Introducing Smashing UX Design: Changing The Conversation

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In the Web industry, a lot of exciting knowledge and diverse opinions are shared daily. They are delivered in fragments across hundreds of blogs, feeds, Twitter accounts and apps. In addition, the number of topics seems to multiply daily. We are building and designing for moving targets. Technology is constantly forking and disrupting the way we interact and do business. This is our industry, and I love it. I also know it could be better.

Why does finding and reading content have to be so painful at times? We set out to build great (user) experiences, yet our own experience of reading and learning from blogs is not always so pleasant. We end up relying on our peers and trending topics to see what we should be reading. Just knowing how to get a handle on what’s going on becomes a job requirement — more of a distraction than a good use of time when we have project deadlines, among other responsibilities.

An Evolving Industry

Before Web industry blogs such as Smashing Magazine, the conversation was a lot smaller, and much different. It wasn’t about followers or how many RSS subscribers you had: it was about experimenting, discovering and then sharing with others. Things were a bit more personal.

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Early Web design blogs like Kaliber 10000 shared interesting links, with unique designs that paved the way. (Image: Ida Engholm)

Finding unique and beautiful websites was something rare and exciting, not fodder for an hourly tweet. It was fun figuring out how someone was able to make an HTML table look… well, not like a table at all. It gave us an amazing sense of discovery, while constantly challenging our notion of what the Web could be. With the exciting new devices and design challenges popping up in the world today, that feeling of discovery is returning.

Today, our once fledgeling community is bursting at the seams with information and people trying to make a career of it. Although there are a lot more blogs, many are saying the same things and delivering the same broad-stroke discussions. Finding valuable content in a sea of generic posts is becoming a challenge. It’s time we evolve. Over the course of the next few months, Smashing Magazine will break out sections, like this one, dedicated to specific topics and focused content.

Shaping New Conversations

When Smashing Magazine presented me with this opportunity to help it build a new section focused on UX design, my reaction was, “Absolutely!” After the initial excitement, though, my next thought was, “How the heck will I pull this off?” I realized that just as an experience has no value without users, a blog has no value without readers or contributors.

We have been working on building a solid group of authors who have a fresh outlook and experiences to share. I believe that by presenting great content, audiences will find us. We have an opportunity to continue shaping the future of UX by educating and sharing our experiences with others. The team here at Smashing Magazine is up to the challenge of shaping this new conversation in the community and of contributing great content and ideas.

We will be covering the many dimensions of user experience design, with a deep focus, exploring some new article formats to tell the story of UX. You might find an article that introduces best practices for interface design or perhaps a case study of something surprising that we learned in our user research. We look forward to your feedback, suggestions and commentary. You, dear reader, are what inspires and drives this magazine. And if you think you’ve got what it takes to contribute, please contact us.

Welcome to the new UX Design section of Smashing Magazine!

About Our New Editor: Francisco Inchauste

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Francisco has been designing websites and applications for over a decade — initially in print design and then in interaction design. He now works as a senior UX designer for Universal Mind, guiding companies in designing applications that meet the needs of their customers through a desirable user experience.

In the past few years, he has continually contributed to the Web community, writing for many industry publications and his personal blog, Finch. He most recently co-authored the Smashing Book 2, with the chapter “Visible vs. Invisible Design.”

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© Francisco Inchauste for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

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