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September 01 2013

13:00

20 Hot Female Web Designers That Will Take Your Breath Away

Sizzling hot designs from hot female web designers will prove that, though web design industry has always been viewed as a world fully packed with men, the best stuff doesn’t always come from them!

Female web designers constantly battle to acquire the top spot in web design industry. Though we cannot speak in numbers, recent blog listing posts is clear evidence of the huge difference in the head count of males and females in this industry. The great thing about knowing this statistic is that, though females are considered extinct in web designing, still most of them are reputable.

Female web designers put their heart and soul on their designs. They even reflect themselves on their works. If there is a saying that you are what you eat; in web designing, we can translate that as “You are what you design!” Having said that, what should we expect from these hot female web designers??

But first let me ask you to hold your breath. To escape from the wrath of the male hot web designers and being accused of being a sexist, let me remind you that this article is made to uplift the spirits of young female web designers. This is to show the little girls out there that web designing is not just a man’s world. To prove that 1stwebdesigner is equal in promoting both sexes in web design, feel free to read this post: 15 Most Influential People in Web Design.

Hot Female Web Designers

1. Rina Miele – @honeydesign

A full-time freelance creative director, designer, providing: web, UI, logo + identity, and typography design.

A lady with a humorous thought. Stalking her Twitter account and an excerpt from one of her interview proved she really is a fun gal, “I make designs and it’s fun and I’ve been doing it practically my entire life and I like colors and when I grow up I wanna be a supermodel and music is awesome and I love watching anything in HD and I love video games, vinyl toys and Lego™ and this sentence is ridiculous” (Rina Miele Interview).

More than ever, her being part of the small population of female web designers made her sizzling hot! Savor sweet designs Honey Designs.

Hot female designer 05

2. Meagan Fisher – @owltastic

This part of the article will leave you wishing you were an owl! Can we state the obvious? Well, she is the Owl Lover. Imagine what would you feel if you were an owl and this charming lady will stick with you forever!

Meagan is a nocturnal web designer who’s obsessed with typography and textures. You can view her latest works at her dribble account Owltastic.

Hot female designer 02

3. Kate Hatchett – @katerbca

A young talented designer at hedgehog lab.

More than anything else a female’s intelligence outshines all! Still a student, Kate was invited to join hedgehog lab because of her amazing design talent. Watch Kate Hatchett change the world through her designs.

Hot female designer 11

4. Rita DeRaedt – @ritaderaedt

A pixel enthusiast,  her first copy of Photoshop during her freshman high school year had lead her way to web designing. Why a pixel enthusiast, you say? She has keen eye for details! She is always at her best when designing; that made her a finalist in the .net Awards. Check out Rita’s works.

Hot female designer 18

5. Janna Hagan – @_jannalynn

The worthy winner of .net young designer of the year 2011. She is the creator of A Student’s Guide to Web design. She believes that real-life skills are the most important abilities to acquire if one wants to a web designer. Her stand and action for what she believes in makes her more desirable.

Hot female designer 07

6. Siska Flaurensia – @SiskaFlaurensia

The Pixel Princess. Founder of the Squeeze of Lime Studio. She originally came from the marketing and sales industry. Her solid experience in that field made her more viable in branding, digital design, E-commerce and SEO, web development and hosting. Getting personal, she’s a pretty girl who loves to travel, sing in the car and eat red velvet cupcakes. Siska’s lovely works.

Hot female designer 20

7. Milica Sekulic

The CSS Princess. I salute Milica for believing in girl power. She launched the website CSSPrincess to support women who wish to pursue a web designing career. Let’s know more about Milica.

Hot female designer 14

8. Janelle Hitz – @silkychicken

If we had an owl lover, this one is a unique chicken lover! I didn’t have time to contact her and ask if she loves eating chicken or having them as pets. This is an honest curiosity of mine.

And yes, even her website has a chicken on its name; ChickenPaper.com. Check out her cool stuffs!

Hot female designer 09

9. Hillary Hopper – @HillaryHopper

Hillary was one of the nominees of Top 50 designers on Design Shack. She is a user interface designer for mobile games and applications. View Hillary’s portfolio to be inspired.

