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Community Staff Hong Kong Lead Designer @ AO Joined about 5 years ago
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I'm a huge fan of the look and focus on messaging ala Notion.so, it's clear and well communicated. My only thought is the density. Not sure if its just my eye but their lead font Graphik set at such a heavy weight outside of large headings feels too condensed. And if you've committed to using only two weights for all of your copy it exacerbates it.
I don't think its a huge problem but there is a lot to take in and it can be distracting if a lot of copy is bold and everything else is regular. This is mostly in effect on whole pages but I felt the pricing table was a bit hard to focus on because there was more bold text than not:
A very small note on what is a no BS, just-what-you-need-to-know style which I fully appreciate and want to see more of.
I'd have a look at Milanote. Been using for many years after migrating from Evernote wanting something similar to an infinite canvas for notes as well as other kinds of media. Its great for mood boarding, mind-mapping, writing etc. has some powerful starter templates to build on. Easy to share with collaborators and you can use in chrome, on mac via their app or on iOS.
The justification text on the website positions Mercury as an experiment targeted at "humane" factors so in that sense I think it is a concept of what could be. But in application I don't know who would be able to use this and for what purpose it would be useful for.
The idea of having a predictive fluent interface is a hot topic but this interpretation seems capped at creating and replying to messages and emails and even then it seems much easier to use their native counterparts as they offer complete utility that isn't hidden or requiring multiple windows (not to mention they exist within eco systems which do everything else we are accustomed to). For example in the Mercury email flow the user needs to search for and initiate separate modules to view a calendar, and another to find the location for an event from an email. Compare this to baseline existing apps like Outlook and Gmail which create calendar events that populate title, time, people and location from the content of an email in one action. On top of that they offer everything else we would expect to do with the information and actions associated with an email in one complete space.
If there was more detail around everyday behaviour that required more than inputting text and hitting send I might be able to assess it differently but the current use cases demonstrate that it is restrictive and slower than existing services for no benefit. I'm not trying to poo-poo this I believe wholeheartedly in experimenting but in the global application intent space I think projects like Dialog Flow are much more "humane" in their implementation. They do this by being flexible to exist within services and products at a native level which is much more democratic, and they do it invisibly for the sake of optimisation. I know comparing intent services with something claiming to be an intent driven"OS" isn't an exact comparison but there is a reason why there isn't anything closer.
I offer this critique after reading the Mercury medium article which makes some big claims in terms of what it achieves. The author sets out to solve the problems of traditional desktop OS interfaces and cites messy mac desktops cluttered with folders and application windows. He claims to have designed this solution for people with low attention spans and identifies himself within that category.
But the problem I have is that the end result does not offer a replacement for anything close to an OS level interface, and on top of that I doubt anyone would be capable of understanding how to use it. Maybe other people in the design space would understand its operation from a theoretical stand point but I just can't imagine anyone I know wanting to approach this, including those I know with lower attention spans. The author hints at this himself where he disregards user research to support the need for his design "...(where’s the data?, they ask), I stand by my words and my truth".
It bugs me because Mercury doesn't actually fix anything, its nowhere near an OS or even a complete app, and it's not that innovative to modify Apples notification centre design into a larger space, add Alfred command line shortcuts, and call it an intent driven OS validated by nine months of what is largely siloed work. Not once do we hear about testing it with a real audience, or see any user research or data to support any of the decision making. In nine months. Hell, you can't even undo an action! I just don't understand how the outcome can be celebrated given its goals let alone its execution.
OK sent :)
No problem! If you like send me your email and we can chat sometime.
Everyones path is a little different when it comes to professional development as a designer. But it's all a question of growth and thinking about your end goals is the best starting point to map out the steps to achieving them.
When I was a junior designer the thing that helped me grow me the most was feedback from my superiors. There are different kinds of feedback you can seek but as a junior designer you might start by focusing on more senior designers who can deliver feedback around your design choices and design output. Ranging from stylistic critique, your ability to interpret a brief, your design approach, your ability to solve a clients problem, and how well you can communicate your designs to other designers and more importantly non-designers.
So when you put forward your designs at the agency, and they weren't used these are things you could think about and talk to with a senior designer.
These is a specific example, but at a higher level your growth is really determined by you and your ability to:
(1.) Create opportunities that will help you get to where you want to be, and
(2.) How you make the most of those opportunities to ensure you grow
Another thing you mentioned was that you felt like you didn't have enough big pieces to showcase as part of your folio. Well why don't find or create a brief for yourself and design something? I'm sure you've seen or experienced something about a product or service that you think could be better so why not try and improve it? Visually the designs don't have to be at the level of a senior designer, but showing your design thinking skills and process of solving a problem is what will distinguish you from other designers especially as a junior.
Taking the initiative to create opportunities like this for yourself is the best way to take control of your growth. And it's what a lot of senior designers will be looking for when hiring a junior, as this reflects your thinking, process and ultimately how you arrived at a final solution. The visual elements of a design can always be tweaked but if the thinking and decision making are not explained or not well considered it doesn't matter what it looks like, as the end result is just fluff. This a common mistake I see from junior designers and I too was guilty of it!
Another thing that I found really helpful was just reaching out to designers I admired and asking them out for a coffee. I promise you that most designers will happily free up an hour and talk to you as they were in the same position themselves. Being able to hear about their experiences first hand and getting their expertise will be a big difference maker and reminder that we all started somewhere. And its always a great way of expanding your network and uncovering new possibilities.
As a junior you don't have anything to lose by trying new things and reaching out to people. I'm not sure where your located but if you're in Hong Kong I'd be happy to get a coffee, or if your located elsewhere lets exchange emails or skype sometime to chat more!
Pablo what did you settle on? As someone who has to get in front of recruiters soon I need some input :)
Incredible - love the thinking and I'm hoping Apple have noticed as I would be keen to have allllll of this on my ipad. I haven't taken a run at Invision Studio but from your demos it looks more than capable of pulling together an experience which looks and feels like the real thing. Would you think about creating tutorials for these? Or for a novice like me, what resources helped you the most when building this in IVS?
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