technology

lovely-package-manics-merrymaking-must-haves1-e1325451065463

Grab bag: Rural America technology, Facebook-brand tracking, bacon salt and party kit packaging design

Open-tab cleaning.

1. The High-Tech of Rural America

Why do I like this?  Because it’s an example of how design and technology serve people’s needs (and yes, businessmen’s pockets).
Too often, my job revolves arounds trying to plan applications that seem so unrelated to what people need or are going through.
Hooray for rural America!

The DeLaval AMR Circular Cow Milker

The DeLaval AMR Circular Cow Milker

2.  The Wired Social Index

Let’s see how this works out.  Tracking the financial performance of the strongest brands on Facebook.
The Wired Social Index

3. The Donut Project

I’m partly biased towards the name.

But, nice source of interesting images and videos.

Boys & Girls' reception area

Boys & Girls’ reception area

Jason Bacher wallpaper

4.  Bacon Salt and a Sundae Kit.  Ideas from Buzzfeed’s 38 Ways to Give the Gift of Food.

Bacon Salt

Bacon Salt

Sundae Kit

Sundae Kit

This entry led me to…

5.  Manic Design’s Merrymaking Must-Haves Kit on Lovely Package

Smart, smart, smart.  And cleanly designed.

Merrymaking Must-haves Kit - Manic Design

Merrymaking Must-haves Kit – Manic Design

Leaders - 2012 Most Innovative - Fast Company

“Corporate Wear” for Women: Reflections on Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie

“Does wearing jeans and sneakers, as a woman, make you any less competent, equipped, mature or well-adjusted than women in corporate wear?”

– I thought to myself as I sat in a meeting.

[I was wearing jeans, suede Converse sneakers and, to be a bit presentable, a sand-colored long-sleeved shirt, exactly like this one worn by Marion, from France, whom I do not look like at all.]

This is Marion from France. I do not look like her. I just have that same shirt in white and beige.

The easy answer to my question is “no”, right?

But, look at the corporate environment where you work.

Please tell me if there are women in positions of power who wear sneakers and t-shirts.  I need to not feel like a freak.

A month or so ago, there was this hullaballoo about Mark Zuckerberg wearing a hoodie to his Wall Street investors pitch (I first read it in the New York Times Bits Blog; it’s also featured in CNN, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc.).

People bestowed it with all sorts of symbolism – about the cultural divide between Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

At least, though, Mark Zuckerberg probably gets away with wearing hoodies to work.

Steve Jobs gets away with his running shoes.

But I would love to see the day-to-day wardrobe of top women in business, even in Silicon Valley.

See, my definition of success, for a long time, has been “the privilege of getting to wear what I’m comfortable with to work, while still having people’s respect”.

I’ve always envied this man I was with in an elevator.  He’s an industry bigshot, and, on that day, he was wearing jeans, and a plain white shirt which was so worn it had holes along the side.  I told myself that someday, I want to be just like that – have enough achievement to and gall to credibly mock the system. As the New York Times article mentioned, similar to Zuckerberg’s and Job’s “anti-fashion statement”.

Image from The New York Times

I’m slowly realizing, though, as I stay longer in my job and interact with people higher up the corporate ladder, that there isn’t much room for t-shirts, jeans and sneakers when you’re a woman who wants to command a certain level of respect in meetings with executives.

That’s even when the other executives are wearing sneakers as well. (Since I work in a broadcasting and production outfit).

Coincidentally, this month’s Fast Company issue features the “league of extraordinary women”.  As usual, I like the structure of their web feature on the topic.

But, more than that, this made me want to see how these top women presented themselves.  To check whether there was hope for sneaker-wearing women to stay true to themselves when in managerial positions in corporations.

Here’s what looking at a few profiles turned up:

Lily Cole, Brand Ambassador for Body Shop

Gabi Zedlmayer, HP’s VP for Global Social Innovation

Cherie Blair, Founder – The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Tory Burch, Founder – Tory Burch Foundation

Granted, this was a magazine feature, so they are probably being primped and dolled up.

I know, I know, they’re just clothes, and I might be making a big deal.

Wearing “corporately-acceptable” clothes doesn’t diminish your values or convictions.  It’s just that neither should casual clothes diminish competence and respectability.