Hot female designer 04

10. Renee Rist – @RibbonsofRed

Renee Rist is a recipient of an American design award; “Killed Ideas” People Choice Award and Ohio Country Park Website award.Visit her website and learn the deep meaning of Ribbons of Red – her portfolio and blog in one.

Hot female designer 17

11. Irene Demetri – @youandigraphics

Winner of CSS Design Awards December 2010 and on 2012, the tables were turned and she became one of the jury of the said design awards body. She now run Youand I Graphics and also travels across the globe; it is evident on her website that she loves to travel.

Hot female designer 06

12. Hannah Donovan – @han

A music lover! For five years she led Last.fm and now she is a part of This is my Jam. She continues her league to improve music on the Web. We can say that her designs are rocking, literally!

Hot female designer 03

13. Jessica Hische – @jessicahische

A little girl from Pennsylvania raised by two noncreative people and pursued her dreams of becoming an artist. Jessica proved that we make our own destiny. What we are right now might have been a result of 10% influence and 90% firm decision. Also she is an over-sharer who thought that more than cons, sharing online has more pros.

If you are starting web design career, I would suggest you contact Jessica Hische for sure she will share her professional views.

Hot female designer 10

14. Antonea Nabors – @antonea

For her, a good design will be great if it has a functional aesthetics; we cannot agree more with this! Antonea is a typography lover, iPhone fantatic and a surfer!

Check out her colony at VelvetAnt.com.

Hot female designer 16

15. Liz Andrade – @lizandrade

The Internet nerd and crazy cat lady! And to put two obsession into one she named her cat, Computer!She manages CMDShift Design – a one woman studio specializing in creating complete design solutions.

Hot female designer 13

So far we have an owl lover, a chicken liker and a cat obsessed female web designer. I suggest you start thinking of involving a pet into your web designing career. Studies shows that pets can improve your health – and for web designers who always seat in front of a computer, some might have stress that pets can help relieve.

16. Mindy Wagner – @graphicsgirl

Mindy is really holding her top seat on the male dominated web design industry. On one of her interviews,  she gave advice to our young designers: “You want to find someone who will tell you what’s wrong with your design and encourage you to dig deeper” This is the product of practicing what she preached – Mindy Wagner works.

Hot female designer 15

17. Eva-Lotta Lamm – @evalottchen

I frequently hear someone dreaming of working on Google! Imagine their extremely awesooommmee office and the fame you will get from becoming a part of the most famous search engine! Well, at some point we envy designers like Eva for experiencing that.Hey young girl, you can also experience sliding at Google’s office! View her works and be inspired!

Hot female designer 01

18. Jan Cavan – @jancavan

Oh my glab! She is being followed by Britney Spears on Twitter! How cool is that???

According to what her About page says, she seemed more busy when not designing. Away from design, she spends her time reading, playing arcade basketball, and hiking, volunteering, working on personal projects or random road trips. She also love performing arts, the movies, music, dance, singing, musicals, collecting Happy Meal Toys, DIY furniture and trying to be a badass ukelele player.

Are you surprise on what she does? Not your ordinary girl right? Well, this one will blow your mind. She’s also a break dancer wanna be! Before we can see her successfully break dancing on the floor, we can indulge to Jan’s successful web designs for now.

Hot female designer 08

19. Sarah Parmenter

If you are a young lady aspiring to be a hot female web designer someday, you should know and learn from Sarah Parmenter!

Sarah Parmenter keeps on raising the female’s flag of female web designers. She is the founder of YouKnowWhoDesign.com – a design studio based in Europe since 2003, which specializesin attractive and intuitive interfaces for iOS and the Web. Also, she had been a speaker of many web design seminars and learning sessions.

Hot female designer 19

20. Larissa Meek – @larissameek

An artist, a web designer, host and bikini.com supermodel!!!

More than a beautiful physique and face, her being an outstanding web designer made her more attractive. Not to mention her care for newbies in this industry. Larissa passionately answers queries from seasoned web designers to beginners as we can read on her website.

Please tell me again why these web designers are hot!

