The Tech I Love: Post #2 – UX and design picks

I wonder if we're on Kingston Street.

One of my original picks for this list made its way into entry #1 — COLOURlovers — so this list is accidentally a little shorter than I intended. On to business:

My favorite UX and design apps and sites
Golden Ratio Typography calculator
When I found this site several months ago, my jaw DROPPED. How did I ever do any kind of font selection before this site came about?

Picking the right font for your website is a fair mix of art and science. For a lot of us, it comes down to either general utility (“I know Tahoma’s easy to read online so I’ll use that”) or completely personal preference (“I love serifs and Times New Roman is just dreamy…”). Other folks will — rightly! — agonize over their font choice for months. Readability and personality are all wrapped up in your font, after all.

But the right font size, line height, et cetera? There’s not nearly as much discussion about this. But this typography calculator uses Golden Ratio principles to determine your font parameters based on the font face, size, and content area you’ve selected. Very, very handy!

MindNode
A graceful and simple application for mapping gorgeous thought progressions, process trees, algorithms — you name it.

I’ve found this to be an especially handy tool for discussing an example user flow on a given website or a site’s information architecture (IA). I’ve seen a number of people use it very effectively as a visual aide during presentations too.

Skitch
— now a part of Evernote, which you’re already using because it’s awesome, am I right? Right!

If you’re not using Skitch to markup screenshots in discussions with colleagues or clients about site interactivity or design, why not? There’s no excuse for marking up screenshots in Photoshop or Paint (ack!) anymore, Skitch makes it so much easier and, let’s be honest, prettier. Next time someone prints out a screenshot for you all marked up in red pen, send them a link to Skitch.

Honorable mention: fluidIA
I dream of a day when I can use a stable and completely free wireframing tool. Until then, I have two choices — pay for a tool like HotGloo or even Vizio — or try some of the less complex web-based wireframing tools out there.

I’m holding out hope that fluidIA gets off the ground soon, as it holds great promise: a versatile web-based wireframing product made by (and for!) IA folks. At the moment though, it’s a bit too buggy, though I can see its potential for greatness. Thus fluidIA gets honorable mention on my list, I’m definitely keeping an eye on it.

What’s this all about then? Read the intro here.