Design Systems, Pattern Libraries & Style Guides… Oh My! (Oh Hell)

I’ve heard these terms used in both general and specific professional discussions for years now, and don’t really remember ever actively pausing to consider the differences. I’ve referred to them, researched them, even helped contribute to and design them.  (I’m assuming I’m not the only one…) So imagine how genuinely thrilled I was to come across this teaching video by Jesse Showalter.

Low-and-behold. It goes to show that it’s worthwhile to take a moment.

Great article on table design.

As an Enterprise UX Designer designing internal tools, complete with views of tabular data and corresponding interactions, I live and breath tables. Or grids. Whatever you want to call them. Designing for tabular data is extraordinarily difficult; well designed tabular data will make a user’s job so much easier, while poorly designed data will ruin their day (and likely lead to high turnover because it’s a miserable daily experience and life is too short.)

That being said, I’m always seeking new ideas and best practices for table design, particularly when it’s enterprise related. The post, “Designing Tables for Reusability” is one of my oft-referenced and shared bookmarks. I’ll continue to share others as I go.

Design Principles

I’m currently working several projects for my company’s portal and internal employee tools, when it occurred to me that both environments lack a set of guiding design principles. While doing research, I came across a great article by Jessie Chen, a product designer in San Francisco, entitled, “Why Design Principles Shape Stronger Products.”

I could not have said it any better. Enjoy. Then go forth and design stronger products.

How The Guardian gets image management done – right

GuardianGrid_1
The Grid image service allows very fast search across our library of over 3 million pictures. Illustration: The Guardian

I’m currently in the midst of architecting and designing an image “management” tool for users to be able to upload, tens, if not hundreds, of images for the purposes of matching them to products to sell online, once the images have been submitted through an internal workflow (yet another tool – but not on my plate).

A fellow co-worker suggested that I look into the Guardian’s case study of the Grid; the Guardian’s now open-source image management system tool.

I’m in LOVE. L-O-V-E. with the approach.

Not only does has the Guardian open-sourced the tool, they’ve shared the methodology behind it’s creation (Programmer Anarchy), and presented insights from the UX perspective on how the entire team was able to get on the same page, at the same time, and work together to champion all the users–an actual shared Vision complete with succinct goals and KPIs.

Not to mention, a drool-worthy short video sizzle reel of the Guardian’s UX Studios.

Read the entire case study here.

Then bring on the anarchy.

How not to accidentally start a war

A very interesting article from the online magazine the Verge regarding the company that created and supplies the software alert system that was responsible for the near disastrous incoming BM warning issued to residents and visitors in Hawaii earlier this week.

When considering how our brains function, or don’t, during extreme conditions (an incoming missile being one of them), it’s rather unfathomable that there is no visual differentiation or confirmation between a “test” message and a “real” message.

The company has confirmed that, if creating a message from scratch, there are eight steps involved; if creating from a template: three steps. So users technically can’t just click a button and issue an alert – there are at least three steps. (I personally can’t imagine being able to keep my sh*t together to get through three steps, but then again, what we imagine we’ll do in an emergency situation is often not the case.)

What surprises me is that there is NO FINAL CONFIRMATION messaging when sending out a “live” message. As in, “Are you really sure you want to send an entire state into panic?” Or, “Are you really sure you want to start a war?” Maybe even a second one (a final final confirmation message) just in case cognitively the person isn’t thinking clearly, possibly adding bells, whistles and starbursts.  (Studies show the same thing happens to pilots in crash scenarios. The brain can only handle so much at once.)

Word of the day: Confirmation.

Are you sure you want to start a war? Really sure? This action cannot be undone.

Were did nearly 2 years go?

For those who look at time stamps and time in-between posts, you undoubtedly notice that there are few posts in 2016 and 2017–maybe four or five total.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten to write,  or become bored with writing, or fell off the planet.

Sometimes you make plans and then life gets in the way.

Well, I think I’m back.