The 10 Most Popular UX Mastery Articles Of 2012

The 10 Most Popular UX Mastery Articles Of 2012


Matt takes us on a retrospective for 2012.

In this post he shares the 10 articles on that received the most traffic last year.

If you missed anything, now’s your chance to catch up.

We’ve published over 50 articles since launching UX Mastery back in August.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 most popular articles to date. We thought we’d count them down in reverse, David Letterman-style, up to the most popular.

Happy reading!

10. 5 UX Traps and How to Avoid Them

Towards the end of the year, I shared a brain dump of 5 frustrations that he has experienced during his time as a freelance UX designer, and shared some ideas about how you can deal with them. The fact that it made the list after only being live for a couple of weeks reinforces the fact that this topic resonates with many designers.

An illustration of a UX Designer swinging on a vine over a lake of crocodiles
There be dangers in them there waters!

9. Object-focused vs Task-focused Design

Everyl contacted us about writing the occasional guest post for UX Mastery, and this was her first submission. In this post, she posits that most designers take a task-oriented approach, and argues that, while counter-intuitive, creating an object-focussed navigation system results in a menu that is more usable.

An illustration of a UX designer exploring with a magnifying glass
Is your approach to creating navigation menus object- or task-focussed?

8. A Time-poor, Small-budget Approach to UX

Not every project will afford you the luxury of time or funding for comprehensive user research or more than one design iteration. Luke lists some practical, pragmatic ways that you can make the most of the situation and sneak in some UX best practices without blowing your deadline or your budget.

An illustration depicting a man balancing research and testing on a scale.
Insufficient research and testing on a project is a common hurdle faced by UX Designers.

7. The Difference Between Web Design and UX Design

When someone on the street or at a party asks me, “What do you do for a living?” I usually say I’m a web designer. But when it comes to talking to clients, recruiters and co-workers, I make a point of the fact that my job title is user experience designer. In this article, Matt explained why you should too.

An illustration of many different types of hats
Which hat do you wear? I bet it depends on who’s asking…

6. Sketchnotes from UX Australia 2012

Matt started publishing his sketchnotes on this website because the sessions he was fortunate enough to attend covered topics of interest to UX designers, and thought that a sketch of the presentation would be an interesting way to pass on the content of the talk. However, it seems that many readers are interested in the sketches themselves, and the process of creating sketchnotes. The sketchnotes he took at UX Australia were the first of these.

Kim Chaterjee & Ruth Ellison UX Australia Sketchnote
Kim Chaterjee & Ruth Ellison:
21.5 Ways To Win Friends & Influence People

5. 10 Secrets Behind a Stunning User Experience

In this post, I pulled together some of the most useful—but not obvious—tips that he could think of for crafting a high quality, memorable user experience. Full of sage wisdom, this is one to print out and pin to your cubicle!

RELATED:  10 Reasons I'm Looking Forward To Web Directions South 2012
An illustration of the number 10, made up using smaller objects commonly associated with design such as pencils, post-it notes and mobile devices
They may not be secret anymore, but they’re still worth checking out!

4. Sketchnotes from Web Directions South 2012

The Web Directions South conference is the web conference that Australians look forward to each year. 2012 did not disappoint, and the presentations were great fodder for Matt to hone his sketching skills. In these sketchnotes I experimented with some grey shading, and folks seemed to like the style!

Ben Hammersley: The Flower, The Field, And The Stack
A sketchnote of Ben Hammersley’s presentation: The Flower, The Field, And The Stack

3. Should You Become A UX Generalist Or A UX Specialist?

This question is one that plagued me for years. The “jack of all trades, master of none” dilemma has given me cause to evaluate my entire career on occasion! These days, I’m comfortable with my approach to specialisation (or lack thereof). In this post, I spelled out why, and offered some help to those facing the same career crisis.

An illustration of a UX Designer juggling several balls at once, and struggling!
Ever get the feeling that something has to give?

2. What is UX Design, and Why Should you Care?

The UX Mastery website was launched at the Web Directions “What Do You Know?” event in Melbourne on August 23rd 2012, and to coincide with the launch we created this fun little animated video that explains UX Design. Inspired by the RSA Animate video series, we’re rather proud of how it turned out, and judging by the traffic this post continues to receive, our visitors seem to enjoy it as well.

A screenshot from the animated video, What the heck is UX Design?
What the heck is UX Design? Find out in this 5 minute animated video.

And the Number 1 most popular post on for 2012 is …

1. Sketchnoting 101: How To Create Awesome Visual Notes

After getting positive feedback on the sketchnotes that we’ve published, Matt decided to break down the process he uses for creating sketchnotes. It seemed like a bit of a risk at the time, as sketchnoting a presentation isn’t really directly related to UX Design (although there is some overlap).

A collection of visual containers: frames, speech bubbles, double borders, thought balloons, and more
A collection of handy visual containers to use in your sketchnotes

Ultimately, it proved to be a good decision, as it has been our most popular article ever, and several readers have emailed me personally to thank me for the article and to share their own sketchnotes that they’d created as a result of reading it.

What was your favourite article on UX Mastery last year? Let us know in the comments!

Written by
Luke Chambers
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