Where does integration fit into user experience design?

  • William Dasilva
  • July 21, 2009
  • Caveat: the following is some quick musings on a question brought up by one of the integrators on our team. This was my quick response to him and our team.


    The question was:


    “Do you guys think that visual design and UX are very different things? Like as in good user experience goes beyond the GUI and goes deep into interaction and proper software architecture.”


    My response


    Visual Design is just a fraction of User Experience


    In my opinion User Experience to me is made up of:


    1. Visual Design – this is primarily graphical design… Choosing the right colors and proper use of layout, typography, and iconography
    2. Interaction Design – this is primarily the use of motion and interactivity applied at discreet moments in an experience.
    3. Information Architecture Design – this is the thoughtful implementation of a user experience holistically. It’s the culmination of multiple small interactions pulled together into an experience that is complimentary with each individual user experience.
    4. Usability – this is the study of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s where the psychology of the user shines through and effects decision making based on analytics of human behavior.
    5. Knowledge of Trends and Fads – some things you choose to do because its what is cool at the moment and the only way to be relevant.
    6. Creative / Aesthetic Design – I still think this is separate from visual design because creativity isn’t necessarily visual. It takes all these aspects together to create an innovative pleasing experience.


    A good flow for good user experience design is:


    Step 1: A user research gathers information about a problem that needs to be solved.

    Step 2: An information architect creates a good flow through the experience based on prior knowledge of good information design.

    Step 3: An interaction designer brainstorms with the IA and proposes and prototypes individual discreet experiences that fit into the information design.

    Step 4: A graphical designer applies aesthetic principals to the experience.

    Step 5: Usability testing is employed to verify decisions and based on findings changes are made to the aspects of design that show any weaknesses.


    I think as integrators it means we have to be good at all of these steps. And our big value add is that we have a unique perspective of the world because we can think of ways to creatively leverage the platform functionality. The platform is our Legos that we understand better than most IAs and designers.


    Granted, this is a simplification of a very complex process. We are constantly exploring new processes and methodologies for making a team of different disciplines effective.


    Please comment on this post if you are passionate about this subject and feel like there are any missing disciplines and tasks that are elemental in good user experience design. Im sure I missed tons.

    IdentityMine Introduces the IdentityMine Gesture Engine to Support Advanced Multi-

  • William Dasilva
  • March 19, 2009
  • Very exciting day for some really cool work that we have been doing at IM. Today we are announcing publically the IdentityMine Gesture Engine. Read the press release here:


    Quote from the website:

    “In addition to multi-level gesture support the IdentityMine Gesture Engine also support for user recorded custom gestures. These gestures can be used to augment the set of gestures currently supported which include Rotate, Resize, Pan, Click/Touch, Slide, Flick, Touch and Hold, Drag, and 3D. ”

    Its some really cool stuff and after having played with it a little bit it is very much a new playground for designers to start designing states and transitions for the complex world of intuitive NUI interfaces…

    PhotoSuru Syndicated Experience is Live!

  • William Dasilva
  • January 7, 2009
  • Really cool photo viewer app is available here with source code:


    This app demonstrates the kind of hardware accelerated performance with full screen animations that you should expect from a rich client app.

    I especially like the film strip that has a motion blur on it as it slides back and forth.

    its an all Window week for me

  • William Dasilva
  • October 26, 2008
  • In honor of the PDC I wont be using non MS products… Other than my iphone… But where possible I will be using things like Windows Live Photo Gallery beta instead of using my default Aperture in OS X or when I need to look something up I will use maps.live.com

    I mentioned yesterday that I am using Windows Live Skydrive and Mesh extensively lately. I will be reviewing some of my experiences this week with other great Windows user experiences/services.

    First review is for Windows Live Photo Gallery beta… Honestly I am impressed… I didnt expect to be. But I give it high marks in speed and usability. Still low marks in emotional connection but that is a challenge because I havent quite bought into the baby blues of the current generation of Windows Live branding.

    I snapped a few pics from my hotel and created a PDC set on flickr all through the apphttp://www.flickr.com/photos/photon8/sets/72157608391962882/ Very simple process and using things like Windows Live Writer and Photo Gallery its starting to become a consistent experience about how I share… The consistency is creating a social app experience that is integrated with my local client experience that I am really starting to like. Its better than blurring the lines…. Its hiding them all together.

    Next up… instead of using iChat or Windows Live Messenger or Skype to video conference with my wife and kids… I am going to try out Windows Live Video Messages


    Designers Love Effects Simple Sample Using Pixel Shaders in 3.5 sp1

  • William Dasilva
  • Just wrapped up a project and am feeling really good right now… Exciting times for WPF and Windows in general! Really pumped about going to the PDC… Finally getting a chance to look over the sessions list.

    I finally got a chance to play with the Pixel Shaders Library on CodePlex and now I am really jazzed about what you can do with effects.

    I actually tried this in the project that I worked on this week and it was sweet… I applied the ColorTone effect to desaturate my images and put a specific color cast on the image…

    It looks like this… (sorry no time to get formatted code in this post… Screenshots are all you get today)


    Then I turned it into a button and animated the ColorToneEffect properties when you mouse over the button. Code is posted to my Skydrive. (Loving Skydrive by the way… and Mesh too… Mesh rocks!)