“Design used to be the seasoning you’d sprinkle on for taste. Now it’s the flour you need at the start of the recipe.’’

— John Maeda, Designer and Technologist

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Privacy Policy

This Privacy policy was published on March 1st, 2020.

GDPR compliance

At UX GIRL we are committed to protect and respect your privacy in compliance with EU - General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679, dated April 27th, 2016. This privacy statement explains when and why we collect personal information, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure. This Privacy Policy applies to the use of our services, products and our sales, but also marketing and client contract fulfilment activities. It also applies to individuals seeking a job at UX GIRL.

About UX GIRL

UX GIRL is a design studio firm that specialises in research, strategy and design and offers clients software design services. Our company is headquartered in Warsaw, Poland and you can get in touch with us by writing to hello@uxgirl.com.

When we collect personal data about you
  • When you interact with us in person – through correspondence, by phone, by social media, or through our uxgirl.com (“Site”).
  • When we get personal information from other legitimate sources, such as third-party data aggregators, UX GIRL marketing partners, public sources or social networks. We only use this data if you have given your consent to them to share your personal data with others.
  • We may collect personal data if it is considered to be of legitimate interest and if this interest is not overridden by your privacy interests. We make sure an assessment is made, with an established mutual interest between you and UX GIRL.
  • When you are using our products.
Why we collect and use personal data

We collect and use personal data mainly to perform direct sales, direct marketing, and customer service. We also collect data about partners and persons seeking a job or working in our company. We may use your information for the following purposes:

  • Send you marketing communications which you have requested. These may include information about our services, products, events, activities, and promotions of our partners. This communication is subscription based and requires your consent.
  • Send you information about the services and products that you have purchased from us.
  • Perform direct sales activities in cases where legitimate and mutual interest is established.
  • Provide you content and venue details on a webinar or event you signed up for.
  • Reply to a ‘Contact me’ or other web forms you have completed on our Site (e.g., to download an ebook).
  • Follow up on incoming requests (client support, emails, chats, or phone calls).
  • Perform contractual obligations such as invoices, reminders, and similar. The contract may be with UX GIRL directly or with a UX GIRL partner.
  • Notify you of any disruptions to our services.
  • Contact you to conduct surveys about your opinion on our services and products.
  • When we do a business deal or negotiate a business deal, involving sale or transfer of all or a part of our business or assets. These deals can include any merger, financing, acquisition, or bankruptcy transaction or proceeding.
  • Process a job application.
  • To comply with laws.
  • To respond to lawful requests and legal process.
  • To protect the rights and property of UX GIRL, our agents, customers, and others. Includes enforcing our agreements, policies, and terms of use.
  • In an emergency. Includes protecting the safety of our employees, our customers, or any person.
Type of personal data collected

We collect your email, full name and company’s name, but in addition, we can also collect phone numbers. We may also collect feedback, comments and questions received from you in service-related communication and activities, such as meetings, phone calls, chats, documents, and emails.

If you apply for a job at UX GIRL, we collect the data you provide during the application process. UX GIRL does not collect or process any particular categories of personal data, such as unique public identifiers or sensitive personal data.

Information we collect automatically

We automatically log information about you and your computer. For example, when visiting uxgirl.com, we log ‎your computer operating system type,‎ browser type,‎ browser language,‎ pages you viewed,‎ how long you spent on a page,‎ access times,‎ internet protocol (IP) address and information about your actions on our Site.

The use of cookies and web beacons

We may log information using "cookies." Cookies are small data files stored on your hard drive by a website. Cookies help us make our Site and your visit better.

We may log information using digital images called web beacons on our Site or in our emails.

This information is used to make our Site work more efficiently, as well as to provide business and marketing information to the owners of the Site, and to gather such personal data as browser type and operating system, referring page, path through site, domain of ISP, etc. for the purposes of understanding how visitors use our Site. Cookies and similar technologies help us tailor our Site to your personal needs, as well as to detect and prevent security threats and abuse. If used alone, cookies and web beacons do not personally identify you.

How long we keep your data

We store personal data for as long as we find it necessary to fulfil the purpose for which the personal data was collected, while also considering our need to answer your queries or resolve possible problems. This helps us to comply with legal requirements under applicable laws, to attend to any legal claims/complaints, and for safeguarding purposes.

