Category Archives: Sketch

User Experience Rocks Is Officially 2 Years Old!

User Experience Rocks Turns 2. Stick figure holding balloons and a birthday cake.

User Experience Rocks is officially 2 years old, and I just wanted to take a moment to express my deepest thanks to each and every person who has taken the time to read my articles over the course of the past 2 years! I can’t even begin to express how much it has meant to me. You folks are the absolute best! ❤ Cheers to a fabulous 2015 to come!

Tagged , ,

When Your MacBook Won’t Boot First Thing In The Morning


I just had one of those extreme panic moments. I grabbed my morning cup of coffee, hit the power button on my Mac… and it spun and spun and spun and spun… and didn’t boot. Thank goodness for Dropbox or I probably would have had a coronary on the spot. I legit felt like someone had sawed off my right arm.

I wound up having to steal my daughter’s Windows 8 machine for about an hour… and I after using it for about 10 minutes I wanted to die. I didn’t really realize how deeply immersed in Apple land I am, until I tried to actually get work done in a Windows 8 environment.

I am happy to report that after some doctoring my beloved MacBook Pro has returned to its fully functioning happy self, but holy adrenaline rush first thing in the morning.

Tagged , , , ,

Stop Asking For Photo Access During The App Install Process!


So when iOS8 came out, I had to clear a boatload of misc apps and photos and such to install the over the air update. (I realize I could have plugged in and done it through iTunes, but deleting 8654 apps sounded like less of a hassle at the time.)

I deleted Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then reinstalled them once my phone finished updating.

Twitter! How could you?!
During the reinstall process I discovered a shocking truth. One of my most used apps, Twitter, STILL asks for photo access immediately after install! And it still feels shady and invasive. I immediately said no, even though I upload pictures to Twitter pretty much daily.

UX Fail
It’s a definite UX fail, which bums me out because they made some really fab enhancements this release. I’m loving being able to click on sender faces to open their profiles in the messages area. It’s a beautiful UX change. I’m loving the new profile look and feel too.

Kudos LinkedIn and Facebook
LinkedIn and Facebook both did the right thing, and waited to ask for photo access until I actually wanted to add a photo to a post. At that point it’s just a natural feeling part of the upload flow.

“You want to add a photo? No prob, just give me access to your photos so we can get this done.”

“Of course app that doesn’t seem shady and invasive, I obviously have to give you access to complete the task I want to finish. I’m invested in the process, and the request feels natural.”

Twitter: Now Jump Through Hoops Because Our Install Process Was Shady
Since Twitter was all sketchy at install, when I finally did want to post a picture I got that annoying message telling me I’d need to go through the 92 step process required to enable it.

UX Pros: Take A Stand
As UX pros, can we all just agree that asking for photo access during install is just generally obnoxious? It creates a negative initial user experience and creates a feeling of brand distrust right off the bat.

Small details like privacy setting request flows can have a big impact on brand trust. Stop making your brand seem seem untrustworthy by fixing your on-boarding experiences!

Tagged , , , , ,

Sharpie Addiction: The Struggle Is Real


I was just sitting in my office and picked up my purse and wondered why it was getting so heavy. I reached inside and pulled out a rainbow assortment of 11 (Yes, 11!) Sharpies.

It was like a clown car situation, they just kept coming and coming.

You know you’re a designer when…

#SharpieAddiction #TheStruggleIsReal

Tagged , ,

Usability Testing: The Money Saving Ego Killer


Ever had a feature idea, tested it and had clients hate on the idea so hard during usability testing that it completely crushed your ego?

It happens. But the thing to remember when it happens is that if you hadn’t tested it, you’d have spent a ton of cash in wasted man hours developing something no one wants!

Better to have just your ego crushed early, rather than your ego AND your wallet crushed later!

Tagged , , , ,

Reason #9072 You Should Always Record Usability Tester Facial Video and Audio


We’ve all been there right? You’re conducting a usability test, and your tester is slamming the mouse around angrily until he or she FINALLY figures out how to complete the assigned task. 

Then, when asked to rate the task, the tester smiles politely and says it was “easy”. 

It’s obviously not true, but if you don’t record audio and video, and only go on tester rating, you’ll never know to fix the issue. 

Audio and video allow you to look past verbal responses into what is really going on with your testers. You can look for facial expressions relating to frustration and anger, listen for under the breath profanity, and just generally get a more holistic view of how your testers really feel. 

Not recording tester audio and video does you a huge disservice. 

Give it a shot. It’ll help you uncover the testers who are lying, consciously or subconsciously, and will give you better data. 

Tagged , , , ,

Attack of the Killer Feature Bloat


So have you ever used a an early adaptation of a product, V1 or V2, and absolutely LOVED it? A best thing since sliced bread, completely awesome, wonder how you lived without it product?