I understand that these women might wear a whole different set of clothes while at work, which is why these make me happy:

Jessica Jackley, Founder – Kiva

Susan Davis – President, BRAC USA

Grace Bonney – Founder, DesignSponge

And, fine, I should stop discriminating against women who wear popularly fashionable clothing, in the same way that I clamor for stopping the discrimination against casual clothes.

But, continuing with the fun, I decided to post the first Google Image associated with the corporate leaders in Fast Company’s 2011 Most Influential Women in Tech.

These women are AMAZING.  I am very glad I went through the list, and I suddenly feel very shallow about even thinking about something such as work clothes.

Prerna Gupta, code-writing former beauty queen with computer science and economics degrees from Stanford

Prerna Gupta – CEO, Khush

..who, I’m happy to see, also wears t-shirts and jeans to presentations!

from flickr user thakurprashantsingh

from flickr user thakurprashantsingh

Alisa Miller – CEO, Public Radio International

Nichole Goodyear, head of an award-winning, innovative social media agency built on a cost-per-engagement model.

Nichole Goodyear – CEO, Brickfish

Jessica Kahn manages engineering, operations and strategy for Disney’s mobile application development.

Jessica Kahn – VP of Engineering, Disney Mobile

Kellee Santiago, who leads her team in making accessible games for even previously untapped gaming markets.

Kellee Santiago – President, thatgamecompany

Heather Harde, who spearheaded building an in-house ad-sales team, developed conferences and events, and created a research arm to grow TechCrunch’s business.

Heather Harde, Managing Director, AOL’s tech properties, and Former CEO of TechCrunch

Cher Wang, one of the richest people in the world, and runs the company that came out with the first Android phone.

Cher Wang – CEO, HTC

And, these last two help show that objectification can happen no matter where you are in the corporate ladder…

I saved the two seemingly most “popularly seen as hot” ones for last.

I guess they can’t help that they’re gorgeous, smart and savvy.

Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s first female engineers, who graduated in symbolic systems with honours from Stanford, and has a masters degree in computer science from the same university.

Marissa Mayer – VP of Consumer Products, Google

and….

Rachel Sterne (who sometimes has an eery resemblance to Katherine McPhee), who was a U.N. political reporter, used to run a hyperlocal news service, that distributed live online reports from the people directly experiencing “the news” and now the chief digital officer for New York city.

Rachel Sterne – Former CEO, GroundReport

This is the second photo in her Google Search stream:

Sterne (NYC Chief Officer for Digital) and Max Haot – CEO, Livestream

Now, let’s look at the first five male leaders or figureheads in Fast Company’s 2012 Most Innovative Companies.

(Darn it, I should have been more specific and said, I would observe the first full body pictures in the Google Image stream.

Because, now it looks like a headshot-attractiveness thing.

Sorry, to all the individuals in pictures here, if this seems a bit invasive.  I realized collecting the images suddenly seemed creepily voyeuristic. I’m tempted to Google myself to “even the score”.)

All in all, the conclusion is – I realized it isn’t so bad.  If you stick your neck out and prove yourself, I’m guessing you can eventually get away with what you want to wear.  It isn’t about the packaging really (even the boys have to play by the corporate rules, sometimes), it just all depends on the strength of character and actual skills you have to pull of the success.  Cool.

Deleted Inbox - Empty screen

How it feels: Accidentally deleting your inbox

My entire phone inbox got deleted tonight.

It was quite a jarring experience.

Especially because I didn’t do it on purpose.
I know that it’s worlds better than having your phone stolen, or even getting it lost.
But it felt so surreal.
Seeing your same phone – same body, same housing, screen and application.
But empty.
It was an empty black space with no threads of contacts and message excerpts whatsoever.

All memories you wanted to keep, and messages you wanted to save in case you ever needed written proof of anything, gone.  Digital memories – of things that were sweet, touched your heart, made you laugh or angered you – disappeared.

Again, just really jarring. It was so jarring i don’t think I believed it for the first minute after it happened.

I thought maybe the screen just had a glitch or the application stalled. I kept closing and reopening the app.

But nope, gone.

These moments are so interesting. See, it could be seen as “emotional”, except is also seems trivial (lost text messages probably won’t strike anyone as catastrophic), and it’s also so final that there’s no choice but to accept.

You just bury the regret in your brain.  Try to make sense of it. Make it seem philosophical — try to say that it might be some symbolism or lesson.

