All posts from
May 2011

The Art of Design Research (and Why It Matters)

“(…) sometimes design teams don’t have the patience to see the value in dragging out a study in an effort to make it scientifically or statistically significant. We’re just not wired that way; we prefer to make and experiment and then analyze later. So what is research good for?”

(Jon Freach ~ The Atlantic)

user-interface, user-experience & usability explained

“So in short, when I’m ‘interacting’ with a website I’m using its user-interface design. How I ‘feel’ and my ‘preferences’ when using it is my user experience and how ‘easy and intuitive’ it is for me to perform the functions I came to do, is a measure of its usability. As you can see, it’s really hard for someone to specialise in one of these areas without an understanding of the other two.”

(Bernhard Schokman a.k.a. @bernardschokman ~ myware)

ROI of UX

“If we can measure the exact ROI of UX, we can demonstrate the value of the UX team, their work and also justify the need for research when it is necessary. Often the complaint around UX is speed. We can speed up the UX process by sketching, measuring features when they are live, and evolving our designs rather than working to create a final and highly polished version at launch. We can calculate the trade-off of using this faster deployment method rather than the more traditional process of doing lots of user testing up-front. There will be times where it isn’t appropriate, and knowing the numbers allows us to justify this to the business. A caveat for the faster deployment method is that the UX team must be very senior and experienced.”

(Marie-Claire Jenkins a.k.a. @missmcj ~ i-thought)
courtesy of rolandnagtegaal

Ubiquitous Usability

“For too long usability has been the preserve of geeks – a specialism confined to websites and screens, form factors and devices. We need to realise that usability – in other words ‘how easily people can use something to achieve a goal’ shouldn’t just be restricted to the lab and the engineer. It should be something that everyone expects to get, and everybody strives to provide. Usability should apply to all walks of life and everything that we encounter – it should be ubiquitous. It needs to be about the services we use and the spaces we inhabit.”

(Daniel Letts ~ live|work)

Usability testing with children: A lesson from Piaget

“Children are becoming an increasingly important target group on the web. Good usability and high user experience are crucial aspects for a successful website. Early and repetitive user testing is the way to go. If we address children on our website, we need to focus on what they want. We need to include children as a target group in our user testing. In this post, I’d like to take a look at usability testing with different age groups.”

(Sabina Idler a.k.a. @SabinaIdler ~ usabilia)

Responsive Web Design or Separate Mobile Site?

“Religion, nationalism, and sports-team rivalries? They can’t compare to the passion of a nerd’s technical conviction. And so kerfuffles result. Well-intentioned zeal leads to distracting dustups. Alas, complex problems rarely resolve themselves into neat black-and-white principles. The only principle that ever seems reliable is drearily unsatisfying: ‘it depends’. In the mobile world, we have the persistent and circular debate over whether the mobile web should be powered by the very same sites and webpages that render the desktop web.”

(Josh Clark a.k.a. @globalmoxie ~ Global Moxie)

The Expanding Role of User Experience Design

“As UX designers, our role in our industry is more important today than ever. Our medium is maturing into a broad, multiple-platform, always on, multi-context, center-of-our-universe conduit for information. Our clients and customers are demanding more of us. We’re not just designing web experiences anymore. Our designs have to adapt and respond to a variety of devices with different input methods that are used under very different circumstances where user goals and expectations change as well.”

(Aarron Walter a.k.a. @aarron ~ UX Magazine)

Uncovering Context With Mobile Diary Studies

“Mobile user research can no longer afford to be confined by physical space and geographic boundaries. People are on the move. If we as researchers are to to understand their true behaviors, we need a robust toolset to meet them where they are and understand where they are going.”

(Punchcut Perspectives)

Capturing Meaningful and Significant User Experience Metrics

“How many times have you wondered how you can collect meaningful and significant metrics to validate your research? Many researchers struggle with this same dilemma on a daily basis. For example, how can we know the magnitude of the issues we are detecting in a traditional usability lab study? Surprisingly, there are many ways to capture useful UX metrics if you have the knowledge of what solutions to use and how to use them.”

(Kim Oslob ~ UXmatters)

Three Layers of Mobile User Experience

“In comparison to traditional cell phones, smartphones do a much better job of letting users stay connected on the go. They have bigger screens and higher-resolution displays, and their industrial design is more fashionable. Common features of smartphones include, but are not limited to touchscreens, high-megapixel cameras, global positioning systems (GPSs), and many gaming and entertainment options. Smartphones enable people to engage in a wide range of activities, including communication, entertainment, personal-information management, and social networking.”

(Shanshan Ma a.k.a. @shanshanma ~ UXmatters)

Imaginary Interfaces

“Screen-less wearable devices allow for the smallest form factor and thus the maximum mobility. However, current screen-less devices only support buttons and gestures. Pointing is not supported because users have nothing to point at. However, we challenge the notion that spatial interaction requires a screen and propose a method for bringing spatial interaction to screen-less devices. We present Imaginary Interfaces, screen-less devices that allow users to perform spatial interaction with empty hands and without visual feedback. Unlike projection-based solutions, such as Sixth Sense, all visual ‘feedback’ takes place in the user’s imagination. Users define the origin of an imaginary space by forming an L-shaped coordinate cross with their non-dominant hand. Users then point and draw with their dominant hand in the resulting space.”

(Hasso Plattner Institute)

Mobile Prototyping Essentials

“Last week, I presented the following talk on Mobile Prototyping at Web Directions Unplugged in Seattle. It was a great opportunity to share content from my latest chapter of The Mobile Frontier on prototyping. Thanks to John Allsopp, Maxine Sherrin, and Brian Fling for including me in such an inspiring event.”

(Rachel Hinman a.k.a. @Hinman)

Designing Maps Applications for Usability on Mobile and Desktop

“Maps API applications are accessed on desktop and mobile devices of many shapes and sizes. Each application has unique goals for conveying information effectively and for facilitating user interactions. Learn how to improve user experience by optimizing the presentation of your map and data and by thoughtful user interface design.”

(Luke Mahé, Jez Fletcher, Justin O’Beirne ~ Google I/O sessions)

ASIS&T 2010 (The Proceedings)

Navigating Streams in an Information Ecosystem ~ “Welcome to the sixth electronic edition of the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Although generally organized in the same manner and sequence as earlier print publications, articles in this edition use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, with integrated images, graphics, and other material. Addresses to websites and other Internet locations may or may not be active hyperlinks, depending on individual author decisions. Returning this year is an integrated schedule and table of contents, clicking on any session title will open the paper or session description.”

(American Society for Information Science and Technology a.k.a. ASIS&T)

Mobile Context Revisited

“Mobile context has been overblown. It is device capabilities and constraints plus the fact that mobile devices are with you anywhere and everywhere. But those factors are important enough that they force us to rethink Web design.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @lukew)

tFacet: A tool to build faceted navigation

“The aim is to facilitate ordinary users to formulate semantically unambiguous queries so as to support the fast and precise access to information. Used interaction concepts are e.g. a directory tree and interchangeable columns that are already well-known from other applications. The directory tree, for example, is used to enable the intuitive exploration and selection of hierarchical facets.”

(Taxonomy Watch)

Content Strategy: A brief history of the Web

“The idea of content strategy isn’t as easy to grasp for others, and that’s ok because some folks appreciate naming things and seeing them all in relation to one another. It’s a kind of wayfinding in the growing complexity of the digital age.”

(R. Stephen Gracey a.k.a. @RSGracey ~ The Content Strategy Noob)