The Art of Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Going away from UI design and UX design, I’ll discuss one of my favorite art forms, the comic book. Sure comic books and graphic novels are sequential art which could also benefit from UX design, but right now, let me just talk about it and how this art affects the world we live in.

Comic books and graphic novels today speak to a huge movement in how society is feeling. Society in general forecasts what and where we are heading as a community.

Comic book companies perceive that. The graphic novel is an expansion of a comic book because it is longer, and most of the time, higher in quality on both art and storytelling.

The graphic novel as an art

graphic novel

Graphic novels are ordinarily more long and coddle a more grown-up audience since it tackles some mature stories and themes.

In the event that there is a little arrangement, in either Marvel or DC comic books, they put out events or long form comic book stories into one fundamental book. That book is known as the graphic novel.

Adding graphic novels to the comic book discussion helps develop and grow a rabid fan base. The fan devotion in comic books and graphic novels are central for both the small and gigantic comic book distributors.

The graphic novel is a powerful way to acquire additional publicity, gain more readership, and keep up the level of professionalism that is needed in the industry.

The variations of comic book themes

daredevil by frank millerr

Inside the skeleton of comic books and graphic novels, it is essential to know the kinds of themes they tackle. You have the fictionalized variant, the sci-fi stories, and true stories.

On the off chance that you include every one of those themes, you’ll get a confusing hodge-podge of titles to read as well as collect. No thanks. Just stick with the tried and tested themes if you can’t pull off a great story.

The fictionalized comic book and graphic novel envelops a lot of books. There are actually a huge number of both sorts out there.

The autonomous distributors are exactly in the same class as the standard ones. Graphic novels and comic books offer a large number of themes to pick.

You can read biographies of Malcolm X or made up characters like people bitten by radioactive spiders which lives to have super powers and not contract cancer or die from poison.

Super heroes and authenticity

rima pinoy art

Some individuals who read graphic novels and comic books read everything from super heroes to anime/manga.

In graphic novels that are not about super powered heroes, the readers get the feeling that they could relate better to them, if depicted with a feeling of authenticity.

The young readers are, of course, intrigued by stories that are absolutely outside the domain of what more seasoned individuals are into.

There are stories in numerous graphic novels deals with looming catastrophe and the hero in the story (typically a young white adventurer) is the one that stands between some city (or world) and total annihilation.

There are plenty of graphic novels with this topic. For the same reason, comic books for the kids do a superb job telling stories with moral lessons that they can learn from.

1st appearance

Comic books and graphic novels are different from one another, aside from the length. Notwithstanding, the dissimilarities are not so much that far reaching.

Both are making art that the reading public of all ages can appreciate. The graphic novel’s name suggests the substance is more develop in nature.

Be that as it may, the contrasts inborn in both items deliver the same result. They draw in a crowd of people.

The graphic novel may be longer and have mature themes (well, most of the time) than the comic book, however both are sequential art that people do love to read.

User Experience – Using Responsive Web Design

Before we start with anything else soak in the numbers.

Mobile Internet stats from Statista.com (click the image to view):

mobile internet

The stats don’t lie

Look at that. Mobile phones worldwide penetration is almost 50%. It is even more than 60% penetration in the US alone.

If you are not using a responsive web design for your site you are leaving money on the table. More than that your mobile users are left hanging in the air.

What is a responsive website?

A responsive website adapts and works correctly in smaller displays. Like the small screen size of mobile phones and tablets.

Doesn’t matter if you are using Android, iOS, Windows Mobile 8, or Symbian. As long as your website displays correctly and efficiently in these platforms your site is responsive.

Chris Converse, an Instructor for Lynda.com sums it up.

When working with a responsive design, UX is very important. While responsive design generally focuses on layout, the content requirements of your project can affect the UX as well. During the planning stages, carefully consider your content along with layout and ask yourself how the experience will translate onto smaller or larger screens. This can include hiding and showing alternate content, and even changing the way the site behaves for different screens.

So user experience is still the primary consideration when deciding to go with a responsive website.

Responsive design can help you save money

Remember when you need to keep two websites in the past before this responsive thing thing took off? One is your man website and the other is a separate mobile formatted website.

I clearly remember those days in the early 2000′s when I was working for an entrepreneur. I used to cold email prospects.

My email goes like:

Hello John. I came across your awesome website and learned a lot from it. However, I think you need a mobile version of your website since Nokia phones are so popular right now.

Believe it or not, these cold emails got a few inquiries here and there. Considering that creating a mobile website was a bit expensive in those days.

The cost of responsive design

Thank goodness that those days were over. Having a responsive website is so much better and so much cheaper.

Here’s why.

  • You only need to maintain one website
  • Your users will have a better experience on mobile

As long as the team working for you knows what they are doing. But how will you know if they are competent?

First, the team should focus on content. I mean, your website should not only be usable in mobile devices, it should also be readable.

Second, the team should also focus on performance. You want your site to load instantly on mobile devices.

Third, the team should be knowledgeable in design. You don’t want to go back to the early 2000′s where mobile sites have limited functionality. You need your website to look modern and still be functional on mobile devices.

