Hi, I’m Brian Dys — a photographer from the inside looking out · a composer entangled in electronic music · a UX designer · a spouse, a parent, & everything in between.
…it has a Usability.gov website! Well, it’s an initiative and there is lot more ways UX could be manifested. In Philippines, UX is in its birthing process. First of all, we have:
User Experience Philippines Design Conference
We’ll be having our first UX design conference by UXPH.
UXPH 2014 aims to inspire designers, developers enthusiasts to learn more about improving the human experience while adding business value. This conference is for anyone who wants to learn what UX is and how it can make a difference in company’s products and services.
Source: User Experience Philippines
Form Function & Class
In its fifth year, FFC Web Design Conference continues to impart essential knowledge to the web design community. It is organized by Philippine Web Designers Organization.
We are a group of enthusiasts and professionals who create human interfaces for the Web, champion the use of standards, accessibility & usability, and aim to uplift the state of web design in the country.
What about in the government, what are we doing about UX? The ball is already rolling!
Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 2013
I first heard this initiative at Grafika Manila 2011 – dubbed as “Design Para sa Lahat,” it sparked a new hope in me that the government is keeping up with the times. Imagine creativity in the government? Yes.
It is the declared policy of the State to enhance the competitiveness and innovation of Philippine products, create market-responsive design services, while advocating for economic and environmental sustainability. The State shall also endeavor to promote an economy and society driven by design and creativity responsive to our fast-changing times and reflective of the Filipino culture and identity, while concurrently advocating the protection of intellectual property rights to these ideas and innovations.
Government Website Template
We already have the initiative to improve the overall usability and experience of government websites thru the Government Website Template.
Through the standardized websites, Local Government Units, National Government Agencies and State Universities and Colleges will experience ease in navigation and use of digital assets. More than that, content, news updates, public documents and other services will be easily accessible to the citizens, especially for those who use mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
~ Antonette Torres, iGovPhil Project Manager
What can we do to help our country?
As we are going towards a stronger economy, UX is undeniably a helpful tool for the government to effectively reach out to people. There are very simple ways to contribute to this development (aside from voting wisely and paying our taxes):
- Join discussions about the web design & development and UX industries. Philippine Web Designers and Usability Philippines Facebook Groups are good places to start.
- Balance negativity with positivity. It’s very easy to succumb to bashing on the faults that our government fails to rectify but since we’re all in this (country) together, be the one who thinks and acts for a solution.
In our team, we have something called an Interaction Diagram integrated into our Design Process.
Basically it is a collection of wireframes in context – whether of the whole web product or of a simple task or activity. The diagram shows the layout of components as well as their interaction with other components.
We’re using it consistently as part of our communication with web and app developers. It has proven to be very useful since its inception a year ago (October 3, 2013).
Jesse James Garrett’s Visual Vocabulary for Information Architecture is one of our main references in establishing the Interaction Diagram.
Authors of the Interaction Diagram:
- Michelle Villanueva
- Brian Dys Sahagun
During the heyday of IE6, frontend design was in murky waters. The frontend designer would need to employ lots of hacks, patches, and workarounds just to achieve the look and feel of a grand mock-up. Remember:
- when we used
- when we used a 1×1 transparent pixel as spacer image?
- when we exported images as masks to make rounded rectangles?
- when we used images as gradients?
These were just a minute part of the painful challenges frontend designers faced yet nothing stopped us from adapting to the crappy non-standard browsers of that time. We moulded the web into different appearances despite the difficulties. Remember the time:
- when pixel fonts were in?
- when DHTML was so fancy that sites had snowflakes falling on them and cursors were customized with trailing stars?
- of “Web 2.0” – the proliferation of badges, loading icons, fab aqua buttons?
- of letterpress typography?
- of minimalism?
- when full-screen images is the template of all websites?
Consider this scenario:
- you are the product owner of Siete Baracos (a tool that helps people with coffee measurements and ingredients)
- how will you inform the designers, developers, testers about the basic technical information of the product?
- thru a Technical Document, of course!
So here’s the basic format of the document:
Name: Siete Baracos
Description: Siete Baracos is a tool that helps people in making coffee thru measurements and ingredients.
- Website URL: http://sietebaracosapp.com
- Google Play URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.siete.baracos
- Purpose: Brochure
- Primary Device: Desktop Computer
- Secondary Device: iPad
- Lowest Browser Version Supported: IE 8
- Mobile Response: 768 px
- Template System (Python, PHP)
- CMS (WordPress)
- HTML (Bootstrap, Foundation, Web Starter Kit)
- None (Plain HTML)
- Primary Device: Samsung Galaxy Y
- Secondary Device: Any
- Lowest Version Supported: Froyo (2.3)
These basic information of the product acts as guideline and sets the context in which the product revolves around.
Now, team members will not blindly test the app using a device lower than the version stated.
It was a very early morning at 10 a.m. I was half asleep, half awake when a phone call jolted me from sleepiness. The signal inside the apartment was so weak that I went outside to answer the call. It was an invitation from Chikka for an interview.
A mere seven months ago, I resigned from a night-shift job and ventured onto the mountains – equivalent to working freelance without a clear business plan. The offer from the other line was a real wake-up call for me to set focus once again into designing for the web. The position being offered was quite new to me – User Interface Designer. I said that as long as it’s on a senior level, I was interested.
Web products need to be supplied with a Technocal Document. Its content are the basic specifications of a mobile app or website in the following aspects:
Filled-up by developer
- Programming Language
Filled-up by product developer
- Browser Version Support
- Mobile Version Support
Filled-up by front-end designer
- Mobile Response
This document aids all team members involved in the project by providing with a preview of each team’s specifications. It also puts in context the capabilities and limitations of the product.
Consider this scenario:
- the mobile app is in its Behavioral Testing stage
- the tester is informed that the mobile app is supported under a very old version of Android
- the tester ensures that the mobile app is tested on all key versions of Android
The same goes for websites wherein each team member knows that the product will not be supported in IE versions 8 and below.