How to become a UI design expert? Fast!

Subject: How to become a UI design expert? Fast!
From: "Leisa Ashbaugh" <leisa -dot- ashbaugh -at- aisystems -dot- org>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 14:14:40 -0700

HI -

I could really use some help, and I'm willing to bet that I am not the
first among this group to face this problem.

I work for a start-up software company. We have a brilliant new approach
to airline enterprise resource management (scheduling, revenue
management and the like). We have a lot of gifted software developers
working on the 'magic algorithms' that make our software unrivaled by
competitors. What we don't have is any UI design staff, or the budget to
hire some.

So....(you can guess where I am going here)...that leaves me as the one
person solely focused on the user experience in UI design. Don't get me
wrong, the devs are all capable and conscientious, they are just have
their expertise and focus in other areas - as they should.

I am looking for resources that can help take me beyond my current view
of UI design - which comes from the 'after it's done and I have to
document it' 'why didn't they do X, Y or Z?' perspective - to a more
informed 'design from scratch' approach. I would like to able to give
informed, well-researched onions and answer questions like: what's our
metaphor? Should we use menu items, buttons or both? Why or why not?
What about tabs? Rather than defaulting to the "good design....ah....I
know it when I see it" position.

Sure - I'd love to take the fantastic User-centered Design Certificate
Program offered at our esteemed UW, but we need to deliver this thing in
2 months. Yikes.

I am doing my own Google searching and such, but would greatly
appreciate experienced suggestions.

Many Thanks,

Leisa Ashbaugh

Technical Writer | 425-284-7129

Airline Intelligence Systems | 3500 Carillon Point - Kirkland, WA 98033

When something can be read without great effort, great effort went into
its writing.

~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela

One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being
impossible to misunderstand.
~ Quintilian


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