All posts from
January 2010

Better User Experience With Storytelling (Part One)

“Stories have defined our world. They have been with us since the dawn of communication, from cave walls to the tall tales recounted around fires. They have continued to evolve with their purpose remaining the same; To entertain, to share common experiences, to teach, and to pass on traditions. Today we communicate a bit differently. Our information is fragmented across various mass-media channels and delivered through ever-changing technology. It has become watered down, cloned, and is churned out quickly in 140-character blurbs. We’ve lost that personal touch where we find an emotional connection that makes us care.” (Francisco Inchauste – Smashing Magazine)

Stephen Anderson on Seductive Interactions

“How can we design systems that encourage the behaviors we want? One of the bleeding edge ideas we’ll be talking about at the UIE Web App Masters Tour is adding motivation to web applications. How do you encourage user behavior through the design of your web app? It may initially sound a little far-fetched, but there’s an industry that’s been shaping its customer’s behavior since the beginning: the gaming industry.” (UIE Brain Sparks)

Thoughts on Apple’s iPad

“The iPad is not a laptop nor is it a smart phone. It is a couch device, a bedroom device (don’t read that the wrong way), and a kitchen device (swivel it to cook from a recipe you find online). In all these places, a laptop always felt wrong. The iPad is optimized for surfing the Web, reading blogs/news/books, watching TV shows, playing casual games, listening to music, managing personal productivity (calendar, contacts) and looking at photos. Expecting it to do what a laptop does is the wrong frame of reference.” (Luke Wroblewski)

UX Case Study: Designing a user-focused web app

“I wrote this article to give you insight into the complete design process for the redesign of Nearby Tweets. Web app developers and entrepreneurs will hopefully gain some ideas or reinforce their own processes. Users may find it interesting to see what goes into the design of a complex UI. I’d love your ideas, feedback, and thoughts at the end of this article! Enjoy.” (Brian Cray)

Writing for the Web: The Right Strategy

“When it comes to designing a website, content is often overlooked, but why? Very rarely do users browse the web looking for a good design or decent experience. Users come for the content. Not giving them what they want with poorly written content will frustrate users. Not only does it waste their time, but your time as well.” (Shay Howe – letscountthedays) – courtesy of destrywion

What Makes Design Intuitive?

“Using examples of web sites, applications, devices, and more, guest lecturer Jared Spool tackles factors that contribute to counter-intuitive design, and narrows down when design is intuitive.” (Jared Spool – MFA in Interaction Design)

The Differences between Usability and User Experience

“Usability refers to the ease with which a user can accomplish his or her goals using any tool. (…) Somewhat in contrast, user experience refers to the way a user perceives his or her interaction with a system. User experience design encompasses both interaction design and visual design and seeks to promote an interface that is pleasing to the user.” (RJ Owen – InsideRIA)

Testing Expert Users

“It’s more difficult to conduct usability studies with experienced users than with novices, and the improvements are usually smaller. Still, improving expert performance is often worth the effort.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Preso: UX Strategy as told by the paintings of Jan Steen (and friends)

“UX strategy lacks strategy, it is usually just a glorified waterfall process, even agile processes are just incremental waterfall. This presentation tells the current state of UX strategy in pictures while it outlines a real UX Strategy in words.” (Jonathan Arnowitz)

Innovation is Served

“(…) a good model for spreading the word about service design to a lay audience. I’d prefer a bit more detail in the case studies but 31Volts has done an admirable job hitting the design highlights and staying out of the weeds.” (Jeff HowardDesign for Service)

20 User Experience Books you should own

“These highly recommended user experience books cover everything from user research and interface design, to information architecture and UX strategy. If you’re really serious about your career as a user experience professional, these books should be the cornerstone of your personal library.” (UXbyDesign)

UX design in print media: Designing with the user in mind

“Due to the increasing popularity of usability design and user experience design articles that focus on the internet and web design, you might not be aware that user experience design has been around a lot longer than the internet has. This article will discuss the effects that user experience design has specifically in print design. It is my firm belief that user experience design is important in any design setting and your future success in the design industry depends on how well you can design an experience.” (Preston D. Lee – Graphic Design Blender)

