All posts from
October 2011

Anthropology extracts the true nature of tech

Have we found the Margaret Mead of user experience in Technology?

“Genevieve Bell, director of interaction and experience research at Intel Corporation, says when she approaches technology she is “less interested in thinking about the piece of technology itself and more interested in the kind of work that technology is trying to do and the larger context in which it finds itself.” In the following interview, Bell discusses her experience as a ‘Thinker in Residence’ and how anthropology concepts can be used to make tech more consumer centric.”

(Jenn Webb a.k.a. @jennwebb ~ O’Reilly Radar)

In Search of Innovation

Simply following a set of UCD processes and creating the obvious UX deliverables doesn’t lead anywhere.

“(…) brands have to take the lead in innovation with a strong and consistent vision, and outlined several reasons why it’s actually detrimental to listen to your users. I have to admit, their examples are compelling, but are they correct? How do we reconcile their claims with what we know about the value of design research and user-centered design? (…) I surmise that the pioneers of innovation really did have inspiration, intuition, hypotheses, hunches and non-linear thinking on their side. These are traits I would consider a part of a tinkerers’ personality.”

(Peter Hui a.k.a. @hooooy ~ Teehan+Lax)
courtesy of nicoooooooon

Using Scientific Knowledge to Bring Structure to Design Problems

The need for a scientific foundation of what we do expressed differently.

“Experience design, especially interface design, is perhaps one of the most fertile fields for the idea of scientific design. (…) In this article, we discuss three examples of solid scientific knowledge that are often applied to interface design. In our view, the translation of scientific findings into design practices is not always as straight-forward as we wish it would be. The concept of scientific knowledge refers to convictions about the world that have been reached through controlled processes of inquiry and investigation and that, in principle, are not influenced by arbitrary conventions, personal preferences, or individual interests. Scientific knowledge is derived from systematic observation that gradually leads to an understanding of reality that must be valid for everyone.”

(Gabriela Trindade Perry and Suely Fragoso ~ UX Magazine)

Designerly ways of working in UX

And if the enterprise had a baby with the economy, they would call it the customer a.k.a. the human being.

“If IBM and Apple had a baby today, it would be called UX. Not very likely, perhaps, but you see the point: UX has a mixed heritage, drawing from engineering traditions as well as big-D design traditions. I would like to characterize briefly what I have come across as typical values in professional UX practices. Then talk about what I see as ‘designerly’ ways of working within interaction design. And then finally put the two together in order to highlight some opportunities for designerly ways of working in UX.”

(Jonas Löwgren ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

Anchoring Your Design Language in a Live Style Guide

Talk about Design in a language each can understand.

“Without a style guide, high-fidelity mockups are the best way to communicate a new feature to developers. Unfortunately, though, pixel-perfect mockups almost always result in duplicative and wrongly abstracted code. Why? First, fidelity alone (without good annotations) does not communicate the abstractions you intend. Without knowing how the designers conceive of the design language, developers may make different modeling choices and make the code difficult to maintain. Second, higher fidelity can unintentionally signal novelty. Developers may think that you mocked up something in higher fidelity because it is a new UI component, and thus fail to reuse existing code. This slows down development and results in bloated, less maintainable code.”

(Jim Lindstrom a.k.a. @jimlindstrom ~ UX magazine)

Cutting the Complexity of Content Marketing

As an exception, I’ll post something on marketing. For making things a little better.

“Content marketing and online marketing, in general, have gotten seriously complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. So, what makes content marketing so complex? And how can we simplify it for the sake of all our sanity?”

(Jayme Thomason ~ Content Marketing Institute)

Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age

Visuals are great, but what about the language it uses, spoken.

“(…) the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling.”

(Maria Popova a.k.a. @brainpicker ~ Brain Pickings)
courtesy of nicoooooooon

Keynote Speaker Richard Buchanan at Service Design Conference 2011

One of the many things a camera in the iPad can do: video registration of great conference talks.

“(…) at Service Design Conference 2011 in San Francisco the closing keynote speaker Richard Buchanan was fantastic. It was interesting to hear his view that Management is a design practice and that Service Design is an emergent practice, not a novelty. He also gave the group a bit of tough love, by saying: “The role of the designer is to be the facilitator not the center”, and the crowd responded with applause. This was the best speaker of the two days, hope you all enjoy.”

(Aidan Green)

e-Commerce Usability

See, it’s (still) the content, st….!

“Sites have improved, and we now know much more about e-tailing usability. Today, poor content is the main cause of user failure.”

(Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)

What I Bring to UX From… Psychology

Important knowledge from inside the mind, brain and spirit.

