Have an idea for project? Do you start by opening your code editor and getting started? I have. Those projects seemed to take longer and failed to become good products. What works is prototyping or sketching the product out. Sketching helps you to slow down and think about the problem. It makes you choose one solution over the other and even seen things that you may not consider if you had jumped into coding first.
Paper is cheap and easy. You just grab a piece of paper, a pen and start drawing. If you don’t like it, you can throw it away and start over.
Easy iterations. A paper prototype also allows you to create multiple iterations as possible without the expensive of writing code.
Documentation. No need to create additional documentation. The prototype becomes your documentation. With paper, you write notes on your design or on the back or add them with Post-It Notes.
Collaboration. You and your team can quickly and easily draw out ideas on paper and share them.
What do you need to get started?
Pens and pencils
When do you use paper prototyping?
Brainstorming new ideas
Creating a mock-up of a new feature or product
Redesigning an older feature that no longer works
Should you use it for every project?
It depends. If your client or project can be easily understood by simple sketches, then you can use them to present your ideas. For some project, you may need to create a more interactive mock-up. Your client may need to see a working product in order to understand how you plan to implement your idea.
Design is a marketing tool. The best marketing tool you can have is a well-designed product.
How do you create a well-designed product? By focusing on solving the right problems and delivering value to your customers. A Lean UX Design process gives you the tools and system for developing a well-designed product.
In A Lean Design Process for Creating Awesome UX, Annie Wang described Lean UX as a repeatable process that is goal-driven and outcome-focused. Your team has a designer, developer and product manager. Most startups are going to have small teams. They focus on the following principles:
Rapid cycles: think, make, check
Generate many options and decide quickly which ones to develop
Focus on solving the right problems
Recognize hypothesis and validate with user feedback
Research with users as the best source of information and inspiration
What does a Lean UX Design process look like?
A typical UX Design Process may incorporate the following:
In Lean UX, Lean doesn’t equal Skinny. Less is more. You want to build a product that is simple and clear with less features and more details. You want to go through cycles of Think, Make and Check. The key is user feedback and to reduce cycle time, not your build time. Not every product needs to follow the same UX Design Process.
As we develop our own UX Design process, we want to focus on thinking, making and checking. User feedback is key to making products that are simple, clear and easy to use.
The success of your website or app depends on creating the best user experience possible. Not all developers have a designer available to help with the design.
You can use the following 7 UX tips to create a better experience for your users:
When you create a new website or app, you need to decide what features to add, leave out and improve. Prioritizing makes it easier to create a website or app with the right amount of features and helps you to focus on getting it built.
Speed things up
Make sure your website or app is fast and responsive. A page or app that takes to long to load will loose users. Make it as fast as possible to ensure an enjoyable user experience.
Design before you code
Sketch your designs with pen and paper or other prototyping tools. Show your designs to users or even team members. Get their feedback before you write any code. It is easier to change a design before you start writing code. Here’s how you do a UX Design Process:
Use Google Analytics or other analytic software to help you learn more about your users and how they use your app or website. The more you know, the better decisions you can make when improving your app or website.
Make your UI simple and easy to use
Easy said than done. How do you make the UI better? Keep it clean and consistent. Use readable fonts. Choose larger font sizes and avoid fancy fonts like script or handwriting fonts. Make your navigation simple. Use standard icons and words that people recognize.
Remove or prevent extraneous features
Be ruthless when considering new features. Ask does this feature solve a need? Will majority of our users want it? If you have older features that no one uses, reconsider whether or not you should keep them.
Show informative error messages
Write error messages that tell the user what happened and what to do next. Good error messages can help make your website or app easier to use. Bad error messages only frustrate and irritate users.
When people can’t figure out how to use a website or app, they leave or delete the app. If you want to prevent people from abandoning your app or website, use these tips to make it better.
How can you modify your WordPress website? By adding a theme, plugins or modifying WordPress yourself. When you develop your own WordPress websites, you may want to add code instead of relying on a plugin. Adding a code snippet to your theme or a custom plugin can be a better solution than searching for a plugin that does what you want. Where do you find these code snippets, what do you do if it breaks your site and how to do manage them?
Where do you find code snippets?
WPSNIPP – WordPress Snippets has a collection of about 666 snippets. You should be able to find a snippet that works for your next project.
Digging Into WordPress
Digging Into WordPress has tips, tricks and snippets for modifying and making your WordPress site even better. You can use their tips and tutorials to replace plugins that could do the same thing.
WP-Mix is a mix of code snippets and tutorials. You will find WordPress, PHP, jQuery, HTML, CSS and more.
CSS-Tricks has a collection of WordPress snippets. You can add these snippets to your theme or a site-specific plugin.
You can search the web for a code snippet. Many WordPress or developer blogs will have code snippets that you can use.
What happens when you find one and it breaks your site?
Code snippets can make it easier for you to modify WordPress. You can search and paste snippets into your WordPress site. Where and how you paste these snippets can determine whether or not it will fix your problem or crash your website. As with all code you find, read it to make sure you understand what it does and test it. Do you have a place where you can find WordPress code snippets?
How do you get ideas for your blog? Some ideas are easier to write about than others. Other times, you can’t think of anything. What can you do? You can use a blog post title generator. Post Title Generators can give you ideas to help get you writing.
What kind of generator are you going to use? You can use a generator that allow you to enter topics and return a list of post titles for you. Or you can use a fill in the blank post generator. They may ask you for a topic or ideas that fits within the provided sentence and then give you one or more suggestions.
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator asks you for three nouns and generates 5 potential blog topic posts. If you don’t like the results, you can enter different nouns.
Tweak Your Biz – Title Generator
Tweak Your Biz – Title Generator is simple. You enter a topic. Select whether it is a noun or a verb. Click on Submit and it generates post titles separated by categories. If you like the list, you can copy, print or download your titles from the available box that provides them all.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Portent’s Content Idea Generator ask you for a subject. It generators one content idea. You can enter the same subject as many times as you like until you get an idea that you like.
Blog About By Impact gives you a theme to start with. You can start with their suggested theme or hit the refresh button to get another theme. If you like the theme, you click on Next.
It takes you the post ideas section. You get an idea that you can fill in the blank. If you like the results, click on the heart to add it to your writing list. Then, you get another post title to complete. When you have a list of ideas that you like, you can email them to yourself.
As you continue to write in your blog, you may find that getting ideas for it can be a challenge. Blog Post Title Generators can help you to create ideas that you want to write about. Whether you like getting a list of ideas or a fill in the blank style, they can be a useful tool to add to your blog writing routine.