Product Design Newsletter

Insights from fields like user experience, agile development, marketing and of course product design.

Product Design Newsletter

Issue from

Jan Mikula Jan Mikula • Weekly

UX Collective

UX Collective

What’s not an MVP

SSome time ago, I saw this beautiful inspirational image on Twitter that told inexperienced entrepreneurs and product managers how they should approach the development of their products. It had hundreds of retweets and likes yet there is something fundamentally wrong with it. To be honest with you, this image is a piece of shit and it shouldn’t have been shared at all.

Let’s start with a simple question. What’s the point of building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? Why do we follow this minimal approach, and why does it have so many fans?

  1. It allows you to deliver the product to the market for a relatively cheap price and as fast as possible.
  2. It helps validate the product hypothesis and test its viability.
  3. You can learn more about the target market and your users.
  4. It lets you acquire know-how and the necessary abilities to build such a product.
Read the article (2 min read)

Dark Patterns

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How To Convince Others Not To Use Dark Patterns

You are a smart, well-informed person. After all, you are reading Smashing Magazine so you must be. That means you are probably already convinced that you should avoid dark patterns. Maybe you have even read the new Smashing book on Ethical Design that drives the point home.

However, just because we understand that we should avoid dark patterns, doesn’t mean our clients and colleagues do. No doubt you have been asked more than once to implement these questionable techniques by an ill-informed stakeholder.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to convince them that dark patterns are a terrible idea. Talking about ethics often isn’t enough.

The problem is that a lot of our colleagues and clients are under tremendous pressure to deliver. Business owners need to pay the bills, while many marketing executives in larger organizations are under immense pressure to deliver results.

Read the article (6 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Meet “Click!”: Encourage Clicks Without Shady Tricks

The web has become a noisy place with millions of companies trying to get users’ attention. No wonder many of them apply increasingly desperate techniques to encourage users to act on their websites. We’ve seen an explosion of dark patterns attempting to manipulate users into handing over personal data or make a purchase.

However, these manipulative techniques come with hidden costs in customer service, maintenance, support, return processing fees, and social media backlash. They cost a fortune and hurt business irrevocably.

How, then, do we encourage users to act? How do we increase clicks without shady techniques? By establishing trust with small commitments, at the right time, and in the right order. Click! explains how to do just that. Jump to table of contents and download a free PDF excerpt (1 MB).

Read the article (5 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

An overview of the Dark Patterns designers should avoid

Users hate them. They’re bad for business. Don’t think of short term profits.

Abstract Illustration of web elements

AA few days ago, after closely looking at my credit card statement, suddenly a small unrecognizable charge appears. I don’t even have a clue where this came from. After hours of investigation into my emails and online accounts, it looked like I accidentally signed up for a service.

I imagine that it happens to the best of us. It might have been because of an unnoticed pre-marked checkmark or because there was a promotion on the service which tricked me. Ever wondered what these tactics are called? Yes,

Dark Patterns can be defined as tricks used in websites and apps that make people do things that they didn’t mean to, like making a purchase or signing up for something.

Read the article (2 min read)

Inspiration

UX Planet

UX Planet

Top UI/UX Design Works for Inspiration — #104

UI & UX Design Inspiration

Every day most digital designers look for inspiration on sources like Dribbble. In a large stream of the works, it is very easy to miss some quality shots with small number of likes and comments.

We decided to change that and every week showcase some of the recent cool shots of young designers who didn’t get much attention of the community. Here they are:

BLAZEPOD APP
👨‍🎨 studio&more

TAB/ICON
👨‍🎨 JON
👥 Nagrow

COOKING APP INTERACTION DESIGN
👨‍🎨 Tetiana Vozniak

Read the article (1 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

Label your icons

No, we can’t read your mind. Please label your icons.

NNot labeling your icons is the same as assuming that we are all fluent in ancient hieroglyphics. Are you? Can you just walk up to Cleopatra's needle and read it like you could read a children's book? Even emojis, our modern hieroglyphics don't mean the same thing to each person. If I send you an eggplant am I talking about my garden or something else? How about a goat? Am I talking about my trip to the farm or an athlete that I feel is the “greatest of all time?” How about a snake? or fire? But a smiley face is a smiley face, right? I urge you to overthink and debate that.

The Struggle Is Real.

As a designer, I feel like we are all victims to the struggle of thinking there are conventional icons that everyone knows. But after lots of user testing over the years, I have found that this cannot be further from the truth. There is no convention for icons, there's no set of icons everyone knows. there's no standard. There are no “laws” per se when it comes to what icons anyone can use for anything. Due to this, people can use whatever they want for any meaning. That's right, no one is stopping you! Go make a cat on a horse your home icon!