Preso: Wireframes for the Wicked

“Wireframes beyond the basics, not for the weak at heart. In this panel, three experienced designers will share their tried and true tips for making wireframes really work. We’ll talk about how to sketch a wireframe on the fly to demonstrate an idea and how to create a standalone wireframe deliverable; when to show a concept and when to describe nitty-gritty detail; how to make a narrative wireframe and how to make a specification wireframe. And best of all, we’ll show you plenty of examples.” (Michael Angeles, Nick Finck and Donna Spencer – March 6, 2009)

What have we forgotten about UX?

“Maybe I’m not very smart (don’t answer that!). Possibly it’s because I got my Graphic Design degree almost 20 years ago. Or maybe it’s because most of what I’ve learned about UX design is geared toward eLearning, where the overriding goal is to make sure the user has the best possible chance of absorbing whatever content is presented. But I seem to have some concepts about what constitutes good usability that are at odds with what I see demonstrated on websites that are about UX and design or are by people who are using their sites to market their UX design services. Before I get specific about what I’m seeing in these sites, I thought I’d outline what the criteria are for me for good UX.” (Amy Blankenship – InsideRIA)

Apple’s Proposed Multi-touch User Interface System

“(…) these proposals outline an integrated interaction model of virtual “floating” controls that are specific to the mode or application the system is in. The controls are accessed and manipulated through touch-based gestures, combinations of mutli-touch inputs, and/or inputs detected through sensors. Users get haptic, audible, and visual feedback when using these input methods to interact with the system’s set of virtual controls.” (LukeW)

Pervasive Information Architecture: Designing information space in ubiquitous ecologies

“Information is going everywhere, bleeding out of we thought was cyberspace and back into the real world: increasingly, many tasks we perform every day not only constantly require us to move between different media, but actually have us move from the digital to the physical environment and back. Computation is everywhere, and so are search and interaction. It’s time to move beyond the computer screen to design information space in these new ubiquitous ecologies.” (Andrea Resmini & Luca Rosati)

Embedding User Experience in the Product Development Lifecycle

“All UX professionals, not just user assistance developers, face the problem of integrating their work into the product development lifecycle. At lower levels of organizational usability maturity, too often, the contributions of User Experience tend to be reactive. Usability professionals test the usability of a given product, then designers mitigate any shortcomings they find, and user assistance developers merely document what is already there. This column takes a look at the full scope of the product development lifecycle and how UX professionals can add value.” (Mike HughesUXmatters)

UX Leader as Sales Agent?

“(…) many UX professionals feel a bit frustrated that it is necessary for them to convince their business partners that user experience is valuable—and that our core practices should be a central part of standard business practices.” (Jim NietersUXmatters)

Design Trends across Decades

“Joining Karel on this episode are Keith Instone (Information Architecture Lead, IBM CIO’s Office, IBM.com), Eliane Tozman (User Interface Designer, IBM Media Design Studio), Ben Sykes (UX Design Strategy Consultant at Interactoid), and Shawn O’Keefe (Interactive Festival Producer and Web Developer at SXSW. The panel discusses recent design related news from the last month or two, the biggest user experience design innovations of the last decade, and predictions about what the next decade holds in store.” (UXDEsignCast)

Fantastic Information Architecture Resources

“Information architecture can be a daunting subject for designers who’ve never tried it before. Creating successful infographics and visualizations takes skill and practice, along with some advance planning. But anyone with graphic design skills can learn to create infographics that are effective and get data across in a user-friendly manner. Below are a collection of resources to get you going down the information architecture path. Whether you just want to become more familiar with infographics and data visualizations for occasional use or are thinking of making it a career, the resources below will surely come in handy. There are also some beautiful examples and more roundups to see even more fantastic graphics.” (Cameron Chapman – Noupe)