All posts from
February 2009

Tips for Usability Professionals in a Down Economy

“The usability profession is experiencing the current economic downturn just like everyone else. This article offers ten tips for usability professionals trying to weather this economic storm.” – (Tom Tullis – Journal of Usability Studies 4.2) courtesy of uxtweets

Exploring a Deep Web That Google Can’t Grasp

“Now a new breed of technologies is taking shape that will extend the reach of search engines into the Web’s hidden corners. When that happens, it will do more than just improve the quality of search results — it may ultimately reshape the way many companies do business online.” – (Alex WrightNYTimes) registration required

Establishing a Service Design Methodology

“Okay, there it is; there is no design process!” – (David Nichols – itSM Solutions)

Reviewing User Interfaces

“Has your boss or a client ever asked you to review a user interface for a Web or desktop application? Perhaps the request went something like this: Can you just look over these new screens for us? Oh, and can you check the error messages, too? It won’t take long! And, by the way, we ship next month.” – (Rhonda BraceyUXmatters)

Usable Accessibility: Making Web Sites Work Well for People with Disabilities

“When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?” – (Whitney QuesenberyUXmatters)

Patterns in UX Research

“One of the key objectives of user research is to identify themes or threads that are common across participants. These patterns help us to turn our data into insights about the underlying forces at work, influencing user behavior.” – (Steve BatyUXmatters)

Improving website design to grow sales

“Design and usability matters a lot when creating a company website and getting it right could be the difference between business success and business failure.” – (Chris Barling – BusinessZone) courtesy of usabilitynews

Beyond prototype fidelity: environmental and social fidelity

“(…) environmental fidelity, social fidelity, and prototype fidelity need to be employed and manipulated throughout the design process to bring to our projects the generative ideas, validation, ability to see, play and iterate something that previously was only imagined, and the concrete conversation starters that let us talk and think with our teams and stakeholders.” – (Paula WellingsAdaptive Path blog)

Bringing Holistic Awareness to Your Design

“Web application design teams that have a shared understanding of a project’s context and objectives produce better results. Joseph Selbie explains, and gives us tips on how to promote shared, holistic understanding in our own teams.” – (Joseph Selbie – Boxes and Arrows)

Visual Interface Design: The Photography Example

“When developing user interfaces, designers increasingly use custom graphical elements. As the web browser becomes basic technology for software interfaces, more and more elements derived from graphic and web design replace the traditional desktop approaches to the concrete design of human-computer interfaces.” – (Milan Guenther – Boxes and Arrows)

Six ways to make Web 2.0 work

“Technologies known collectively as Web 2.0 have spread widely among consumers over the past five years. Social-networking Web sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, now attract more than 100 million visitors a month. As the popularity of Web 2.0 has grown, companies have noted the intense consumer engagement and creativity surrounding these technologies. Many organizations, keen to harness Web 2.0 internally, are experimenting with the tools or deploying them on a trial basis.” – (Michael Chui, Andy Miller, and Roger P. Roberts – The McKinsey Quaterly) – courtesy of shuggie

User (experience) research, design research, usability research, market research

“(…) a much more significant change was made at Yahoo! more recently: a merger of the user experience research group and the market research group, yielding an organization named, Customer Insights.” – (Richard Anderson – Riander)

In Defense of Readers

“Despite the ubiquity of reading on the web, readers remain a neglected audience. Much of our talk about web design revolves around a sense of movement: users are thought to be finding, searching, skimming, looking. We measure how frequently they click but not how long they stay on the page. We concern ourselves with their travel and participation – how they move from page to page, who they talk to when they get there—but forget the needs of those whose purpose is to be still. Readers flourish when they have space – some distance from the hubbub of the crowds – and as web designers, there is yet much we can do to help them carve out that space.” – (Mandy BrownA List Apart)

Bad service disguised as good service

“In a world where products are becoming more and more alike, service is often the only differentiating factor. So don’t let someone con you into thinking that you are receiving good service when the opposite is actually the case – well-intentioned or not. If we don’t demand better service, we will never receive it.” – (Eric ReissFatDUX blog)

It’s Not Who Your Customers Are, It’s How They Behave

“No department has a complete view of the customer, however, and so in place of true understanding are models and frameworks that attempt to describe the customer. Many companies don’t go beyond demographics and market segmentation.” – (Peter MerholzHarvard Business)

IA Summit 2009 Full Schedule

“The Information Architecture Summit is the premier gathering place for information architects and other user experience professionals. It’s grown from a special interest group’s efforts to define an emerging field, to a rich and expanding community of practice shaping and informing multiple disciplines.” – (IA Summit ’09)

Wordlings in a Web 2.0 World

“Public language has become impoverished by ‘managerialism’ which frequently reduces language to strings of ‘weasel’ words, a phenomenon blamed on the information society. This process is not as ubiquitous or as inevitable as often represented, however. Drawing on Burke’s notion of human beings as ‘wordlings’, I argue for the centrality of well–crafted words, especially on the Internet, and offer examples of language crafted with care and passion, leading to distilled and vivid expression. I use the term ‘word bytes’ for such language, as it can cut through the multiple items of information from many other media with which it is surrounded, and demand to be noticed and remembered. I conclude we do not have to accept the impoverished form of ‘managerial’ English, often produced by elites and used to justify the ‘financialization’ of the late capitalist world. We can begin to counter it by our own practices of using words with care and passion, and by disseminating our words. We can also stop and question ‘weasel’ language wherever we encounter it.” – (Carolyne Lee – First Monday 14.2)

How to Create Effective Personas for Your Projects

“Creating personas that are a reflection of real people helps us as web designers and developers to empathize with our end users and more easily consider needs, goals, and priorities that may be different than our own. These are critical skills to have since we may not be part of the target audience for the site we’re developing.” – (Ron Akanowicz – CivicActions) courtesy of jjursa