UX, GUI and Icon Design

Click/Tap the sections below to get some insight into a few of our opinions about apps and issues to be aware of. If you’re developing, thinking about creating, or ready to deploy your new app, talk to us first. You’ll be glad you did.

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Great App + Bad UI = FAIL

Not everyone can appreciate the fine lines of a Porsche or the Industrial design of the latest MacBook Pro. Some people’s tastes actually lean toward the more obscure, even the gaudy or what the mainstream would consider tacky. Though we all can’t agree on what art is, we all seem to collectively know when something doesn’t work. Partly through past experience and also through direct interactions, most users of technology and interfaces have an ingrained sense of what just doesnt look right.

We have performed extensive research into many of the laser eye tracking technologies used for a variety of purposes, from where to best place profitable items on a restaurant menu, to where the human eye tracks in famous paintings, and of course, how users interact with Graphical User Interfaces or GUI’s for short.

The old term and newly christened popular buzzwords for the latter are User Experience. As the creative and marketing sphere becomes saturated with “me too” types who claim to be UX experts, its importance only becomes clearer. This is due in no small part to a growing army of unqualified “experts” who couldn’t help users experience the sensation of wetness in a monsoon. What is equally daunting is that as things get easier, they oddly can become more complex. Building a UI and UX solution that works for the majority of people is almost alchemy, the digital equivalent of blending art and science and transmogrifying digital lead into gold. Or is that green? As is Dead Presidents?

Bad UX? You Lost

These were icons we design for a book on iOS development for artists. They needed to be memorable so the reader didn't have to refer back to the key, but also artistic enough that hey showed the reader that the author (me) knew his stuff. Designed in Illustrator to scale to any size needed.

These were icons we designed for a book on iOS development for artists. They needed to be memorable so the reader didn’t have to refer back to the key, but also artistic enough that hey showed the reader that the author (me) knew his stuff. Designed in Illustrator to scale to any size needed.

A neurotoxin doesn’t kill directly, it just shuts down the signals that body/brain connections make to each other, and the body as a whole, organs, lungs, heart, brain, simply shuts off. Without the connecting pathways, these separate parts can’t communicate with one another, and the body within seconds in some cases, simply “switches off.” This usually leaves a very good looking corpse, as no real damage with most toxins is visually damaging. You might as well have stepped out in front of a Greyhound bus doing 90mph though, the results are pretty much the same.

What’s the point when it comes to user experience? If your app is awesome, the user experience fluid, the navigation from task to task fluid, and the graphics pleasing, why in some cases is it still doomed to fail? From the icon to the screenshots, to the description and further down the line the reviews, if 10% of your app is horrible, and all of it is concentrated in the design and marketing of the app, many will take one look, decide it’s trash, and keep moving on, never to look back.

My father who I love very much and am extremely proud and in awe of, has been a programmer since I was seven, and he is the reason I am the tech junkie and CG guru I am today. He has long been one of the top programmers in his field, and I mean the top 1/10th of 1%, in a small and specialized industry. His code is written in languages that some would scoff at, but nyone who has ever seen it ebough to know what they were lookign at or used it male millions of dollars knows how brilliant it and he are. Yet his share of the industry is almost as small as the percentage of people he competes with intellectually and professionally. Why? His software is all command line, and has no modern GUI whatsoever. Not a button, pull down, or tocuh based control in sight. Because of this many people, myself included have been unable to help him take this amazing software further than he as one man has been able to do. Why? Because I am like 25% or so of the people out there who would on principle at this point and time not choose his software solely because of a lack of a graphical user interface. If software were categorized like people were into different races, I might very well be looked at as racist. My ┬áchoices and opinions in this matter however, are based on logical, well thought out rationales and reasons, and though some may not agree with my point of view, it’s very difficult for anyone to not understand it, and to agree in principle that it can be a problem in some situations.