Of how my desire to hold onto and hoard everything kept me from easily finding what was valuable, in the din of everything I tried to save.

Or that it’s a foreshadowing of how my laziness about decluttering will ultimately bite me in the ass.
Anyway. Inbox gone. Weird sense of pain.

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5 apps I plan on getting someday: Cool stuff from CreativeApplications.net

all via Creative Applications Network

Won’t talk too much.  Will let the amazing-ness speak for themselves.

1. Spirits. by Spaces of Play

2.  We Sliders by We Choose Fun

Rainbow gradients and slide-y movements.  You had me at “absolutely lovely“.

3.  Coloroll by soulbit7

Smart-looking color-matching game.

4.  Chromixa by Simon Watson

More color-matching fun.  But this time using the color properties of light!

5.  U-Fields (or Unknown Fields) for the Architecture in Your Hand initiative.

A “mobile book”, created for consuming and reacting to the creator/s’ stream of ideas.

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Usability and User Experience: 5 articles that help clarify my job + a fun chart!

I would like to thank my twitter feed, for bringing me links that would help me explain to the clients and managers I work with, the nuances of what they’re trying to achieve.

User experience is some sort of buzzword in the web design and product development circle.  Or at least in the company I work in.

Managers talk about it, and the designers “name-drop” it.

My boss calls me a usability professional.  Sadly, it’s not what I want to be or want to be called, nor am I equipped to be one.

1.  Clarify what you’re aiming for

This piece in UX Matters, entitled More than Usability: The Four Elements of User Experience Part I helps explain my predicament.

See, I want to be a User Experience professional.  I want to be a user researcher and, hopefully, an interaction designer.

That is much more than usability.  Usability only refers to the ease with which you are able to do something.  Whether a task can be accomplished or not; whether people make errors and how easily they navigate through a device or interface.

A user’s experience (hence the phrase “user experience“) can’t be oversimplified into just how easy it is to do something (otherwise it would just be called “user ease”).

It has to be enjoyable to use, or give some sort of value.  It’s an entire package of sensations and delivery beyond “efficiency”.

As the article points out, it’s usability + value + desirability + adoptability.

Multiple frameworks have already cropped up I know, this just seems to be the most concise and memorable one I’ve seen (so it’s easy to repeat).

Frank Guo’s User Experience Framework

2.  Acknowledge that it takes a lot of humility, emotional maturity and self-restraint (not just creativity and camaraderie) to make a multi-discipline group work together

Richard Anderson writes, in depth, about the multiple perspectives on “working in silos”.

This strikes a chord because a) there’s this one particular boss in our corporation who loves using the word “silos”, in meetings, to repeatedly refer to why it’s difficult to create successful strategy.

b) Because I’ve realized that product development teams are composed of people from different educational and professional backgrounds, all required to be creative and productive together.

The really really great thing about Anderson’s entry, is that he argues for both the good and bad sides of deferring to each other’s expertise and “leaving your _____ hat at the door”.  Because, that is how complex the UX design team situation is.

On one hand, you do want to respect that the designer knows design best, the developers know code best and the researchers know social sciences best. But, yes, once you’re all discussing “UX”, everybody really tries to stir the pot and get their hands in the stew.

I also like his conclusion, regarding the collaborative process centering on delivering a “good experience” to the consumer.

I wish it were that easy, though.  When put in practice in real life.  But at least, in terms of corporate evangelization, Anderson’s articles and talks (“Borrowing from the field of child development…“) would be very helpful in explaining how team division and conflicts should be dealt with.

Richard Anderson – UX Working team objectives

3.  Dirk from Involution Studios writes about his (seemingly scathing) reaction [“Losing faith in UX”] to a Whitney Hess article, which, to be fair, did seem to put UX designers on a high horse.  Or a much higher horse than she should have.

I sympathize with Mr….. Dirk.  Despite my not having worked in or with as many start-ups.  Mostly because of humility.

I am humbled by my new-ness in this field, and by the fact that, realistically, I am primarily a market researcher and a user researcher.

Meaning: As much as I badger and hammer my digital strategist teammates to refine their strategy (or actually make a sound one), since I’m the one who “knows the user”, I respect the difficulty of what they have on their plate.

