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From Sketches to User Experience – URL Import on Headlines

I was tired, knackered in fact, after many long nights scratching my head and feeling like I was getting nowhere It came to me….in the shower….No, not a big scary knife from an Alfred Hitchock movie, but an idea about how I could make importing feeds from URLs simple. Now I’d just like to know what you guys think of what I did in that shower…

6 Ideas and a bunch of sketches

imageAt the time of my last post I had determined the core requirements for the solution, the problem was coming up with an idea which would satisfy all of them. I remember my art teacher from school always forcing me to come with at least six good ideas for any given problem. So I sat down with my note book every evening and tried…

Sketching the user interaction points and flow down on a bit of paper is fantastic. It allowed me quickly explore how a user would navigate my app, selecting and entering the URLs in different ways. I produced pages and pages of quick sketches, and I was creating them whenever, and where ever I could; from late nights in my study, to train trips as long as I wasn’t driving I was trying to sketch out an idea.

The problem was no matter what concept I sketched I never felt like it was actually going to be good enough. Sure I could just add in a clunky option for importing a URL, but I wouldn’t be happy with it, and I was concerned that if I didn’t think through all the possible scenarios a user may encounter that I would end up with a bucket of bug reports.

I ended up working late, up until nearly 2 am working on ideas and still no luck. Waking at 6am the next morning wasn’t much fun, and to be honest I really didn’t want to leave bed - the thought of getting into the shower wasn’t appealing at all. But it did the trick.

Standing in the shower with my forehead against the cool tiles it came to me – I could eliminate a bucket of additional screens, transactions and events if I let Headlines automatically determine that the user had entered a URL rather than a simple search term….

User Experience

preview-large-thumbIt sounded so simple, but I needed to verify the idea before I could go any further with it. But how could I do that? - I went back and re-sketched the idea, working through what the user experience would really be. After consuming even more pages of scribbles I arrived at a final flow I thought was good enough, but the acid test is drawing it out on the computer in a pixel perfect format to the exact screen size, this would tell me if this idea would actually work.

So I spent even more evenings converting each of my scribbled notations for screens into fully realised images. Then documenting the transition from one screen to another. I now have this ready. You can check out the PDF file I’ve put together with all the screens I have been thinking about. I’d really appreciate it if you guys could take a look at it, and tell me what you think? – Just drop me a line at Headlines@Mind-Flip.com

Getting Implementation Ready

I can’t crack on with the code just yet, I’ve a good bit more work to do before I can. I’ll next be working on reworking the UI yet again, breaking each of the screens down into blocks of text, images, buttons, click areas, scroll boxes etc. and for each item I need to calculate the precise screen locations. Only then when I’ve got this complete will I start to sketch out the changes to the code required to support the new experience. There is much more fun to come.

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