Disneyland UX

As much as I’d like to say that I would rather take a non-tousity, off-the-beaten-path vacation—there’s just something undeniably magical about Disneyland. It’s probably one part nostalgia, one part seeing how happy it makes my son—which is why we’ve been there three times in the past year. I hate to admit it, but I guess we’re Disney fans.

Growing up, we would take a trip every summer to Disneyland. Visiting would enveloped me. Every interaction was so well executed that the entire experience felt—for a lack of a better word—transcendent.

Returning as an adult, I can’t help but marvel at the effort and planning that still goes into crafting the experience. Sure, you notices little things through adult eyes that aren’t supposed to be seen—but seeing the perma-smile on my son’s face makes me realize that the park operations are still invisible to him.

Disneyland may be the best example of a near-perfect, large-scale user experience we have today.

Getting ready for magic hour

Waiting in line for Magic Hour. Yup, it’s totally worth it.

The Blue Tea Cup

It’s always important to coordinate your wardrobe with your tea cup.

On the Jungle Cruise at Dinseyland

The Jungle Cruise is a family favorite.

On the Train at Disneyland

There’s that perma-smile I was talking about.

UX for Marketers

I had the pleasure of speaking at the first annual Phoenix Digital Marketing Summit, a conference put on by Tech Media. They produce digital marketing conferences all over the county, but this was the first one in Phoenix.

My 50 minute presentation, which focused on how user experience can improve digital marketing tactics, was part of the morning design track and slotted right between the formidable Cody L. and Michael Salamon. Even though the talk was well received, it’s ironic how many ideas I generated to make it even better after I was done. Hence, I’ve been busy refining my deck and adding new examples and tactics for the next time I give it.

Also! Pro speaking tip I just learned: put your Twitter handle and the conference hash tag on each one of your slides, instead of just on your bio slide as I usually do. This will allow conference attendees to give you realtime feedback. Many speakers use small type and place it at the bottom of their slide, but if attendees have an obstructive view, they may not be able to read it.

New York

I love New York. It really is the center of the universe. I’ll have to make a point to get back there more often.

Manhattan, looking from Brooklyn

Manhattan, looking on from Brooklyn.



14th Street Station

14th Street Station

Chelsea Bridge

Bridge in the Sky

Chelsea Market

The Chelsea Market

Chelsea Lobsters

Lobsters at the Chelsea Market

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Hello from the Met!

PS – If your looking for a great place to stay, I highly recommend Veronica and Don’s Airbnb. Staying in the West Village makes you feel more like a New Yorker than a touristy Midtown hotel ever could.

Happy Holidays 2013

from the Hrachs.

Adjust your Fidelity

Adjust your Fidelity

Adjust your Fidelity

It’s been a wonderful year, personally and professionally. I’m thankful for time I get to spend this break with my family and friends. Merry Christmas, folks.

Adjust Your Fidelity

UX on a budget.

Adjust your Fidelity

During the Q & A session for CS & UX: Putting the Pieces Together, my friend Josh Feig had a smart, very practical question (paraphrased) that I wanted to expand on:

How do you best apply the UX process to a project that has a tight timeline and limited budget?”

Whether you’re designing a digital product at a startup or you’re at an agency building a website for a client, budget and time will always be two constraints that have direct effects on the UX process. Designing an interface can be time intensive depending how much attention you allocate to each interaction. On top of that, explaining to a client how user experience design is an iterative process, which requires even more time and money, is a tough sell.

My suggestion is to lower the fidelity of your UX deliverables. Detailed wireframes created in Omnigraffle (or similar software) can be time-consuming to create while the same design problems can be solved by quickly sketching on paper or a whiteboard. Sketching is an undervalued technique that allows you to visualize tough design challenges without having to jump on a computer. It’s also a communication tool to convey complex interaction to the other members of your team more effectively than an email or wireframes alone.

Many agencies frown on presenting anything less than polished deliverables to the client, which is understandable. Clients pay good money for your expertise, and they deserve refined deliverables that inspire confidence in your abilities. Though, in my experience, clients are accepting of sketches as deliverables if you include them in the sketching process.

That’s right, bring the client in and sketch with them, then capture everything with your phone camera or an iPevo. Not only will you both have a better understanding of the project scope by defining the interactions together, you’ll save valuable time and budget by eliminating the need for formal wireframes, client presentations, revisions, and all the other unnecessary protocol that comes with the traditional agency model.