Sunday, June 28, 2009

I love UI design and usability

Recently after much soul searching, I found one field in design that's close to my heart and it's User Interface Design. Lately I've been reading books like Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman and Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell and I find myself filling these books' pages with notes and comments that could become blog posts someday. It's like a lot of juices are coming from my mind as I read them. Actually, I'm planning to create a separate blog for UI design and Usability, and I'll just announce it here as soon as I've set it up. Why I love UI and usability? Because it has a direct effect to human experience. If done right, the users are happy, accomplish their objectives/tasks smoothly and quickly, therefore resulting to an improved way of life. I think it's the UI that differentiates a Mac and a PC, and why the former has a strong group of raving fans while the latter doesn't.

Friday, May 22, 2009 - Philippines' Newest Buy and Sell Online Marketplace

Filipinos are fast becoming active Internet citizens and online entrepreneurs. You can see it from the growth of Philippine online ads directory sites and the large number of ads being posted on those sites showing how wide Filipinos have accepted online marketplace trading. The latest newcomer is

Unlike other sites, AyosDito has an uncluttered clean user interface which I am biased of. AyosDito has done a fairly good job on that from the homepage to search results and the ad details page.

The Philippine map on the homepage is unique but intuitive providing users a way to zoom in to local ads in their respective locations. It's unique because most buy and sell sites place so many words and links at the homepage that the user gets overwhelmed. With AyosDito, it makes sense to put the map at the homepage as we are most likely to be interested in offers which are accessible from where we live. However, I do want to see a search box at the homepage for those who are looking for specific items upfront.

Similarly, the search results page is easy on the eyes. Whether you're looking for used items or jobs and services, you will find a page neatly arranged by rows and sorted according to the latest ads posted on the site. The ad details page is also as uncluttered as the other pages, easy to scan and read.

Overall, the usability of the site is measured by the time it takes to accomplish a task on the site. The faster you get the task done means you had no delays due to problems, indecision or confusion caused by poor design. AyosDito is user-friendly. Say you're looking for a web design service in Manila, AyosDito's clean, non-overwhelming, non-distracting user interface will get you there fast and smooth.

List of General Content Categories that People Want

I'm recently into scrutinizing the thought about generalizing everything as content. Like every design can be generalized as content. An article is a content, so is video, so is audio, so is a whole website, typography, poster, event, product package, service. Like when you're designing a whole website, you're actually just creating content. And when you create content, you're actually designing. The content in your site is actually the design of your site, and the aesthetic design of your site is also a content in itself.

Well anyways, I came across this video and what stuck in my mind was about that idea that everybody can now create sites, and so content will grow exponentially on the web. I find it interesting when the video mentioned (somewhere in the middle) about people searching for "New", "Popular" and "Interesting" ice creams. I think these terms are important as these are the general categories that people are looking for and therefore we must design and stuff our sites with content that can be considered as such to increase traffic. Then I thought of other categories or adjectives and below is my list (not in rank of importance and not exhaustive, may update this list in the future).

Content Adjectives
  • New - latest, newest
  • Popular - most known, most hits, or can be sensations.
  • Interesting - something unique and different. May not be popular.
  • Best - something that stands out in one or more criteria
  • Basic - fundamentals. simple and easy to understand
  • Deep - detailed explanation on a subject matter
  • True - reliable info, accurate

Content Categories
  • Profiles/Definition - details or description of a term or concept, product or service, or person.
  • News - events or updates on your subject.
  • Tips / How To - tutorials and pointers that help people accomplish their tasks or solve their problems
  • Reviews - what other people say about a product or service. Feature comparisons among items.
  • Case Studies - stories for consideration. could be testimonies, portfolio or simply stories.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

iBlog5 - Things Learned from the Blogging Summit in the Philippines

Going to iBlog5, Blogging Summit in the Philippines, was worth it. I was actually planning not to go to iBlog5, which was held at Malcolm Hall, College of Law, UP Diliman, last May 9, 2009. But I'm glad I did even though I was only able to attend the afternoon session. Learned a lot of things. Here are some, not in order.

The Blogging Scene in the Philippines
  • The tribe of bloggers in the Philippines is growing big.
  • Blogger Parties/Events are common nowadays in the Philippines. A blogger event is usually sponsored by one major advertiser with the hope of gaining goodwill and spreading word of "blog" about their company or products. Some companies such as Yehey are already providing Blogger Events Management service.
  • Bloggers will create campaign blogs or are being prepared for election in 2010 as citizen journalists. For those who are interested to blog for 2010 Election you can visit the Bloggers Election Handbook by Janette Toral

Evolution of Bloggers by Anton Diaz
  1. Artist - a blogger starts out by expressing himself, his story for the day, his rants and anything that he wants to blog about.
  2. Advocate - the blogger begins to talk on topics where he is passionate about. He no longer talks about just himself but rather transitions to creating content about his advocacies, latest updates on his industry, or anything related to his interests. I think I'm at this level.
  3. Entrepreneur - the blogger begins to make money through his blog. Anton cited that one needs to know about web business models and implement one, in order to evolve to this level. Some bloggers use the publisher model, where they earn through advertisements, just like offline magazines. I wonder what the rest of the business models are.
  4. Maven - the blogger rises up to be a thought leader, one who is considered an expert or guru, who people look up to for knowledge and ideas. I think Seth Godin is at this level.

Blogging Tips
  • Social Media Optimization not just Search Engine Optimization (SMO vs SEO) - heard the word SMO first from Fitz Villafuerte. He says that nowadays, we need to optimize and maximize our use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. to drive visitors to our sites and not just focus on search engines rankings.
  • Content is King, Marketing is Queen. - Anton Diaz said that writing great content is not enough, marketing is as important. Some forms of marketing are social networking and joining online conversations.
  • Bloggers must learn to write good content now or else - Jayvee Fernandez predicted that in the near future, most non-blogger print magazine writers will transition to blogging online, so sooner or later they will outplay current bloggers in terms of producing quality content which attracts site traffic.

Links copied from Influential Blogger

Live stream feed last May 9
Blog posts

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Next time say "design"

"To say that something is designed means it has intentions that go beyond its function. Otherwise it’s just planning." — Ayse Birsel

"A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense". — Bruno Munari

I encountered these design quotes a few days ago and they made me think about the difference of design vs. planning. Which leads me to the conclusion that designing is higher than planning. I think we should all say next time "Let's design this" on whatever it is we're working on, rather than saying "Let's plan this".

There's a difference between the two. The latter implies a process that is pragmatic in nature and lacks energy and passion. The former invites you to explore and craft your future with creativity, to make it interesting, to make it harmonious, to make it effective, to go for the ideal and to express your values. Planning asks you to come up with a solution. Designing forces you to go beyond planning and asks you to be creative in achieving your goals.

If you're a teacher, say "I'll design this lecture" rather than "I'll plan how to deliver this lesson". If you're asked to organize an event say "I'll design this event" rather than "I'll plan this event". If you want to start a business say "I'll design this business" rather than saying "I'll plan this business". It somehow sends a message to your subconscious mind "I'll do this with creativity and passion".