“How does one end up in UX after counseling delinquent girls and brain injured individuals? This question is one I am asked frequently once people find out the somewhat unorthodox route I took towards my career in UX. With some explanation, the connection between the two areas becomes much clearer and there is greater understanding for how my background in psychology has laid the groundwork for a career in UX.”

(Lori W. Cavallucci a.k.a. @lwcavallucci ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

The Ten Principles of Interaction Design

Devs get their principles on (interaction) design.

“I got my start as an interaction designer during the first internet bubble. Since then I’ve worked on interactive marketing and products for everything including finance, automotive, electronics, packaged consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. In that time and experience I have come to know that there are a few key things that make good interaction designs and designers. Here are 10 of them.”

(Chad Vavra a.k.a. @chadvavra ~ .net magazine)

Two Extremes of Touch Interaction

Touch this, touch that.

“Microsoft Research Redmond researchers Hrvoje Benko and Scott Saponas have been investigating the use of touch interaction in computing devices since the mid-’00s. Now, two sharply different yet related projects demonstrate novel approaches to the world of touch and gestures.”

(Janie Chang ~ Microsoft Research)

Fear of Content

Not really sure why we changed data and information into content, as if it’s something completely different.

“Content can be a little frightening, it’s true. Not to everyone mind you. Some people simply love content, with all its oddities and challenges. More often than not these are the people who spend much of their time designing and creating content. But there are definitely people who look somewhat askance at this thing called ‘content’. The reasons why some people are less than enamored with content are worth considering and not only to refute them. There may well be good reasons to be afraid – or at least to approach content with due respect.”

(Joe Gollner a.k.a. @joegollner ~ The Fractal Enterprise)

The Future is Native

After the Age of Aquarius (source: Hair, the musical), we’re now entering the Age of User Experience.

“(…) as pervasive and unstoppable as its progress may seem, the web can still be lost if we don’t temper ideological extremisms that preach ‘the one web’ above all else, including pragmatism and user experience. In this (no doubt rather controversial) session, Aral Balkan will outline the essential role of user experience in our age and demonstrate how the web must embrace user experience if it is to compete with native. Flawed ‘native is laserdisc’ analogies will be shattered as Aral demonstrates how, in the Age of User Experience, the only possible future is a native one where focused, optimised, and expertly-crafted experiences empower, delight, and thrill users.”

(Aral Balkan a.k.a. @aral ~ Fronteers 2011 videos)
courtesy of ronderksen

The Rise of Cross-Channel UX Design

Inter touchpoint is cross-channel design; intra touchpoint refers to the design of the artifact.

“Seamless, cross-channel experiences are the way of the future, as technology fades into the background and the personal, physical, and social context determine the methods we use to interact with information.”

(Tyler Tate a.k.a. @tylertate ~ UXmatters)

Seven Ingredients of a Successful UX Strategy

Seven is the magic number, for ux strategy as well.

“UX strategy is about building a rationale that guides user experience design efforts for the foreseeable future. This article provides an overview of the ingredients I consider essential for developing a successful UX strategy. If you want to enter the growing field of UX strategy or learn more about it, this overview points you in the right direction.”

(Paul Bryan a.k.a. @paulbryan ~ UXmatters)

Service Design: The Most Important Term You Haven’t Heard Of

Even fleet owners need to understand service design.

“Service design is a relatively new discipline that asks some fundamental questions: What should the customer experience be like? What should the employee experience be like? How does a company remain true to its brand, to its core business assets and stay relevant to customers? It has grown as our economies have moved from being primarily manufacturing based to service based, and as our world becomes increasingly complex, networked, and interconnected via technology. It uses design methodologies, but applies new, heuristic design tools to develop service models that delight both users and employees who deliver services. A service designer isn’t just rational and analytical, but uses creative insight and inspiration to help organizations develop innovative services.”

(Darren Weiss ~ The SmartVan)

Storyboarding & UX: An introduction

One wonders why it takes so long finding valuable stuff from other fields. And btw, a customer journey depiction is not a storyboard!

“The fields of user experience and service design typically use storyboarding to sell design solutions. They do this by casting personas in stories, showing the benefits of those solutions. They often look quite polished and professional, and can be daunting to some in these fields to pick up a pencil and try it for themselves. But not only can you draw these scenario storyboards yourself to sell your solutions, you can also use them as a powerful method for devising those solutions in the first place. Storyboards are part of the intriguing world of sequential art, where images are arrayed together to visualise anything from a film to a television commercial, from a video game to a new building. They’re an effective communication device, bringing a vision to life in a way that anyone can grasp and engage with, before investing in producing the real thing.” ~ UPDATE: Added part 2 and part 3

(Ben Crothers a.k.a. @bencrothers ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)