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Talk Tech To Me – User Centered Software Design

Here is Sue Spolan’s summary of my Talk Tech To Me interview: User Centered Software Design: The Secret to Success  Consumers interact with software many times a day. It might be a mobile app like Instagram, or a web app like Gmail, and while users don’t think a whole lot about the underlying design, it’s an essential part of getting the customer experience right. It’s the secret to a successful software solution.  Peter Fleming is the head of user experience…

GraphQL, the new Contender to REST

The Representative State Transfer (REST) protocol has been the king of remote access protocols for web applications for well over a decade. The general pattern: expose “nouns” (Customers, Activities, Employees, Tasks, Sasquatches) as URLs (/api/sasquatch/32) and access them via HTTP “verbs” such as “GET”, “POST” (create), “PUT” (update), or “DELETE” (umm, well…). The content type is specified via HTTP headers such as Content-Type (for data being received by the client) and Accepts (for a data request). The reason this works…

Amazon Workspaces – Desktops in the Cloud

Let’s say you’re traveling to a conference, and you want to leave your heavy laptop behind along with all of its power requirements. Or you have a long-running project that you manage from just about anywhere and want to keep a desktop active or suspended/resumed whenever you want. Or, you’re a company that wants to roll out the same desktop to many different people but doesn’t want to worry about the user’s computer horsepower. Amazon Workspaces fits those parameters. I’ve…

re:Invent Recap

AWS re:Invent is over, and I finally have time to breathe. I’ve been going to the NY Summit since it was “only” a few thousand people and watched it grow into a 12,000-person behemoth, but this was my first re:Invent. I assumed it would be like the Summit, but bigger. I was wrong. Summits are single-day events, and half of that day is taken by the keynote, leaving time for just a few sessions for the afternoon. By comparison, re:Invent…

How to supercharge your wireframes

Why go to the effort? The thought and preparation that go into wireframes make a drastic difference on the outcome. Wireframes come in a spectrum of resolutions, but the important thing is to find the right balance of fidelity, examples, and annotation for the project and team. Wireframes should be thought of as sketches for stakeholders to see the vision and instructions for developers to build the idea. They should not be thought of as works of art or a…

Managing Your AWS Credentials

After my last post, a colleague pinged me with “I thought you used environment variables to manage credentials, so why didn’t you show that?” The short answer is that it would detract from the points I was trying to make. The long answer is rooted in history and not-quite-implemented features, so rates its own post. It starts with a review of AWS access keys. There are two of these: the “access key” is a user ID and may be shared…

Jumping in Mid-Project (Insights from a Designer)

Intro Joining a project after it has already started is no easy task, especially when the project is launching a complicated enterprise application with a short deadline. Here are the take-aways from my experience when I was hired to join a team and lead design halfway through the build of an e-commerce site. Getting Started I needed to hit the ground running which meant catch up to everyone on the project at the same time as designing revisions and new…