All posts from
April 2012

True Death of UX? Being Jaded

UX moves up the ladder and more into business contexts to make a difference.

“Being a services consultant in the field of user experience insulates you somewhat from the daily grind. But seeing the same problems, products, companies, and types of people can easily wear you down. However, despite the variety in UX work, a certain amount of routine and repetition can cause the exciting rituals of user experience to become habitual. When that happens, you can lose the excitement of the work, and jadedness can set it. It is vital that, as UX professionals, we re-examine not only what we are doing, but how we are doing it. Keeping our activities fresh is not only good for our professional aspirations, but in the end, serves the best interests of our customers.”

(Baruch Sachs a.k.a. @basachs ~ UXmatters)

Great User Experiences Require Great Front-End Development

Knowing to code makes a better designer.

“In this column, we’ll discuss innovative approaches to application design that are based on our personal experience in the trenches.”

(Jim Nieters, Amit Pande, and Uday M. Shankar ~ UXmatters)

Content Modelling: A Master Skill

Data, information, or content modelling: entities, properties and relations. Stuff and structure.

“A content model is a powerful tool for fostering communication and aligning efforts between UX design, editorial, and technical resources on a project. By clearly defining the assembly model, the content types, and the content attributes, we can help make sure that the envisioned content strategy becomes a reality for the content creators. In my recent projects, I find that content modeling is more and more in demand. It’s a valuable skill for any content strategist, especially those that strive for mastery.”

(Rachel Lovinger a.k.a. @rlovinger ~ A List Apart)

Agile UX versus Lean UX

It’s one of those DTDT’s again.

“Bottom line: in everyday conversation, whether one uses the term Lean or Agile or What-not is probably not that important. What’s more important, is an understanding of how Agile and Lean help make traditional UX a more whole practice.”

(Anders Ramsay a.k.a. @andersramsay)

Shift Happens

Always been a great admirer of Thomas Kuhn.

“The problems that dominated Kuhn’s life after his great moment of insight arose not because Kuhn wasn’t brilliant enough. Rather, they arose and persist because while we increasingly understand that the old metaphysical paradigm has failed, for several generations now we have not found our new paradigm. Our culture has inappropriately latched on to Kuhn’s message as an exaltation of the rootless disconnection of our ideas from the world because we were ready to hear that knowledge is not apart from our knowing of it. But he and we have not yet come to a new shared understanding about what it means to live truthfully as humans.”

(David Weinberger a.k.a. @dweinberger)

Augmented Paper

There’s some real magic in all these apps.

“Design an experience. Make it as beautiful – and as emotionally resonant – as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality – and software-based thinking in general – is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour, subsumes the artistry of the chef, and may well be bad for you. These new classes of devices, so immediately personal and portable and tactile, aren’t desktop-era shrines demanding incantation and prostration. They’re empowering extensions to our real, actual lives – and that’s a profound thing. They take what was once prosaic or mundane, and give us just a taste of superpowers. They’re augmentations, and they should be beautiful.”

(Matt Gemmell a.k.a. @mattgemmell)

Critical Dialogue: Interaction, Experience and Cultural Theory

Some real gems in this one.

“Over the last decade there has been a significant growth in interest in aspects of people’s experience with technologies under headings such as user experience, aesthetics, affect, fun, reflection, and enjoyment. In more recent years critical theory has begun to make a small but important impact at CHI conferences and other HCI publications. It is arguable that a relationship between critical theory and experience would benefit HCI research and practice as it has benefited other areas of research in the humanities and social sciences. However, in the history of ideas experience and critical theory have not always made good bedfellows, sometimes complementing each other, sometimes resisting each other. This workshop will explore the ways in which HCI might benefit from a constructive dialogue between critical theory and experience in questions of design and evaluation.”

(Workshop on April 10 2010, in association with ACM CHI 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia USA)

Best Application Designs

Apps are returning from the era of desktop application designs.

“The winning app UIs include domain-specific solutions that allow humans to focus on deeper issues while the software takes care of the mechanics.”

(Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)

Innovating User Value: The Interrelations of Business Model Innovation, (Service) Design Thinking and the Production of Meaning

Always great to have academic research on meaning and services.

“(…) the discussion on strategic innovation in the business sphere is cluttered into a variety of discourses in which the latter seldomly plays a major role. Therefore service designers are all too often confronted with a very narrow understanding of designs value contributions to high-level strategy making, neither are they able to explain and relate their own work to the parallel developing discourses in the business realm. The attached thesis tries to bring together some seemingly isolated research streams and provides an overview of their topical similarities and overlaps. It connects the dots by putting its focus on “value creation” (a term that most discourses culminate in) and “design’s” value contributions to strategic innovation.”

(Jan Schmiedgen a.k.a. @brandsystemUXD ~ Service Design Network)

Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity

Pinging my CD-ROM memories full of interactive storytelling.

