Monthly Archives: August 2011

UX Resources for Beginners

User experience design (UX) matters a lot to us at Cantina. A great user experience will magnify a successful technology implementation, while a bad user experience can turn success into disappointment.

As one of Cantina’s UX experts I am often asked about learning resources for those who are starting out or wanting to learn more about UX design and development. I will cover some of my favorites for each below.

If you want to learn more about UX design, then my first bit of advice would be to attend a conference like An Event Apart. Also, attending art / graphic design related classes at a local college would prove to be beneficial for learning things like typography and color theory.

A lot of good books have been published focusing on UX design. Some of my favorites are:

Some UX design related websites are:

For UX development, you can find a lot of information online, but some books I consider to be bibles of UX development. They are:

Also, you should read every article on A List Apart.

And here are a few other things you should check out for UX development:

That should get you started!

If you know about other UX resources that you’d like to recommend then please post them in the comments below.

Web vs. Native App Conundrum – The Debate Goes On

Perusing my news feeds today, I came across an article entitled, Could Mobile Apps Be Evolutionary Dead End? by Steve Rubel of Ad Age Digital.  Steve posits that ‘Marketers May Find New Breed of Web Apps Preferable to Multiple Platform’.  The article goes on to discuss the fragmentation of the global marketplace, the leverage and distribution advantages inherent in building HTML5 web-based apps, the easing of Apple’s restrictive posture, the proliferation of Google’s Android Marketplace and discoverability through search, and the benefit for advertisers.

I believe the article’s assertion is right, namely that ‘marketers may decide it’s more cost effective to develop a strong web application and control the experience end-to-end, rather than support hundreds of phone and tablet formats’.

Back in May, I posted a blog on the topic of designing apps for multi-channel experiences and the need for analysis and planning to capture the value of the development investment.  There are compelling reasons to entertain web app approaches vs. native app development, and Cantina has assisted many clients with this strategic decision.

Cantina is hosting a roundtable discussion at our Newton offices on September 29th to discuss the exact topics debated in Steve’s article.  The forum will assist B2B and B2C mobile leaders compare approaches and discuss solutions that address the challenges of designing mobile applications.

Super-fast Tour of the Scala Programming Language

In an effort to learn Scala (or at least to a reasonable degree) I put together a Scala script that illustrates the primary language features especially as someone with Java/Groovy/Ruby knowledge. The hope here is to quickly give you a feel for the language while diving deeper into some specific features.

The tour includes:

  • val vs var and defining variables
  • Strings and string interpolation
  • Operators and defining new ones
  • Functions
  • Lists, Maps, and other collection-isms
  • Case classes and pattern matching
  • Traits
  • Implicit type conversion
  • Ternary operator (or lack thereof and the Scala equivalent)
  • DSLs (a simple one)
  • Generics
  • Lazy variables
  • XML literals
  • Exception handling
  • Tuples
  • Regular expressions and case matching
Let me know if I’ve left anything out super-important and I’ll loop back and include it.


[Read more on Dan's blog at]