This means that we may retain your personal data for a reasonable period after your last interaction with us. When the personal data that we have collected is no longer required, we will delete it securely. We may process data for statistical purposes, but in such cases, data will be anonymised.

Your rights to your personal data

You have the following rights concerning your personal data:

  • The right to request a copy of your personal data that UX GIRL holds about you.
  • The right to request that UX GIRL correct your personal data if inaccurate or out of date.
  • The right to request that your personal data is deleted when it is no longer necessary for UX GIRL to retain such data.
  • The right to withdraw any consent to personal data processing at any time. For example, your consent to receive digital marketing messages. If you want to withdraw your consent for digital marketing messages, please make use of the link to manage your subscriptions included in our communication.
  • The right to request that UX GIRL provides you with your personal data.
  • The right to request a restriction on further data processing, in case there is a dispute about the accuracy or processing of your personal data.
  • The right to object to the processing of personal data, in case data processing has been based on legitimate interest and/or direct marketing.

Any query about your privacy rights should be sent to hello@uxgirl.com.

Hotjar’s privacy policy

We use Hotjar in order to better understand our users’ needs and to optimize this service and experience. Hotjar is a technology service that helps us better understand our users experience (e.g. how much time they spend on which pages, which links they choose to click, what users do and don’t like, etc.) and this enables us to build and maintain our service with user feedback. Hotjar uses cookies and other technologies to collect data on our users’ behavior and their devices (in particular device's IP address (captured and stored only in anonymized form), device screen size, device type (unique device identifiers), browser information, geographic location (country only), preferred language used to display our website). Hotjar stores this information in a pseudonymized user profile. Neither Hotjar nor we will ever use this information to identify individual users or to match it with further data on an individual user. For further details, please see Hotjar’s privacy policy by clicking on this link.

You can opt-out to the creation of a user profile, Hotjar’s storing of data about your usage of our site and Hotjar’s use of tracking cookies on other websites by following this opt-out link.

Sharethis’s privacy policy

We use Sharethis to enable our users to share our content on social media. Sharethis lets us collects information about the number of shares of our posts. For further details, please see Sharethis’s privacy policy by clicking on this link.

You can opt-out of Sharethis collecting data about you by following this opt-out link.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

UX GIRL reserves the right to amend this privacy policy at any time. The latest version will always be found on our Site. We encourage you to check this page occasionally to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

If we make changes that significantly alter our privacy practices, we will notify you by email or post a notice on our Site before the change takes effect.

Title Image for this blog post

Innovation

From Pixels to Masterpieces: Useful AI Tools for Visual Creativity (Part 1)

WSTAW

The number of AI tools is growing every week, and this trend is unlikely to change any time soon. Rather, we expect the use of AI algorithms and models to trend even further. The creators of almost every application we know are trying to use AI in their products in one way or another and not be left behind in this crazy technological race.

Today, practically every tool used for editing photos or videos can boast that it allows retouching or background removal with just one click. Almost every text editor allows for content generation based on a typed prompt. We can generate ideas, summarize articles, or write them in full by entering only a simple instruction. Tools from Microsoft or Google use AI models for data analysis, creating summaries, charts, and suggesting various solutions. Browser plugins allow for automatic email responses, or analyzing a page for SEO or conversion purposes. It's easy to create a video where we can speak in any foreign language, and no one will even realize that we don't know that language. People in business, marketing, creative fields, bloggers, artists, writers, data analysts, literally everyone can speed up their work today by taking advantage of AI benefits.

However, because there is so much choice, it's easy to become simply overwhelmed by it all. In the end, instead of speeding up our work and being like all those super-productive people who flood us with posts on LinkedIn or X (formerly Twitter), we don't know where to start and what tool to choose. We don't know what is actually worth attention and what should be avoided. I think it's obvious that if everyone started implementing AI in the solutions they offer, among the quite large number of great tools we will also find those that are still a long way from actually helping us. Many tools available on the Internet are still just cool toys, but when it comes down to it, unfortunately, we wouldn't want to use their results in our business.

