Designer, coder and animator with a passion for typography / www.simon-li.com / www.free-illustrations.com
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I posted 100 illustrations on my Instagram account.

I recently posted my 100th illustration on Instagram. 100 — a number I never thought would be possible. It took me two years to reach this milestone. Through this journey, my illustration skill improved quite a bit, and I created many pieces I liked, but more importantly, I learned to challenge my limiting beliefs, and practiced self-compassion.

How I Got Started

Sketching didn’t come naturally to me. I used to be pretty bad at it and rarely drew, but somehow I was drawn to illustrations by their quirky styles and use of colors as I saw more and more of them in apps and websites. As a designer, I’d always wanted to expand my skillset, so when I felt I’d learned enough about the typical subjects like typography, colors and layouts, naturally I turned to illustrations as the next skill to acquire. …

Two weeks ago, I tried usertesting.com for the first time because I needed to conduct a usability test. It was a tool recommended by a coworker, and I found it really helpful. If you’re a UX researcher or designer out there who needs to conduct interviews or user studies, give it a try and you could be happily surprised.

Fast Recruitment of Participants

I was most impressed by the fact that it was super fast and efficient. My study needed 10 users for a think aloud task. Within less than an hour, the system was able to recruit 10 participants, have them all complete the task and record the whole process. It’s worth mentioning that the system allows you to create detailed filters, which include location, income, education etc, to select the right group of people. …

A large part of UI design is graphic design. Many of the techniques in graphic design, such as the use of a grid, the CRAP principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity), and color theory etc, are transferrable and can be applied to UI design as well. However, there are certain techniques that don’t work quite as well. I didn’t realize this until recently. Those techniques fell flat when I tried to use them to design the UI of a feature. I reflected on why it backfired and here are the two reasons.

Fixed Content vs Fluid Content

UI designers love to use “lorem ipsum” as placeholders, this is because content on a screen is often fluid. It’s also probably the biggest of the reasons why not all graphic design techniques work well in UI design. Some design techniques require specific, fixed content to start with, and therefore are non-scalable. …

Design is a vaguely defined term, and people tend to have misconceptions about what designers do. When you tell people you’re a designer, especially those outside of tech, chances are they will think that your job is to sit in front of a monitor, pushing pixels and make things look beautiful.

When design is mentioned in the tech industry, quite often it refers to user experience design or product design, and it’s much more than just producing beautiful mockups. In fact, the field of UX is so broad that it took me years of learning and practicing to realize what it really encompasses. …

Surveys are a great way for us to understand our target users during the discovery phase of a UX project. Using just a Google form or Office form, we can reach out to potential users, asking them questions without being constrained by time or location. Oftentimes, the hard part of conducting a survey is getting respondents. Below are 3 ways to do that.

1. PollPool

PollPool is a website for posting surveys and getting respondents. Each response will cost a certain amount of PollCoins. There are multiple ways to earn PollCoins, including taking other people’s surveys, referring other users, and sharing the platform on social media. …

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UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want

UX can mean a lot of things and has many moving parts such as interaction design, visual design and user research. Two UX practitioners can be doing wildly different things even if they are working on the same project inside the same company. UX strategy is a term I came across a few years ago, but I had never taken the time to investigate. The book UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want written by Jaime Levy demystifies the strategy part of UX. Reading it gave me a lot of clarity.

UX Strategy Demystified

The first part of the book defines the concept of UX strategy. The UX strategy framework proposed by the author consists of business strategy, value innovation, validated user research and killer UX design. …

When practicing social distancing, we are more likely to feel bored or stressed. I’ve been working from home for almost 2 months, and I found the following 3 apps really useful in helping me stay grounded and healthy. As a designer, from a product design point of view, I think they all have successfully achieved their value propositions.

1. Calm

Calm is a meditation app that realizes its values through its rich and fresh audio contents for meditation. In addition, you’ll find sleep stories narrated by celebrities, light music, and ambient sounds from nature such as waterfall, rains, etc inside the app. Personally, I enjoy listening to the daily calm to meditate with the sound of rain in the background. I usually do so before I go to bed or whenever I feel stressed during social distancing. …

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Gothic Kaiping is a condensed gothic display typeface with bold strokes. It is designed to be used in large font sizes in titles.

Download Gothic Kaiping

Glyphs

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Character Set

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Examples

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Information architecture, or IA, is a term that you’ve probably come across quite often if you’re in the experience design field, but what exactly is IA? What is the relationship between IA and navigation? And what are the things that we need to keep in mind if we want to construct a good IA for our project?

These were some of the questions I used to have about IA, and the book A Practical Guide to Information Architecture, written by Donna Spencer, provides answers to these questions.

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https://amzn.to/320wdgD

IA and Navigation

While IA and navigation are closely related, they are actually different concepts. Readers can easily distinguish these two terms using the definitions provided by the book. …

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