Hot female designer 12

Bonus: Interview with Lea Alcantara

lea-alcantara-web-designer

Lea Alcantara is a web designer who runs her own business at  Lealea Design. She was listed as one of the 50 best female web designers in the world. Her article series on The Art of Self-Branding  got a lot of recognition from web designers world-wide.  She also gives occasional talks on branding.

To Conclude

I dug the Internet to find these hot female web designers. I know there are more out there that are waiting to be discovered or were already discovered but I missed, I apologize in advance. If you think you are one of these hot female web designers and you deserve to be mentioned, please comment and let us know how hot you are! We surely will create part two or even three of this article should there be more to include!

August 20 2013

14:42

Our Top 10 Vandelay Premier Downloads of 2013

Are you short on time? Does it seem like your day rushes by, and yet again, you were unable to check off as many items on your to-do list as you had hoped?

If this rings true for you, as it does for most designers, you simply don’t have the time to sort through the virtual piles of online designs to find that ‘needle in a haystack’ to fit your latest design. So we’ve done some of the legwork for you. We’ve sorted through our extensive resources at Vandelay Premier to find what’s popular with web designers to bring you this list of Top 10 Vandelay Premier product picks! So sit back and relax, and enjoy these highlights of what other designers think are our most useful resources.

10. Illustrator Brush Stokes
This is a huge set of 55 art brushes that will allow you to easily create vector brush strokes in Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator Brush Strokes Brushes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Distressed Lines Brushes
This set of 20 Photoshop brushes will come in very handy on your textured, grunge websites,  and hand-drawn websites.

Distressed Lines Brushes

8. Web Dividers PSD
This PSD includes 34 different dividers that can be incorporated into your own designs to separate sections of a layout with an attractive visual style.

Web Dividers PSD

7. HTML Invoice Template
Some designers prefer to use coded pages for invoices, so we have a template that will allow you to easily create an HTML/CSS version of your invoice.

HTML Invoice

6. Social Media Marketing Services Contract
The contract template includes sections for limitation of liability, indemnification, fees, and more–all of which can be easily edited to provide the specific details of the services you are providing.

5. Web Design Contract Template
A detailed contract is a necessity for freelancers and agencies. This thorough contract template allows you to easily input the specifics of your project by providing highlighted instructions in areas where you’ll need to fill in your details.

4. Festival Flyer Template
This textured and grungy template is perfect for promoting a festival, as well as other purposes as well. Just insert your own photo, change the text, and you’ll have a great flyer in no time.

Festival Flyer Template

3. Unplugged Gig Flyer Template
This stylish flyer template was designed with bands and gigs in mind but can be used to promote other types of grungy events as well.

Unplugged Gig Flyer Template

2. Wireframe Pro
As one of our most valuable sets, this set includes a total of well over 400 individual UI elements that can be used to create your own high-quality wireframes and mockups in a matter or minutes.

WireFrame Pro

1. Freelance Starter Kit
This starter kit is our most complete set of resources available on Vandelay Premier, so it’s no wonder it’s our top-selling item. This set includes everything from contract templates and documents to marketing materials and print templates, all of which are too numerous to list here. So for a complete rundown of what’s included, click here.

Freelance Starter Kit

May 30 2013

13:13

UX Designer Interview: Arun Pattnaik

Creative. Colorful. Experienced. Skilled. Knowledgable. Fun. Interesting. Passionate. These are all words that aptly describe UX designer, Arun Pattnaik. Visit his website, ArunPattnaik.com, and you can read his personal story of becoming a UX design superhero. In his own words, he shows “the world remarkable things never seen before.”

Overstretched? Not really. His vision is to make an impact on the world through his entrepreneurial efforts. This passion for helping others is what truly makes him a “superhero.”

The portfolio section of Arun’s website.

Hailing from New Dehli, India, Arun has worked with InstaPress, SlideShare, PicTiger and some more startups. He also worked with the world’s youngest CEO, Suhas Gopinath, who founded Globals Inc. In the past he has co-founded Oravel & Bidray (which is now owned by DealDash). Arun currently advices startups on user experience & design apart from doing freelance UX design projects, which means that his time is very limited at the moment – another superhero move, as he somehow still found time to thoroughly answer each of the questions below.

Skills section of Arun’s website which includes an interactive pie chart.

