Fall 14 Playlist by Kristen

PlaylistPhotoHere are some sounds for this colorful, mellow season. 1. The Mute by Radical Face 2. Lost Stars by Keira Knightley 3. Never Work for Free by Tennis 4. Don't Wake the Dead by Guards 5. New Lipstick by The Kissaway Trail 6. Everytime by Broods 7. Get Away by CHVRCHES 8. Off & On by Findlay 9. Dead Air by CHVRCHES 10. I See My Mother by POLICIA 11. Cheerleader by St. Vincent 12. Golden Haze by Wild Nothing 13. Magic by Coldplay 14. Elevator Song by Keaton Henson

Visit the playlist on Spotify here.

Road Bike Party by Kristen

I stumbled across this incredible video from the guys at Global Cycling Network. Mind. Blown. These guys are crazy—in the very best way. I didn't know these tricks were even possible on a road bike!! I'm so very inspired and can't wait to hop back on the bike!

4 Mandatories For Crafting Quality User Experiences by Kristen

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Think about the last time you Googled something, scanned the results and clicked on the most viable option. As the new page loads, you feel as if you’ve landed on a different planet. You don’t know where to start, what to click on, or how to navigate the page in front of you. This mental somersault is the definition of a bad user experience.

A frustrating user experience (UX) will be equated with a frustrating brand in the mind of a consumer. Even if the brand’s products and messaging are high quality, they can easily be undermined by a poor online experience. It is the privilege of UX designers to eliminate this confusion and frustration by creating an easily recognized order.

Here are the four things we, as UX designers, should keep in mind for crafting quality user experiences:

1. Set Up a System There should be a clear, logical flow to the information laid out on the page. Systems are our friends here, and solidifying a style guide up front will help structure the information in a consistent, logical way. For example, detailing visual standards for text links, buttons, rollover states and typography will create a dependable system that will guide the user through the site. The best user experiences are those that serve up “click confidence” and delight users. Eliminate clutter and distraction for users and deliver what they need, when they need it. This allows the content to remain the focus of the site.

2. Know Your Audience Be familiar with the site’s target market. This audience will greatly influence your design choices. Are you reaching teenagers who can handle flashy interactions and non-traditional type treatments? Are you reaching a 50-year-old audience who may be frustrated by small type sizes and navigating a hamburger menu system? To be sure, get outside of your own head and test your designs on multiple people in your target market who is unfamiliar with the project. See how they fare with the site’s navigation and buttons to make sure things are clear and meeting the project’s goals.

3. Make Your Interactions Enjoyable The site’s interactions should be just as fitting to the subject matter as the design. The interactions on a page should provide a smile and pique the user’s interest. Try to choose them as a means to enhance the subject, not just to showcase cool jquery tricks. They should be influenced by the product the site is promoting to further drive home the message...subtle hints that tie into the theme of the design or hint at the way the product is experienced provide that extra level of delight as a user moves through the site.

4. Live Up To Your Expectations As UX designers we have the opportunity in our designs to make users feel welcome, seen, cared for and respected. We’re given the honor of creating a unique space for people to find the information they need to better their lives. This responsibility shouldn’t be taken lightly. Good design creates comfort for the user and trust in the brand. Design with the care that you would want to be designed for.

This article was edited with the help of Jon Copp.

Summer 14 Playlist by Kristen

river It's summertime! Here are some sounds for your lazy days & firefly nights.

1. Jumanji by Glass Towers 2. Airwaves by Ray LaMontagne 3. Mean Streets by Tennis 4. Hundreds of Ways by Conor Oberst 5. Verona by Geographer 6. Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! by Kishi Bashi 7. The City by The 1975 8. Fever by Black Keys 9. That Black Bat Licorice by Jack White 10. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) by Unknown Mortal Orchestra 11. Queen Black Acid by Menomena 12. Lazy Wonderland by Broken Bells 13. And I Won't Cause Anything At All by Loney Dear 14. Venice (Acoustic) by The Lighthouse and the Whaler

Visit the playlist on Spotify here.

Chili Browns by Kristen

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My sweet, 4-year-old niece loves to cook. She has dreams of opening a food truck/restaurant named Chili Browns. To honor her idea I created this logo for her. It is hand-lettered to capture the child-like quality of fun that she puts into her extremely inventive recipes.

Spring 14 Playlist by Kristen

MagnoliaWe're finally getting a hint of long-awaited spring. Here's a playlist to help you get the season started right! 1. Gust of Wind by Pharrell Williams 2. Odyssey by The Wyld 3. Fall in Love by Phantogram 4. Magic by Coldplay 5. Blue Moon by Beck 6. Talking Backwards by Real Estate 7. Digital Witness by St. Vincent 8. Black Out Days by Phantogram 9. Wave by Beck 10. Howling at the Moon by Phantogram 11. Don't Let It Go by Beck 12. The Day You Died by Phantogram 13. Are You What You Want to Be? by Foster the People

Visit the playlist on Spotify here.

 

Door of Hope by Kristen

photo 1 (2) photo 2 (1) photo 3 (1) photo 4This is a piece that I created for a charity auction benefitting Joe's Place. Joe's Place offers homeless teenage boys in the Maplewood, MO area a place to live while they're in school. PROCESS: For the project, I was given an old door to transform. I chose the theme of hope as influenced by the charity's action of literally opening a door and offering hope. I began the work by penciling the word HOPE on the door. Then I outlined the word by tacking nails into the wood. I next wove the string around the nails in such a way that the word HOPE appeared in the negative space. I really enjoyed this project & working for such a great cause.

Marvel App by Kristen

So, I happened across this fantastic new prototyping too: Marvel. Marvel allows you to link jpgs and move through the comps as you would through a website. This really helps communicate the user experience to clients and helps them visualize the site much more effectively than with static comps do. Visit Marvel here for a free download.