UX resources

This page aims to provide UX resources to help those seeking to develop their UX skills and expertise. The page content is currently being created and will naturally evolve and grow over time.

What you see listed here are UX related information sources that I have benefited from the most as well as UX tools that I either rely on on a day to day basis or that I simply feel are so valuable that they deserve to appear on this page.

Please note that external links and are clearly marked (& of these some of these are affiliate links external link).

Beginning UX

Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
This book is a must read for those in the earlier stages of getting acquainted with UX design. It will help you to understand some of the core aspects and challenges that underpin successful UX solutions which essentially boil down to a term you will hear a lot in the field of digital interaction - 'usability'.

Full details external link

Further UX learning

Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer
This is one of those books that will continually stop you in your tracks as you encounter wave after wave of deep insight, encouraging you to take a step back and the time required to process the powerful information that is now trying to settle in your grey matter.

Don't rush this book, it's too good for skim reading as it will reveal the fundamentals of how you need to think and what you need to know in order to create truly user focused design solutions.

A word of caution though, the knowledge you will carry with you after digesting this book will take you deep into 'design for function over form' territory and from there there's no going back. But that is a good thing, you're true value as a UX practitioner has taken a big jump in the right direction.

Full details external link

UX tools

omnigraffle wireframing tool logo

Omnigraffle by The Omni Group
For wireframing, diagramming and pretty much any other type of UX documentation you need to produce then for Mac users Omnigraffle (currently at version 6) is in my view the best choice. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve but that can be overcome with a few hours focused learning of the basics followed by a few days getting to grips with it from a practical project perspective.

However once the early stages of getting acquainted with Omniraffle are under your belt you will find that the tool allows you to quickly create high or low fidelity specifications to the highest standards. It's one of those tools that just works and that's what you need when in the heat of a busy project. That's also why I'm totally comfortable adding it too this page.

Those making the switch from Microsoft Visio (likely the best option for most PC users) it will be a relief to be finally working in pixels and to have access to a wide range of mobile phone focused stencils. The auto-saving functionality is also a pretty novel feature and I am sure it has been a silent saviour to many Omnigraffle users (and that definately includes me).

Full details external link

sketch interface design tool logo

Sketch by Bohemian Coding
Sketch is a vector graphics design program aimed at providing powerful yet streamlined UI design creation capabiities.

It's currently only compatitable with Apple Mac's OS X 10.9+ and at the time of writing is at version 3. The version is important as from what I can gather version 3 is the version where the program stepped up a number of gears and has a result been accepted by a large number of previous naysayers.

Version 3 is the version that I been exploring and I've been working with it on several projects over the past few months. It's not in my view a replacement for Adobe Fireworks (still my favourite for creating web/app graphics) but instead breaks new ground and offers sophisticated features to support the modern era of UI design.

Here are the pros from my perspective:

  1. UI centric and very easy to create interfaces for different sizes
  2. The artboard approach makes it quick and easy to arrange interfaces
  3. Easy to create pixel perfect or low fidelity designs
  4. Lots of great stencils for all kinds of devices and operating systems
  5. Effortless (almost) export of interface designs to PNG and PDF
  6. Produces 'ready to go' images for hooking up to prototyping tools such as inVision

And the cons (for balance):

  1. Not really geared up for annotation heavy design specifications (I'd still go for Omnigraffle for that)
  2. Also it's not really for design documentation where a wide variety of subject matter needs to be presented (i.e. where the focus of the document is not on presenting UI)
  3. There are a few frustrating features for the newby to get to grips such as avoiding the default font style inheritance when you don't want it (although this functionality is there for good reason)

So in summary this is not in my view an out and out graphics tool or a program for creating detailed UX specs but comes into it's own where the name of the game is the streamlined production of interface designs.

Given that this is often the requirement for 'lean' focused projects you can see why Sketch seems set to continue to go from strength to strength and is now one of my top 3 UX design tools of choice.

Full details external link

If you'd like to suggest a UX resource category for this page please get in touch

Updated: 20 Jan 2016

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