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24 ways to impress your friends

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Nice article to get folks rolling quickly :)

As a designer who’s worked with coders for a long time, one of the big differences between the disciplines is what we see: I’m looking for design issues; they’re looking for code issues. So I think half the battle is learning to put your code-head to one side, & learn to look for other things.

A great way of helping you look through someone else’s eyes is user testing. Get some non-coding mates to look at your site:
* Ask them to narrate their thought processes.
* Their 1st utterances will tell you what their primary usability issues are.
* Look at the faces they pull too.
* Pay close attention to all the points they raise.

Testers will say confusing things that need dissecting: try not to dismiss feedback as irrelevant just cos “I just don’t like it” is hard to decipher. With a bit of prodding, they will start to tell you what’s making them feel uncomfortable.

A great reference on basic design principles is “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robyn Williams. It’s now in its 3rd edition & is useful for design novices & experts alike. Apply its advice from the outset, & again after each round of testing, & you’ll be on to a winner.