Arun’s skills seem well-developed. Of course, his largest area of expertise is in UI and UX but his XHTML and CSS skills are also highly refined. Add to this list his knowledge of PHP and a bit of HTML5. What really caught my attention, however, in my search for a UX designer (besides the fact that I wanted to find someone not so well-known but just as talented as the big names), was Arun’s heart and passion. In scrolling through his cleverly interactive website, I was captivated by his creative story-telling and fantastic design skills. In visiting the websites listed in his portfolio, I was greatly impressed not just at his ability to create very usable websites but also at his ability to help build a startup from the ground up. His personal blog showed me just how much heart he puts into every single one of his projects, and also how much pure passion he has for helping startups grow into successful companies. This man was one that certainly deserved an interview. Hopefully his answers below will help those of you who are searching for success in your own UX designer careers.

How did you get started?

Arun: Like most other UX engineers, I come from a design background. I started off as a graphic designer in a small company when I was young. Although I had a formal degree, that never really helped. I quickly realized that you’ll learn more about design by sketching on paper than reading a dozen books on design. After 2 years of working with print and graphics, I was introduced to web design by Suhas Gopinath, usually referred to as the world’s youngest CEO, my short time former employer, and now a very good friend. I was fascinated by the way Internet worked, and was amused by the impact of design on making decisions online.

And that was the time when I started taking an interest in UX design. While working with SlideShare, which is among the 250 most visited websites in the world & the world’s largest presentation sharing community, I learned how little details impact user behavior. The metrics give you quick feedback on what’s working and what’s not, whether the users like a red button or a green button, where to have ‘ok’ & ‘cancel’ buttons and where to have ‘yes’ & ‘no’ buttons. In fact that’s the basic idea behind UX, you learn how actions are affected by the smallest of details. You connect to users emotionally.

Slideshare pricing plans page.

What’s your education background?

Arun: I was never a good student. So my answer is not really encouraging for youngsters. Although I have a formal degree (with specialization in Animation & SFX), what I do currently is completely different from what I was taught. I was trained for 3D animation & visual effects in movies but that’s not something I believe I would have enjoyed to work on. I took a different career path and here I am making a lot of stuff easier to use.

I believe my instincts have been right so far. I love what I do and I’m not doing a bad job at it either.

Hiring page for Zeebo, Inc.

Zeebo gaming console: registration page.

How do you differentiate between UI design & UX design?

Arun: User interface is a part of user experience. Although UX in it’s best form is curated, it still needs to be designed.

UI design is entirely visual. It’s mostly about aesthetics and deals with what the different parts/sections of a product look like. The design of a UI will be heavily informed by the UX design.

On the other hand, UX design is a broader term. In addition to the visual appearance, UX deals with what a product feels like, how difficult is it to obtain, how easy is it to use, and whether it adds value to the end user. For some products, not necessarily web products, UX could encompass sales and support as well.

The UI can be a component of UX, but many user experiences don’t have UIs. Some have invisible UIs. For instance, I have once worked on the UX of a telephonic customer support product and it didn’t have a visual UI. A phone caller won’t get to see anything but he still expects and deserves a good user experience.

A very casual way of explaining the relationship between UI & UX would be -

“In the ultimate analysis, the goal of UI is to deliver sex, while the goal of UX is to deliver orgasms.”

Can crappy design still provide excellent UX?

Arun: Of course! Design merely acts as an enabler of UX, good or bad. My favorite web examples are Craigslist and Facebook. From purely a visual design point of view, the sites are very basic, if not crappy, but they still manage to provide great user experiences which can be explained by the popularity of the platforms.

Among physical objects, something as mundane as a wooden chair or a spoon could be an example of crappy designs with excellent user experiences.

Screenshots of the Zeebo Inc. website.

What resources do you reach every day when approaching a UX gig?

Arun: Most of my work comes from personal contacts, past clients, referrals & Dribbble. Although I have gotten a couple of projects from visitors of my website (www.arunpattnaik.com), the quality of those leads have been terribly low, due to the fact that the industry is yet to understand the importance of UX design.

Apart from Dribbble, some of my peers score UX gigs from the following websites:

http://www.uxjobsboard.com/

http://jobs.smashingmagazine.com//

What does the future of UX look like in your head?

