User Experience Designer

Sharing design-related articles, quality work that inspires me, and things I've made or am currently tinkering with.

mikewheaton.ca
@themikewheaton

Learn prototyping. It’s your segue to front-end. It’s in its spring right now. Once you master prototyping, you’ll be able to build your own apps and truly innovate the space without compromising your vision as a designer. Additionally, you’ll be able to collaborate better with engineers, who are the strongest links to making your apps functional. They can do the things you can’t even imagine, because they’re passionate about the things that you aren’t.

Startup Weekend: Making Nomzter

This past weekend I participated in my second Startup Weekend event and had a blast – it was an action-packed 54 hours of great ideas, inspiring people, and a ton of creativity and quality work. I’d recommend these events to anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship, technology, or design.

Our small team of four, including my girlfriend who learned web development and built her very first website, created Nomzter. It’s a simple service that allows a group of people to find a restaurant they’ll all enjoy without a bunch of texting as they try to come to consensus. Instead, they each answer a few quick questions – no account or download necessary – and Nomzter selects the best spot based on individual food preferences, dietary restrictions, and physical location. Easy.

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I wish I had taken more photos of the process, but it turns out that attempting to create and pitch a business in a weekend keeps you quite busy. I did get this shot of some early sketches, which turned out to be much like the final concept you see below.

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The core design challenge was allowing users to quickly tell us the types of foods they like and dislike, so that Nomzter’s algorithm could determine the compatibility of potential restaurants for the group’s tastes. The more they tell us, the better recommendation we can make, so I wanted a fun interaction that would encourage them to provide as much data as possible. After considering more conventional options, I went for a Tinder-style gesture to either toss the food away if you don’t like it or feed it to Nomzter if you do. This interaction proved to be immediately understandable by users and is fun to engage with. I’ve included a full-size mockup below. I’d like to build a fully-interactive and animated prototype to test this further.

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While we won’t be pursuing this idea, I did meet some amazing people and learned first-hand about the challenging business aspects of startups. There are many parallels what the user experience community has been pushing for years: get out of the building, test, iterate, and then get back out there. It was a great experience and I’ve already signed up for two more Startup Weekend events in the coming months.

I’ve recently started collaborating with Spark, a startup with innovative ideas for improving how individuals buy and sell used items. I’ll be designing the user experience straight through from identifying user goals, to creating wireframes and prototypes, to validating with real users, to delivering the final graphics. It’s an exciting project with a ton of potential and I can’t wait to dive in and see what we can achieve.
I’ve started by reviewing all of the existing mockups and user research that the Spark team has completed. This allowed me to identify a number of likely scenarios and potentially-useful features, but can we decide which make the cut for a minimum viable product? My next step will be to use the customer data to create personas, clustered around common behaviors and goals. These goals will lead us to the key scenarios, which necessitate certain features that are critical to helping users succeed. Then it’s on to the fun part of interaction design, visual design, and prototyping! Of course, we’ll regularly interview and test with potential users to refine our hypotheses and ensure we’re delivering value and solving real problems.
I’ve recently started collaborating with Spark, a startup with innovative ideas for improving how individuals buy and sell used items. I’ll be designing the user experience straight through from identifying user goals, to creating wireframes and prototypes, to validating with real users, to delivering the final graphics. It’s an exciting project with a ton of potential and I can’t wait to dive in and see what we can achieve.
I’ve started by reviewing all of the existing mockups and user research that the Spark team has completed. This allowed me to identify a number of likely scenarios and potentially-useful features, but can we decide which make the cut for a minimum viable product? My next step will be to use the customer data to create personas, clustered around common behaviors and goals. These goals will lead us to the key scenarios, which necessitate certain features that are critical to helping users succeed. Then it’s on to the fun part of interaction design, visual design, and prototyping! Of course, we’ll regularly interview and test with potential users to refine our hypotheses and ensure we’re delivering value and solving real problems.

I’ve recently started collaborating with Spark, a startup with innovative ideas for improving how individuals buy and sell used items. I’ll be designing the user experience straight through from identifying user goals, to creating wireframes and prototypes, to validating with real users, to delivering the final graphics. It’s an exciting project with a ton of potential and I can’t wait to dive in and see what we can achieve.

I’ve started by reviewing all of the existing mockups and user research that the Spark team has completed. This allowed me to identify a number of likely scenarios and potentially-useful features, but can we decide which make the cut for a minimum viable product? My next step will be to use the customer data to create personas, clustered around common behaviors and goals. These goals will lead us to the key scenarios, which necessitate certain features that are critical to helping users succeed. Then it’s on to the fun part of interaction design, visual design, and prototyping! Of course, we’ll regularly interview and test with potential users to refine our hypotheses and ensure we’re delivering value and solving real problems.

In everything you do, there is art behind it. Art is the idea that things are carefully made, imbued with one’s soul and emotions. It is an expression of a person’s inner self. When you connect your craftsmanship to such a deep level, you tend to be driven to obsession.
– Meng To, in Design+Code
The iOS Human Interface Guidelines has this rather humorous example of why splash screens and startup experiences should be avoided. Get people to the good stuff right away.
The iOS Human Interface Guidelines has this rather humorous example of why splash screens and startup experiences should be avoided. Get people to the good stuff right away.
The iOS Human Interface Guidelines has this rather humorous example of why splash screens and startup experiences should be avoided. Get people to the good stuff right away.

The iOS Human Interface Guidelines has this rather humorous example of why splash screens and startup experiences should be avoided. Get people to the good stuff right away.