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10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day!!

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When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on your instant oatmeal packet? If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out: reading has a significant number of benefits, and just a few benefits of reading are listed below.

  1. Mental Stimulation
    Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progressof (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing gamessuch as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.
  2. Stress Reduction

No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.

  1. Knowledge

Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.

  1. Vocabulary Expansion

This goes with the above topic: the more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.

 

  1. Memory Improvement

 

When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things with relative ease. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways)and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?

  1. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.

That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

 

 

  1. Improved Focus and Concentration

 

In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

  1. Better Writing Skills

This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

 


  1. Tranquility

In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help bookshas been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.

  1. Free Entertainment

Though many of us like to buy books so we can annotate them and dog-ear pages for future reference, they can be quite pricey. For low-budget entertainment, you can visit your local library and bask in the glory of the countless tomes available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable, and since they rotate their stock and constantly get new books, you’ll never run out of reading materials.

If you happen to live in an area that doesn’t have a local library, or if you’re mobility-impaired and can’t get to one easily, most libraries have their books available in PDF or ePub format so you can read them on your e-reader, iPad, or your computer screen. There are also many sources online where you can download free e-books, so go hunting for something new to read!

There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit, or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Step away from your computer for a little while, crack open a book, and replenish your soul for a little while.

Source: www.lifehack. org/

Do you know the Difference Between UX and UI Design?

We’ve all overheard conversations, walking down hip streets of the world’s tech capitals, discussions about the great ‘UX’ of a product, or the poor ‘UI’ of a website. Is it a secret language you will never be privy to? Are these people just using slang to look cool? Well, ok probably yes to the latter, but a determinate NO to the rest. Read on to learn what these terms mean, which jobs are better paid, and how to become a UX designer or UI designer. Scroll to the middle of the post to watch a video of me speaking about this article, and giving you some extra info on what being a UX or UI Designer really means.

The Acronyms Unveiled

The people you have eavesdropped on are actually discussing two professions that despite having been around for decades, and in theory for centuries, have been defined by the tech industry as UX and UI Design.

UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. Where UX Design is a more analytical and technical field, UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

There is an analogy I like to use in describing the different parts of a (digital) product:

If you imagine a product as the human body, the bones represent the code which give it structure. The organs represent the UX design: measuring and optimizing against input for supporting life functions. And UI design represents the cosmetics of the body–its presentation, its senses and reactions.

But don’t worry if you’re still confusedYou’re not the only one!

As Rahul Varshney, Co-creator of Foster.fm puts it:

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”

Below I break down the history, debate and definition around each term in detail. But if you don’t care for them jump to the end of each section for a simplified description. And make sure you don’t miss the professional stats below it.

 

What is User Experience Design?

As is found on Wikipedia:

  • User experience design (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.

Clear, right? Well you might note immediately that despite what I implied in the introduction, the definition has no reference to tech, no mention of digital, and vague at best. But like all professions, it’s impossible to distill the process from just a few words.

Some confusion in the definition of the term itself is due to its youth. Don Norman, a cognitive scientist and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, is credited with inventing the term in the late 1990’s declaring that“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

This implies that regardless of its medium, UX Design encompasses any and all interactions between a potential or active customer and a company. As a scientific process it could be applied to anything, street lamps, cars, Ikea shelving and so on.

However! Despite being a scientific term, its use since inception has been almost entirely within digital fields; one arguable reason for this being that the industry started blowing up around the time of the term’s invention. Another arguable reason being that it was just a fancy way of rewording a practice that has already existed for hundreds of years known as “Market Research”; and boy do designers love fancy.

But don’t let me confuse you, User Experience Design is not a market research job.

Though it does utilize many of the same techniques to achieve a complex end goal: The structure, analysis and optimization of a customer’s experience with a company and its products.

If you’ve never seen User Experience work in practice, never even used the term at work, it’s still difficult to imagine what User Experience Designers actually do. At CareerFoundry we’ve developed a UX course that focuses on the process which I will use to illustrate the profession.

Here is a cliff notes example of a UX Designer’s responsibilities as laid out by our course. It is targeted at development of digital products, but the theory and process can be applied to anything:

Strategy and Content:

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Product Structure/Strategy
  • Content Development

Wireframing and Prototyping:

  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing/Iteration
  • Development Planning

Execution and Analytics

  • Coordination with UI Designer(s)
  • Coordination with Developer(s)
  • Tracking Goals and Integration
  • Analysis and Iteration

So part marketer, part designer, part project manager; the UX role is complex, challenging and multi-faceted. You see that iteration of the product, as connected to analysis or testing is indeed mentioned twice, but in reality you would put it in between every other item on the list. Ultimately the aim is to connect business goals to user’s needs through a process of testing and refinement to that which satisfies both sides of the relationship.

So in conclusion:

  • User Experience Design is the process of development and improvement of quality interaction between a user and all facets of a company.
  • User Experience Design is responsible for being hands on with the process of research, testing, development, content, and prototyping to test for quality results.
  • User Experience Design is in theory a non-digital (cognitive science) practice, but used and defined predominantly by digital industries.

The lesson to be learned here, is that if you’re interested in sociology, in cognitive science, in people and in great products, User Experience is a good place to be; but if you understand those principles and are more visually inclined, you might look at its brother-in-arms: User Interface Design.

Want to know more about me and this post? Check out this video we put together with even more info for our readers on what being a UX or UI Designer really means. You get to see my lovely face too. Let me know what you think!

