UXcellence

Writing a love letter to design, development, and building great products

About this project

I’ve written blogs on and off for almost 20 years. I started UXcellence in 2013 as an outlet for my thoughts on design and development. In 2016, I moved the site from the blogging platform Ghost to a more general CMS called Craft. Since then, I’ve been building the site out as a resource to promote better design, process, and development. I added the UX Library, a collection of design-related books, tagged and sorted for easily discovering useful resources in a wide variety of subjects. I have also built a couple lightweight tools to help build on concepts I explore in articles.

My role(s) on the project

This project stretches all of my skills as a designer, developer, and writer. I built the site in Craft CMS, I write in-depth articles, and I design the illustrations that accompany most articles. I’m constantly looking at new techniques and tools to improve the site, and I use it as a sandbox for testing them.

Visit this project

Skills used
  • User experience design
  • Front end development
  • Responsive web design
  • Visual design
  • Development
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Information architecture
The Homepage

I started UXcellence as an outlet for design and development ideas I wanted to share with others. It has evolved into a set of projects to help people build better products.

Branding

The UXcellence logo looks like a U-shaped badge, with two strands connecting the ends and corners and crossing diagonally in the middle to form an X. The badge is meant to evoke an award. The X of crossed lines suggests the different aspects and skills that are interdependent and foundational to creating great user experience. The name (and titles) are set in Sentinel, a lovely slab serif that exudes professionalism with a hint of whimsy.

The UXcellence logo looks like a U-shaped shield with two lines crossing in the center in an x shape.

Building an audience

To help build an audience, I publish a monthly newsletter. I designed and developed the template by hand. I’ve worked hard on refining the subscription process and wrote about what I learned. Each issue includes a brief thought on design, any recent articles I’ve posted, a curated set of helpful links spanning design and development, and any new (and sometimes old) design-related books that I think deserve attention. Some issues include beta samples of a new product I’m building.

Subscribe to the newsletter

Style guide

Like several other recent projects, I created a living style guide for the site that documents typography, iconography, colors, and common patterns. Even though it’s a personal site (for now), having a style guide has helped maintain a consistent look as I build the site.

Content principles

When I first began the site, I created a set of content principles to define the type of content I wanted to create for the site. They have helped to guide me toward writing articles that are practical, positive in nature, and span the spectrum of disciplines that can influence user experience.

Performance

Over the years, I have worked hard to tweak and improve the site’s performance. I have learned about server-side and client-side caching, image optimization, asynchronous loading, and more trying to make the site faster for readers.

Side project spin-offs

  • UX Compendium Logo
    UX Compendium

    The UX Compendium is a cohesive collection of Sketch templates and libraries to round out your design process beyond the user interface.

    Design better

  • ColorBot Logo
    ColorBot

    ColorBot is a personal color assistant, a Swiss army knife for creating great color palettes, and a fun experiment built for A 10k Apart.

    Play with colors

  • UX Tool Belt Logo
    UX Tool Belt

    The UX Tool Belt is a handy tool for learning about UX techniques and mapping out your design process, originally built for A 10k Apart.

    Map your process

A few favorite articles

Illustration: Designing for Motivation: How to Create a Multifaceted Experience
Illustration: A Rather Comprehensive Collection of Design Podcasts
Illustration: Designing Glue: How to Mind the Gap
Illustration: Spread the Love: Great UX Involves Everyone