Product Strategy, particularly in my team, is differentiated from…my role – user research.  And, as much as, sometimes, I’d like to think I could create better strategy, it isn’t my job to and I honestly wouldn’t enjoy just doing that day-in and day-out.

I’ve always been the one checking how people respond to products or content, or finding out user needs, but it’s a whole other level of responsibility to put a product out there and your ass on the line, juggling business decisions and all.  This is why I particularly dream of becoming an Interaction Designer, not a Product Manager or Brand Strategist.  I’d rather work with systems, framework and evidence, more than price points and competition.

To each his own, basically.  I just hope that people had as nuanced a view about work.

4.  This is really more for me.

I like how this UX matters article articulately differentiated the disciplines behind Agile and User Experience.

Again, being new in a web design team, these are phrases I kept hearing over and over and over during my first weeks of work.

It was almost funny, sometimes.  People would get into lengthy discussions or arguments on what kind of method to use, when, if you really thought about it, it’s not as if they were mutually exclusive.

This article, Agile User Experience Design, communicates how “Agile” is a web development process and “User experience” is a design tenet and methodology.  They can actually work together.  Please read the article if you want to know more; Ms. Janet Six is much more articulate.

5.  On a lighter note, there’s also “How to annoy a UX designer“.

It’s really practical and funny at the same time.  Thank you very much, Peter Hornby, for writing this.
Worst answer—You’re kidding, right? You’re employing me as a UX designer, and you want me to code? Sure, I’ll hack something together. Perhaps we should discuss my hourly rate?

And this really fun infographic! on chart types 🙂

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Innovative Social Media Apps: Let’s make things simpler, tangible and more relevant, shall we?

Ideating in this day and age calls for a whole other set of creativity.

I want to bookmark some of the most relevant (to me) tweaks and ideas that people thought up to harness the stream of social media…stuff.

Responses to oversharing.  No one can deny that individuals with thriving online lives experience lots of clutter.
Every day, it’s entry after entry, stream upon stream of individuals, groups, organizations sending you virtual updates.

So what can we do about it?

1. To combat the overall bombardment, Flavors.me, featured in Fast Company, collects and streamlines your different social feeds into one “page”.  Fast Company writes that it’s similar to About.me, but I’m just generally happy that there are ideas like these that are trying to corral the onslaught.

2.  But then, we also have Shu.ush, which works only within Twitter, featured on Co. Design.  I love how it literally “tones down” the din from talkative tweeters.  Just really amusing.

We’ve also got innovation ideas that make the digital Instagram stream more tangible.

3.  Printstagram takes your Instagram pictures and turns them into stickers.  via PetaPixel

Similarly, you also have Instaprint by Breakfast NYC, which is an installation or a physical photo booth that prints Instagram photos too.  Featured by Creative Applications.

How about letting someone’s Instagram stream give you travel guidance?  Enter Wander.  Featured on PetaPixel.

I think this surprisingly makes sense, since iPhone or Apple product owners would probably frequent places of interest for global counterparts with similar purchasing power.

Damn, I talk in a really boring way now.  Mental laziness.

4.  Also, to make things easier to grasp for the Pinterest generation, Brazilian agency ionz creates infographics out of users’ personal informaton (likes, dislikes, favorites) to create your “digital persona” desktop wallpaper.  Fun idea. via Creative Applications

And lastly, for people who just want to keep their finds to themselves:

5.  Pinry.  via The Next Web

For the people who really just want to collect stuff, without sharing.

Isn’t that great – they even have apps for selfish, hoarding people! Like me!

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Fangirl mode: the barbarian group

I came across the barbarian group through an article one of their co-founders wrote an article on the vulnerability of the social media giants on Beta Beat.

I’ll be watching out for their work.  They seem to be the first massive purely digital agency I’ve seen.  The others usually seem to be under multinational umbrella agencies who started in traditional media.

I also like the navigation set-up of their portfolio – which has a secondary navigation bar showcasing: new projects, case studies, featured projects, greatest hits, lab projects and a client list.

They just made it simple to find things, with clear paths.  Which is just right considering they’re in the business of interaction design.

They have an interesting blog – which both showcases their work, but also reports relevant industry-wide updates.  I found this nice article on managing “content creep” – the social media content strategy of version of feature creep.

