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!

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.

38 tips for a good User Interface

Last night I found this really good website called GoodUI that shows 38 tips for creating a good User Interface. They explain each of those tips and give examples. Very good stuff to keep in mind when designing an interface. Definitely something you want to bookmark.

Go ahead and check out all the tips here.

How to find the ID of a post or page in WordPress

When you’re working with WordPress, especially with certain plugins or widgets, you might need to get the ID of a post or a page to link them, for example.

Although you won’t find this ID easily within the WordPress dashboard, there’s still a really simple way to get it. All you need to do it go to edit the post or page you’re interested in, and then look at the URL in the browser.

WordPress Post and Page ID

Happy blogging.

El pequeño gran retroceso en usabilidad de iOS 7

La única cosa que no me gusta de iOS 7 es que ahora la mayoría de lo que antes eran botones intuitivos ahora se han transformado en texto plano, sin ningún borde que los delimite o color que los distinga. iOS 6 era mucho más amigable en este sentido y no era necesario leer lo que decía cada botón, sino que simplemente lo apretabas y estabas seguro de lo que iba a hacer, ya sea por la forma que éste tenía, su posición en la pantalla o su color.

Lo mismo pasa con algunos íconos que ahora han sido transformados en texto plano, como por ejemplo el widget del tiempo en el centro de notificaciones:

Weather iOS 6 and iOS 7

Ahora lamentablemente los diseñadores de Apple decidieron ir en otra dirección de estilo y diseño que sin duda encuentro que es un retroceso en la usabilidad de iOS.

¿Ustedes se habían dado cuenta de lo mismo? ¿Lo encuentran un poco molesto o les da igual?