Read the article (7 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

How to design a sleek dashboard UI

A step by step guide with helpful tips.

Dashboard UI design

WWelcome to the second step by step UI guide. Since you really liked my first article on “How to achieve Friendly, Lightweight UI”, I decided to make another one in a similar manner. Please note, that this is not a “legit” process on how to create a product. We will focus on creating a clean, consistent UI, and we skip all the research/user experience/whatever you like to call it/steps.

Basic idea & rough wireframe

Let’s start with an idea for a dashboard.

We are going to create a dashboard for a healthcare industry, preferably doctors, who have daily shifts, different patients and other duties (my aunt is a doctor, and actually she is not only saving lives, but as she says “there’s sh*tload of paperwork to do”) 😉. I will use Sketch for the whole process.

Read the article (3 min read)

UX Research

NN Group

NN Group

How Well Discovery Phases Are Performed in UX Projects

Summary: Our survey results reveal that many UX practitioners perform discoveries in some shape and form, although many are on the short side, lack user research and don’t involve the right people.

This article reports the results of a survey, in which 436 UX practitioners completed (or attempted to complete) an online survey in October 2019.

The discovery phase is an important part of the UX-design process, so we aimed to understand how companies perform discoveries on real-world design projects and the barriers to carrying out discoveries effectively.

A reminder from our full article on discovery in UX: A discovery is a preliminary phase in the UX-design process that involves researching the problem space, framing the problems to be solved, and gathering enough evidence and initial direction on what to do next.

Read the article (6 min read)
NN Group

NN Group

The Need for Speed, 23 Years Later

Summary: In spite of an increase in Internet speed, webpage speeds have not improved over time.

23 years ago, the internet was quite different from the one we use today. Google didn’t exist yet, fewer than 20% of U.S. households had internet access, and those who did were using a dial-up connection.

It’s no wonder that people complained about slow speeds on every website we tested back then, because the internet and the computers used to access it were painfully slow.

What is surprising is that, despite today’s much faster network speeds and computer processors, people using the internet today are still plagued by the exact same frustration: slow websites.

Read the article (3 min read)
NN Group

NN Group

Online Shopping for Food and Groceries During Covid-19: Workflow Issues Impact the Ecommerce Customer Experience

Summary: Allow users to reserve delivery windows before they start shopping; clearly communicate delivery minimums and fees; allow users to specify substitutions for low-stock items as they shop.

In the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, online grocery stores in the US were overloaded and often failed to meet the sudden demand. People were desperately filling in their carts only to discover that their order could not be delivered or there were no pickup windows available. Those lucky enough to place the order found that many of their items were missing upon delivery. Grocery stores were overwhelmed, the supply was low (as people were stocking up), and there were too few employees available to deliver the order or help with pickup.

Read the article (8 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

The 8 levels of focus for building successful products

When your focus changes — the details, problems, and challenges will change along with it.

InIn the Ray and Charles Eames film Powers of Ten, it begins with a shot of a man sleeping on a rug viewed from one meter away. The view moves out — revealing the city, the Earth, our galaxy until it reaches the edge of the known universe. Then it zooms all the way back in to show the cells on his skin, moving in even further to finally end inside a proton of a carbon atom.

Read the article (5 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

UX cheat sheet: searching vs browsing

WWhen designing search results and interest sites, you have to keep in mind what ‘mode’ your user is in. Are they in ‘searching mode’ or ‘browsing mode’? This will help you determine how to design your platform to best support your user’s journey.

A note on this cheat sheet: I call myself a UI designer, not a UX designer, just because I have limited experience in the field and my passion is focused more on ‘making pretty (usable) pictures’. However, I have done a lot of thinking on this topic, so I thought that I should share it and see what you guys think.

In this cheat sheet we will cover the following:

Read the article (6 min read)

Tools

UX Collective

UX Collective

Prototyping in Figma and ProtoPie, a comparison — Part 1

Prototyping in Figma and ProtoPie, a comparison

In this article we’ll explore Figma’s prototyping capabilities by building a basic app login. We’ll then compare Figma’s prototyping process to ProtoPie to see how the two tools differ in both their approach and features.

PPrototyping has never had such a high profile with a whole host of tools that now give you varying ability to realise your designs beyond their static UI and into a working usable thing. It's fair to say that Prototyping amongst other things has been a bit of a battlefield amongst tools with some going offering a broad range of features with others instead of being more specialised and adopting close integrations with others.