Arun: I believe UX, as an industry, is going to be one of the largest in the near future. Companies, both big and small, are starting to invest heavily in creating amazing user experiences by innovating in their respective fields. The product companies have learned to put customers first. As recently as five years ago it was hard to find a user experience designer in a company. Ironically it was handled together by the CEO/Founder and the visual designer of the product. And now it’s common to see teams of user experience designers in companies, either as a separate department or working together with the product managers. Users are now part of the product’s building process. Internet startups are considering UX as their most powerful tool. So I’d say the future of UX is very bright.

Graphic of Dribbble invites Arun made almost completely of free PSDs found on Dribbble.

How will approaching design change?

Arun: Designs are now being done by putting the user first. Engineers are putting more focus on what the user expects to happen instead of what’s cool. Designers are putting an effort in what works best instead of what looks shiny. So the approach to design has taken a different turn. It’s a two-way process now. We learn by the user’s needs & behavior and then design our products according to it. Then we observe the user again. If we find the design didn’t work, we iterate. Repeat. User Experience should be seen as a continuous thread that runs through an entire organization, from one project into the next always pushing to make a person’s entire experience better.

Login section on the left panel of a website for a cabs booking company called Meru Cabs.

What technologies will be standard in future?

Arun: have always believed that technology merely acts as an enabler of what you actually want to do. So I would frame this question as “What methods will be standard in future?” Talking to the users is always the best method of improving your product. The success story of Dunhill is my favorite example of keeping the customer involved in the product’s development process. More and more corporates are taking this approach to design their products, and I am very sure that this will become pretty much the standard for product design. So a typical product release cycle would look like:

1. Find the problem.

2. Ask the user if it’s a problem.

3. Ask the user how has he tried to solve the problem in the past.

4. Solve the problem.

5. Ask the user if his problem is solved. Confirm that with metrics.

6. If not, go back to step 4.

If yes, ask him what did he find annoying and how can you improve.

7. Improvise. Repeat.

How does mobile fit into the future of UX?

Arun: Mobile has an important part to play in UX in the future. It already has, especially with the latest innovations in touch and geolocation technologies in place. Most of the successful businesses, both offline and online, have mobile apps which help them extend their service to users. Mobile is no longer just a communication device. It has now become an important part of our daily lives.

Mobile brings an always-available feel to technologies, which is partly true. But unfortunately we have gotten into the habit of presuming that mobile means on-the-go, desktop denotes a desk, and tablet is on the toilet. But we fail to see the blurring lines on where devices are being used and how they’re being used in unison. And that adds to the user experience regardless of the nature of your business. With mobile technologies, you no longer have to call up and ask friends about directions, journalists don’t have to carry equipment all the time to capture news, twitter has changed the way we communicate and receive news, we no longer have to wait for an important email because we are traveling. These are small but revolutionary changes. We’re saving time and money to do things which are more important. And all this has been made possible by mobile [devices].

Screenshots of the Stealth Android App.

Landing screen of the Stealth Android App.

Superhero UX Designer

Many would agree that a superhero is anyone with superhuman skills and a passion for helping and protecting the weaker members of society. Maybe this is why Arun Pattnaik likes to refer to himself as a superhero of sorts on his website. So, maybe his skills aren’t exactly superhuman, but they are definitely at an expertise level. Maybe he doesn’t fly around the world in spandex and a cape, but he does like to help other entrepreneurial businesses succeed. In my opinion, these descriptions are close enough for me to call him a superhero UX designer that deserves a moment in the spotlight.

He writes about design here. You should get in touch with him on Twitter at @arunpattnaik where he is always willing to answer UX & design related questions.

Author: Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a freelance senior editor at DesignCrowd – a marketplace that helps businesses outsource or ‘crowdsource’ custom design from over 100,000 designers worldwide. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

November 01 2012

12:46

An Interview with Designer and Developer Benjamin De Cock

Benjamin de Cock is a freelance designer who works out of his home office in Belgium. His focuses are interface and icon design, and he’s 28 years old. Benjamin spends most of his time designing Stripe and Kickoff. We caught up with Ben to talk to him about his design practices and approach.

