CX Insights

The Best UX Articles of November 2014

4 min read

It’s already December but before you get too carried away with christmas and the festivities, put down your mince pie and lets take a look back at November 2014.

Once again we’ve combed through a large collection of quality content to give you five top UX articles written in November that we feel are engaging and useful to anyone with an interest in user experience.

From last month’s top five UX articles, you’ll:

  • Learn how to apply elements from video games to UX
  • Discover the history and the characteristics of flat design
  • Find out what material design is and how to use it in webdesign
  • Learn how to plan ahead with responsive design
  • Check out 14 ways to create gorgeous UI

In no particular order:

1. Flat Design: A History, Past, Present and Future

Flat Design: A History, Past, Present and Future by Florian Müller published on One Xtra Pixel

  • ‘Flat design removes stylistic 3D components like gradients, bevels, drop shadows and textures. Basically anything that would create visual depth so a graphic has the illusion of “popping out”

Pioneered quite early on by Microsoft as an alternative to Apple’s skeuomorphic style, flat design is currently a major trend with UX designers, who aim to create simplistic images and icons that emphasise usability.

This article does exactly what it says on the tin, explaining everything you need to know about flat design. From the pros and cons of the style and it’s origin, to comparisons with skeuomorphism and minimalist design. Florian provides a detailed explanation and a balanced view of the concept, discussing why flat design is popular but also why some designers find it too abstract.

2. UX Designers can Learn from Game Design and Gamification

UX Designers can Learn from Game Design and Gamification by Vanissa Wanick published on

  • ‘Gamification is about motivation. It’s making people do something that they are not very keen to do, but if we design this experience properly, then we will have a massive behavior change.’

Millions of us enjoy playing video games in our spare time but could our interaction with gaming technology teach us some lessons about UX?

Vanissa discusses how web designers can learn from video games due to the level of interaction involved. Games are engaging yet they are based around rules and goals which motivate users to complete certain tasks. She suggests good UX should be able to replicate this by encouraging users to undertake actions through layout and icon design.

3. Exploring Material Design: A New UI Design Concept by Google

Exploring Material Design: A New UI Design Concept by Google by Ajeet Yadav published on Instantshift

  • “Using bold graphic design, tactile surfaces and fluid motion, this content-focused design language delivers unified, playful, and intuitive experiences to users.”

A few months ago Google revealed their new UI design concept – Material Design.
Already becoming popular due to Google’s powering influence over the internet, many websites now feature a slice of material design. In fact several of the other articles we have selected make references to the style.

Ajeet’s article explains the core principles of material design such as tangible surfaces, emphasizing actions and dimensions. He then goes further by showing how material design can be implemented for the web using Polymer.

4. The Real World Guide to Responsive Design

The Real World Guide to Responsive Design by Kenny Van Sittert published on Zazzle

  • ‘With the continued growth of responsive design, we are seeing the steady development of a more minimal approach to digital design with a greater focus on content – and rightly so!’

As the popularity and range of devices increases, responsive design is now crucial for making your website effective. Mobile users account for 60% of internet traffic. 60% of traffic you are potentially alienating when your website is unresponsive and forces users to zoom in before any text is legible.

Kenny uses this article to help designers plan ahead when designing for different devices so that key content is always structured well. He suggests planning mobile and tablet layouts before the desktop, as this pinpoints your most important features right from the beginning.

5. Rules for creating Gorgeous UI (Part 1&2)

Rules for creating Gorgeous UI (Part 1 & Part 2) by Erik D.Kennedy published on Medium

  • “This article is pure application. You won’t see anything about golden ratios. I don’t even mention color theory. Only what I’ve learned from being bad and then deliberately practicing.”

Split into two parts, this article is double the content. Erik has delved into his experience as a UX designer and utilised the skills he has learnt to create an incredibly useful guide for developers and UX designers.

The first article covers a range of topics such as lighting, flat design, whitespace and grayscale. The second article tackles any troubles you may be having with text and images, all of which can be solved by reading through the explanations and viewing the examples of some exceptional website and font designs.

Bryony Watson
Online marketing intern at Usabilla