UI17 Recap

Last week I had the amazing opportunity attend the UI17 Conference in Boston. UI17 focuses on the leading trends and best practices in interface design, multi-device design, and team-based solutions. The conference follows an unconventional format with one day of shorter talks sandwiched between two full day workshops. This format was an effective way to dive deep into two topics while still getting an overview of related important topics.

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3 Characteristics that Make or Break User Experience

User experience is like the Zooey Deschanel of the design world—a quirky mix of science and art that many are enamored with but few understand. So what characteristics contribute most to a solid user experience? That’s like asking “What makes Zooey so darn like-able?” Ask anyone and you will get a different answer.

In my humble opinion, the three characteristics that make or break a user experience (aside from performance, i.e. an app must function correctly, and function quickly) are simplicity, clarity, and consistency.

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Layout and Responsive Design with Twitter Bootstrap

Some of you may have noticed some websites look great on any device. You visit a website on your desktop computer, enjoy using their services, and then leave your desk for the day. Later while you’re out moving around, you remember you need to update your account on your favorite website. You only have your phone with you, but you decide to give it a shot. Lucky enough, the website you enjoyed on your desktop has magically transformed into something that feels comfortable to use on your phone. All of the same features are there, along with the site’s look and feel. It’s an easy transition between devices, and since it’s the same site, you spend hardly any time at all figuring out how to update your account with your phone. (For an example, check out our website, InspiringApps.com on any device or just by resizing your browser window.)

Now you want that same easy device transition for your websites. Today I’ll talk about how to do just that. If you want to do everything by hand, you can do everything manually, but there is a great front-end framework that has everything you need built in: Twitter Bootstrap. If you need an introduction to Twitter Bootstrap, check out my introductory post, “First Impressions of Twitter Bootstrap.”

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Design and Development Tutorials


“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.”

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who said that first but they were really on to something. The team at InspiringApps believes very strongly that one of the keys to our success is to continue learning and asking questions when we need some help. That’s also why our open concept office space works out so well for us.

We’ve compiled a list of online resources that our team finds useful when we have a question or two, we hope you find them helpful too.

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An Ounce of Prevention

Remember that saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Never is this more true then when planning a new venture, like a new app. The more research and thought you give it, the more likely you will foresee issues and be able to prevent problems before they happen.

At InspiringApps, we like to run new projects by as many minds as possible, as early in the process as possible. Because no matter how thoroughly you think you have thought through an idea on your own, there will always be something that slips through the cracks. Involving more people with different mindsets can reduce the things that get missed.

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The Eternal Debate


Ah, the eternal debate: should designers know how to code? Along the same lines, should developers have an understanding of design?

I believe the answer to both is “yes”.

I’m not saying a designer should know how to flawlessly code any design they create, or that they should understand JavaScript, PHP and MySQL. Nor should a developer be responsible for creating visual design. But the more interest they have in each other’s craft, the better.

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The IA Way

InspiringApps believes that the key to a successful software project is to listen to your business goals and the needs of your users—both spoken and unspoken—to recommend a solution that not only meets the short-term target but also looks to the long-term benefit. We aren’t “process-heavy” but we have learned a few tricks over the years that consistently delight our customers.

Whether we work together in a more agile way on a time and materials basis, or if you need a fixed bid for planning sake, we recommend this general path for your project. And since every project is different, we’re not stuck on one methodology. It is in our best interest to serve the project in your best interest.

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