What software/hardware do you use daily?

I exclusively use Adobe Fireworks CS6 as my design tool. I look more and more at Sketch 2 which is very promising but still a bit young to make the complete switch in my humble opinion. When I design for iOS, I also use quite a lot of LiveView and — surprisingly — iPhoto to quickly import screenshots to the Mac through Photo Stream.

calendar

I’m not doing a lot of front-end development anymore but when I do, I still use the dying TextMate. I gave Coda 2 a quick try but I felt it wasn’t the right tool for me as I’m usually looking for extremely light text editors. I’ve heard great things about Sublime Text and Chocolat but since I lost some interest in coding, I must admit I haven’t found the motivation to properly try those apps yet.

As for the hardware part, I work on a MacBook Air 11″ (always closed) connected to a Thunderbolt Display 27″. I should probably mention my iPad too as I work quite a lot on it. For example, I do most of the email stuff there and I truly enjoy the experience. Many people find it difficult to type on the iPad but it’s not the case for me. Editing text still feels complicated to me (I hope Apple’s working on improving the loupe or an alternative to it) but typing works just fine with me. I wouldn’t say I’m as fast as I’m on a real keyboard but I’m honestly close to it and I love the feeling of my fingers on the glass. :)

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It may sound cliché but I look at everything Apple makes, from their website (the iPad’s feature page is still amazing) to their device boxes. I honestly still haven’t found another company where the attention to every detail feels so important. I guess I should also mention Dribbble. While I have mixed feelings about it (showing some graphics out of context rarely makes sense), it’s still a great resource if you want to get inspiration on execution.

icon

What triggered your passion of design and development?

Showing things to people and see those people actually using your creations has always been fascinating to me. Designing something exclusively for me wouldn’t be motivating at all. With the web, I have this amazing opportunity to easily share my work with so many people around the world so it was a no-brainer.

As for the development part of the process, I must clarify I’m not a developer at all. I’m very comfortable with HTML and CSS (which is definitely not what I call “development”) and I also do some JavaScript but that’s everything I know. I always wanted to understand how things technically work but I’m not really interested in implementation details. It also feels important to me to be able to prototype some of my UI ideas to see if they can actually work. I think every software designer should have at least some notion of the technical side of the apps they’re designing.

What’s a typical day look like for you?

I usually start the day around 9am by answering the important emails on my iPad and checking some RSS feeds and tweets before moving to my office. I try to then focus exclusively on designing things, hiding all kinds of notifications that could disturb me. I repeat the same scenario after lunch and I usually leave my office around 6pm to take care of my son.

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What would you recommend to anyone wanting to get started in the world of design?

I’m a huge believer in practice. Trying to replicate existing graphics is a good way to start learning your design software and to see how the original designer made all the details. Learning to make many iterations of the same mockup is very important too. We, as designers, are often too connected with the graphics we create. Trial and error is a frustrating but essential workflow to reach something really good. Experience is king.

Thanks a lot for your time – keep up the great work!

Thanks for having me Daniel!

July 28 2012

13:00

Paper Prototyping and 5 Analog Tools for Web and Mobile Designers

Designers love analog tools. No wonder. These tools lets us physically interact with interfaces and speed up the design process, like paper prototyping. What takes hours in the digital world can be sketched out in a matter of minutes.

That’s why analog methods of prototyping are especially valuable right at the beginning of projects – when speed matters the most. Working with paper, or perhaps a whiteboard, can accelerate the speed of our learning loops. Sketch, feedback, sketch, feedback, sketch feedback – you can go through dozens of iterations in one day and you’ll set solid foundations for the rest of the work. Consider it kind of premium insurance. Getting rough feedback quickly can save you a lot of work.

No wonder, according to research by Todd Zaki Warfel, paper prototyping is still the most commonly used prototyping method! Yes, while we tend to disagree if we should code prototypes or just use prototyping software, the use of analogue tools in our design process is unquestionable! Honestly, I don’t know any designer who is not going through early stage paper prototyping sessions.

Of course in paper prototyping we pay the price of low-fidelity and while it might not be a problem for your team to discuss lo-fi deliverables, in my experience, it’s always a problem for stakeholders. To avoid misunderstandings and accusations that you’re playing with paper instead of working, just make paper prototyping an internal method for your team.

