Category Archives: Apple

UX Design Hampshire

UX stands for User Experience, some refer to this as UXD also known as User Experience Design. This process is all about enhancing user satisfaction, be it lowering the bounce rate of a web page or increasing the chance of an online sale through subtle call to actions / offers.

The process of UX design includes reviewing elements of interaction, we’d ask questions such as (1) who is your target audience (2) who is the competition and (3) what is your primary goal for the website / application we develop for you?

Before starting any UX design work we’d need to review and understand above. Some experimentation (visual design work) would follow, these would be concepts only, an idea of how things could look and move forwards. Your feedback on these designs would be taken into consideration, working together (and performing further research) these designs would evolve.

A review of information architecture (the structural design), users / user research, current trends (be it technology or browsing habits) is also advised. A good question to ask is “who is currently doing it well and why?”

In terms of UX this forms part of everything we do as a business, from sales to site development. Reflecting back; some clients had their own UX visions, views, ideas or a direction for us to follow, others simply leave us to it… Sadly “visual candy” is subjective, what works for one individual may not work for another. So with this in mind, a sufficient time allocation (UX development budget) is recommended plus we have to factor in trends. Concept work, competitor analysis and a collaborative approach will work best.

So what should you be looking for in a UX designer? Should you be employing a graphic design agency or a web design agency? Is UX design the same as web design? How much can you learn from the competition? What is a UX deliverable? Who is responsible for usability testing? These are just a few questions that spring to mind what I think “UX designer”.

Personally I would look for the following;

Natural ability

As humans we can learn to do a lot of different things, a simple formula of “time + dedication + hard work”, however natural ability (our genetics) are with us from day one. Before entering this crazy pace world of web dev I studied art at school / college, this evolved into a University degree called “BA Communication Design”. My point is this; an eye for detail and creative flair has been with me since I was little, long before web design. Some folk are natural runners, others great swimmers, my talent has always been art. UX design requires a combination of both technical and creative thinking, I’d suggest you look for someone (or a company) that caters for both. A lot of UX design boils down to common sense and an eye for detail – this is important to remember.


Check out some of my artwork here

Understanding usability

Usability and UX design go hand in hand, an ability to use a system, application or an object correctly without weeks of training is very important (time is money). Personally I think Apple do this so well, you receive a new iPhone, there is no 300 page user manual, simply a card with two or three instructions – boom, job done!

Good usability (and also first impressions) is essential to a positive user experience, but this alone does not guarantee a successful product… Usability testing forms part of this process, we have been involved with many focus groups (MyBirthplace.org and a room full of midwives spring to mind), understanding and working with user feedback is important. When I think of usability and usability testing I think of an object (be it a web page or application) designed with an end-user in mind, however end-users will vary. A good UX designer will want to make an object effective, easy to use (or learn), satisfying and faultless – catering for all (or should I say most) end-users.

As a UX designer, our main goal will be to solve problems, making “the process” as pleasant as possible. UX designers will need to be a jack of all trades or have people around them that bring certain skills to the table. For example; A pretty user interface may look nice (visually pleasing) however if its code base is buggy then application performance (speed and stability) may result in a bad UX. So, it is more than just looking pretty.

Personally I’d suggest you avoid listing out unnecessary product features and think more like Apple, less is more! Simplify your designs and documentation, incorporate your business and its mission statements to build trust. Getting a grasp on the user’s needs and goals is a must, from here we can begin to map out unique selling points or interaction frameworks / wireframes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post on UX design. If you have any questions for Tidy Design then please do not hesitate to contact us, we’d be happy to help.

Mike

iPhone & Android App Development Portsmouth

Looking for an iPhone or Android App for your business? Following the creation of our Montgomery Moon app, the team at Tidy Design has been longing to get stuck into another mobile application.

iPhone & Android App Development Portsmouth

Portsmouth Language College was one of our first clients. Over the space of five years the TEG (Tompkins Education Group) brand has continued to grow, develop and impress, he now runs multiple colleges across the south.

David Tompkins and I have regular meetings (often after office hours and in the pub) to reflect on life and business. Although a mobile app had been on the cards for sometime, it was in November 2012 when we finally got to work on it.

As an existing client of Tidy Design we really wanted to help, however based on the initial spec, budget and expectations I did recommend he shop around. Sadly we could not commit to it.

A couple of weeks passed as I looked to outsource the work to companies / freelancers we know. Quotes came in between 5K and 15K, the lead-time from one iOS development team was 7 months… All in all, it was not looking good!

Taking everything into account (most importantly our business relationship and history with TEG) we decided to take on the project. It was agreed a watered down version of the initial spec for iPhone and Android devices.