Then V3 comes out and all of a sudden there is all this extra… stuff. And the charm is suddenly gone. Now you’re digging through a layer of crazy to get to the underlying base features that you loved in the first place.

You stare at the screen thinking, “What happened here?” Then move on to a different, simpler product.

I’ll tell you exactly what happened. We like to call it feature bloat. It’s when a company starts out with a great simple concept with awesome UX, and moves into “design by committee” mode as the product expands.

They start tacking on all kinds of random features, and bells and whistles, until the original concept is barely recognizable.

Then users start to bail on the product, so the company panics and tosses on another layer of miscellaneous stuff no one wants.

Eventually the product and sometimes entire company, explode into oblivion and wind up in that great big startup grave yard in the sky.

Sounds… horrible, right? So how do you avoid the terrifying feature bloat implosion scenario?

All it takes is a qualified, experienced product manager who can see through the fluff, and who isn’t afraid to say, “No.”

We are fortunate enough to have absolutely phenomenal product managers on our staff, along with absolutely incredible senior management. They’re so in tune with the true needs of our users that we sometimes accuse them of being psychic.

So if your company is expanding out of startup mode, do yourself a favor and land a quality product manager ASAP!

Art Prints of UX Sketches Available!

Hi folks! I first of all want to thank you for your absolutely HUGE outpouring of love and support in response to my UX/UI bike sketch!


It was RT’d, favorited, and downloaded an astounding 3000+ times internationally over the course of the past few weeks! Your kind words and tweets about the sketch absolutely made my entire year! Love you all!

Many people reached out and asked if I would turn it into a purchasable art print… Ask and you shall receive! 🙂 The UX UI Bike sketch is now available for purchase as a print, t-shirt, onesie, hoodie, pillow, even a shower curtain if that’s what you’re into! Lol

You can check out the full selection of available items at

If you really enjoyed another sketch I’ve done, and would like me to add it to the print library, just let me know and I’ll do my best to get it up there!

Someone asked if I make any $ on the sales of these items, I get about 10%!

Thanks to the generosity and support you all have shown, many items have already sold! T-shirts, mugs, art prints and laptop skins are most popular thus far!! 🙂 I want to send the most giant thanks in the universe to every person who purchased an item! ❤ You folks rock!!! 🙂

Several people asked if Society6 ships internationally, yes they do! 🙂

Another person asked if they can buy in bulk for staff gifting purposes (mugs specifically). Please feel free! 🙂

Thank you again to every single person who took the time to tweet, retweet, favorite, link to and view or purchase the sketch items! You are all absolutely amazing, and have brought me tons of joy over the course of the past few weeks. I'm sending you all giant thanks and tons of love! ❤

Tagged , ,

Low Stress Sketching For The Artistically Challenged

Tonight someone asked me what kind of software I use when I make my sketches. I almost always sketch with a black fine point sharpie on lined Post-It notes.


Why did I choose those two items when there are about 90 billion other art supply options?

Shut Up Self

I use Sharpie permanent markers because then my perfectionist streak can’t get in the way of my creativity. I can’t sketch in pencil, I’m too tempted to erase and revise, and it distracts me from creating. With Sharpies, once it’s on the paper there’s no getting rid of it, you just have to keep moving forward.

I ❤ Post-Its

I use Post-Its because they’re low pressure. Looking at a giant white sheet of paper is intimidating for me, but a little rectangular yellow Post-It is friendly and familiar. They also feel less official, and therefore make me more comfortable drawing fun things.


When I finish a sketch on a Post-It and it’s horrible, no harm done, I toss it in the trash. When I like a doodle, I take a pic of it with my phone and post it on my blog.

Low Key and Doable

It’s the easiest, most low pressure drawing method for me. That probably sounds insane to super artistic folks, but since stick figures are the extent of my skill, it works for me. 🙂

Lies! How did you make posters then?

When the UX/UI bike sketch blew up, I took a mega high res photo of it with my camera that is capable of zooming in on craters on the moon (Seriously, for a point and shoot my Nikon P510 is a beast. I took this in my backyard without a tripod.)


and then I used Pixelmator to strip out the background with their extremely handy magic eraser tool. A little more clean up and boom: my post it sketch could be blown up to large art print and shower curtain sizes.

Thanks for sharing?

So why did I just take the time to outline my process? Because I want every self proclaimed “artistically challenged” person out there to understand that a doodle I drew on a Post-It was RT’d, favorited and downloaded literally THOUSANDS of times internationally over the past couple of weeks. You don’t have to be Picasso to tell a story or get a concept across with a sketch!

So shake off your fear, pick up a Sharpie and some Post-Its and get to work!

If I can overcome my fear of sketching, so can you!

If you go for it, I’d LOVE to see your doodles and sketches! Tweet them my way at @jma245! 🙂

And as always, thank you so very much for checking out my blog! You all are the very best folks on earth! 🙂

Tagged ,
%d bloggers like this: