Status: Work in progress. Last update: June 24, 2015
Lesson 3: Never rely only on color or images!
Web pages shall be designed so that all the information conveyed with color is also available without it.
Bad use of color examples:
Mark required fields on a form with red color.
Refers to a button only by it’s color “Click on the green button to continue”
Include text content on an image
How to use color on text elements:
The default contrast ratio of text and background has to be at least 5:1
Large scale text can allow a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 (18 point text or 14 point bold text is judged to be large enough to require a lower contrast ratio).
Incidental text, (text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content) or logotypes has no minimum contrast requirement.
I’m currently student at the User Experience Design immersive program at General Assembly San Francisco. This is a full-time 10 weeks program to learn the basics and best practices of user experience design.
What I’m enjoying the most of the program is being with a group of people that is passion about design and so excited to learn that it’s impossible not to be engaged.
Time flies! We already completed 2 weeks in the program and we are already working on our second project. I’ll get to that later when it’s ready for sharing.
For my first project I worked on a mobile app that intends to reduce the food wasting at home by keeping track of the perishable food in your kitchen and their expiration dates. It also help users to discover delicious new recipes.
After a couple of interviews with users and defining the problem I wanted to solved. I started creating user flows and sketching the main screens of the app.
After some some drawings I was ready to build my first paper prototype. And I decided to make a video. Paper prototypes are fun to make. I think it’s a great resource, but it’s messy and it’s easy to lost track of changes. Anyway paper prototypes are very useful at the early stage of the design process to understand better the user flow.
Paper prototype video
After testing with paper prototypes, we moved to the screen using POP Prototyping on paper to create a tappable prototype. The biggest discovery on tappable prototypes it’s that even if you don’t test the app with any user, your sketches come to life and you can see the layout on the actual screen.
Moving from being a “business person” to become a “technology person” has been harsh. Specially because of prejudices we have about people and careers. If you think that business people don’t like technology or that marketing people can’t understand technology, let me tell you: you are wrong.
I studied Marketing and my whole career I have been working with technology, developing technology products, comparing technical specifications and analyzing marketing strategies for them.
Making the decision to learn how to code and start building by my own was really difficult. I remember when I started my first coding class and the instructor asked me why I was there. I was really shy and I felt I didn’t belong there. Coding was for engineers, so I replied nervously: “I’m here just to try to understand technology, I want to make a landing page, that’s it.” I used to feel I was not good enough or smart enough to become an developer.
I started learning how to code about a year ago. By this time last year I was having headaches trying to make a simple app with PHP and it seems like it was a very long time ago. I have learned a lot and I’m still a beginner, but I now know that I’m capable of building stuff. I know I’m not an engineer, but I’m a maker. So I’ll learn anything I need to make things happen.
Today, I still have doubts about what I will become at the end of this journey. Getting a job has been hard and I know finding the right position and the right company for me won’t be easy. But I’m happy and I’m learning new things everyday.
This is not the end of the story, I will continue searching for new challenges. But there are two things I have already learned in the past year and I want to share today.
The first one it’s that everyone can code. It doesn’t matter if you are a business person, a history major or an educator. Everyone can learn to code if they want to do it.
The second one, labels suck! I know it’s hard to stop labeling people by their career or education. But people shouldn’t discourage anyone to learn something new just because they are not from a technical career. So please stop doing it, specially to yourself. Throw away all the labels you have for yourself and go try something new.
Many people have asked me about my experience at Coding Dojo. And I can perfectly understand why people are so curious… Coding Dojo is not the normal path of people who want to start a new career and become a developer.
Coding Dojo is not a school, I may say it is not a company, at least not a traditional company. I think Coding Dojo is more like a community.
But for me, it was an learning accelerator. I can’t imagine how long it would take me to learn all this things. From Wireframing, HTML, CSS and jQuery to PHP and Codeigniter, to Ruby on Rails. Including OOP, AJAX, Database design and MySql, a little bite of Cloud Server and an overview of Mobile App prototyping with jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap. It’s just a lot for only a few weeks.
If I try to summarize it, some of my treats from it are:
I can consider myself a beginner full stack developer. I can understand the process of developing a web application from concept development and wireframes to deployment and testing.
I got a pretty decent level of working proficiency in Front-end technologies, specially HTML, CSS and jQuery.
I learned the fundamentals of two Back-end technologies (PHP and Ruby) and their frameworks. And I have projects to prove it.
I’m part of a great community of new developers and I had the opportunity to share this intense and fun experience with a group of smart and hard-working people. And I’m sure I would keep in touch with many of them for many years.
I know what I want: keep learning and building stuff.
I know the developer path is long and it’s an endless learning process. But I’m so happy to have found Coding Dojo to start this new path. I’ve learned from Michael, Coding Dojo team and classmates a lot. It has been just so enriching and educational that I think I could be more lucky!
Thank you all!
No it’s time to get out there and prove what I can really do! And keep learning! 😉