Sure, there are a few tools that everyone talks about, tools that are currently enjoying a triumph of popularity, and therefore they must be the best. To a large extent, it's hard to disagree, but even these theoretically best tools have their drawbacks and won't always be suitable for what we specifically want to do. Additionally, there's the issue of cost, or what the entry threshold is to achieve really solid results. Besides, if we dig a little deeper, we'll find a range of products that are really quite good and often allow for quick completion of a specific task for free.

For the purposes of this article, we tested several dozen different AI tools ourselves and chose those that, in our opinion, really do the job or are simply worth keeping an eye on because they are developing in an interesting direction.

We decided to split the article into two parts. Firstly, to examine the recommended tools more closely and discuss, in our opinion, all the essential aspects. Secondly, to avoid boring you and not take up too much of your time. Shorter content will be easier to digest. So, in the first part, which you are reading now, we will present the first 5 tools. The next 5 will be in the second part. We recommend reading both, as it is in the second part that we will describe the less obvious tools.

Additionally, both parts will primarily focus on tools that specialize in working with images and videos. Topics like working with text, music, or enhancements in AI for productivity will be addressed in separate posts.

We will start with 3 well-known and recognizable tools that, in the context of generating and editing images, have recently become what ChatGPT is in the context of generating text. Even though probably everyone knows or is familiar with how they work, we believe that a post about AI tools omitting the most important players would simply be incomplete. Setting aside the various downsides of each tool, this trio really deserves special recognition!

Midjourney

If we talk about generating images using AI, one of the first names that comes to mind is indeed Midjourney. Not without reason, as it is currently one of the best tools for creating images based on a typed prompt.

Currently, the most advanced and latest version is Midjourney V5.2 released in June 2023. However, it's worth keeping your finger on the pulse because it has just been announced that Midjourney V6 will see the light of day before Christmas 2023... we can't wait to see what the creators have prepared for us this time!

Midjourney, in addition to standard image generation, offers a bunch of interesting functionalities that diversify and improve the target results, namely:

  • Additional parameters - we have at our disposal a large number of various parameters that we can add to the prompt, thereby deciding, for example, what proportions the generated image should have, what elements it should not contain, what the image quality should be, or how much we want to deviate from the prompt and rely on the tool's creativity (level of artistry and abstraction).
  • Zoom Out - a feature that allows you to generate content around an existing image without changing the original. We can understand this as a literal zooming out, seeing what is beyond our frame - the tool enlarges the area/canvas of our photo and in a sense 'draws in' what is not visible. It works extremely well. I think many of us have taken a photo where a key part of the frame was accidentally cut off - now we can fix that!
  • Pan - similar to Zoom Out, but this time we can ask to generate a fragment of the image only in a specific direction.
  • Upscaler - the ability to enlarge a photo without losing quality.
  • Vary - the ability to generate new suggestions only for a given part of the image based on our selection. We can, for example, generate a robot and then select only its head and replace it with something else.
  • Video generation - in our opinion, some time is needed to refine this function, perhaps it will work much better in Midjourney V6. At this point, we have many tools that simply do it better.

What distinguishes Midjourney from the competition is primarily realism, refined compositions, attention to detail, and high-quality generated images.

However, Midjourney also has its disadvantages, and we are not talking about the price.

  • Reduced precision - in contrast to, for example, DALL-E 3 (which I'll discuss in a moment), Midjourney does not always adhere to the user's instructions and intentions. Sometimes the generated images significantly deviate from what we entered in the prompt. The tool allows for quite a bit of creative freedom.
  • Problem with generating text in images - this may be a limitation for some users, instead of text we often get some random shapes and smears.
  • Limited availability - the tool operates through Discord, which is not a major issue, but we realize that this may discourage some people. But, according to the latest news, it will change soon. 7 days ago Midjourney has begun testing an “alpha” version of its new website which includes image creation. For now, it’s accessible only for users who have generated 10000+ images.
  • Content Censorship - Midjourney implements content censorship that may be restrictive for users seeking complete creative freedom.
Cost

From $96 to $1152 per year (depending on the chosen subscription plan).