“The invention of the tablet PC has created a new medium for book publishing. Interactive books are everywhere, and have revolutionized the way people consume the printed word. With the recent software available to allow easy creation of interactive books and with the race to bring these products to market, there seems to be a more and more dilution of quality and a loss for the meaning of interactivity. When publishers create new eBook titles or convert a traditional printed book to a digital interactive eBook, they often miss the added value this new medium can provide.”

(Avi Itzkovitch a.k.a. @xgmedia ~ UX Magazine) ~ courtesy of vanderbeeken

User Experience Is The Heart Of Any Company. How Do You Make It Top Priority?

Calling it ‘Customer Experience’ might help.

“The closer you are to your customers, the more relevant your product will be and the more likely you make it for people to choose you. It may seem obvious, but the gap between those that do and those that talk is widening, despite the immediate bottom-line benefits. But more than this, companies that put usefulness at the heart of what they do become part of their customers’ lives. Engaging with customers then becomes an ongoing conversation, rather than the stop-start involvement that characterized the 20th century. This makes it much easier for customers to come back, and keep coming back.”

(Mary Ellen Muckerman ~ FastCo)

Design Principles for Complex, Unpredictable, People Oriented Systems

A well-thought through post on experience and systems. By IBM, who else.

“But, socio-technical systems are oriented toward people and services. While product excellence and competitive costs are also important to services, they are not enough. The service sector is oriented toward consumption, that is, toward people, who are the consumers of services. Therefore, an overriding design objective for good socio-technical, service oriented systems has to be a positive user experience. Ease of use, intuitive interfaces and good overall customer service must be key objectives for a well designed system.”

(Irving Wladawsky-Berger)

Nielsen responds to mobile criticism

Mobile is here to stay. Also for Jakob.

“The usability pro answers critics who have described his recent mobile recommendations as “backward.”

(Tanya Combrinck ~ .net magazine)

Designers respond to Nielsen on mobile

Jakob still stirs the pot.

“Nielsen’s recommendation that publishers build separate mobile sites has been met with astonishment from the industry.”

(Tanya Combrinck ~ .net magazine) courtesy of karenmcgrane

Nielsen is wrong on mobile

Jakob is wrong on everything, except usability.

“For all of Jakob Nielsen’s many great contributions to web usability over the years, his advice for mobile is just 180-degrees backward. His latest guidelines perpetuate several stubborn mobile myths that have led too many to create ‘lite’ mobile experiences that patronise users, undermine business goals, and soak up design and tech resources.”

(Josh Clark a.k.a. @globalmoxie ~ .net magazine) courtesy of lammertpostma

Designing for touch

Mobile Touch, the new design space with many new constraints, materials and possibilities.

“Great mobile designs do more than shoehorn themselves into tiny screens: they make way for fingers and thumbs, accommodating the wayward taps of our clumsy digits. The physicality of handheld interfaces take designers beyond the conventions of visual and information design‚ and into the territory of industrial design. With touchscreens there are real ergonomics at stake. It’s not just how your pixels look, but how they feel in the hand.”

(Josh Clark a.k.a. @globalmoxie ~ .net magazine) courtesy of puttingpeoplefirst

Personas: A Critical Investment For Content Strategy

Personas as the silver bullet to guarantee empathy?

“Content strategy isn’t really a discipline but a defined approach to handling an organization’s content consistently across departments and channels. It can only be effective if it becomes ubiquitous to the processes and procedures that already exist within business – communications, public relations, customer service, marketing, graphic design, IT, etc. While the defined strategy may be about content, the tactics by which we achieve our content goals are really about people. Who are we publishing content for? How will they interact with the content we present? How do they define relevancy? What is meaningful and engaging to them? Borrowing a tool that user experience and interaction designers have used for years, personas are a powerful way to not only create and implement a sound content strategy, but to facilitate its adoption by everyone in the organization.”

(Kristina Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ Follow the UX Leader)

The UX Community Needs to Start Paying Attention to Android

Technology has always been a great driver of UX, closed or open.

“I’ve been doing a lot of research recently about mobile design patterns and UX best practices for smartphone and tablet devices for both iOS and Android platforms. One thing has stood out more than anything else during this process: no one is talking about Android.”

(Catriona Cornett a.k.a. @inspireUX ~ inspireUX)

Mobile Site versus Full Site

Always thought it was just a matter of a different stylesheet.

“Good mobile user experience requires a different design than what’s needed to satisfy desktop users. Two designs, two sites, and cross-linking to make it all work.”

(Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)

UX Design as a Two-Way Conversation

Assuming the computer talks to you. Computer says ‘No’.

“If you were talking to a person who did this you would assume they either weren’t listening or were slightly unhinged. When a computer does it you’re likely to assume that using the site isn’t going to be a pleasant experience, or worse, you may leave.”

(Hana Schank a.k.a. @hanaschank ~ UX Magazine)