All posts from
March 2010

Case study: Agile and UCD working together

“Large scale websites require groups of specialists to design and develop a product that will be a commercial success. To develop a completely new site requires several teams to collaborate and this can be difficult. Particularly as different teams may be working with different methods. This case study shows how the ComputerWeekly user experience team integrated with an agile development group. It’s important to note the methods we used do not guarantee getting the job done. People make or break any project. Finding and retaining good people is the most important ingredient for success.” (James Kelway – Boxes and Arrows)

Common Ground

“In the modern, agile world, programmers defend themselves against changing requirements by showing customers the program as often as possible, and by being able to make rapid changes to suit the customers expressed needs. Interaction designers defend themselves against uncooperative programmers by doing ever more detailed design and documenting it with greater accuracy, detail, and precision.” (Alan Cooper)

Developing a UI Design Pattern Library

“Designing good user interfaces is difficult, and thus software development organizations need effective and usable design tools to support design work. In this thesis a tool, a user interface design pattern library which captures knowledge of good UI design and shares it effectively in reusable format to the development organization (…)” (@Janne Lammi 2007)

Taming Goliath: Selling UX to Large Companies 2/2

“Collaborating effectively can be difficult for large companies. Projects can involve multiple locations, people, systems, and other outside companies. Large companies also tend to be departmental rather than project-focused, and this can hinder working together. But, being able to bring people together is key to delivering successful sites for large companies. Here are some tools and techniques to improve collaboration on projects.” (Alan Colville – UX Booth)

Fred Wilson’s 10 Golden Principles of Successful Web Apps

“In February 2010 Fred Wilson, a New York based tech investor, spoke at the annual Future of Web Apps Miami conference. His talk, clocking in at just under 30 minutes, looks at his top 10 principles for creating a successful web app. A full transcript is available too.” (Keir Whitaker – Think Vitamin)

Seven Contexts for Service System Design

“Many of the most complex service systems being built and imagined today combine person-to-person encounters, technology-enhanced encounters, self-service, computational services, multi-channel, multidevice, and location-based and context-aware services. This paper examines the characteristic concerns and methods for these seven different design contexts to propose a unifying view that spans them, especially when the service-system is information-intensive. A focus on the information required to perform the service, how the responsibility to provide this information is divided between the service provider and service consumer, and the patterns that govern information exchange yields a more abstract description of service encounters and outcomes. This makes it easier to see the systematic relationships among the contexts that can be exploited as design parameters or patterns, such as the substitutability of stored or contextual information for person-to-person interactions.” (Robert Glushko 2009)

Rock Stars Need Not Apply

“The world needs talented, passionate service designers but it can do without rock stars. Service designers are humble. They embrace participatory values, particularly the idea that we should be designing with people rather than designing for them. The practical upshot is an evolutionary divergence in approach to research, sketching, design and prototyping.” (Jeff Howard)

Leonard Cohen versus Jesse James Garrett

“I think we should be called information architects and that it’s easier to talk about IA with people outside our field in terms of A than to talk with them about UXD in terms of X or D. Mr. Garrett thinks we are now and have always been user experience designers, that UXD is easier for muggles to understand, and that those of us who specialize in and choose the titles of IA or IxD are either fools or liars.” (Dan Klyn – Wildly Appropriate)

Interaction10: How to Design an Experience for Experience Designers?

“Collaborating with a large team of designers, who all worked as volunteers, we decided to approach the conference experience as designers creating a service, taking every aspect of the experience into account. We thought through the lifecycle of the event, in light of the needs and motivations of the 600+ participants at the event, in their various roles from attendees and speakers to sponsors, volunteers, and conference staff. We used our empathy as designers to imagine what was important to each user at each stage of the experience. And while not everything worked out exactly as we planned, based on feedback, I think conference was a success. Here are a few things we learned along the way.” (Jennifer Bove – Fast Company)

What am I?

“My interests and skills in the universe that is Design tack heavily toward using information to create structured systems for human experience. I’m obsessed with the design challenges that come from linking things that couldn’t be linked before the Internet — creating habitats out of digital raw material. That, to me, is the heart of information architecture.” (Andrew Hinton)

Web App Masters: Designing for Interesting Moments

“In his Designing for Interesting Moments presentation at the Web App Masters Tour in San Diego, CA, Bill Scott outlined several rich interaction design principles and showed them in action within several Web applications.” (the notes of LukeW)

UX at Year X

“Adaptive Path co-founder and principal Jesse James Garrett’s accolades range from creating seminal works on user experience to coining the term AJAX. Ahead of his UX London presentation, he talked to us about The Elements of User Experience a decade on, how service design relates to user experience, and his pick of future UX rock stars. (…) the phenomenal success Apple has had in the last ten years has been a double-edged sword for us.” (Jeroen van Geel – Johnny Holland Magazine)

Designing for the Web

“(…) aims to teach you techniques for designing your website using the principles of graphic design. Featuring five sections, each covering a core aspect of graphic design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Colour, and Layout. Learn solid graphic design theory that you can simply apply to your designs, making the difference from a good design to a great one. If you’re a designer, developer, or content producer, reading the book will enrich your website design and plug the holes in your design knowledge. Now available online. For free!” (Mark Boulton)

Taming Goliath: Selling UX to Large Companies 1/2

“Large companies are the financial backbone of the web industry, but their size and complex organizational structure can make them challenging to work with. Having worked on both sides of the fence, I’ve seen great ideas become the casualties of this struggle between the proverbial David and Goliath, as agencies or freelancers meet face-to-face with Big Business to create web sites. Closing the door to large companies means missing out on important revenue, good work, and more people using our designs, so how can we make large companies work for us?” (Alan Colville – UX Booth)

Content: Not Always King

“The strategy you adopt when tackling a project needs to take this continuum in mind. If your product is about content consumption, content is king and you should do due diligence and start from a content strategy perspective. Users of those products are coming to be informed or entertained and need the content to be front-and-center; the product is in service to displaying the content in as appropriate a manner as possible. The meaning of the content matters; you wouldn’t display a cartoon the same way you’d display an analysis of the stock market. At least, not usually.” (Dan Saffer – Kicker Studio) – Goes back to the old web app (code) versus doc (data) distinction.

Designing for Awareness at SXSWi

“Interaction designers talk a lot about a user’s emotional experience, but they understand very little about what motivates people to engage. How can designers understand triggers (signals, facilitators, and sparks) that help to change people’s behavior? frog VP of Creative Robert Fabricant investigates.” (Robert Fabricant – frogdesign)

User-Centered Innovation is not Sustainable

“Only forward-looking executives, designers, and, of course, policy makers may introduce sustainable innovation into the economic picture. They need to step back from current dominant needs and behaviors and envision new scenarios. They need to propose new unsolicited products and services that are both attractive, sustainable, and profitable.” (Roberto Verganti – Harvard Business Review)

Scrolling and Attention

“Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

UX Design versus UI Development

“One of the more interesting tensions I have observed – since getting into user experience design about five years ago – is the almost sibling-rivalry tension between UX Designers and User Interface (UI) Developers. At the heart of the tension between them is the fact that most UI Developers consider themselves – and sometimes rightfully so – to be UI Designers. The coding part is like Picasso’s having to understand how to mix paint. It’s not the value they add, just the mechanics of delivering the creative concepts.” (Mike HughesUXmatters)