DALL-E 3

A product from OpenAI, which until recently couldn't really compare to what Midjourney offers. However, everything changed with version 3, namely DALL-E 3.

The tool is available as part of a ChatGPT Plus subscription or for free as part of Bing's Copilot service from Microsoft. It can be said that the fact that we can generate images completely free of charge is a huge advantage, but DALLE-3 also deserves recognition for several other reasons:

  • High quality of generated images - it's not yet the realism and attention to detail as seen in Midjourney, but the results are really impressive.
  • Precision - DALLE-3 is great at interpreting user intentions and reproducing entered prompts. Here it fares much better than Midjourney, offering a high degree of accuracy in realizing the users' vision.
  • Ability to generate text on images - unlike the competition, DALL-E 3 easily incorporates text into its graphic creations.
  • Ease of use - unlike traditional image generators that require specific prompts or instructions, DALL-E 3 allows users to interact through conversation, making it more accessible and intuitive.

The main downside of DALL-E 3, in our opinion, remains a certain limitation in generating realistic creations. Images generated using DALLE-3 have a specific style, and despite their excellent quality, it is often easy to notice that a given graphic was generated by AI.

In addition, our editing options are quite limited, i.e. we cannot, for example, correct a fragment of the generated photo. In this case, you need to regenerate the entire image and hope that the model goes in the right direction.As with Midjourney, DALL-E 3 is quite a heavily censored image generator, especially when used inside ChatGPT.

Cost

$20 per month, included in ChatGPT Plus. Free in Bing's Copilot.

Adobe Firefly

Adobe probably needs no introduction and it is also easy to guess that this technological giant has not been left behind in this race.

Adobe Firefly is actually a family of generative artificial intelligence models, offered as a separate product on the website https://firefly.adobe.com or in the form of functionalities integrated into various Adobe applications.

By entering the mentioned website, we currently have the following features available:

  • Text to image - a classic image generator, based on a typed prompt, similar to DALL-E 3 and Midjourney. However, what sets Adobe's approach apart is the remarkable simplicity of the tool. Initially, we get a simple text field to enter our instructions - there are no options for entering parameters, uploading files, etc. After generating images, we do receive an intuitive editing panel, where we can adjust our results. Besides numerous sliders, we get many predefined options that allow for adding specific effects, setting lighting, composition, color scheme, choosing between a more artistic approach and realism. We can also upload an image as a reference, then the algorithm will adjust subsequent results to the style of our reference.
  • Generative fill - this tool allows for modifying images using brushes and selection tools. We can remove objects from an image, generate new elements in the selected area, remove the background, etc. Image editing enters a completely new dimension, namely, for example, in a few seconds we can remove someone who accidentally appeared in the frame, or add sunglasses that we forgot to wear. In our opinion, it is better to use this functionality directly in Adobe Photoshop, where it offers much more.
  • Generative recolor - the tool allows you to automatically recolor vector images based on the entered prompt. Thanks to this, we can adapt the illustration to, for example, match a specific mood or theme.
  • Text effects - allows you to generate text with a specific visual effect, e.g. you can enter "Hello, my name is Stephany" and ask for the letters to be covered with eucalyptus leaves or to look like they are embroidered. In our opinion, it's still just a cool toy and not something we want to use every day.

What is fantastic about Adobe's solutions is that AI functionalities are also available directly in their applications.

In Adobe Photoshop, we have access to the already mentioned Generative fill with some enhancements. Specifically, we can use options like expand. Similar to the zoom-out and pan functions in Midjourney, here we can also generate something beyond the canvas area, allowing us to freely 'expand' our images.

In Adobe Illustrator, the most interesting option is generating vector illustrations using a prompt. This is a revolutionary approach to graphic design. We no longer need to know how to draw to prepare a beautiful illustration for a website or a book.

Additionally, there are also AI enhancements in Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Express, but we won't elaborate on that here.

What also deserves attention is the issue of ethics and copyright. Adobe trains its models based on licensed content from Adobe Stock and public domain content, where the copyright has expired. This means that everything we generate is based on data sets collected in a fully ethical manner, and the complete copyright of the produced image belongs to the generator.