We're All Allergic to Cyanide

A neurotoxin doesn’t kill directly, it just shuts down the signals that body/brain connections make to each other, and the body as a whole, organs, lungs, heart, brain, simply shuts off. Without the connecting pathways, these separate parts can’t communicate with one another, and the body within seconds in some cases, simply “switches off.” This usually leaves a very good looking corpse, as no real damage with most toxins is visually damaging. You might as well have stepped out in front of a Greyhound bus doing 90mph though, the results are pretty much the same.

What’s the point when it comes to user experience? If your app is awesome, the user experience fluid, the navigation from task to task fluid, and the graphics pleasing, why in some cases is it still doomed to fail? From the icon to the screenshots, to the description and further down the line the reviews, if 10% of your app is horrible, and all of it is concentrated in the design and marketing of the app, many will take one look, decide it’s trash, and keep moving on, never to look back.

My father who I love very much and am extremely proud and in awe of, has been a programmer since I was seven, and he is the reason I am the tech junkie and CG guru I am today. He has long been one of the top programmers in his field, and I mean the top 1/10th of 1%, in a small and specialized industry. His code is written in languages that some would scoff at, but nyone who has ever seen it ebough to know what they were lookign at or used it male millions of dollars knows how brilliant it and he are. Yet his share of the industry is almost as small as the percentage of people he competes with intellectually and professionally. Why? His software is all command line, and has no modern GUI whatsoever. Not a button, pull down, or tocuh based control in sight. Because of this many people, myself included have been unable to help him take this amazing software further than he as one man has been able to do. Why? Because I am like 25% or so of the people out there who would on principle at this point and time not choose his software solely because of a lack of a graphical user interface. If software were categorized like people were into different races, I might very well be looked at as racist. My ┬áchoices and opinions in this matter however, are based on logical, well thought out rationales and reasons, and though some may not agree with my point of view, it’s very difficult for anyone to not understand it, and to agree in principle that it can be a problem in some situations.

Mob Rules? Yup.

Any self-respecting Libertarian (admittedly most Dems and Pubs as well) would be aghast at painting themselves with such a broad “groupthink” styled brush of a statement. Yet that is exactly what social media really comes down to. So, you might say, that’s bad because that’s how Hitler’s brownshirts and official cationalized hatred was able to take root, right? To a degree, yes. What makes the dynamic so totally incomparable though, is the fact that this Mob Rules mentality, this decision by committee (what in reality is the true definition of a Democracy, and not a Republic that the US is supposed to be according to our Founding Fathers) has historically been as doomed a philosophy as communism. If left in its’ pure state of “one man, one vote” as we think of it, Democracy can fall over into anarchy or, well, take your pick of ism’s that are just as broken.

So what’s different now? Communication. More exactly, the lightning speed and relative ease with which any individual or small group can make themselves heard just as loudly as the biggest media company. This system of course is already weighted against the individual to a large degree, which makes it all the more important that we use this power separately, in smaller groups, and as collective voices with common interests who aren’t Fortune 500’s with human rights status granted by the courts to incorporation documents, but as human beings ourselves. To use, and to defend vigorously, anyone else’s right to use these same channels and technologies to be able to voiuce their opinions, whether we like them or not. Denied of course to only those issues wherein a human being may be harmed or otherwise be put in harm’s way by their “freedom.”

This is why social media currently works. Why for now, the relatively free and open Internet allows for the best to rise to the top, and for us to all benefit from this by accepting this connected group of humans, spread out over long distances, even globally, to act as a sort of neural network. One that would have no reason whatsoever to act against the best general interests of this “super-consciousness” as a whole, and to weed out the 90% of what simply is unacceptable to the Mob in general. To the 10% or less, the choices then become more specific, localized, personal. The consequences of picking either the 20th best or the 2nd best “widget” on a community or individual level becomes increasingly less dangerous to the well-being of the “body” generally that poor decisions made accidentally or on purpose happen at a scale small enough to be relatively unimportant in the macro.