UX, UI, XD – Increasing Efficiency

This talk covered a range of interesting Adobe XD features, promoting the lightweight nature of the program and how using it will speed up workflow and increase efficiency.

Tony Harmer demonstrated how intuitive Adobe XD is, with its minimal interface and simple tools – from this introduction it was easy to see how useful the program could be when creating prototypes for mobile experiences. Everyday processes that normally take several minutes to complete were done in an instant with a simple drag & drop facility. This included adding imagery to a list, as well as text and other content. Grid content can be created in an instant and updated easily, saving valuable time.

Adobe XD goes one stage further; it allows you to create a user journey and a workable prototype, which can be tested before any further development takes place. Any problems can be quickly identified and resolved, streamlining the whole operation. An export function enables the project to be shared with the client and a comment thread allows them to offer feedback. This feedback works through Adobe CC and can be configured to send alerts when there has been activity on the project, contributing to a faster workflow.

We were shown various resources that can all reduce unnecessary processes and build towards a common ‘design language’ that will, in turn, generate a more intuitive user experience.

From somebody who doesn’t have a lot of experience in Adobe XD, I found the presentation extremely informative and insightful. I can see the benefits of using the program and - due to its simplicity and timesaving qualities - it’s certainly something I’d like to introduce into my own workflow.

Photoshop On The Edge

This extremely rapid talk covered blending modes and various filters in Photoshop. Tony demonstrated a couple of techniques to refine the edge of an object on a white background, making sure it has a sharper edge upon extraction. One of these techniques was the ‘defringe’ tool, something I can’t say I’ve utilised previously. This tool turns edges into blended pixels, reducing the ‘fuzzy’ quality that sometimes appears when using the selection tool.

Some time was spent going through ‘Multiply’ and ‘Screen’ blending modes with various examples and applications being demonstrated. The discussion ended with a brief journey through masks, high-pass filters to sharpen edges in photographic imagery and an introduction to the ‘linear light’ blending mode on a high-pass filter. To find out more about the capabilities of Photoshop On The Edge, take a look at our step-by-step tutorial on how to refine, blend, enhance, sharpen and blur your images for maximum effect.

UI Design Patterns – Chakib Labidi

This talk covered UI design patterns and how these can aid the creation of intuitive and engaging interfaces. Chakib Labidi started by demonstrating how UI pattern has evolved. Using a Nokia mobile as an example, Chakib demonstrated how the reduction of now unnecessary hardware has enhanced the user experience; elements that were more decorative than functional have been removed.

After going through the basics, we were taken through relatable examples covering:

  • Website navigation
  • How to show ‘progress’ on a web page
  • Creating intuitive input/output forms
  • How to display content
  • Sharing icons

We were shown online examples before discussing how to bring these design patterns into our own workflow. We were encouraged to spend time ‘explaining’ the problem, seeing ‘examples’ of possible solutions that have already been discovered and then identifying the ‘usage’ of sourced solutions.

Care was taken to ensure we were aware of the advantages of using design patterns. Issues such as; eliminating inconsistency, creating a universal design language and having a better link to coding practices were explained before demonstrating the best way to apply these design patterns in our work.

The presentation ended with links to several resources that were aimed at speeding up workflow and could contribute to a common design language. This included access to several interface guidelines that would contribute to the level of consistency required which, in turn, should make future projects easier for users to learn and operate.

Video for Designers

This tutorial covered the basics of Adobe After Effects, Premiere, and demonstrated how user-friendly and intuitive the new interface is.

We were shown how to set up a new video project, with recommendations given as to which settings are best used in the industry. We were taken through the video editing panels and carefully guided through their functions, covering shortcuts and timesaving tips in the process.

Several improvements have been made to the interface of each program, reducing unnecessary clutter and distractions. This was clearly demonstrated with the creation of a simple video, utilizing both After Effect and Premiere. A video was dragged into the editing panel, cropped and a text and logo layer added over the top using simple animation transitions. To finish, a music track was imported and added to support the video. With time almost up, we were briefly shown how Premiere self-edits a music track to fit the video length, which was a nod to a more advanced feature. For further information, please see our step-by-step guide on how to use Adobe After Effects

To those that attended, what was your opinion of Designers Fiesta 2017? What did you learn? How do you think it could be improved for next year? Please comment below.


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