t hesitate to
make it beautiful.


– Shaker Philosophy, #