In conclusion, Adobe offers its users a lot. After testing all the AI features, we can confidently say that the quality and results are really good, and this is complemented by ease of use and integration within Adobe's flagship applications.

Downsides? At this moment, we can point out three things that may discourage potential users, namely:

  • Although the generated images are really good, they still are not at the level of Midjourney. Adobe is characterized by a certain style, and this is often visible in the generated creations. Often, the results can seem too 'candy-like'.
  • In the case of Midjourney and DALL-E 3 within ChatGPT, we deal with quite strong censorship. However, it seems that Adobe Firefly leads in this regard. The censorship from Adobe is really significant and can often be a limitation. For example, attempts to generate creations using words like 'soldier' or 'bikini' are futile.
  • Adobe Firefly operates on a generative credits system, providing users with a set amount of image generations and edits. This means that users have a limited number of uses. Of course, additional credits can be purchased, but in our opinion, this could ultimately be more expensive than, for example, a Midjourney subscription. If someone is already paying for a Creative Cloud subscription, they are allotted a certain number of credits.
Cost

Varies according to the country. Has a free tier.

Leonardo.Ai

Another fantastic and rapidly developing tool is Leonardo.Ai. It is essentially a web application (along with an API) created by independent creators and based on Stable Diffusion models. Similar to the previous three applications, it allows for image generation and editing.

What characterizes this application is the ability to change the model used to generate our images. At the moment, we have access to dozens of models - some of them simply differ in version (older, newer), but others are models specifically trained for generating images with certain characteristics. For example, we can choose a model tailored for generating photorealistic images or a model that generates isometric views.

At the moment, among the most important functionalities of Leonardo.Ai we can distinguish:

  • Image Generation - generating images based on a textual prompt. Similar to Adobe, we have an intuitive panel with a range of additional options to customize our instructions.
  • Live Canvas - an interesting feature that allows for generating an image in real time based on what we are currently drawing. Of course, we can fully edit everything, determine the level of consistency with our sketch, and so on. At the moment, it's more like a toy, but it's developing in a very good direction.
  • Canvas Editor - an extensive editing environment that allows you to manipulate imported images. Removing unwanted objects from the photo, generating image fragments, adjusting the proportions, etc.
  • 3D Texture Generation - generating and modifying textures based on imported OBJ files. It can help, for example, in preparing game assets.
  • Motion - generating videos based on a textual prompt, the functionality is expected to be available in the near future.

The main drawback is that most of the features is locked in the free version of the tool. However, the tool itself, although heavily limited, remains available without the need to purchase a subscription. Every day, we have access to a total of 150 tokens, which we use to perform various actions in Leonardo.Ai. Not all actions consume the same number of tokens, e.g. high-resolution images cost more.

Cost

From $12 to $60 per month. Has a free tier.

HeyGen

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to speak fluently in dozens or even hundreds of foreign languages? HeyGen is a tool that won't teach you to speak these languages, but it will create the impression that you are using them perfectly.

HeyGen is currently one of the most popular and best-known tools for creating video avatars. We have quite a few interesting features at our disposal, allowing us to create professional videos based on a clip recorded by us, written text, and/or recorded audio. There are several combinations, including:

  • Creating a video avatar based on one of over a hundred available avatars and your own text or audio file.
  • Creating a completely custom avatar based on a provided video clip and your own text or audio file.
  • Translating a provided video into over 40 available foreign languages with lip-sync technology. The final result looks very natural.
  • Changing or improving your voice or generating audio for the entered text.

The tool has incredible potential in the field of marketing, promoting products, preparing offers, or training materials. From now on, you can, for example, put a video on your website where you talk about your product in Korean. The applications are enormous.

Cost

From $29 per month. Free plan for 1-min max duration video per month.

That's all the tools in this part. To read about the remaining 5, please visit the second part.

Besides, stay tuned and remember that these are still just tools. How we use them and whether they benefit us depends entirely on us. Thankfully, as of now, the most powerful tool at our disposal remains the human mind.

Check out our other

articles

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5 min

Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska: Shaping UX GIRL Future in AI and Web3

Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska, our esteemed CEO, recently engaged in an enlightening interview with BlockyDevs. The conversation delved into the intricacies of the Computer Science industry, our meticulous approach to team building, and our forward-thinking initiatives in web3 and artificial intelligence.

