All posts from
January 2013

Three digital governance challenges

Embedding in the existing organization. A big challenge for UX and CX management and staff.

“It’s time to leave the web sandbox and lead the organization into a deeper understanding of the power and use of digital channels. It’s time to inform and engage executives so that organizational expectations are reasonable and that they’re supported culturally and fiscally. So maybe you can clean up the mess in six months – but it’s going to take a lot of resources and a cultural shift that can probably only be directed from an executive level. Most likely though, tough ‘redesigns’ are going to be ongoing evolutions.”

(Lisa Welchman a.k.a. @lwelchman ~ WelchmanPierpoint)

The four waves of user-centered design

Always loves categorizations of our history. Surfing the waves of Information Design.

“As practitioners, we must broaden our understanding of innovation from both business and user-experience perspectives. From a business perspective, we need to empathize with the impluse to reject the investment of resources innovation requires. Innovation is embraced only when the value gained is substantially greater than the investment costs: a marginal gain is rarely adequate. Our past practices have been confined almost exclusively to our existing, primary user market. It’s time to direct some of our attention to the fringe markets where disruptive technologies take hold.”

(William Gribbons ~ UX Magazine)

We must remove publishing and content management concerns from authoring systems

We tend to forget how important the content infrastructure and technology is.

“They create a language to express publishing, content management, or reuse concerns, and then expect writers to write directly into what is really an internal content management format. Putting a graphical face over the markup does nothing to change this. The graphical interface only hides the syntax of the XML. It does nothing to change the fact that authors are being asked to create what should be the internal semantics of the publishing system — semantics they generally neither care about nor understand.”

(Mark Baker ~ EveryPageIsOne)

Mobile prototyping: A new paradigm

Mobile not only disruptive for industries, but also for established design practices like UI design.

“Designers and UX professionals use design techniques like sketches, wireframes and mockups to visualise a website during the design process. Can these web design techniques also be used for mobile app design – or is it time for change?”

(Alexis Piperides a.k.a. @alexispiperides ~ net magazine)

Why businesses should invest in service design

They should invest in design in general.

“Service is even more important than the product, because it is the experiences that are often remembered. Even more important than the customer experience is the value of the conceptual journey between brands and people, and service design is about creating delightful customer experiences, which in turn benefit businesses by enhancing brand loyalty and reducing the costs to serve.”

(Nelly Trakidou)

Effectively planning UX design projects

Project manager versus project leader: It is about leadership, not bean counting.

“Planning user experience projects is a balancing act of getting the right amount of user input within the constraints of your project. The trick is to work out the best use of your time. How can you get the most UX goodness for your client’s budget? This article explains how to choose the right mix of tools for the task at hand.”

(James Chudley a.k.a. @chudders ~ Smashing UX design)

Lean and service design: Understanding the differences

Identify similarities and differences, the way to a better DTDT.

“Recent questions about the difference between Snook’s service design approach and the LEAN approach have inspired me to put my thoughts around this into writing. As advocates of the benefits of design thinking, methods and tools we believe that these bring an additional creative dimension to organisations seeking to innovate and co-design new services that are user-centred and user-friendly. I have put together a table outlining some of the differences I see in LEAN and Service Design Approaches below. Although the different aspects are presented in binary form, we recognize that each item is on a spectrum from the analytic and scientific to the intuitive and creative.”

(Snook)

The UX chakra model: Finding balance in your latest digital project

I’m afraid spirituality now also enters UX design. Help!

“To help reframe things, I’d like to propose a new way of modelling our design space: one that reflects both the core components of any good design effort and their overall alignment on an ongoing basis. The goal of the model is to improve learning and understanding throughout the journey. It’s not necessarily a replacement for contemporary methods, but simply a different way of looking at things.”

(Colin Eagan a.k.a @colineags ~ UX Booth)

How to think about turning your products into services

Missing the design part, because it all seems strategy.

“So how do you turn your product-based company into one that provides services? Here are three simple principles you can use to escape the commodity market and turn anything you do into a valuable service.”

(Soren Kaplan ~ FastCo.Design)

Conceptual models in a nutshell

Conceptual model, the mental model of user and engineer. Old school HCI topic.

“This article explains what conceptual models are and describes the value of developing a conceptual model of a software application before designing its user interface.”

(Jeff Johnson ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Functional beauty and user experience

Pigs and lipsticks. Never thought pink was nice on an animal, except flamingos.