Besides that, they have amusing personal (okay, that’s not the right word) projects like Is Pinterest the next ____? , which is their way of poking fun at all the Pinterest hullaballoo.  Although, aside from fun projects like that and a screensaver made of your friends’ Instagram feeds, they have innovation projects like a digital mirror.

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Line: East Asian Love for Emoji

Saw this in KawaiiKakkoiiSugoi, an app called “Line“.

LINE has been ranked no. 1 in the free app category in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Macau, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, Switzerland and Turkey.”

It’s a messaging app that makes use of cute, cuddly emoji – the Japanese word for emotive icons.

See, that’s an app that could only have been inspired by either Japan or Korea.

Apple, or generally, American corporations wouldn’t really think of going through that effort to create little hand-drawn type pictures for the different emotions you could feel while sending someone a text message.

I love how the East Asian cultures have a wealth of more emotive emoticons, that studies have found to be because of a greater reliance on expressing emotion through the eyes, not the mouth.
(^_^) and o_O and m(_ _)m

versus

: ) and : s and : (

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 8.15.14 PM

Link Glut (Part I): 10 User Experience Design Lessons from Around the Web

1.  “Design the box”, an activity supporting the importance of user experience vision, from UserFocus

  • Agree on the most important message — the key takeaway — that the box should convey.
  • Invent a name for the product that captures the winning idea.
  • Include a picture of the product being used (draw a sketch or take a photo).
  • List the main features of the product.
  • List a handful of benefits that users will get from the product.
  • List the requirements for the operating system (or the operating environment)”

2.  From Kicker Studio‘s Blog.

I love the Why Products Suck series. Wuhoo!  Clear articulation of each element that makes ideas bad. Exceedingly relevant in an “innovation”-driven corporate society.

Products need to demonstrate their differentiators clearly: I’m what you need because there is nothing else like me on the market. I do this one task better than anyone else.” – Dan Saffer, Why Products Suck #7: The Core Concept is Buried in the Features 

Do I have what it takes?

3.  I like this Core 77 article excerpt that gives a little summary of primary possible device manipulation gestures:

  • “One finger can be used to touch, tap, or double tap. One can tap and hold or rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. It can also swipe up, down, left or right. Microsoft allows the thumb to have a special meaning, something that Apple has not yet done. Google uses a long press to call up a menu, although this is seldom actually used by their developers or not even by Google itself.
  • Two fingers can be used to in the same ways as one, as well as to pinch or spread. With Microsoft’s mouse, the location of the tap matters. I suppose you could have a two-finger long press, although to my knowledge nobody yet uses this.
  • Three and four fingers can be used in a variety of ways, some involving the thumb.
  • Some gestures involve movement of the device, using the location orientation, and acceleration sensors present in portable devices. Some gestures involve tapping the case or blowing across the microphone. Some involve tilting, tapping, or rapid shaking of the entire device.
  • With video cameras watching the user, such as with Microsoft’s Kinect, the gestures can be made in three dimensions without contacting anything using fingers, hands, feet, the whole body, or just the head.”

4.  Stop Designing Pages And Start Designing Flows – Smashing Magazine

…users are coming from a low-information source (such as a banner, as opposed to an in-depth blog post), you must design a flow that fills in the gaps of information by providing the user with the data that they need to be converted.

…Use the following methods to keep the user moving down the funnel:

  • Build user confidence by clearly articulating key benefits, backed by easy-to-digest proof points.
  • Streamline the content and design to focus on a clear call to action (in this example, to sign up for an email newsletter).
  • Remove friction at every step. Ask for the minimum amount of information, and reduce the number of fields, extra clicks and page-loading time.
  • Create an enticing hook, an itch that can only be scratched by completing the registration step.

5.  Favorites from the Contrast and Intercom blogs.

Copy the Fit, Not the Features

“Throwing a few million at some big name VCs does not make a start-up hub. It forms through a series of interlinked activities and traits, not all of which can be controlled. Money is just piece of the puzzle; other equally valid pieces are the right climate, the right demographics, the right network, access to talent, and a strong education system.”

Writing an Interface

  1. Who is it for? – New users benefit from more precise instruction… most likely they don’t know where preferences is or what icon represents it.
  2. When they do see this message? – Does this appear as a reaction to a user action … Does it appear immediately? Does the user expect it?
  3. What do they need to know? 
  4. What must they do now, if anything? Often messages have a next step attached; something you’d like the user to do or decide. This should be the logical conclusion of the message.
  5. How is this communicated? Everything that’s good for something is bad for something else.
  6. What tone does this app speak in? This is driven by the brand.