Analogue methods are supported by User Experience pioneers such as Bill Buxton, author of Sketching User Experience and Carolyn Snyder author of Paper Prototyping. They highly recommend breaking away from the computer once in a while and collaboratively work on the analog side of the design moon. According to them, paper prototyping:

  • keeps all team members motivated (as they can easily participate in paper prototyping sessions)
  • lets designers iterate quickly and gather feedback very soon in the process
  • gives designers freedom since paper has no boundaries

And though many believe that the rise of tablets may end paper prototyping in the next couple of years, I’d disagree. The physical nature of paper prototyping, its speed and straight forward form (understandable by anyone), makes it unbeatable by any digital gadget. Tablet devices are just another medium of digital prototyping (perhaps better than computer, who knows…) than replacement of analog methods.

In recent years we can observe attempts to optimize paper prototyping by the creation of dedicated tools. I tried most of them and I’m addicted to some (UXPin, UI Stencils). They hugely improved my workflow. Dedicated paper prototyping tools gave me speed that exceeds everything that I tried before. I feel more professional with a well crafted notepad in hand than a crumpled piece of paper with messy sketches on it. This confidence helps me discuss my analog work both with teammates and stakeholders. Most of the tools that I present below have been around for couple of years and I guess they’re doing great.

My fingers are crossed for these brave entrepreneurs.

Have fun!

Note: At the end of article I listed some of my favourite printable templates – they are ready to use and FREE!

UXPin – Paper prototyping notepads

Popular paper prototyping notepads with an original idea. User Interface elements are printed on separate sticky notes, which let you quickly create prototypes and iterate by re-sticking parts of the interface. Additionally, notepads are equipped with a sketchbook (with printed browser/iPhone), project kick-off and personas forms, as well as diagramming, gridded, paper. Hard-covered, well-designed and beautifully crafted books are $29.99 with free DHL delivery to USA, Canada and EU, if you buy any 3 of them. Since people from Google, IBM, Microsoft use them – UXPin notepads has sort of become an industry classic.

Finished prototypes can be auto-converted into digital, HTML, wireframes by UXPin App and this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen in the User Experience Design field.

Phone Doo – Magnetic boards 

Little magnetic, erasable, boards let you quickly sketch your ideas, while keeping proportions of a real iPhone. Dotted grid also provides significant help in drawing interfaces. Whiteboard form makes them really iterative and agile-like. Imagine bringing these little boards to a scrum meeting and presenting your recent design work. People will be amazed! The small size makes them a perfect tool if you like to design while sitting in a cafe. Besides, they look so good. One pack of Phone Doo’s costs $15 + shipping via US Post ($15 for one pack to Europe).

UI Stencils

Precisely cut User Interface stencil help you sketch interfaces in an aesthetic way. Forget about messy sketches and create sketched beauties with straight lines. It really helps to communicate design ideas!

UI Stencils has created steel stencils for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, Web and also several kind of special notepads with gridded browser, iPhone etc.

UI Stencils cost $26.95 + delivery (USA -> Europe, $6.50-$45 – depends on the delivery option)

Sketchbook – Sketchbook for Web & Mobile Design

Nicely crafted sketchbook with printed browser on every card. A simple, but highly useful tool that you can take with you to any meeting to quickly doodle an interface. It might not be revolutionary, but it’s certainly a “nice to have” tool. UX Sketchbook costs $12.95 + $13.95 shipping fee (USA -> Europe).

Behance Dot Grid Book

Simple notepad with a dotted grid on every page that is supposed to make it easy for us to sketch interfaces. $15 seems a little high for this simple book, but on the other hand it’s quality pays off.

Free printable templates

Kong Graph Paper

MBTI Sketching Paper for Ideation

MBTI A4 Sketching Paper

The tools listed above are more than enough to make your design process at least partially analog. If I can suggest anything, I’d recommend you try a couple of these tools, as well as the free templates, and check where they’re taking you. If you experience an increase in your process speed and a growing understanding of the design within your team, consider using them regularly!

January 11 2012

10:00
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