All posts from
May 2014

Doing UX in an agile world: Case study findings

UX has the argument of reason; software engineering of power.

“Agile teams are more proficient in executing the development process, but the compressed timescale forces some to abandon user research and degrade the resulting user experience.”

(Hoa Loranger ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

The ubiquitous button

‘Click Me’ and magic will occur is mostly disappointing.

“Why are buttons so common in contemporary artifacts and yet so often a source of irritation and trouble? Could we, by reinstating the natural mode of operation with traditional mechanical systems, dispel our confusions and remedy our confirmation deficiencies? Probably not.”

(Lars-Erik Janlert ~ Communications of the ACM, June 2014)

UX designer just doesn’t make sense… Or does it?

Design for the experiences is what it is all about.

“The debate on whether or not an experience can be designed has been raging on since, what feels like, the beginning of the field.”

(Elisabeth Hubert a.k.a. @lishubert)

The secret history of hypertext: The conventional history of computing leaves out some key thinkers

Great to see this article appear in the publication where it all started, according to US history. Finally, some historical truth being added.

“Historians of technology often cite Bush’s essay as the conceptual forerunner of the Web. And hypertext pioneers like Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Tim Berners-Lee have all acknowledged their debt to Bush’s vision. But for all his lasting influence, Bush was not the first person to imagine something like the Web. (…) For all his remarkable prescience, Bush never predicted anything like the Internet. That credit rightly goes to Otlet.”

(Alex Wright a.k.a. @alexgrantwright ~ The Atlantic)

How typography affects readers

Typography is the essential ingredient to design for the reading experience, abstracting knowledge from texts, titles and labels.

“Often times we find ourselves spending hours crafting articles, making sure that each word we select is the perfect one to project the story we are trying to paint. But there is another factor, often overlooked, that is just as important as writing great content: Typography. Let’s delve a little into the world of typography and see how it affects readers. If you are someone who despite getting traffic and producing quality content, just can’t seem to get your readers to stay, you will want to read this till the end.”

(Ankit Oberoi a.k.a. @oberoiankit ~ adpushup)

We’re living in an experience economy, design accordingly

Not many connect experience with design, only experience designers do.

“UX practitioners have known for years what a lynchpin experience design is in the success and proliferation of a product or service, and the business world seems to be taking giant steps that affirm the importance of experience.”

(UX magazine)

The secret to making UX a top priority in Agile

Don’t defend, attack!

“Has anyone ever had to publish a list of companies that hire coders or marketers? Of course not. Everyone hires coders and marketers. Companies that hire UX professionals, on the other hand, are harder to come by. This has always been mind boggling to me. Everyone speaks of meeting the needs of users as the single most important thing. But when it’s time to put together a budget, many managers think of hiring a UX professional as a nice-to-have and leave it out of their budget. Unless, of course, a manager is in the gaming industry. Gamers are unforgiving and vocal. The competition in gaming is fierce. And on top of everything, games must actually be complete when they’re released. This is probably why game developers pay extra attention to user experience, and the leading gaming companies always have UX professionals on board.”

(Roy Man ~ UXmatters)

The five golden rules of responsive web design

Can’t we just call it web design. Tableless web design from a few years ago did disappear just like that. Why not rwd?

“So gone are the days when all a designer used to worry about was the juxtaposition of content, the colours used and the typography styles of their web pages. We are no longer in a world where designers hired simply to ‘colour in’ detailed wireframes in a typical waterfall-style project. We’ve now got to consider so much more. We have to begin to understand how our sites are being built, and the process around prioritising our content to suit the user. And the the only way to truly understand this is to roll our sleeves up and get learning.”

(Daniel Scott ~ eConsultancy)

Playful or gameful? Creating delightful UX

Playing is how you learn. Gaming is how you get entertained.

“For many of us non-digital-natives over 30, our first contact with interactive technology came about through playing video games. Long before personal computers and mobile phones became part of our daily lives, we were already hooked on these games. In places as diverse as Chile, Greece, and Finland, at the arcade or at home (for example, with the Atari 2600), there was something powerful about these games that had us captivated from the very first moment we played Donkey Kong, Centipede, or Pole Position. But what made them so interesting and intriguing? What made us go back regularly (even daily) to the arcade? Over the years, games scholars have been studying some of these issues. But could some of the power behind video games be channeled to motivate people and help them achieve their goals? Could playful designs inspired by what makes games fun and entertaining help create better user experiences?”