Journey into the Future of Technology:

Magdalena provided a comprehensive view of the operational intricacies propelling UX GIRL forward. From our discerning hiring practices to an unwavering commitment to crafting distinctive UX/UI projects, the interview unveils how UX GIRL aims to be at the forefront of future industry leadership.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence:

A focal point of our endeavours is Artificial Intelligence. Positioned to explore groundbreaking solutions, we are poised to redefine the landscape of technology and the Computer Science industry.

Magdalena extends her gratitude to our dedicated community for their steadfast support. She emphasises our readiness for an exciting journey into the future, aligning with the shared vision of our valued supporters.

Read Magdalena's Full Interview:

For a deeper understanding of Magdalena's journey—from a computer science student to leading the innovative team at UX GIRL—please refer to the full interview. This narrative is characterised by passion, continuous learning, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in user experience.

Adapting to the Future Landscape:

As discussed in the interview, the integration of AI and web3 is fundamentally reshaping the design landscape. Magdalena sheds light on UX GIRL's strategic adaptation, recognizing that this integration is pivotal to shaping future user experiences.

AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach design...

For a more in-depth exploration of this transformative shift and UX GIRL's strategic direction, please refer to the interview.

Collaboration Fuels Innovation:

Magdalena underscores UX GIRL's distinctive approach to pairing senior and junior designers. It extends beyond optimising project outcomes; it's about mutual growth. As articulated in collaboration with BlockyDevs:

We introduce two main methods: pairing a junior or mid-level designer with a senior designer... Alternatively, we assemble teams with a mix of skills and experience levels.

This approach not only optimises project outcomes and budgets but also yields collaboration-fueled results that outperform single-designer projects. For a detailed exploration of this innovative approach, please refer to the interview.

In the image, there is a depiction of the subject of the article described below.
5 min

Transitioning from Interest to Profession: The Journey to UX Design

"As the demand for digital products increases, so does the need for UX." - Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska's words encapsulate the dynamic nature of today's IT market. In a conversation with Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska, the founder and CEO of UX GIRL, we delved into the intricacies of this fascinating field.

The Path to UX: Igniting the Passion

Magdalena reveals that she took her first steps in web design as a child, inspired by her brother. It was during those formative years that her passion for user interface design ignited. Her choice of academic path, studying computer science, and involvement in the "Human-Computer Interaction" research group directed her towards UX Design.

The Evolution of UX in the IT Space

Over the past 10 years, we've witnessed a revolution in how UX is perceived in the IT industry. Magdalena mentions that previously, few emphasized user needs. Today, thanks to methodological advancements and increased understanding, UX plays a pivotal role in the digital product creation process.

Key Competencies of a UX Designer

Magdalena emphasizes that a good UX Designer should possess curiosity, analytical thinking, and interpersonal skills. There isn't a single path to becoming a UX Designer, but practice and gaining experience are crucial.

The Role of UX GIRL in the Market

Magdalena's company, UX GIRL, responds to the growing demand for UX specialists. She notes that the sector is evolving rapidly in tandem with the increasing demand for digital products.

Challenges and Prospects for Women in IT

Most of Magdalena's colleagues are women, reflecting the changing perception of women in IT. Studies show that women are appreciated for their meticulousness and dedication to their work.

Embarking on the UX Adventure

For those looking to enter the world of UX, Magdalena advises making a decision and consistently pursuing it. Practice, volunteering for digital projects, and finding a mentor are key to development in this field.

Through our interview with Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska, we discover that the world of UX is not just about interfaces; it's also about passion, hard work, and continuous improvement. It's hopeful that inspiring stories like hers will attract more talent to this dynamic field.

For specifics please refer to the full interview.

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5 min

The Evolution of the Blinking Cursor: Navigating the Challenge of Multiple Cursors in Design

The digital environment is constantly changing. Design evolves and adapts to new needs and new users. However, some solutions do not go out of fashion. People from all generations know them and changing them could introduce chaos or at least frustration.

