Michael Gaigg: Über UI/UX Design


Highlights of Week 11/2011

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Thanks to everybody that sent me link suggestions. Here the highlights for week 11/2011:


Highlights of Week 10/2011

Posted by Michael Gaigg


List of UX Conferences in 2011

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Here a list of interesting User Experience/Usability Conferences in 2011 (thanks to Sooria for sharing):

Do you have any past experiences you'd like to share? Did I miss one? Tell me in the comments!


10 and 1/2 Lessons Learned from Forrest Gump

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

Who doesn't remember Forrest Gump? One of the all-time greats in movie history, the comedy turned drama, the 'dumb' guy that teaches us lesson after lesson. You gotta love this movie, at least I can watch it over and over again and so it just happened and I started wondering, why do his stories touch us so much and what can we learn? Bruce Temkin puts it elegantly: "People relate to stories because it is part of their evolutionary makeup. Stories cause our mirror neurons to fire at similar experiences, helping us remember and relate." That's why.

And here are the 10 and 1/2 Lessons Learned from Forrest Gump:

Start small

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road.

You just start! Start somewhere, anywhere. Then you take one step, then the next, baby-steps to the elevator, right? Once in motion you take the next bigger step, one leads to the other and soon you hit the Atlantic Ocean ;)

Have endourance

shit happens

Some could interpret this as 'get inspired', but whatever it is, it eventually boils down to... sh*&%$# happens! Don't give up, innovate and renovate.

Keep perspective

Jenny, it looked like there were two skies one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up, I couldn't tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It's so beautiful.

Regardless of the circumstances, perspective can change everything. So don't loose perspective.

Move on

My mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on.

What happened yesterday is over.......unless you choose to put it in your future!


And cause I was a gazillionaire, and I liked doing it so much, I cut that grass for free.

Enjoy what you are doing and greatness will be your harvest. Never become so obsessed that you loose touch with the little things in life, many times this is what counts most.


I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is

Care about what you are doing, care about who will be using it. Don't try to be smart, follow your heart.


Momma always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them.

Find a mentor, learn from others, learn from yourself, learn from your successes, learn from your mistakes, whatever it is... learn!

Give and take

Jenny taught me how to climb. And I taught her how to dangle

It is ok to borrow ideas, to get inspired. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel, but return the favor, contribute, share, help!


I’m sorry I had to fight in the middle of your Black Panther party

Yes, bad idea hahahaha. Well, he got away with it that's why you could/should too. You screwed up? Be honest, be bold, appologize and explain!

Don't get distracted

Have you found Jesus yet, Gump? Forrest Gump: "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for Him, sir."

Follow your believes, be true to yourself. Don't get side-tracked. It's good to expand your horizon, but stick to your plan.

Don't do stupid things

Stupid is as stupid does

Need I say more? Just don't do it!! And especially, don't do it again! KISS - keep it simple, stupid!

Bonus: Repetition helps remembering

My Mama used to say...'Life is like a Box of Chocolates'...you never know which one you're gonna get!

Repeat 100 times. Yes, it's nonsense. Just read the label and you know, but hey, repeat it often enough and you'll believe (and remember).

Further Reading

Some of the inspiration for this article (and good reads regardless) are the following links:


Highlights of Week 06/2011

Posted by Michael Gaigg


Add Shortcut Icon to your Webpage

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Ok, nothing earth shattering but hopefully still useful to somebody out there.

Creating Icons in the Correct Size and Format

A shortcut icon must be square in size and at least 16 x 16 pixels.
It's important to save it in .ico format. Either create a bitmap using any image editor and rename it, or use the free online tool http://www.convertico.com/.

Include it in your page

Include the following code block into your main template or master page. If you don't have that, well, then include it into every page...

	<link rel="SHORTCUT ICON" href="favicon.ico">
	<link rel="icon" href="/favicon.ico" type="image/vnd.microsoft.icon">
	<title>My Title</title>

Ah, yes, add it to the default.aspx of your Silverlight web project will do the magic as well.

Include it in your WordPress Blog

Update: Maria mentions that it is shockingly simple to include a favicon to your wordpress blog - http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/shockingly-simple-favicon/

Show me your shortcut icon!

Send me your page with shortcut icon and if I like the icon I will bookmark it ;)


Go figure: What’s so funny here?

Posted by Michael Gaigg

I can't believe I own this book... and looking back it's really funny that I actually ever purchased it.

Go figure what made me laugh?

Learn Java Now

Learn Java Now

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My Recipe for Success

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Recipe for success

Recipe for success

In a large bowl, add the original user need. Stir in business strategy, market and technology opportunities. Add a pinch of sponsor-, cost-, and lifespan-considerations. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Let it simmer for 1-3 sketch iterations, or until mockups thicken. Season with images, jQuery animations, and cascading stylesheets. Bake in pre-heated development environment until golden brown. Serve while still hot.

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Redesigning my Personal Homepage using Balsamiq Mockups

Posted by Michael Gaigg

I've been working for quite some time with Balsamiq Mockups now and it truly made my designer life easier especially because I'm able to:

  • Work through an idea and communicate it and iterate it
  • Use incompleteness to identify holes and relationships
  • Record and reflect what I am hearing and seeing
  • Capture my results and document them

Sure, smaller projects - like my personal homepage - might not benefit as much from mockups than larger ones, but it still helps me to settle on a design quickly (and rather inexpensively) before I get into the hassle of coding.

What is a Sketch?

A simply or hastily executed drawing, especially a preliminary one, giving the essential features without the details.


Step 1) Sketch after some initial iterations

Step 1) Sketch after some initial iterations

First and foremost comes the concept. It grew in me over time, a little aha moment included.

I then sketched it using Balsamiq and refined it until I felt happy. Looks pretty much what I had in mind.

At this moment I'm not worried about color schemes, fonts or implementation specifics. I might have something in mind and almost certainly I know technical implications of my designs, e.g. can I include my tweets, even though I sometimes disregard them in favor of not limiting myself.

Most important at this time is that I sketch the WHAT I want to achieve, the HOW comes later.


Step 2a) Including my tweets

Step 2a) Including my tweets

Step 2b) Adjusting the tweet element to be less obstructive

Step 2b) Adjusting the tweet element to be less obstructive

I rolled out my personal webpage and was happy... until I strongly felt that my tweets need to appear to give the page some dynamic flavor.

So I went back to the drawing board (my Balsamiq) and sketched out some possible locations for the tweets on the screen.

My goal was to keep the page simple and uncluttered.

Well, something has to give (or maybe not?). I wrestled with myself and convinced the purist in me that tweets would actually add value to the page by showing who I am and what I have to say which in turn could be attractive to whoever visits my site. The objective stayed the same: KISS, keep it simple, stupid.

So I had to find a location and a metaphor to include the tweet section without obstructing the page and overwhelming the message. I found that a speech bubble pointing from my name to the tweets to be the best metaphor.


Step 3) Implementation... the result

Step 3) Implementation... the result

So this is what it boiled down to: http://www.michaelgaigg.com.

Ok, the mockups didn't help me to communicate ideas to my client or convince somebody of a better design choice, but they helped me to iterate through some samples before I dove into coding. It kept me from some of my frustrations of earlier days when I was more concerned about the looks before I actually knew where I wanted to go. It kept me on track and I hope that can be seen.

What do you think of my new personal homepage?

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