 

What is UI Design?

Despite it being an older and more practiced field, the question of “What is user interface design?” is difficult to answer by its ranging variety of misinterpretations. While User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use; User Interface Design is its compliment, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. But like UX, it is easily and often confused by the industries that employ UI Designers. To the extent that different job posts will often refer to the profession as completely different things.

If you look at job posts for User Interface Design, you will mostly find interpretations of the profession that are akin to graphic design. Sometimes extending also to branding design, and even front end development.

If you look at expert definitions of User Interface Design, you will mostly find descriptions that are in part identical to User Experience design. Even referring to the same structural techniques.

So which one is right? The sad answer is: Neither

But both are close in some ways. Like User Experience Design, User Interface Design is a multi-faceted and challenging role. It is responsible for the transference of a product’s development, research, content and layout into an attractive, guiding and responsive experience for users. It is also a field that unlike UX, is a strictly digital profession as per its dictionary definition:

user interface

noun Computing

the means by which the user and a computer system interact, in particular the use of input devices and software.

We explain in much greater detail what the definition and role of UI Design is, as well as teach you the skills required to become a UI designer in the CareerFoundry UI Design Course. This includes its relationship to brand, graphic/visual, and front-end design. Regardless of whether you choose UX design or UI design, it’s important to understand how the other one works and, crucially, how to work with them.

Let’s have a quick look at the UI designer’s responsibilities:

Look and Feel:

  • Customer Analysis
  • Design Research
  • Branding and Graphic Development
  • User Guides/Storyline

Responsiveness and Interactivity:

  • UI Prototyping
  • Interactivity and Animation
  • Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes
  • Implementation with Developer

As a visual and interactive designer, the UI role is crucial to any digital interface and for customers a key element to trusting a brand.While the brand itself is never solely the responsibility of the UI designer, its translation to the product is.

You’ll also note the final point which states a responsibility for “implementation” of the design with a developer. While this is generally how UI jobs have worked in the past, you should be aware that the lines are blurring, as the term “Web Designer” (essentially a UI designer who can code) is being replaced by expertise of User Interface Designers. While UX has no need for coding, UI is a role that as time progresses, will rely on it as part of building interactive interfaces.

So in conclusion:

  • User Interface Design is responsible for the transference of a brand’s strengths and visual assets to a product’s interface as to best enhance the user’s experience.
  • User Interface Design is a process of visually guiding the user through a product’s interface via interactive elements and across all sizes/platforms.
  • User Interface Design is a digital field, which includes responsibility for cooperation and work with developers or code.

Or in analogical terms, UI design produces a product’s: Skin – a product’s visual/graphic presentation. Senses – a product’s reactivity and interactivity in response to a user’s input or different display environments. And makeup – a product’s guides, hints, and directives that visually leads users through their experience.

 

Is One More Important Than The Other?

If you’ve read the above paragraphs you already know the answer. But incase you’re unsure, allow me to quote designer and expert Helga Moreno, who her article The Gap Between UX And UI Design put it quite eloquently:

“Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While Something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.”

So you see, they are both crucial, and while there are millions of examples of great products with one and not the other, imagine how much more successful they might have been when strong in both fields.

And let’s face it, both roles are still confused, misinterpreted, and falsely sought after. So if you’re looking to get into these fields, it’s not a matter of which is more important, but based on the descriptions above which is more attractive to you.

 

Which Profession Is Better Paid?

Salaries are of course dictated by many factors, though primarily:

  • location
  • experience
  • industry
  • project/product type

On average you’ll find that UI and UX jobs have similar salary ranges across startups and minor tech industries. You’ll find however that in tech industries outside the web and mobile fields (e.g. car companies, medical equipment manufacturers, etc) there are more and richer opportunities for UI designers, as the field is not only more established but has a more direct business driven application.

Pulling upon averages however, it is possible to find both User Experience, and User Interface jobs across the following range of value in central Europe.

Annual:

  • Junior Level Salary €28k – €33k
  • Mid Level Salary €38k – €45k
  • Senior Level Salary €50k – €80k

Hourly:

  • Junior Freelancer €30 – €50
  • Mid Level Freelancer €50 – €75
  • Senior Level Consultant €75 – €100

*Numbers are based on salary data from Germany and central europe. To explore salaries in your area check out http://www.glassdoor.com/salaries

 

 

How Do I Learn These Skills?

While there are collegiate institutions who have Interactive Design and visual design programs, there are very few official ways to learn either UI or UX Design skills as applied to working with tech startups.

If you live in a major metropolitan, you may be lucky to have access to a variety of bootcamp or class-style programs, such as General Assembly, or localized programs hosted by Google and other tech giants.

Online and with flexibility, you’ll find an infinite range of free content and courses for both skills. I highly recommend checking the outline and content of every course to see if what is being taught matches the definitions laid out in this article; but if structured correctly these options found on platforms like udacityudemytuts+ are perhaps the best introduction to the field.

For more specialised and personal education, the options are somewhat limited. In fact CareerFoundry’s mentored UX Design course is the only truly UX dedicated mentor program, bloc.io’s being a mixed UI course.

If your interest is in learning UI design online, we obviously recommend our own mentored UI Design course, curated by long time UI designer Eric Bieller.

Finally, for detailed course searches, check out our favorite course listing resources:

Course Report – Online / USA Market

Springest – Online / EU Market

 


Resource of the articl:  http://blog.careerfoundry .com

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