Your focus is to help your users

I always believe in the value for value model.

If you want to help your users you need to make accessing your website on mobile devices easier for them.

User Experience Basics You Need to Know Now

Behind every awesome design is an innovative group.

User Experience takes different varieties of identities and aptitudes to accomplish. As products like websites and web apps become more complicated throughout the years, it’s fascinating to see how designers will attack these new problems.

This is especially true in the investment industry where user design and experience is horrible. It’s always last vs the features.

One software that I’ve been looking at is related to stock analysis software.

What is User Experience?

Don’t confuse user experience with user interface. Although, user interface plays a big part in user experience.

This Mashable interview with Yahoo! Design Pattern curator, Christian Crumlish explains further that design:

“isn’t about cosmetics, pixel-pushing, and button placement. It’s holistic and it’s everyone’s concern, not just the realm of ‘artistic’ types.”

User experience has been neglected in the past but now seems to be high priority.

Heck, even Google is now hiring designers.

At the top of Google’s core principles is: “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

If you are interested, you can apply here.

That said, user experience is not just limited to computing devices. If people are using it there probably is a user experience that an UX designer can improve.

Think – faucets, chairs, toothbrush, and whatever is commonly used by people, really.

It is more than just usability

Usability is also a huge part of the user experience but that is just one element. Of course the product should effectively deliver what it promises.

There is also the element of learnability and how the product or service evokes a positive emotional response from the user. So the product should be usable, useful, findable, credible, accessible, desirable, and most of all valuable.

User centered design and user experience basics should encompass all users from the project management aspect, user interface design, visual design, and interaction design.

 

ux honeycomb

It is not just about usability

 

An agile design team

Designers and UX strategists/specialists would cooperate from the beginning. From group research in parallel with repeat testing. Together, they would approve the advancing product design.

This technique would let user needs, as researched, adjust to real world use, as demonstrated by testing. The methodology also dispels the fact that UX design adds to much production time to any product.

User experience should be approached in a holistic way. Companies should make this a common vision.

It will be pointless to create something and leave the user experience decision to a single person or a single department.

This quote pretty much sums up my thoughts in this matter.

Some have said a UX procedure is a waterfall approach – I differ altogether. I see a waterfall approach as a group of manufacturing plant carpet lifts, each one doing their part and after that passing the gadget through an opening in the divider to the following transport line, with no genuine learning of where it originated from.

Very frequently, companies miss chances to coordinate User Experience into products adequately. In this manner, UX experts are left just dealing with the UX segment, as opposed to giving the right mix of value and impact.

Veteran leadership in user experience

You can’t anticipate that a beginner designer will be compelling at a vital level. In any case, the act of UX design requires in depth strategies that fledgling designers can figure out how to execute adequately as long as they have veteran guidance.

The more they work, the more they increase working with these strategic design routines. With experience the principles and even silly tricks of the trade becomes commonplace for the amateur designer.

The UX Movement – The Benefits for Users

Have you ever read an obsolete technical handbook? I have.

I read this section of an outdated UX handbook. It’s funny how some old material can seem so out of touch in one hand and brilliant in another.

The old book I was reading was about UX pattern in web design. It discusses what designers should avoid and a few problem solving methods they can apply in work.

It is an art and a science


Thank goodness those days are now gone.

Today, UX is not just an art it is also a science. It is problem solving that uses some left brain analysis in preparation for any inspired right brain solutions.

UI designers promise to deliver user experience that is not just fresh but also aesthetically pleasing. Modern UX design covers at least 9 categories and about more than 200 criteria for light analysis and thorough reporting.

There is also some left brain analysis and right brain visual inspiration problem solving techniques. All these sound super complicated, but the bottom line is ease of use and aesthetics of the end product or service.

Specialization in UX design and UI design

UX education is a must if you are a web designer, web developer, or straight up programmer. I always hear this joke about Google in tech podcasts. They say they have brilliant engineers but horrible designers.

Well, since UX specialization is taking off, Google is fast catching up to Apple design sensibilities. It will just be a matter of time before Google cracks the design code.

If you are interested in UI/UX education you can specialize in research, visual design, or information architecture. UX covers a whole gamut of categories you’ll be hard pressed to find someone expert in all areas.

So if you want to be better don’t multi-task. Focus on your strengths and improve on it ten times over.

And though I don’t believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory, a whole lot of practice and skill application will help you improve. You’ll become an expert and an authority in time.

What is micro UX and how can it benefit you

manager designer

Will the manager vs designer clash end in the future?

This is an exciting new development for both the designer and end user.

The thing with this is that the designer now develops into someone with added skill sets like coding and psychology aside from his visual design knowledge.

So essentially, if you are a designer with these specific set of skills (not the guy in Taken) you’ll be super flexible and agile enough to improve, iterate, and discard any changes you make.

This benefits users so much because they will experience whatever product, service, or app in an easy and delightful way.

This is what the UX movement has been improving in the last few years. It’s awesome because designers will benefit from more work going his or her way. In addition, end users will have an easier time dealing with the products.

