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Deliver Better User Experiences with the IBM Design Language

By jdamato12 In Uncategorized

Posted July 24th, 2015

When looking to learn about design — specifically design languages and patterns — there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And as members of the Topcoder Studio Community, you aren’t simply looking to design to impress, but to solve real business problems. The IBM Design Language can help our community have a common core language/design base. Understanding IBM’s six universal experiences will not only help everyone compete in the “Spring into Bluemix” series, but also help us stay focused on the human experience for any product. So let’s review these experiences:

  • Discover, try, and buy — Users want to work with a clickable prototype in order to learn about its potential. They should be able to test a product in a single tap or click, using their own data, on the same screen.
  • Get started — Make a good first impression. Greet users and prepare them for their first actions. Users should see their work beyond a welcome screen and feel motivated to get started.
  • Everyday use — Users should always feel in control and be able to pick up right where they left off. They should understand your product’s usefulness and personal value whenever they use it.
  • Manage and upgrade — Maintenance and learning about the latest improvements should appear as clean and obvious as using the product every day.
  • Leverage and extend — Make it easy for your users to picture how discrete capabilities can be recombined. That being said, each part of your offering should be available as an API.
  • Get support — Enable users to get support the way they want it. Equip users with tools that are personal, flexible, and readily available.

With all this in mind, it is hard in a virtual community to stand out when the expectation is constant innovation and pixel-perfect “digital art.” We have many different levels of design quality and varied skillsets in our community, which helps us uniquely understand a user’s problem. But this ability to self-educate and learn about the problem is often misunderstood. As a virtual designer, you’ve already committed yourself to learning — learning about the problem, the business, and how to become a better designer.

In fact, the Studio Design Community is growing and learning to become better “experience designers.” Understanding the IBM Design Language will help everyone not only become better designers, but also provide authenticity within the challenge process.

Crowdsourcing takes the ego out of the process, and creates a mechanism for open design and collaboration through iteration. As designers, we want to scale great experiences through iteration. We must understand, explore, prototype, and evaluate. Topcoder customers expect us to know the basics and deliver at a level of consistent quality, which is why we focus on human experiences, concepting visual solutions and user interface design.

Over the past year, I have had amazing experiences working with great teams at IBM and have been able to learn from their vast history in design. With “Spring into Bluemix,” our Studio Design Community has the unique opportunity to showcase design solutions that place exceptional user experiences at the forefront of design. And by coming together with the IBM Design Language as our core language/design base, we will not only continue to deliver high-quality designs to customers, but also better our understanding of key design principles going forward.

Spring Into Bluemix Update

Now that the 7 eligible SiBM Code Blitz design challenges in June have concluded, I am pleased to announce that selvia_ettine is the June SiBM Code Blitz Design winner, and will be taking home a $350 bonus! Great work [iamtong], [rommelrojas], and the 7 other designers that placed. July already has 4 eligible SiBM Code Blitz design challenges, and more are soon to come with 4 new projects kicking off over the next week. Keep watching the SiBM Design Challenges for updates, and good luck!