“Beauty is one of the oldest and most powerful concepts in human history—inspiring artists and lighting up cultural movements, philosophical debates, and, in modern times, curious scientific interest. Beauty is a desirable feature of the products we buy, with the power to shape consumer choices and preferences.”

(Catalina Butnaru a.k.a. @katchja ~ UX Magazine)

Are personas still relevant to UX strategy?

They will always be a great starting point for the unknowns of empathy and UCD.

“There have been some who have proclaimed the impending demise of personas as a UX design approach since shortly after their introduction. While the optimal approach to creating and employing personas is still evolving—thanks to more useful data becoming available to design teams and new project-management methods—their usefulness has not yet diminished. If anything, personas have become even more useful because they put a human face on aggregated data and foster a user-centered design approach even within the context of efficiency-driven development processes.”

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

Putting IA theory into practice

Another DTDT on IA for the web shows it’s still a vibrant practice.

“Many practitioners of information architecture have come to understand the fundamentals of creating an information architecture through direct training, text books about practical methods, or real-world experience. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find documentation on the formal theory of information architecture.”

(Nathaniel Davis a.k.a. @iatheory ~ UXmatters)

Auto-forwarding carousels and accordions annoy users and reduce visibility

Carousels and accordions are for fairs, children parties and other festivities, not for web design.

“The user’s target was at the top of the page in 98-point font. But she failed to find it because the panel auto-forwarded instead of staying still.”

(Jakob Nielsen)

What do you predict will be the future trend of user experience?

Being recognized, valued and appreciated by business is important in a society in which everything is seen as a market and a transaction.

“I think user experience will continue to become more strategically important instead of just service-oriented. What I’m seeing right now is user experience company-wide goals and metrics that are driven by the highest management level. This is starting to happen more in the technology world, but might spread to other types of products. UX roles might become a lot more specialized; however, what companies will look for is people that have cross-functional skills and can work in a variety of settings. You will start seeing compartments in the field as companies try to find out the best user experience strategy. You will also see the new grads with lots of different skills in their education and a background in design combined with other types of fields that previously might not be associated.”

(Danielle Arad a.k.a. @uxmotel ~ UX Motel)

From the big screen to the little screen: The evolving relationship between TV and search

Always pleasantly surprised when digital connects previously disparate disciplines and practices. Now, it’s television et al. and the search, find, and use trinity.

“As a digital analyst, it’s my job to study how technology disrupts business markets and models. As an aspiring social scientist, I also study technology’s impact on culture and behavior. These two worlds are colliding with increasing velocity as each day passes. One of the trends I’ve been following over the last several years is the relationship between TV, smartphones, tablets and PCs.”

(Brian Solis a.k.a. @brainsolis)

How strategic is your kitchen?

Gastronomy as a metaphor for UX is (still) my thing.

“A good kitchen-content strategy can turn your kitchen into a place that other people can use, too. This means you have to organize your kitchen in such a way that people can just walk in and find exactly the spoon or other object they need, quickly and without asking. Your personal guidance should become unnecessary, because the kitchen would be intuitively and universally organized. No one will ever open the wrong drawer or door or canister again. Everyone’s unique kitchen style will now make perfect and immediate sense to everyone.”

(Seth Maislin a.k.a. @SethMaislin ~ Earley and Associates)

Stop designing for ‘users’

A provocative idea, but on the mark.

“Most products support activities underpinned by collaboration and sharing. Designing for individuals may actually be harmful because these activities reflect ongoing transformations of artifacts, individuals, and social interactions. Focusing on individuals might improve things for one person at the cost of others.”

(Mike Long a.k.a. @mblongii ~ ThoughtWorks Studios)

Customer journey mapping

A diagram showing how customers mentally travel now. But what about the future territories.

“One of the biggest challenges facing companies when they want to become customer focused is that their own organisation is based around functional silos. This is not only noticeable to customers as they are passed from function to function looking for service, but also to companies themselves either when they look to start a customer improvement initiative, or look to implement change based around customer feedback. With organisational hierarchy based around functions the ability to make effective decisions and push through change is fundamentally opposite to how a customer wants to experience dealing with them. A customer wants to experience an organisation that provides a single seamless journey across all touchpoints from initial enquiry right through to any required post sales support. An approach to overcome these barriers is to consider the total customer journey.”

(Customer champions)