All posts from
March 2013

What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters)

DTDT: UX is everything not-UI.

“People mix the terms UI and UX together. UX is tricky because it doesn’t refer to any one thing. Interface design, visual styling, code performance, uptime, and feature set all contribute to the user’s ‘experience’. Books on UX further complicate matters by including research methods and development methodologies. All of this makes the field confusing for people who want to understand the fundamentals.”

(Ryan Singer) courtesy of thomasmarzano

How design principles help you make design decisions

If no principles, then random and ad hoc decisions.

“While some principles are more important than others and are likely to be thought about first, I don’t think you apply design principles in sequence. The principles of design are about how to communicate ideas and concepts graphically. Understanding them leads to better design decisions. While this post will focus on design, please note much of what’s here could be applied to many other aspects of life. As a general rule I think understanding more about any subject is valuable in helping you make better decisions.”

(Steven Bradley Glicksman a.k.a. @vangogh ~ Vanseo Design)

Flat or skeuomorphic is the wrong question: It’s about satisfaction

Isn’t hybrid always the best of both worlds?

“The point of this process is to determine what style appropriately conveys the attitude and personality of the app itself. The intended impacts of each theme are not mutually exclusive – in fact, the hybrid direction we ultimately recommended deliberately borrows meaningful aspects of each.”

(Adam Faja a.k.a. @adamfaja ~ Specky Boy Design Magazine)

Five must-dos in designing an emotionally engaging experience

It’s so easy. It just takes five.

“As customers’ expectations change rapidly driven not just from you, or what happens in your industry but also by other companies they deal with who lead the way (e.g. Amazon, Apple, Starbucks etc.) you need to constantly innovate. There are fewer innovations when people are afraid to do errors. We have recently gathered former clients from different parts of the world who had a success with their customer experience programs and one thing was common that led to their success – the room for trial and error they had.”

(Zhecho Dobrev a.k.a. @Zhecho_BeyondP ~ Beyond philosophy)

The three components of content strategy success

Reducing the essence of content strategy to a holy trinity: create, publish, and govern.

“Creating effective website content can be an arduous task, especially when so many factors must be considered: varying role capacities, internal politics, customer expectations etc. However, following a structured strategy can make creating focused content a piece of cake!”

(Jessica O’Sullivan ~ SiteImprove)

User experience shape: Designing for engagement

Connecting the shape of UX with stories, personas and dialogues.

“Why do we even need web navigation at all? Well, for one, navigation provides access to the content of a site. But more important, it’s the way that it provides access that makes navigation necessary. After all, site search also provides access to content. Why not just have site search and be done with the problem of designing and maintaining a complex navigation system?”

(James Kalbach a.k.a. @JimKalbach ~ Experiencing Information)

A matter of character: Knowing your users and their stories

The journey is the story, actually. With users (a.k.a. people) as the personae.

“I’m fascinated with the concept of applying storytelling principles to the processes of product development to create great user experiences. Of recent interest is the similarity between making a film and creating a digital product or service.”

(Sarah Doody a.k.a. @sarahdoody ~ UX magazine)

Using service blueprints to create a holistic experience

Every field is entitled to its own deliverables.

“Service blueprints contain several foundational concepts for a service designer such as, value exchanges and touchpoints. They are fundamental tools for clarifying the interactions between customers, digital touchpoints, and employees because they reveal how these are supported by ‘backstage’ activities (essentially, everything the customer does not see). Blueprints can be invaluable assets for interaction designers working on multichannel services and digital products especially when there is a mix of digital and human-to-human interfaces.”

(Izac Ross ~ Moment)

The next wave in branding: Merging experiences across markets

Brand experience, user experience or customer experience. Sum of all interactions? Don’t think so.

“The design community has done its fair share to shape a UX-centric product-development culture, and in the last ten years, the practice of UX design – also often labeled with the same “UX” acronym – has arisen in parallel with the market relevance of UX itself. Even though the term “experience” and the expression “user experience” have both been abused to the point of sounding like yesterday’s tired buzzwords, it is hard to deny that the rise of a UX design community has done wonders to improve the perceived quality of many recent products and services.”

(Fabio Sergio a.k.a. @freegorifero ~ FastCo.Design)

A great UI is invisible

“The best computer is a quiet, invisible servant.” once said the legendary Mark Weiser.

