Designing digital user experiences

User Experience. System Architecture. Core Design.

Layered thinking

Documentation and a screenshot of the Spark website.

What goes into making a great user experience?

It’s the ideal tryst between cool-headed intelligence and fine good-looks: A combination of solid research and technical consideration – what is often still termed information architecture – twinned with rich, appropriate visual design.

All with an intimate understanding of the needs of the user.

Spark, an application for the UK Government, shown above, was a project approached from the perspective of end-to-end thinking: System architeture to core design.

Design & Experience

Perhaps a simple Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram with 'Solid application architecture' in one circle, 'Engaging core design' in another and the Resaturate logo star in the area where they cross.

A successful digital project, be it a mobile app, website, service or application needs two vital ingredients:

So what’s the magic in the middle, created by this pair coming together?

The resaturate symbol as it appears in the Venn diagram.

= great user experience

Mark Russell provides both system architecture and core design.

Case Studies

Aeon Timeline, a desktop application for writers

Aeon Timeline's Application Icon

Aeon Timeline is a desktop application for Mac that helps writers, researchers and historians plot stories and describe relationships between events over time.

Matthew Tobin, creator and engineer of Aeon Timeline, described the history of the application:

"Aeon Timeline grew from a conversation amongst writers about the timeline tool they want to see: a timeline that is more than a list of dates and events; a tool that captures the changes caused by an event, not just the event itself; a tool that displays not just the plot points for the story they tell, but the world of causality behind the narrative; a tool that could describe many lives in a connected universe."

I took the beta version of Aeon Timeline and fundamentally redefined the user interface, consolidating two modes into a unified view. Considerable usability enhancements were made including item editing, selection and improvements to the behaviour of the interface where events are associated with entities, such as people or places.

I specified a ground-up redesign of the UI, tweaking or re-defining pretty much all of it. I looked at the entire timeline including the calendar and navigation tools, the dialogs and selection controls plus application and toolbar icons. Design choices conform to the Apple HIG and Aeon Timeline is now a best-of-class Mac application.

Aeon Timeline > creenshot of Aeon Timeline. Screenshot of Aeon Timeline showing entity relationships.

About Resaturate

Mark Russell

Resaturate is run by Mark Russell, a user experience specialist working both as an issue-aware Information and System Architect and a creative Design Lead/Art Director. Client work frequently combines both roles and allows for the neat and efficient dovetailing of these practices within a project or commission.

At all points within a project Mark's practice involves the awareness of user requirements through researched insight and user testing; issues and legalities surrounding accessibility and current trends in user-centric digital design. Insightful research into the precise business requirements results in fulfilment for client and user alike.

Mark works across the digital spectrum having worked agency and client side in both the public and commercial sectors.

Skills in practice

  • Art direction & design management
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design
  • Information Design
  • User testing
  • Conceptual design
  • Client management and presentation
  • High-level presentation using applicable software

Download CV &
UX Portfolio

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