Today I want to look at two such tools that offer on the surface an overlap of features but very different capabilities and approaches in the hope to give you enough of a comparison to decide what to use and when.

So what exactly are Figma and ProtoPie?

Read the article (6 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

Creating a Principle prototype animation in 30 minutes — beginner’s guide

Break out of Invision Land and take your prototypes to the next level.

IInvision stans, fret not. I still adore prototyping tools like Invision, Proto.io, Adobe XD, etc… I am not trying to make an argument that one tool is better than another, but rather bring awareness to how simple it can be to create more complex interactions when needed.

For those starting out in UX design, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the treasure trove of robust tools and programs that exist. The tool that you use should be informed by the intention of your prototype, whether it be scrappy and high-level concept validation for a product idea, or a hyper-focused micro-interaction for an individual feature. For those who are curious, here’s a great breakdown of a lot of the well-known prototyping tools out there.

Read the article (4 min read)

UX Writing and Typography

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Micro-Typography: How To Space And Kern Punctuation Marks And Other Symbols

This article is for anyone who works with typography, in any medium, and it is especially for those designers who are keen to give users the best reading experience possible.

Jeffrey Zeldman once said:

“90% of design is typography. And the other 90% is whitespace.”

You might be knowledgeable about typefaces; you might regularly modify the leading, tracking, and kerning of your fonts; you might optimize the file sizes of your web fonts — but is that all that can be done? For hundreds of years, typographers and typeface designers have been using white space in typography. In this article, I will discuss the spacing and kerning of punctuation and other marks, looking at what people say about the effects of these adjustments. I will show you different ways to go about doing this work, the pitfalls of this work, and how we might do it more accurately, quickly, and consistently.

Read the article (13 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

UX Writing: 5 ways to craft microcopy

“Words create worlds.” — Pierre du Plessis

Write up a world where people can smoothly and confidently navigate your product. UX writing is about crafting text or microcopy to help users reach their goals on your website or application.

Microcopy consists of text on buttons, error messages, product descriptions, tooltips, input fields and more throughout the product flow. Through these touch-points, UX writing adds intimate moments into the conversation between product and users.

I’ll cover 5 ways to craft effective microcopy: be user-focused, in brand voice, clear, concise, and purposeful.

User-focused

“Make your customer the hero of your stories.” — Ann Handley

Read the article (3 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

People only read 20% of your content — but UX Writing can make them read more on your page

A guide for reader-centered design.

People don’t want to read, so they scan. But adjusting your creative process can encourage your users’ brains to keep reading your page.

“On the average webpage, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.”
Jakob Nielsen

Content should be tailored to your user

To avoid your future customers just scroll down and ignore your valuable content. Urge your team to solve the next questions:

Read the article (3 min read)

Neumorphism

UX Collective

UX Collective

Spotify in Neumorphism

Redesigning Spotify the right way.

When neumorphism was predicted to be one of the top 2020 UI design trends, I wanted to give it a shot. Having said that, I wanted to explore a type that had not gone overboard, neumorphism in Dark Mode.

Why Spotify?

Well while looking around for inspiration, I stopped at Spotify mainly because

Read the article (3 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

My thoughts on Neumorphism

TL;DR: Designers should spend more time solving problems than chasing beauty.

Two Neumorphic screens

EEarly February, I uploaded this shot onto Dribbble. Nothing fancy –– just two screens experimenting with “Neumorphism,” or soft UI. Little did I know that this post would become the most viewed on my profile. At first glance — it was a pretty cool concept, the blending of 3D elements into this sort of

Read the article (4 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

Neumorphism, visual accessibility, and empathy

Taking an empathic look at why Neumorphism is bad for accessibility and usability.

“A good UX designer has empathy”.

TThis is something every UX designer has heard at some point in their career. Empathy helps us get into the mindset of the user and build solutions that solve real problems. By having empathy, designers gain a deeper understanding of the user and can advocate for what’s truly important to them.

Read the article (2 min read)

That's it. You read the whole issue.

Subscribe to newsletter

  • Read the best content selected by Jan Mikula Jan Mikula.
  • You will receive newsletter in your inbox Every Wednesday at 12:00.
  • You can also subscribe using RSS feed.

Modern news platform
for demanding readers

Subscribe to thematic newsletters prepared by professional editors.

  • Read your newsletters at regular time you want. E.g. every day at 9am.
  • We update your timeline only every 3 hours. Because that's sane.
  • No notifications. No endless scrolling. No addiction and FOMO.