The bright future for everything we use

I believe that the future is bright for every single thing we use. Designers and programmers are becoming very agile with multiple skill sets.

I can safely bet that any future interactions we will have with products and services will be so much better than today.

I don’t care if we are using some sexy iPhone app or some enterprise Point of Sale system. I believe that they will improve by leaps and bounds.

Touch interface is just the beginning. And I’m so excited to see what’s next our designers and programmers can play with.

What Do We Really Know About UI Design

A lot of people have different opinions when it comes to UI design education.

Some say that if you are someone who just finished college with a web design degree, you’re not really employable as a user experience (UX) or web designer. They say that you may have learned a lot of things, but it’s just more likely wrong.

“Congratulations, you’ve been scammed by the school system. Hopefully it didn’t cost you or your parents a fortune.” I heard someone say to an intern.

I can’t ever share this sentiment. It is a blanket statement that doesn’t make sense to me.

What we know about UX design so far

There is this guy named Fred Beecher. He has been working as an UX specialst for 14 years now. During this 14 years, this guy has seen UX design from a struggling industry to one that is driving many innovations in technology.

UX designers don’t come by very often. That’s why Fred, as an authority in the field, envisioned this awesome Nerdery UX design apprenticeship program. This program is not just about educaiton but also practical use in order to develop and produce UX designers.

There was a time when UX was only applied to products. In this day and age, whole services are now of the same importance. Come to think of it, is there any part where stuff are excluded in service design?

To me it’s not a different methodology than popular UX. For UX, does it matter what we are building? Everything used by people will merit discussions before, during, and after human experience.

What’s in a name

user centered design

The future of apps, the web, and services

UX designers are known by many names: interaction designers, user experience designers, human-computer interaction specialists, UI designers. The bottom is that our work is the same.

All of us, no matter the name, use principles of computer science in problem solving. We use instinct the least and apply experimental psychology and cognition to make an educated guess on how real people will use and respond to our user interface.

Aside from that, we design these solutions to look beautiful. There are some of us that implement the design, but programmers usually take over for most of us when it comes to implementation.

Learn UX design the way you want to

Do you know that there are UX boot camps out there that will help you learn proper methodology and problem solving. The boot camps have a ton of workshops that you can gain new information and insight on how to solve design challenges.

These camps will also help expose you to real world problem solving while letting you experience the complete product life cycle.

You will also have the privilege to interact with a variety of participants of different skills and background. The instructors are qualified experts that are the people leading the field.

If you are not into 5 day boot camps though, there are many UX courses out there where you can learn just as much, minus the rich social interactions. There are online learning centers like Lynda, Allison, and Udemy.

UX Design – The Present and the Future

user experience

UX is the future, not the product

What is the simple description of an UX designer’s responsibility?

The UX Designer is responsible for defining the experience they want users to have.

There was a time when user experience was not even considered. The reason could be due to the fact that we were just using terminals to process text.

Now, user experience is a driving force in software and product innovation. A far cry from its infancy.

But because of this boom in the industry, great UX designers are hard to find. That growth has made UX designers hard to come by.

Programmers and UX designers

There are also programmers who don’t even think about UX. It’s not about practicality, they just want to code. The result is a UI that is functional but not very user friendly.

These kinds of curmudgeonly programmers are a few and far between. They are not the future of this industry.

The typical solution in software production is to form cross-disciplinary teams. For example, teams are often divided into smaller teams even on a huge project like Microsoft Office.

It’s like having teams and sub-teams that can address certain problems at certain times. Sometimes, industry jargon calls this type of setup agile development. I call it common sense development.

UX is more than a single industry

That’s the reason why UX is applied to almost any product or service that people will use. Service design is also a sub-industry right now that requires the skill and acumen of UX designers.

Product design, websites, apps, etc, are all included in the wide scope of UX developers. The functionality that annoys us are attacked skillfully by UX designers to minimize the annoyance or remove it outright.

One industry that has one of the worst UX and UI is the finance industry. A lot of new apps with great designs are changing this, but when you look at bank software, there is a lot that is missing and needing improvement.

There are some good ones out there like this cool stock analyzer. However, the rest of the industry  needs to catch up.

Not to be philosophical but whatever you call it – service experience or customer experience – it doesn’t matter, it is still UX in all of its meaning.

What is the future?

Here is a great quote about UX design.

Today’s enlightened leaders are achieving success by crafting the entire customer experience–shaping, innovating, branding, and measuring it. They are mastering a new discipline we refer to as “experience innovation” by going beyond the discrete product or service to reimagine the customer journey. The result yields new, unexpected, signature moments that delight customers and create significant opportunities for new growth.

According to that snippet, if companies want to stay relevant then they have to focus on experience innovation. Nothing new but always neglected.

Focusing on users has not been this revolutionary idea. So companies should look beyond the product design and put resources in addressing customer issues.

However, you can be like Apple. They focus on customer experience without really being leased by customer opinion and expectations.

Apple listens to customers but they do what they deem right by them.

Simply put, the future is not product design. The future is UX.

Though there are not that many UX specialists out there today, they are definitely growing in number. We need designers and programmers working together to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.