A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a phrase we have all heard at least a thousand times, but sometimes we need to be reminded that a picture is more than just what meets the eye. Only a little over 100 years ago, people believed that everything they saw in photographs was true. As long as the photograph was taken where and when the caption says it was, it was generally thought to be accurate and, at times, even more reliable than the testimony of a human eye witness (Ritchin, 1985). This mindset is now few and far between in today’s society. Nothing – not even a smiling selfie – can be published without meeting extreme scrutiny from the receiving public.
In my previous blog post, I discussed how psychologist Richard Gregory’s work in visual perception (Top-Down Processing Theory) and psychologist Robert Plutchik’s work in mapping emotions (Plutchik’s wheel) provides us with the framework to record and react to visual stimuli. Emotions, and how we express them, is key to our ability to create relationships with others. The easiest way to create a relationship with someone is to meet them in person. You can see how they move, get a feeling for their personality and how they speak, and you can notice little telltale signs that they might be bored by you like a yawn, an eye roll, or fidgety fingers. To really put this into perspective, think about a first date.
What makes being human so much fun is that we are constantly expressing ourselves. From the clothes we wear, to how we exercise our vocabulary, we are screaming – either with our voices or with subliminal cues – how we feel or choose to identify. As humans, we are barraged every single millisecond with stimuli. Because we are equipped with a very efficient brain, the detritus of each waking moment is filtered through and what we actually end up processing is a very nominal amount. Psychologist Richard Gregory argues that 90% of the information our eyes see is lost by the time it reaches our brains. Though this might be a shocking amount, the brain needs to perform and prioritize other tasks at the same time it is absorbing everything presented visually, auditorily, and otherwise.
It has been debunked that creative genius appears in a singular blast of inspiration. Contrary to the belief of many, true creative genius takes time to foster and that there are actually many patterns that can be followed to produce beautiful and functional solutions. To foster creative genius, individuals spend days, months, or even years trying to perfect their product or craft. During this time, they ideate. Ideation is the process in which you concentrate on creating as many ideas as possible in order to come closer to a feasible solution. Although it is meant to be a quick process, ideation can take up long stretches of time depending on the complexity of the problem you are trying to solve for. Be prepared to stretch your mental capacity, have patience, and it is almost guaranteed that you will be able to come up with some great ideas!
Streamlined, intuitive, functional, responsive. All of these words have been massively overused to describe websites – but how did they even become the preferred descriptors of “good” web design? As our lives become more entrenched in the digital sphere, the way we interact – and want to interact – with technology changes. In order to let users seamlessly manage their online activity and subliminally guide them through the preferred customer journey, designers implement UX/UI. If you’re familiar with the design space, you’ve probably heard of these two abbreviations before. In case you’re completely new, let’s break it down.