Friday, 20 February 2015

The truth about UX design

The truth about UX design

You may have mastered slick interfaces – but if you want to really affect a user’s experience, get out of Photoshop and into the boardroom, says Paul Boag

When you think about user experience design, what do you think of? A beautifully crafted interface? Sketching out a wireframe? Cracking open Photoshop or Sketch? In fact, user experience design starts not in Photoshop, but in the boardroom. If we want to call ourselves user experience designers then we need to expand our horizons.

Many of us like to call ourselves user experience designers, when in fact we are user interface designers. As soon as things beyond the interface come up we get uncomfortable. We claim that content is the client’s problem, or that we don’t have the authority to interfere in business processes. To become user experience designers we need to learn how to shape the entire experience, from beginning to end. That means moving beyond our comfort zone.

How they will make you spend…

future ads

Traditional ads are on their way out. We explores how tech is enabling brands to get more personal

Advertising has long been a dirty word. It’s all too often an unwelcome invasion into our lives – whether breaking up our favourite TV shows, splashing all over the website we’re trying to read or assaulting our eyeballs as we walk down the street.

One thing that all of these examples have in common is that they’re old school one-way broadcasts that target the mass market. What savvy brands now know is that shouting in someone’s face is rarely as effective as taking them by the hand and leading them somewhere. Everything is changing.



Ever intrigued by little boxes and blueprints, Jonni Bidwell explores a Pipowered Internet of Things hub that you can redesign yourself.

Wireless Things is the new name for Ciseco, the Nottingham-based Internet of Things company responsible for the critically acclaimed EVE Alpha device. EVE is a compact device that fits snugly on top a Raspberry Pi, connecting via the GPIO pins. There are a plethora of modules that can be fitted to the EVE board: SRF or RFM12B radios, real-time clocks (RTCs), temperature sensors and more. With the OpenPi, Wireless Things hope to take this idea one step further and it’s in the middle of a crowdfunder as we write this (

Mad Catz Strike M

Mad Catz Strike M

A tiny keyboard that packs a big punch

With the launch of the M.O.J.O., Mad Catz is making a name for itself as the undisputed king of the Android-powered micro console. Because of the nature of Android, though, and the fact that the M.O.J.O. is really just a tablet on your TV, there comes the inherent difficulty of entering text.

The issue isn't just with the M.O.J.O.; it's with every device that's hooked up to a TV and uses some form of controller as the main method of input. A smart TV, for example, uses the remote, a PS3 uses its controller and so on. What's needed in these situations is a good old-fashioned keyboard.

H1Z1 Early Access


After the apocalypse, the undead are the least of your worries

We're not cruel or callous people here at Micro Mart. In fact, despite the constant pressures of getting a weekly magazine out on time, we're actually quite well tempered. That pretty much went out of the window, though, when we came across our first 'real' person deep in the wilderness of H1Z1.

H1Z1, if you're not aware is the newest zombie infested MMO from Daybreak Games (formally Sony Online entertainment). It's still in the early access alpha release stage, but we were given the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about with regards to a zombie apocalypse.

Tesoro Kuven Pro 5.1 Headset

Tesoro Kuven Pro 5.1 Headset

The Helm of Darkness is surprisingly comfortable

Before we begin, Kuven, in case you're wondering, was the name for the helmet of Hades, also known as the Helm of Darkness. It apparently renders the wearer invisible to all, even the eyes of the gods, and it was forged for Hades by the cyclopes during the war against the Titans, alongside the trident of Poseidon and Zeus's thunderbolts.

The Tesoro Kuven Pro 5.1 headset unfortunately doesn't render you invisible, and we can confidently state that it wasn't forged by a cyclops -although we have been known to be wrong in the past. It is, however, a very well designed, comfortable and exceedingly good headset.

Acer Predator XB270HA G-Sync Gaming Display

Acer Predator XB270HA G-Sync Gaming Display

Nvidia G-Sync is the latest feature for Acer's gaming monitors

Computer displays are going through an odd phase at this time.

For those who like strong colours and excellent viewing angles, there are amazingly priced IPS panels. And for gamers, there's enhanced twisted nematic film (TN) technology. It might have less colour saturation and poor viewing angles, but it can also deliver the high refresh rates that gamers need to work with the high frame rates modern video cards can easily generate.

The Acer XB270HA is a TN panel made for that specific gaming market, offering a 1ms response time and a 144MHz refresh rate on a sizeable 27" screen.

Toshiba Canvio AeroCast 1TB

Toshiba Canvio AeroCast 1TB

Toshiba blends a 1TB hard drive with a wireless access point

Both Seagate and Western Digital have released wireless external drives in the past year, and now it's Toshiba's turn with the Canvio AeroCast.

This sticks firmly to the same model we've seen previously, where you need an installed app to access any contents from mobile devices. Technically you can attach the drive as a mountable drive on the PC, but \\\share isn't an obvious location, and a web interface might have been much more helpful.


AOMEI Backupper

Prepare for disaster but hope it never happens. Roland Waddilove tries a handy backup solution

Only a small percentage of computer disk drives fail, and many people never encounter a problem, but just as you wouldn't drive a car without an insurance policy that will replace it in the event of a crash, you really shouldn't use a computer without a backup solution in place that can replace the contents if it crashes.

There are many backup programs, but one you may not have heard of is AOMEI Backupper. There are several versions, and the one on test is Backupper Professional. There is a free version that is surprisingly comprehensive, but the Pro edition has a few extras that make managing backup jobs easier.