All of you know it very well and see it every day while typing on any of your devices. It helps you by indicating the spot for your future text and does follow new letters as you type. It also specifies the location in the text where you want to paste something that you previously copied. You might have seen it as an underscore or a block but usually, it takes the form of a blinking vertical line. As we found out while researching for this article - it also has a lot of names

  • caret
  • blinking cursor
  • text cursor
  • text insertion point

Where did the blinking cursor even come from?

In the last century, along with technological development, the possibility of creating and editing texts on the first computers appeared. However, writers struggled with the problem of the lack of a quick and intuitive possibility of changing or removing a selected fragment of the text.

Charles Kiesling was one of the engineers interested in advancing the capabilities of computers in the 1950s. He worked on improving the logic circuitry of computers such as the IBM 650. In 1967, Kiesling filed a patent for a new typing solution - a blinking cursor. However, this solution became widely known and used in 1977 with the premiere of Apple II and a year later with the premiere of the first commercially popular word processor WordStar.

Today, anyone who has had a computer in their hands at least once knows what a cursor means. Designers and developers working on products and adding new features can’t disregard  solutions users are already used to.

So what should we do if we need to point two spots at once?

We’ve recently asked ourselves this question for the first time. We came across a case that made us think about it while designing a tool similar to code creator. The user was supposed to add a few elements in the line, which together created a whole code. Each of the elements could have been selected from a code completion list that also had a search function. First caret: the user needed to be able to see the location of a new element added in the "code". Second caret: if the user wanted to search for an element, the caret must have appeared in the active textfield.

What now? Should we delete one cursor? Gray it out? How about leaving both of them and ignoring the problem? We’ve decided to check some popular apps - desktop and mobile and find out how they solve this problem.
Gmail on Mac - Adding emoji to a new email

One caret follows the text entered in the search box. The other indicates the place in the email where the selected emoji will appear. It's worth noticing that they are both blinking and have the same color.

Adding emoji to a new email. Illustration of the cursors' behavior.
Google Docs - Searching an element in the doc

In that case, the first cursor follows the text typed in the finder tool. The second one points to the last active text location. Both of the cursors have the same color, but just the one in the finder is blinking. The second cursor starts to blink again after closing the finder.

Searching an element in the google document. Illustration of the cursors' behavior.
iOS Notes - Adding emoji to the note

iPhone users can experience a double text cursor creating a new note on their phones. The cursors are very different from each other - they have different colors and only the one in the search box is blinking.

Adding emoji to the iOS note. Illustration of the cursors' behavior.
WhatsApp for Android - Adding emoji to the new message

In that case, we can see only one caret and it’s in a search box. The one in the textfield is invisible but the selected emoji appears in the place where a caret was active the last time.

Adding emoji to the new WhatsApp message. Illustration of the cursors' behavior.

Which one is the best?

After testing a few apps, it's time to summarize the pros and cons of each solution.

Visibility of both cursors at once

In our opinion, the user should always be able to see where the result of their action will appear. Making one of the carets invisible takes away some part of the user's control. So we stand for keeping both cursors visible to the user. What is important here is creating a hierarchy for them. So now let's take care of…

Colors

Let's pay attention to a good idea that appeared in one of the inspirations we found: the cursor that is not responsible for the main action on the screen is grayed out. To highlight the importance of the main cursor, we can also choose colors other than black. Blue for example will call attention to the active status of the textfield.

Blinking

Last but not least - blinking of the cursor. It is obvious that this function helps a lot in finding our current location in the text. But aren't two elements blinking on the screen too much? In our opinion, yes. In the case of a double cursor, we would definitely choose to animate only one of them, the main action one.

Conclusions

Adding a blinking cursor to the interfaces was undoubtedly necessary to facilitate many people's daily work. This invention has stood the test of time and is still widely used today. However, sometimes even the most reliable solutions need an adaptation to more complex features. Yet, as designers, we have to remember that if the user already knows the action of a component, we shouldn’t change it.

In our opinion, in this task, we should focus on designing the hierarchy of elements. We have the ability to work on the visibility, color, and movement of elements. This essential UX designer skill will keep the interface transparent and let the user stay in control. 

And you? How would you design a tool that requires two cursors? And as a user, have you noticed this problem in the apps you use?

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