Nice to meet you, my name is Mark Szulyovszky.
I turn complexity into simplicity as a UX/UI designer.

Bandopoly? What? 3

I’m launching a new project of mine, called Bandopoly.
It’s visual, it’s fun and I can’t deny that I’ve made it – it is really similar to ThinkInvisible. But this time, it’s all about music bands visualized in an unexpected way – as visual puns.

Here you go, this is the first one:

Can you guess it? Think of one of the classic hard rock bands.

Ohh man, it has been in the drawer for so long. A year? We wanted to make a game out of it, almost partnered up with Vodafone Hungary, and others.Well, that didn’t happen. It’s mostly because of me.

This is an experimental project: the fate of it depends on how many Facebook likes & publicity it gets.
If I pass a certain amount, I’ll (well, I’m not gonna do anything by myself, so I should start using “we”) make a game out of it – or anything that they want.
Very lean, right? Although launching it was a procrastination nightmare. I wanted to do it like… 12 months ago? I was trying to find a good fit for it. A company I could pitch it to, or a business model I can wrap around it. Nothing really interesting came to my mind though. So I decided to simply focus on the fun, social side – that a t-shirt like this could create some nice moments for your friends or whomever you’re in contact with.
I’m still open to any ideas though, so if you have something in mind, drop me a line.

Another one? This is a bit more difficult though.

This is one of the projects I’m certainly proud of – it’s a bit clever, a bit funny, a bit retarded, and surprising at the same time. Something that will make you smile for a minute? Or think & smile. I like that. I like making stuff like that.
But, of course I didn’t invent here anything at all. It’s just a meme (idea?) applied in a different context. I found out that there were even a TV show based on these riddles – it’s called Catchphrase in the UK. But as far as I know, nobody did it for bands…

I’m really curious how this will turn out. A game franchise or a one in a million silly poster project or anything in-between.
It’s up to you guys. Let me know how you like it!

Here’s the link: bandopoly.com

My alternative to a UX Design degree 2

Some time ago, I got accepted to do my User Experience design masters at Kingston University in London.
I believe it’s a really nice place and an excellent course.
Today was my enrolment.
And I didn’t show up…

Here I am, in London, working as a UX/UI designer for a cool startup, doing things every day that I haven’t learnt in any formal manner, communicating in a language that I haven’t ever studied officially. (Well, maybe I should?:)
It would take me 3 hours of commuting from my workplace to the University. Then another 1.5 hour to get home.
It would take me two years, as a part-time student.

So I had a better idea:
I’ll teach myself everything I would have learnt at the UX design master course.
But only faster, for free and you can join in.

I’ll publish everything I can (legally;), write about my thoughts & experiences and in general, act as a tutor for myself and for you.

Starting soon!

Why I hope I’ll never become a “good” designer. 3

Let me tell you something:
I’m never satisfied with my work. Ever.

Not when I ask for feedback, not when I do an iteration for a thousand times, not even when I put the finished thing into my portfolio. Not even when people praise my work. I just don’t get it. How could say that it is good? I know it’s not. I’m wasting a lot of space there. This part is not intuitive enough. That thing is such a cliche…

Hey Apple, the iOS keyboard has a problem 0

I calculated that it takes me around 4 hours a year (5 minutes per week) to retype my passwords again and again (and wait for authentication) – because of one thing: that I can’t see clearly when I’m typing with capital letters.

I see that you don’t want to do this for some reason:

android-keyboard

But please, please at least consider something like this at least:

ios7-keyboard-anim

Thank you.

Hover on touchscreens? 0

I’m primarily working on mobile interfaces, but sometimes I envy people who’re doing web stuff: they have an additional dimension in their interaction design inventory that no touchscreen has, hover states.

Well, hover states are kind of meaningless if you’re only using it to change specific button colours (although that could be a nice addition the overall experience). But I see people using it in clever & interesting ways, too. Sure, nowadays web designers consider touch interfaces when they plan out a website, so no useful action is hidden behind a mouseover event.

I started thinking:
Would it be useful to have “hover” on mobile/touch screens?
So, immediately a few thoughts came to my mind:
- How do you make it work on the hardware side?
- Is there any point of having it if you can’t the stuff because your finger – that you use to activate the interaction – is covering the screen?

What Moqups is missing 0

It’s always nice to try out a new design software, I kind of see it as the ultimate source of inspiration. Sometimes if I start with a new tool, I see so many new widgets, objects that I have this feeling that I have to spend a few hours just experimenting with them.
The same is true for wire framing apps, but to be honest, I haven’t found one that could really help me speed up the process. And it should be more about speed than anything else. The faster you get a screen done, the more time you’ll have to experiment and the more iterations you’ll have by the end.

My last tryout was Moqups – I have been using it to put together a mega web app with more than 50 screens.

Why app templates are probably not a good idea 0

Klaus sent me this link a week ago: http://myapptemplates.com/

It’s nice, right? You can get a bunch of detailed, pre-made UI’s for less than . So, then you don’t need a designer anymore?
I’m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Maybe, if you want an app with the exact specification / functions as these UIs have, then you’re all set (I bet this will be rarely the case). Otherwise, you’ll need somebody who can customise it for you. Because you’re not just buying UI elements, but also the wireframes and the app’s overall / navigation structure. These are things that rarely fit into an off-the-shelf solution…

Life in a startup incubator 0

(I wish I had read this blogpost before I’ve got into one;)

Now there are so many chances to travel, form a company and spend a 3-month period somewhere in the world – more than 300 tech-only startup incubators exist at the moment.

We ended up in Estonia and got a seed investment from GameFounders, Europe’s first gaming accelerator.
First of all, it was an experience of a lifetime. Sort of like traveling to India for the first time. Not because Tallinn resembles Delhi or anything like that, but we all had to change our mindset, learn and adapt.
We didn’t know what to expect at all. In early September, we were about to travel to a small country near Russia to participate in the first batch of a new seed incubator – without a contract that could have given us the least amount of security.
We got the acceptance notice 9 days before setting off.
I should have started my UX Design Masters in London in the middle of September.. The whole thing was a big mess!

One month later, we had two prototypes, an Estonian company, a seed investment, advice from 30+ mentors and a lot of opportunities.
In one sentence: it was definitely worth it.

iOS UI design: No more file renaming/resizing, ever. 1

Renaming files is not fun. (I know, some people like it, but it was never my taste:)
But if you want to design an iOS app, you need to have all the necessary files for every imaginable resolution:

UIelement.png
UIelement@2x.png
UIelement~ipad.png
UIelement@2x~ipad.png

There are two Mac apps that can do this job, but there is no Windows alternative for Resource Helper / Ship it!….

So I made (hacked together) a Photoshop script that can automatize the process!

The unlikely story of ThinkInvisible 1

Here is the story of a few unexpected events that changed my life:

10 months ago I was at my grandma’s place, looking for some inspiration. I needed some illustrations for my upcoming article for Psychological Design (a post I’ve never written, for a now ceased-to-exist blog – sssght).
I was browsing a book called 100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People when I first saw the Kanizsa Triangle.

Kanizsa Triangle

My first thought was: “that’s cool. does it work with other pictures, too?”. Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and it seemed liked nobody thought of that before (I have to tell, I still can’t believe that;).
This was the first unlikely event, and there were a lot to follow…

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