Thoughts on User Experience

I have to start this post saying I’m not a UX expert by any means. UX is not my professional field. These are just some thoughts I’ve had while seeing and experiencing how UX happens from the designer and user perspective across different systems, websites and companies.

I think the two most important skills a UX designer needs are common sense and empathy.

You need empathy because as a designer, you need to be on the user’s feet. You have to be looking through their eyes. You have to think of yourself as the final user of whatever your are designing. This way you’ll have a closer look at what the user is expecting from your product.

With this in mind, you will also need common sense. When designing experiences, you can’t do fool things. Fools things often happen when business needs or technology constraints are given more importance than what they really deserve. Business will come with good UX first. Not the other way around.

Avoid complicated and sofisticated and go with simple and usable. Always ask yourself if you’d be happy using what you are designing.

I’ve seen that without these basic concepts, results are often mediocre.

How to Install a Beta Version of WordPress

Even though I’ve been a WordPress user for a very long time (about 10 years) I had never installed a beta version. Until today.

I noticed WordPress 4.4 beta 1 was released just a couple of hours before writing this post and it came with a really good looking new theme: Twenty  Sixteen. So I decided to install 4.4 beta 1 to try the new theme as it doesn’t work with 4.3.

So how do you install the beta version?

Well, you have 2 options. You can download the zip, extract it and install it like any other WordPress version or you can go with the fast and easy way which is installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin first, and then using the plugin to install the beta version of WP. I went with the latter. It all happens in the WordPress Dashboard so it’s very convenient.

After you install and activate the plugin, you have to go to Tools and then Beta Testing.

Captura de pantalla 2015-10-23 a las 11.17.47 p.m.

Here you have 2 options: Point release nightlies and Bleeding edge nightlies. You have to choose Bleeding edge nightlies to get the most recent version of WordPress, in this case 4.4 beta 1.

Captura de pantalla 2015-10-23 a las 11.18.12 p.m.

After that is done, you have to click on the link that invites you to upgrade and voilà, the latest and greatest version of WordPress will be installed. Although, maybe not the greatest because it warns you it’s a bit unstable, but I haven’t had any issues with it yet. The good thing is you’ll get the latest features and will be able to install the newest themes.

How to Protect WordPress From a Brute Force Attack

24 hours ago I started receiving a Brute Force Attack on one of the WordPress sites I have. The site was somewhat protected but that protection wasn’t as well tuned as I would have liked. I’ll share what I did to improve it so you can take action and protect your site in a better way.

Continue reading “How to Protect WordPress From a Brute Force Attack”

How to install Ruby and Rails on OS X using rbenv

I recently re-installed Ruby and Rails to start playing with it again. This time when I went to rubyonrails.org to check what was the latest version of Ruby and Rails, I noticed they were not recommending the traditional RVM to manage the Ruby installation anymore, but they were recommending something called rbenv. So I tried it.

Although rbenv has a lengthy documentation page on its GitHub page, the instructions to install Ruby and then Rails where not 100% complete and I had to look for extra information on Stack Overflow and other sites.

Here’s a step by step to install rbenv, Ruby and then Rails on OS X Yosemite.

  1. Install Homebrew, the package manager for OS X. Paste the following at a Terminal prompt:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
  2. Now that Homebrew is installed, run the following:
    $ brew update
    $ brew install rbenv ruby-build
  3. You can now list all the available Ruby version and check the one you want to install:
    $ rbenv install -l
  4. Let’s install Ruby version 2.2.2 (or whatever version you want):
    $ rbenv install 2.2.2
  5. If you check your Ruby version now ($ ruby -v) you will still see the existing system Ruby version and not the one you just installed. To fix that, run the following commands to make sure rbenv is in your PATH:
    $ export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH"
    $ eval "$(rbenv init -)"
    $ env | grep PATH
  6. Now that we have rbenv and Ruby installed, let’s install Rails:
    gem install rails
  7. Rails is now installed, but in order for us to use the rails executable, we need to tell rbenv to see it:
    rbenv rehash
  8. And now we can verify Rails is installed:
    rails -v

With that, you should be all set up with your new Ruby on Rails installation.

If you have any questions about any of the steps, just let me know!

3 Podcasts You Need To Listen To If You Are Into Startups, Entrepreneurship And Technology

After years of not being subscribed to any podcast, I started listening to them again.

Here are some of my favorites. It’s amazing that you can (still) find great content online for free!

Continue reading “3 Podcasts You Need To Listen To If You Are Into Startups, Entrepreneurship And Technology”

Video: Así funciona Apple CarPlay

Hace un par de días Apple presentó CarPlay en el Salón del Automóvil de Ginebra.

CarPlay es la nueva interfaz de Apple que se conecta con el iPhone para, en resumen, hacer todo lo que puedes hacer con el iPhone, pero en la pantalla integrada de auto, e incluso usando los controles del volante.

En este video una ejecutiva de Apple nos hace una demostración de CarPlay en el Ferrari FF.

CarPlay estará disponible inicialmente muy pronto en autos Volvo, Ferrari y Mercedes Benz. De aquí a fin de año CarPlay ya estará en BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citröen, Subaru, Suzuki y Toyota.

Finalmente una interfaz decente para los autos! Hasta ahora no había visto ninguna que sea fácil de usar ni atractiva en cuanto a diseño.

Comparte fotos de manera privada y gratuita con Seahorse

Típico que cuando vas de vacaciones sacas miles (literalmente) de fotos y cuando vuelves a tu casa y tu familia o amigos te preguntan por las fotos tu respuesta es: están en el computador o en la cámara, las subo después.

Ahora, el problema que yo y creo que muchos más tienen es que Facebook no es lo suficientemente privado como quisieras para compartir las fotos de tus vacaciones con los más cercanos. Y aquí es donde viene Seahorse al rescate, una aplicación para justamente compartir fotos con las personas que tu elijas, de manera muy sencilla.

Seahorse funciona como aplicación de iOS, Android o también desde el navegador web. Después del registro ya puedes comenzar a crear álbumes y agregar personas a ellos. Puedes agregar colaboradores que tienen permiso par agregar más fotos o simplemente como espectadores que solo tienen permiso para verlas.

Seahorse te da 1 GB de almacenamiento gratis al inicio, pero es muy fácil llegar a los 5 o 6 GB realizando algunas tareas simples como por ejemplo invitando a personas a tus álbumes, eligiendo una foto de perfil o subiendo fotos desde tu computador, por ejemplo.

Hace poco también Seahorse envió un email a sus usuarios regalando 20 GB de almacenamiento gratuito extra simplemente por agregar a 2 personas a tus álbumes.

Personalmente creo que Seahorse viene a resolver el problemilla que muchos teníamos al momento de querer compartir fotos con los más cercanos. Facebook es demasiado público y enviar fotos mediante emails o compartirlas por Dropbox es poco práctico.

Les recomiendo que prueben esta nueva aplicación!

Link: http://www.seahorse.co

YouTube! What did you do to your User Interface?

I got my YouTube interface updated today. They are rolling it out to users progressively so maybe you got it too.

Google said they want to highlight the importance of Playlists and make them more visible, which is fine, but what’s the deal with the grey space on the sides of the main content section? I get the impression of a website that is old and outdated. Also, the video thumbnails look small and it feels there’s a waste of space.

I feel like YouTube is using old HTML frames…

I think they can just make the video thumbnails a bit bigger without making the whole site look cluttered and also use some other way to divide spaces rather than that big ugly grey space.

Google has been playing around with the YouTube interface so much this past year so I hope all this improves in their next iteration.