The end result was pretty good for both parties! We learnt a lot about app development, device requirements and are now looking into other app ideas! TEG Social has an app for its students, this built within a couple of months and way cheaper than any app development quotes received.

If you are looking for an iPhone or Android app then please do send us your spec. We would be delighted to have a look and possibly chat more about your project over an espresso at our office in Old Portsmouth.

iPad books for kids 2012

Although our core business is web design and SEO I do spend some evenings and weekends working on personal projects, one of these being Montgomery Moon, a children’s storybook that this month was approved by Apple as an iPad book for kids… Yippee!!!

iPad books for kids 2012

When Rosie (my wife and partner in the business) fell pregnant last year with our first, the knitting needles came out… It was at this point when I thought I should also do something for our baby boy, maybe build something he can keep and show his children… Anyway, Montgomery Moon was crafted in the summer of 2011, the spec to write and illustrate a kid’s book for him to enjoy.

iPad books for kids

With Tidy Design being primarily a service-based business, I’ve wanted for some time now to focus more on developing sellable products. I believe a mix of both services and products is better than one or the other; I also really enjoy creating new brands / products such as this iPad book for kids… Its what I enjoy, so helping others to do this through our core business Tidy Design makes my day job pretty awesome!

iPad books for Children

As a business we are lucky to have the tools, creativity and knowledge to create new products and take them to market… Ok, we also work very hard at this! This year I aim to write and illustrate another two Montgomery Moon books; this totaling three iPad books for kids in the App Store ready for Christmas 2012.

So, how will this new venture pan out, lots of people write kids books and develop amazing apps, can Montgomery Moon really compete? To be honest I am not sure, feedback so far from family and friends has been amazing so I am pretty excited to see how my iPad book for kids sells in the App Store… The thing to remember here is why I wrote the book, it was not for sales, merchandising contracts or to reach a million downloads in the App Store… This story is for my boy, and writing / illustrating books for kids will be great fun!

If you own an iPad and have a young child in your family looking for a fun new storybook to read and enjoy then please check out my book in the App Store… Thank you!

The Magic Trackpad – A tidy tool for designers

The Magic Trackpad

Just a quick blog post to comment on how awesome the Magic Trackpad is to use! Ok, it uses the same multi-touch technology as the MacBook Pro however it is slighter bigger. And if like me you are used to having a mouse positioned to the right of you most days, then a Magic Trackpad is the ideal replacement!

With nearly 80% more surface area, it’s the largest Multi-Touch trackpad made by Apple, well worth the investment if you enjoy clicking, scrolling and swiping away the day!

A Magic Trackpad supports a full set of finger tip gestures including two-finger scrolling, pinching to zoom, rotating with your fingertips, three-finger swipes, switching between applications with four fingers… It is just so cool, ideal for people who need to work fast and efficiently.

Ok, rant over its time to get back to some web design and graphics work… Until next time, have a great week and enjoy the arrival of Spring 2011.

To deliver we need the tools… The New MacBook Pro!

To deliver we need the tools… The New MacBook Pro!

This month Tidy Design built / ordered the stunning new MacBook Pro released at the end of Feb 2011… One word to describe this portable, state-of-the-art, high-speed machine is AWESOME!

The new MacBook Pro offers us web / graphic design folk portable performance… The battery life is a massive 7 hours; it has built in Thunderbolt technology, the fastest, most versatile I/O ever in a notebook… In a nutshell this will allow you to connect to the next generation of computers and transfer data up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0!

The new MacBook Pro will also perform up to twice as fast as the previous generation; this is ideal for editing large files and working on those BIG projects! Ok, this machine may not be ideal for everyone, however if you are looking for a portable computer that simply works and can handle whatever you throw at it then the new MacBook Pro is worth considering! The investment may be a bigger one, however the boosted productivity, results and performance worth every penny!

iOS Developing iPad, iPhone and iPod touch Applications

iOS Developing iPad, iPhone and iPod touch Applications

Yesterday I spent a good few hours watching iOS and Xcode videos, looking over blog tutorial and more in an attempt to get my head around the development and publishing of mobile applications. To be honest this has been on my to-do list for many months now however other projects both personal and those linked to Tidy Design have given me little time for this DIY self educating!

One thing I love about the web is that if you have a question, new interest or idea then the World Wide Web can give you access to pretty much everything you need in terms of resources!

I really feel that good progress was made yesterday, not only did I create my first VERY basic mobile app; I also registered Tidy Design for its own iOS developer account! Once registered with Apple you can download Xcode and iOS SDK, which includes the Xcode IDE, iOS Simulator, and many other tidy tools for developing apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

All we need now at Tidy Design is more time to research and develop the many ideas we have; some of these we feel will really benefit our clients, so watch this space!