All posts from
September 2010

Content strategy: The essential link

“Content strategy is catching on fast in the web world. But in many corporate communications departments, or their equivalent, it seems few people know what it means or what to make of it.” (Diana Railton)

What Is a Plain Language Expert?

“A plain language expert combines skills in writing, information design, and usability. A plain language expert can help make instructions, headings, and other text clear to voters. This article provides help in evaluating someone as a plain language expert.” (Janice Ginny Redish ~ Center for Plain Language)

The Digital Life: Episode 1

“We are proud to present our first – prototype! – episode of The Digital Life: adventures in design and technology. The purpose of the show is to provide insight into various topics and areas of interest pertaining to the bleeding edge of the industries behind digital technology. Leveraging our years inside the most important and progressive companies in Silicon Valley, we will provide insights and an interesting and ever-changing array of special guests to entertain you while helping your brain grow bigger. Bull Session: InfoViz.” (Involution Studios)

How to measure the effectiveness of web content?

“(…) I can see two issues that make this a pretty difficult task, and it’s the reason why the above three methods should not be used in isolation. In combination, they help tell the whole story. It is difficult to know what users really read on a page and it is difficult to isolate the effect of content changes from the other influencing factors on a page.” (Rian van der Merwe ~ Elezea)

Gastronomy: A source of inspiration for user experience design

“Today, I delivered my presentation at the EuroIA 2010 in Paris on the relation between my two passions: gastronomy and user experience design. Gastronomy: A source of inspiration for user experience design. “A crazy topic with a scary video clip of a positive eating experience”, I said in my impersonation as Lars Von Trier!” (Composing Cook ~ FoodUX)

Design for Mobile: Future of Mobile UX

“The future of mobile isn’t on the phone. It requires being aware of environments. People are more than an eyeball and a finger. (…) When investigating, predicting, developing new technologies, laughter and delight signal a business opportunity.” (Luke Wroblewski)

Testing Accordian Forms

“Web forms are the linchpins of most online businesses and applications. Whether they are responsible for checkout on e-commerce sites, communication on social applications, or any kind of data entry on the web, forms allow people to complete important tasks. And web form design details can have a big influence on how successful, efficient, and happy people feel about the process.” (Luke Wroblewski ~ A List Apart)

Global launch of Designing intranets: Creating sites that work

“The definitive textbook for intranet teams on how to design intranets that work for staff. In 275 pages, this book walks through a practical user-centred approach to the design process, richly illustrating each step with full-colour screenshots from organisations across the globe.” (James Robertson)

Improve Site Usability by Studying Museums

“Using a website should be easy. It should be intuitive. We should know what button or link to click to get to where we need to be. But sometimes websites can be insanely confusing. (…) This article aims to underscore lessons we can learn from museums and art galleries in relation to website usability.” (Alexander Dawson ~ Six Revisions)

Dancing with the Cards: Quick-and-Dirty Analysis of Card-Sorting Data

“User researchers frequently use card sorting to understand how users perceive the structure of a Web site and the ideal way for them to navigate through the site. Usually card sorting starts with doing an inventory of a Web site’s content, then creating a card for each stand-alone piece of content. Researchers recruit participants for a card sort from a Web site’s target audience, then ask them to group the cards into categories that make sense to them.” (Shanshan Ma ~ UXmatters)

Leveraging User Data by Embedding UX Design Knowledge in Products

“The role of data in a UX design process usually goes something like this: User researchers or UX designers gather data about users and their needs, using a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches. They then analyze the data—often developing documentation that synthesizes the data, such as a task analysis or a set of personas. Finally, they use their analysis as a basis for making design decisions or influencing the strategy of the broader organization. Throughout this process, UX professionals mediate the relationships between the data that describes users and their requirements, design goals, and business objectives, seeking to align them as closely as possible. This article looks at how we can make this process of data analysis and design—or redesign—more effective by embedding UX design knowledge in computer systems.” (Peter Hornsby ~ UXmatters)

What comes after mobile

“Matt Webb talks about how slightly smart things have invaded our lives over the past years. People have been talking about artificial intelligence for years but the promise has never really come through. Matt shows how the AI promise has transformed and now seems to be coming to us in the form of simple toys instead of complex machines. But this talks is about much more then AI, Matt also introduces chatty interfaces and hard math for trivial things.” (Matt Webb ~ Mobile Monday Amsterdam)

Can Experience be Designed?

“As in every other field there are con men that fool naive clients using experience design as a slogan. Some just make empty promises, some sell fluffy white papers, some use the slogan to hold pompous speeches, some just upsell naive clients with hot air. (…) Being an active facebook or Twitter user, a talented speaker, a winning sales man or a collector of UXD articles doesn’t make you an expert on user experience design.” (Oliver Reichenstein ~ Information Architects)

Information science as a social science

“This paper traces the specifics of information science as a social science. The paper examines the background of the social sciences in the history of academic disciplines. The paper discusses the ways in which positivism and interpretativism, the leading traditions of the social sciences, assert themselves in information science as a social science. It is argued that received ideas about the social sciences impact how information science as a social science is perceived. It is also argued that information science as a social science can and should provide valid scientific explanations. This paper distinguishes social interaction as the defining feature of information science as a social science. To this end, the paper proposes global complexity not as a theory or solution, but as a metaphor for information science as a social science to address the pressing issues of our increasingly interconnected world.” (Sylvain K. Cibangu ~ Information Research 15.3)

The mobile experience is nothing like desktop

“I put together this list of typical differentiating attributes of the two experiences. It’s not 100% correct because in some cases the reverse will be true … for example people using desktop computers are often in a hurry and don’t have time to waste and sometimes people using mobile phones are sitting in a hospital with hours to spare. But it’s a reasonable guide that shows how polarised the experiences are.” (Nathanael Boehm)

Recommendations for usability in practice

“This is the final version of my recommendations for usability in product development practice, based on a PhD research project at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft. In the 25 recommendations I discuss how I would organize a company if the goal is to make usable products. So am I speculating here? Yes, to some extent. But the recommendations are based on evidence I found through the three case studies I conducted. The vast majority of the recommendations were based on actual practices within companies I studied or on suggestions by experienced product development professionals.” (Jasper van Kuik ~ uselog)

Simplicity is Not Overrated, Just Misunderstood

“Usability and user experience design is all about making things simple and easy to use. I never would’ve expected such a contradictory statement coming from some one who co-founded the Nielsen and Norman group, a firm that offers usability consulting, training seminars and research reports. This statement puts a dagger into the back of usability and user experience design.” (UX Movement)

Design With Intent: How designers can influence behavior

“The central idea behind UCD is that designers create experiences based on a rich and nuanced understanding of observed and implied user needs over time. UCD grew out of a functional, usability-oriented philosophy that began in the workplace, but it has since expanded beyond the purely functional to take into account many dimensions of the user’s experience, including emotional needs and motivations. Using the UCD approach, designers are one step removed from the action. We influence behavior and social practice from a distance through the products and services that we create based on our research and understanding of behavior. We place users at the center and develop products and services to support them. With UCD, designers are encouraged not to impose their own values on the experience.” (Robert Fabricant ~ Design Observer)