UX Resources from the Beer and UX Community
Useful links and thoughtful questions shared by attendees at Matt Stoner’s Top UX/UI trends talk
Every December we close out the year with a talk about UX/UI trends by our Creative Director Matt Stoner. Typically, this talk is delivered in person at our San Francisco office. This year, Matt gave his talk virtually to a very engaged group of 180 designers and design enthusiasts.
Beer and UX is a monthly meetup that aims to bring people together to learn, discuss, and debate on all things user experience. In recent months, we switched to a virtual format because it goes without saying that large gatherings are ill-advised for the moment. To our surprise, the group more than doubled in size and at the time of writing this we have more than 1,700 members. While we now have to provide our own (optional) beer, the silver lining has been that we are now regularly joined by people in Kenya, Canada, India, and Spain. Additionally, we have been able to invite some really excellent speakers from across the country.
While the discussion and engagement with this group is always great, the chat was absolutely ablaze for Matt’s talk on trends. There were so many great questions, comments, and resources shared. It was our intention to send the transcript to the attendees, but we thought it more useful (and user-friendly) to group the resources based on themes and share them publicly.
If you missed Matt’s talk, we have uploaded the full presentation to our YouTube channel. We will also be summarizing his top 10 trends in another post (though you will have to watch the video to see the many examples he included).
Without further ado, an exhaustive list of links shared by the Beer and UX community:
Accessibility was of course one of the trends identified by Matt, who reminded us that designing for accessibility should be motivated by more than just a fear of legislation. We were pleased to see so many resources and thoughtful comments shared when we talked about this in particular. It was also nice to see that the group was thinking about accessibility in relation to the other UX/UI trends identified.
One participant shared Nozi Nindie’s Medium post titled “Making Accessibility accessible: The POUR Principles.” A sentiment we really appreciate from this piece: “Accessibility doesn’t have to be daunting if you constantly remind yourself of two things. The first, is that it’s all about context. Think about your intent and overlay considerations of your user and the context of use; it should never just be about the checklist.”
Another attendee shared a web-based simulator called Funkify. Funkify helps designers understand what to expect from different categories with their four simulators: dyslexia, cognition, motor, and vision. We were glad to see Microsoft’s inclusive design resources in the chat too. We really appreciate Microsoft’s framing of “Solve for one, extend to many.”
We appreciated the reminder in the chat from somebody else that that no tool is perfect and that it is ideal to test with real people. As they put it: “Few (to none) of the automated accessibility checkers will catch everything. They can check things like contrast and code, but there’s lots of issues that will be hidden from the checker depending on how it was built or what it’s designed to look for. It’s crucial to actually test with people!” A valid point, and an interesting challenge for designers in these days of social distancing. And speaking of contrast checkers…here are links to the five contrast checkers that came recommended from the group:
As one commenter noted “Accessibility is useful to everyone!”
On inclusive illustration
As Matt talked about illustration, accessibility, and designing for mental health we found ourselves talking about representation and depictions of people.
Perhaps not surprisingly, purple people came up. The consensus it seemed, is that group feels we can do better and be more inclusive as designers. As a follow up, somebody shared Meg Robichaud’s Medium post titled “You Can’t Just Draw Purple People and Call it Diversity.” As the author puts it: “if you want to be inclusive, you need to illustrate different people, not different attributes.”
This prompted some discussion on abstraction, and Headspace’s use of animated shapes for characters, which is one tactic for making your illustration style more inclusive.
For sourcing illustrations, attendees recommended illustration libraries including Lapa; Stubborn Generator, which promises to design your characters for you, and for free; and Blush.
We also talked about UX writing, the growing demand for UX writers, and the importance of treating copy as design content because words can play an important part of making your product inclusive and accessible too. It is perhaps unsurprising that this discussion of words generated a couple of book recommendations:
Writing is Design by Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle
Microcopy The Complete Guide by Kinneret Yifrah
On design tokens with Figma
When discussing remote collaboration, design systems, and tools somebody shared Pavel Laptev’s Medium post titled “Design Tokens with Figma,” a resource that promises to help you maintain front-end work and generate design tokens using Figma API and a few scripts.
When discussing privacy, somebody shared a resource by Ann Cavoukian from the Privacy and Big Data Institute and reminded us that “Privacy by Design offers some really simple and easy to follow principles.”
Questions to contemplate
Finally, there were some really thoughtful questions asked and we are eager to share these too. Here they are in no particular order:
“Where do you see voice and conversation UI going in 2021?”
“Concerning privacy, how are you seeing companies address customers’ privacy concerns today? For instance, some people avoid mobile payments due to fear of security breaches.”
“When are there too many illustrations, 3D renders, or animations on a site or app? Is there a standard or guideline that exists?”
“You talked about accessibility and inclusion for those with disabilities and mental health concerns … but can you talk about UX design as it relates to access and inclusion from a diversity perspective? Do you see UX design mirroring the concerns of audiences who are striving to include women, gender neutral, and people of color?”
“What are the pros and Cons as a UX team of one?”
“How does Invision’s Design Systems Manager compare to Figma for creating and maintaining design systems?”
"What are some micro interaction trends?
“What trends are you seeing for non-web UX/UI?”
Looking ahead to 2021
A big thank you to all who joined and contributed to such a great event. We really appreciate the Beer and UX community, and look forward to these events every month.
In January we will be joined by Kelly Huang, the VP Product at Ethyca. Kelly’s talk will be a call-to-arms for UX designers, product managers, and all those involved in the software development process to build products for a user base with growing expectations of data privacy and information protection. Join our Beer and UX Meetup group to RSVP.
See you in 2021!
Beer and UX is a monthly meetup organized by Neuron. At Neuron we design best-in-class digital experiences to help businesses succeed in today’s digital world. If you’re looking for a strategic design partner for your next project, we would love to hear from you.