James Melzer

James Melzer, User Experience Designer and Information Architect


  • 2013

    Buffalo, New York

    Boy, if you like Frank LLoyd Wright, you're going to love a road trip to Buffalo. I know I did. We saw the Darwin Martin House, summer home Graycliff, and the magnificent Falling Water (on the way there).

  • 2012


    An adventure that started with the words, "you know, for the same price as a B&B on the Eastern Shore, we could go to Iceland". Northern lights. Glaciers. Volcanos. An amazing country and a perfect vacation.

  • 2011

    St. Thomas

    Of course we'll go to a wedding on a tropical island! Why don't more people do this? Sandy beaches, stellar sunsets, and impeccable hotels? Yes, please.

  • 2003, 2010

    Cinque Terre, Italy

    After a brief taste of heaven in '03, we returned to the Cinque Terre for the conclusion of our 10th anniversary trip across Europe. We enjoyed the sun, the slow pace, and the seafood.

  • 2010

    Czech Republic

    For our 10th anniversary we traveled through three European countries. Two of the high points were in the Czech Republic: the historical streets of Prague, and the castle town of Czesky Krumlov.


  • Banished

    A gem of a sim, pitting your villagers against the grueling onslaught of winter, wrestling with freezing, starvation, and life's other pitfalls. Even on easy mode, Banished reminds you how dangerous life on the frontier can be. © Shining Rock Software

  • The Elder Scrolls Online

    Vast and gorgeous, ESO is a brand-new MMO which builds on Bethesda's previous successes with the Elder Scrolls series. I've played this series since Arena. Bethesda continues to deepen one of fiction's most compelling worlds in this title. © Zenimax Media

  • EvE Online

    A wretched hive of scum and villany. The largest single-shard game universe. The largest virtual economy. After a decade, it remains the ultimate sci-fi sandbox game and a grand socio-economic experiment. © CCP

Blog Posts

Responsive Grid Behaviors

I wrote short blog post at eightshapes.com about defining a working vocabulary for responsive grid behaviors. There's a demo page where you can try different behaviors out. Feedback welcome!

Morville's Facets of User Experience Refined?

An oldie but goodie. Back in 2005, I had the hubris to try to improve on Peter Morville's iconic Facets of UX diagram, also known as "the honeycomb diagram". Read on...

Applying Mental Models Outside UX

At the IA Summit in 2010, I presented a poster on a mental modeling project. Read on...

UX Toolkit

InDesign + Unify

InDesign remains the king of design documentation. I love the ability to place live art from a range of sources, like Illustrator or Photoshop. Add EightShapes Unify for powerful templates, objects and styles.

Breakpoint Matrix

I made this diagram to communicate responsive web design to stakeholders and developers. I presented a poster on the breakpoint matrix at the IA Summit.

TextMate + Chrome

Last year, I consciously made the switch from InDesign wireframes to HTML prototypes. It's been a difficult but rewarding transition. My tools of choice are: TextMate, Tower, Compass and Chrome.

EightShapes Blocks

I've been a willing guinea pig for the development of Blocks, an browser-based prototyping tool we built in-house. If you're serious about HTML prototyping, give it a go.