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Foundations: Design

UX design is about designing products based on user behavior insights. Start building your skills in UX design, including methods for sketching and visual design

From Paper to Infinity Whiteboard

Inspiring Creativity and Digital Collaboration in Online Design Workshops

What ‘90s London Raves Can Teach Us About Infosec

One of the highlights of HybridConf 2016 was hearing writer Stevyn Colgan talk about his time as a police officer at London's Scotland Yard. He entertained the audience of UX designers and front-end developers with stories from his book, Why Did the Policeman Cross the Road?. As someone who is concerned about the state of policing (in line with recent protests in the United States), I did not expect to be impressed, but Colgan's design-thinking approach to crime prevention took me by surprise.

Illustrated Quick-start Intro to Wireframing

If you're new to UX design, wireframing is a powerful tool to understand how users experience your software. People with technical backgrounds benefit from wireframing because it forces them to take a step back from their coding mentality. Rather than focusing on the technical architecture, wireframing exposes the user-experience structure: how the user moves from one screen to another. Example wireframes taken from GoodUI.org. Both show the same content organized with two different structures, but the left wireframe is better because it discloses choices rather than keeping them hidden.

Comfortable UX, Not Just Open APIs

Simply Secure focuses its collaborative efforts on open-source, privacy-preserving software projects. In my conversations with designers, developers, and end users, I'm often struck by a divergence in their understanding of what "openness" means in software. For example, last December during a user study, participants reading app store descriptions of secure messaging apps consistently thought that "open source" meant that their messages were public. The distinction between "source code" and "content generated in apps"

How to Sketch Storyboards in 10 Minutes: No Drawing Skills Needed

Sketching storyboards – cartoon-like drawings showing how people use technology – is a way to get more, high-quality ideas for product design. Sketches are useful for taking notes during a discussion and for getting a team on the same page. Fine art drawing is difficult for many, but anyone can master the basics of sketching storyboards – even without drawing skills. You don't need to be artistic, just follow these simple steps.

Why Open-Source Projects Need Style Guides

Style guides specify the look and feel of how a company or team communicates with the outside word. Styleguides.io collects examples of website visual standards that maintain a consistent online presence. Brand guidelines typically focus on how logos are treated, while style guides are more extensive – including not only look and feel, but also interactive behavior, such as the alerts and form templates in the U.S. Web Design Standards.

Ninjas + Hemingway: Writing for User Interfaces

Here are tips for UX copywriting to explain how your technology works and reduce the need for additional user support.

Nostalgia, Trust, and Brand Guidelines

Last week Google unveiled a new logo as part of an updated brand identity. Professional typographic designers were swift to react. Tobias Frere-Jones, designer of Interstate and other widely-used fonts, said "I really hope this 'e' does not become a thing." Beyond professional designers, the New Yorker's Sarah Larson complained Google "took something we trusted and filed off its dignity." The Google logo reaches the level of cultural commentary in a general interest magazine because its use is so widespread.

Design Thinking

The latest Harvard Business Review (paywall, but with limited free content) has two articles about design thinking that are relevant for teams working on security and privacy: Design for Action by Tim Brown and Roger Martin and Design Thinking Comes of Age by Jon Kolko. These articles describe how design thinking has moved beyond creating tangible products and on to supporting collaborative design of complex systems. They give an overview of design thinking’s evolution, from its roots in Herbert Simon’s The Sciences of the Artificial, through Richard Buchanan’s Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, and into addressing challenges for domains far outside areas historically considered “design.

Making the Abstract Experiential

It’s difficult for many lay users who are unfamiliar with the mechanics of how the internet works to make assessments of risk or to secure their communications. One way that design can help is by making abstract concepts understandable. There’s exciting work in understanding existing models of security and ways to leverage them in design, such as Rick Wash’s "Folk Models of Home Computer Security", but there’s still so much to be done.