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.
Skills used

User experience design, Front end development, Responsive web design, User research, Visual design, Development, Writing, Editing, Information architecture

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.

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.

A few favorite article illustrations

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

Side project spin-offs

Icon: A smiling robot super-imposed over a purple, blue, and pink gradient.
ColorBot

Built to be fast and accessible, ColorBot is the Swiss Army knife of color tools. It can convert between hexadecimal, RGBA, and HSL values. It can make an educated guess about a color’s name. It will let you create a color palette and share it. It will even show tints and shades of a selected color.

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Illustration: A tool belt stocked with pencils, paper, sticky notes, and sharpies and a belt buckle that looks like the UXcellence logo.
The UX Tool Belt

A list of common tools, methodologies, and artifacts found throughout the UX design process, with brief descriptions and links to learn more. You can use them to compile your own process on a project basis and estimate hours and cost. You can then print the project and estimate as a project brief.

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