“A user interface that is invisible and that provides seamless interaction possibilities will help the user focus on their goals and direct them to what they need.”

(Patrick Cox a.k.a @pcridesagain ~ Codrops)

Why user experience cannot be designed

You cannot design any experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t design the experiential context.

“A lot of designers seem to be talking about user experience these days. We’re supposed to delight our users, even provide them with magic, so that they love our websites, apps and start-ups. User experience is a very blurry concept. Consequently, many people use the term incorrectly. Furthermore, many designers seem to have a firm (and often unrealistic) belief in how they can craft the user experience of their product. However, UX depends not only on how something is designed, but also other aspects. In this article, I will try to clarify why UX cannot be designed.”

(Helge Fredheim a.k.a. @helgefredheim ~ Smashing Magazine)

No to NoUI

When you use it, it has an interface. Even a paper book has one, the text

“Of course the interfaces we design may become normalised in use, effectively invisible over time, but that will only happen if we design them to be legible, readable, understandable and to foreground culture over technology. To build trust and confidence in an interface in the first place, enough that it can comfortably recede into the background.”

(Timo Arnall)

Testing dialog design in a speech application

Scenarios, back/front-stage, stories, personas, scripts, and now … dialogs. Sounds theatre to me.

“The best testing plan for speech applications will combine the methods above or will be a variation of one or more of them. When collecting user feedback on a speech application, it’s usually a good idea to capture response files at the same time in order to perform more in-depth speech tuning. Full recordings should be enabled when doing Wizard of Oz testing, and so on. These methods will allow the designer to understand how real-world users interact with a speech system, and provide instructive input for improving and enhancing the quality of the dialog design. More generally, the same testing methodologies can also be adapted to other types of user interfaces outside of speech recognition. This includes the UX for web transactions, web chat, call center scripting, kiosk interfaces, and other systems where user input may be open ended or require semantic interpretation. The more real world testing that can be performed prior to building a system, the closer the launched product will serve its intended purpose right out of the gate, and the less rework will be required.”

(Stephen Keller ~ UX magazine)

Embedding innovation in service: A human-centered framework

Getting the human dimension into the design of services.

“After decades of research on service innovation, it is still a very complicated and – sometimes – deceptive subject. Both concepts of service and innovation entails dramatic debates among academics and practitioners. Dealing with the challenge of harnessing both at the same time, be it in a research study or in a shop floor, is daunting.”

(Mauricio Manhães a.k.a. @mcmanhaes ~ Service Design Network)

Web organization is not like book organization

That’s why the concept of the ebook is flawed. It’s ‘The Link’ that makes the difference.

“One of the most difficult aspects of moving content to the Web is that webs are not organized like other things — books in particular. And the difference is not small. It is not that web organization is somewhat different from book organization. It is so different that you can’t even look at web organization the way you look at book organization.”

(Mark Baker a.k.a. @mbakeranalecta ~ Every Page Is One)

Emerging technologies are creating new ethical challenges for UX designers

Kind of challenges, we must be aware of. And what are our responses, Toynbee would ask.

“New technologies have always produced unintended consequences. But user experience designers and engineers face a number of new ethical challenges today with the rise of technology and our interaction and dependence on it. UX designers’ primary job is to improve usability and extend productivity. But they also have a responsibility to address the unintended consequences of new technologies, some of them with a clear ethical dimension. Following is a look at some of the principle ethical quandaries that UX designers will run up against and must deal with responsibly.”

(Bill M. Gribbons ~ GigaOm)

Should designers code?

Designers a.k.a. web designers and coders a.k.a. front-end coders.

“Last 15 years changed everything. Design is generally considered just as important as technology. User Experience Design became the key to success and it’s hard to imagine any grown-up company, without UXers on board. (…) We don’t need coding designers and designing coders – we need people who can communicate, respect and understand each other.”

(Marcin Treder a.k.a. @marcintreder ~ UXPin)

Rethinking design thinking

Design thinking says what it is, thinking.

“So three cheers for design thinking, for those practitioners and schools that are using these techniques, that encourage breakthrough thinking, and that encourage asking the stupid question. Not all schools teach design thinking in this way. Not all students learn it. Not all designers practice it. But for those who do teach, learn and practice all of the techniques of design thinking, it can be transformative.”

(Donald A. Norman ~ Core77)