Help – I need more questions

I can’t write up one question & answer a day this coming week, because I only received 2 questions.

So – your product design / marketing / interaction design marketing questions. I needs them!

I know that sometimes coming up with a question out of the blue is hard and weird because you don’t know what will fit the format, if the question makes sense, and it’s hard to come up with ideas out of nowhere.

So, examples:

  • What are your feelings on select lists, and what do you use instead? And in this particular scenario? (This is a shortened version of a question I did receive forrealz)
  • I have this product. This is the main page. Can you give me a couple pointers?
  • In my product, the users are . They need . But they don’t understand the way we did it. Any ideas?
  • How do you get started doing ?

More concrete is better. But I don’t mind a couple left-field philosophical questions, either.

I need your help

I could, of course, just write my own questions and answers but that’s not nearly as fun.

You guys will come up with all sorts of awesome stuff I wouldn’t have thought of, I just know it.

So, gimme your questions… please! 🙂

You can email me or write ’em in the comments.


  1. vojtech salbaba says:

    Hi, the email_me link is broken. Nothing serious, but just to let you know. I’ve seen this bug over few rails-related sites, it makes me wonder…

  2. Amy says:

    Whoops! Fixed the link!

    Can’t blame Rails this time, I just fat-fingered it. Forgot the mailto:. How web 1.0.

    Thanks, Vojtech 🙂

  3. erik says:

    Here is the main page for a software as a service product:

    There is a fair bit of education required with this product. There are some obvious problems with this page that come to my mind but I am sure that you can give me some great pointers.

  4. Andrew says:

    What is the best way an average Joe RoR developer can design half-way decent UIs for their side-project apps?

  5. Peter K says:

    One question I would ask, is that given what you have learned, worked on in your career – what things would you change? and/or what things in your career so far, do you regret doing/not doing?

  6. grentis says:

    I don’t know if you have never spoken about freelancer jobs but … how can someone start working as freelancer? I mean…which is the best approc to this kind of works? How find clients? How everything about freelancer? 🙂

    P.S. yes…I would like to start some work as freelancer (I’m already working for a company) but I don’t know where to start 🙂

  7. Paul says:

    I’m a UNIX systems administrator by day, and a horribly amateur web developer by night.

    My UI skills are poor. I know a good UI when I see it, and I know a bad UI when I see it, but I can’t see a UI I’ve designed myself.

    First, a philosophical question: how would you recommend getting out of my own head, and moving from "Now that I’ve written this and worked on it for many hours, it seems entirely obvious and easy to use!" to really being able to step back and see things from a real user’s perspective?

    Second, and more concrete, is this: I am writing a number of tools that are web-based, and internal to my company. The userbase will be other system administrators, and they’re all using Firefox or Safari or Chrome; none use Internet Explorer.

    My goal in writing these tools is to end up with something that other people can support and maintain, but Javascript experience is rare in system administration. And I don’t have much time to tweak and prod these tools to get them "just right."

    I want to use readable, well-maintained libraries with good backwards compatability in future releases, so updated libraries can just be dropped in with a great chance of success, and have a robust set of useful UI widgets, like tabbed panes, calendar pickers, et al, at my disposal.

    What would you recommend?



  8. Steve says:

    You have an application that needs to sit on top of, and help users make sense of, a lot of data. How do you design it so that users can get what they want and fully utilize all the information available without overwhelming them with an "avalanche of data"?

    Cheers, Steve

  9. remy says:

    My question is this, we don’t really like rss / feedreaders, as a user the ux falls short, as a designer my work is stripped, how could we improve that ?

    Cheers Remy

  10. Chris Carter says:

    We delivered a web app for business users that was a huge hit except for one thing. The main content is 960px wide and sits in the center of the screen. This looked great on our 15 inch and 17 inch laptops, but when users with 24 inch desktop flatscreens viewed it, the 960px is ridiculously out of proportion since the users are pushing 1920 x 1200 for the screen resolution.

    There’s not enough content to stretch our 960 layout any bigger. We currently have a tabbed interface, there are 4 tabs. I was just thinking(while typing this comment) of how to maximize screen realestate and this just hit me(it could totally be the dumbest idea ever). What if we watched the size of the viewport, client realestate, and when we hit a predefined threshold, our tabbed interface broke out into their own sections. So if the screen is big enough, we would get rid of the tabs and tile the the content of each tab horizontally; inactive tabs, would now be inactive sections/tiles on the screen, grayed out or something, the active section/tile is normal color. eh? Maybe have a cool little scriptaculous animation for when the tabs break out and collapse. I dunno, I suck at UI.

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