A Better Presentation: UX Edition

Wrapped up attending the ModevUX Conference today. One thing I always notice during keynotes is that presentations could be improved. No matter what the conference, these principles can be applied and are usually warranted.

One of the biggest points, that I can’t stress enough is put all key information towards the top of the slide. This includes: links, twitter handles, key concepts etc.

When you have a group of people watching a keynote, the lower thirds of your slide will be blocked by people’s heads.

Think from the perspective of the user or in the case the people listening to your talk. They are seated, many feet away from the screens, and engaged with multiple devices.

Remember in a slide deck:

  • Use big fonts
  • Use large imagery to deliver a point
  • The fewer the words, the better

Going the extra mile.

For extra bonus points, make your presentation into a PDF available for download. Just as a podcast should have a show notes page, create a blog post with a summary of all links and resources mentioned in your talk.

The best presentations leave the user reading, researching, and engaged even after the conference is over.

May 20, 2014 ux presentations

Create Art, Happiness Follows

When reading Stumbling on Happiness, by Dan Gilbert, while waiting on the bus, the thought hit me:

If you seek happiness, you’ll find despair. If you chase after money, it will never show up. If you obsess to be successful, life will be average. If searching for your true love, loneliness is found.

For some reason, universally, the things that we chase the most are often what eludes us. We seek the end result of the effort, not the underlining motivator. To make a million dollars” is a bad reason to start a business. There is no focus and you will spin in a thousand directions to make money. To make the best socks on the planet” is a perfect reason. Create it, refine it, find your audience and the money will take care of itself.

Lisa Frank has a poster in her corporate offices Arizona:

Our Company was built on a passion. Not to make money, but to make art and share it with the world. If you create something of value, the sales will come.”

After having reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin, finally, on September 3rd of 2012, I had an aha moment of what it means to be happy:

Happiness is sustained fulfillment.
Fulfillment is born out of creating art.

An artist isn’t someone who puts paint on paper. Someone who creates art, is one who puts their everything into their craft, skill, work, etc. Constantly refining, refusing to settle, and standing out above the crowd. It is scary to put yourself out there. But it must be done. The world needs your art.

Creating art happens in a cycle. Work allows us to be able to fund our art until our art becomes self-sustaining, which in turn allows you to create more art.

Work becomes a job” when the time needed creeps into one’s ability to create art. A job isn’t something that you love but something you do to sustain yourself. It enables your art. If you do what you love, make your art, and that happens to be your place of employment then congratulations that is the sweet spot of all three.

Now go make some art. The world needs it. You need it.

Bonus Material

The video shown below is a short film that Urban Outfitters put together after a visit with Lisa Frank herself.


Dan Gilbert’s Ted Talk:

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”– Henry David Thoreau

September 11, 2013 inspire

Design Inspiration

Below is a collection of links to inspire your art. Enjoy. Create. Go and make something.

Dieter Rams on Good Design as a Key Business Advantage

Article about Dieter Rams and his legacy. Presents his famous, Ten Principles for Good Design. Includes an exclusive interview with Dieter Rams.

Jonathan Ive interview: Apple’s design genius is British to the core

Great interview with Jonathan Ive. Once again he pushes the notion of attention to detail and being in a state of constantly designing. Great quote, I think subconsciously people are remarkably discerning. I think that they can sense care.”

Remembering Bill Moggridge

Article dedicated to him. He invented the design for the laptop computer. Coined the term interaction design. Passed away on September 8th, 2012. Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum honors his life and has published a related video as well.

September 11, 2012 inspire

Steal Like an Artist

There are many books that I’ve read. My library continues to grow — even with books that I haven’t read yet. My favorites, the best that really speak to me, are few in all honesty. Lately, I’ve been reading a string of books that I wish I would have had 10 years ago ( Linchpin, Design Is A Job, etc.. ). Steal Like An Artist is now on that list.

The book rounds out a list of 10 Things that Austin Kleon wishes his younger self knew about years ago. Mostly on life and creativity:

  1. Steal like an artist.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use your hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.

Baltimore parkBaltimore park

Read and Enjoy

Sitting on a park bench at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, I consumed this book on a Saturday afternoon. So much joy in something that inspires you.

There were a great deal of quotes that I jotted down from the book. Many times I had that YES!” moment when something hit me that I’ve been pondering on for awhile and he said it better. I do not want to give too much away about the content of the book. Definitely give it a go.

Do yourself a favor, buy the book.

June 3, 2012 book reviews

Create. Don’t Just Share.

The feeling you get when you create something, to have a small adventure experiencing something new, or simply enjoying the company of friends and family is amazing. Great life experiences are what makes me happy.

Sifting through Facebook the other day, I noticed my feed has changed over the last few years. It once was filled with the photos of friends, updates about events in their lives, and information that you would typically relay to stay in touch.

This is no longer the case.

Today it is filled with random articles written by others instead of the person sharing the link, inspiring quote here” images churned out by click bait sites, endless Buzzfeed lists, and other quick hit” media.

Our time on earth is finite. We can only stretch attention so much. Why not use that time to add something to the world–instead of churning the noise?

For more on this check out Michael Lopp’s excellent article, The Builder’s High. It was the spark that created the flame in my mind to ponder, What am I contributing?” Also see Seth Godin’s post, Trapped by tl;dr for related inspiration.

May 13, 2012 inspire planning

Design is a Job

Seriously. If only I would have had this book 10 years ago.

Jeffrey Zeldman, thank you for pushing Mike Monteiro to write. The design world will be a better place for it.

While not a fan of the lovely shade of brown, I’m a big fan of the wit and wisdom that Monteiro brings to the table; Lessons learned the hard way. You’ll learn how to choose the right client, protect yourself with an ironclad contract, get over your fear of money, and learn to finally work with others.

Just get the book.

Oh. And enjoy the humor. I did.

April 17, 2012 book reviews

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