Wireframing for Web Apps

On the meaning of details: “Every colour, every line, every shadow, every gradient. If your atomic unit of wireframes is a rectangle, with solid lines, a colored background and a drop shadow you’re communicating a lot, whether you intended to or not.”

On consistency: “To avoid this, I encourage students to use a limited color set (3-5 grays), 2 fonts, default HTML components, and little else. This might result in ‘dull’ wireframes, but bear in mind all wireframes end up in the trash anyway. They’re not what counts, you’re not delivering a PDF for visitors to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at, you’re desigining software for them to use. A sexy wireframe is a waste of everyones time in the project.”

On speed and exploration: “If you can’t produce concepts quickly, then you’re working at the wrong fidelity. If your wire-framing serves only to deliver a grayscale version of what you’ve already decided you’re building then you’re wasting everyones time.”

On using real content: “Dummy data leads you into a world where headings never wrap, text can justify without looking absurd, photo dimensions and orientations are always convenient, and numbers always fit in their little boxes. The path to UI hell is sign posted ‘Lorem Ipsum’.

On technology “cost”: “If your design includes custom HTML components, novelty size buttons and dropdowns and ajax powered live search, it’s worth remembering that every project has a budget. If you know HTML/CSS/JS, which you should, and you’ve seen what it takes to test a page on IE6/7/8/9 Safari, Chrome and Firefox, you’ll think twice about what wizardry you’ll put in your wireframes.

On not being anal-retentive about deliverables: “If you’ve sketched something on a whiteboard that you’re confident is a good feasible solution, that has real data in it and everyone in the project knows precisely what you mean then there is zero value in re-creating your whiteboard as a wireframe. Don’t be a slave to deliverables.

Have You Tried Talking to Them?

Any question that was ever pondered out loud would make it’s way into my conversations with customers. Rather than guessing, measuring, or analysing, I was asking, every week, for a year.

Aside from getting an in-depth knowledge of our customers and product space, there were useful by-products of this exercise. Firstly people would blog/tweet to say it was great to receive a personal note (Sidenote: Nothing was automated in this process.) Secondly we had many customers offering their logos to be featured on Exceptional homepage (something that benefits both parties). Thirdly I’d regularly do “Meet our customers” blog posts on the Exceptional blog which made even more customers want to talk to us, which fed the cycle nicely.

The Language of Interfaces

Clarity is best achieved through words. Icons are a tricky beast to work with. They can be literal or metaphorical. A magnifying glass can mean zoom, or search. A down arrow can mean download, save, or simply “drop-down”. A back arrow doesn’t say for sure if changes will be saved.

Always Read The Manual

6.  Andy Rutledge’s series on the basics of design. *brain bleeds in awe*

And his reflection on attachment, as a designer/creator (because I think it applies to even only partly creative output – including research findings) and how to wean oneself:

  1. Start clinically. Begin by delving deeply into inventories and constraints—things less apt to compel emotive responses.
  2. Then, focus on users; various relevant user motivations, use cases, interaction models …all balanced against popular convention, new model exploration, and client needs and expectations. Revisit the constraints and note how they may be affected by these examinations.
  3. Move on toward information architecture for the site/app. Revisit constraints and expectations and see how they impact these exercises.
  4. Stay fairly clinical by then getting into page content hierarchies, layout concerns, and the navigation scheme(s). Revisit constraints and expectations.
  5. As elements begin to take shape and concepts begin to solidify, work to maintain a measure of objectivity by searching for ways to shoot holes in your ideas. Better yet, enlist the help of colleagues to find the flaws.
  6. Save look and feel for later portions of the process and make sure that the look/feel works to lend even more context, even more usability, even more brand articulation, rather than just eye-candy or cool factor (things you may be personally enamored of). Revisit constraints and expectations.

7. Cheeky presentation from Leisa Reichelt on Why Most UX is Shite.

8.  How to run a design critique, by Scott Berkun.

9.  15 Free E-books About User Experience and Interface Design

10.  Official Usability, User Experience and User Interface Guidelines from Companies, from Usability Geek.