(Andrés Lucero et al. ~ ACM Interactions Magazine May-June 2014)

TouchTools: : Leveraging familiarity and skill with physical tools to augment touch interaction

Hopefully, less than 20 years from now we can use full-body interaction with technology.

“The core idea behind TouchTools is to draw upon user familiarity and motor skill with tools from the real world, and bring them to interactive use on computers. Specifically, users replicate a tool’s corresponding real-world grasp and press it to the screen as though it was physically present. The system recognizes this pose and instantiates the virtual tool as if it was being grasped at that position. Users can then translate, rotate and otherwise manipulate the tool as they would its physical counterpart.”

(Chris Harrison)

Exploring the phase-space of information architecture

Finally, some deep thinking based upon reading the relevant sources again regarding the properties of information and how it effects information architecture.

“(…) I introduced the phase-space of information architecture, a mapping of the semantic neighborhoods created when we run through all the permutations of the two flavors of information: perceptual and linguistic. (…) Here we will look in detail at the facets of each flavor of information. Now that we’ve detailed the facets of our stuff of design, let’s situate ourselves in a design problem and visualize how we may engage the phase-space of information architecture to strategically turn the dials of perceptual and linguistic information.”

(Marsha Haverty a.k.a. @mjane_h ~ Praxicum) ~ courtesy of @resmini

The gap between UI and UX Design: Know the difference

Would the design of UI be any different than the design for the UX when you understand the delta between UI and UX?

“All of us have already understood that a UI and a UX are not the same concepts; however, they are to be combined for a greater purpose – to interest the users in your product or to convey certain information to them. The intrigue is that a UX can exist and work very effectively having a poor UI. For example, you can have an application with a stunning design that is hairy to use (good UI, bad UX). You can also have an application that has a poor look and feel, but is very intuitive to use (poor UI, good UX). We hope that now you understand the difference between these interrelated concepts and can clearly imagine a huge gap between their meanings. Nevertheless, for justice sake we would like to mention the following. Current UI design trends, tendencies and technologies are being developed with one and the same aim: to make online UX better, easier and more intuitive. In other words, UI developers finally began creating for people, so it’s safe to say that today’s user interfaces are aimed on excellent UX. So, if you want to create a stunning app, you should learn the principles of both (UI & UX) design types.”

(Helga Moreno a.k.a. @templatemonster ~ One Extra Pixel)

Usability moves beyond the screen

Cross-channel experience design, physical touchpoints included.

“Web designers have long been aware of the need to make things easy for Internet users. Now usability is increasingly an issue for other technology areas.”

(Jason Deign ~ The Network)

The death of technical writing: A two-part rant

So many in our field have a similar background of tech writing, communication or documentation. These document people became the page people when the web hit them. Now they move on to the content universe. Keep on moving…

“Since the internet bubble burst of those many years ago, we’ve seen some large software companies stick around, although usually a little smaller they once were. And we’ve seen a few upstart companies turn into similarly large behemoths. Those companies still hire technical writers, although even then they tend to have different names, and often different roles. And they also hire people with funny new job titles like content strategist.”

(Neal Kaplan a.k.a. @nealkaplan ~ Customers and Content)

The present and future of information architecture

IA is not like a polar bear, but like a cat. Multiple lives. The next live of IA will much more complicated that the previous one.

Interview with Peter Morville. ~ “We’re in an era of service ecosystems. This means we must wrangle with the challenges of digital strategy and cross-channel user experience.”

(Timothy Jaeger ~ Medium)

Defining patient experience

Journal as a format. Online, public and to share.

“As patient experience continues to emerge as an area of research and practice in healthcare, the need for standard consistent definition becomes even more critical. Without a common foundation or at least a cornerstone on which to build or adapt, the efforts that follow are set on shaky ground. We offer these ideas not in the promotion of one idea over another, but in recognizing that in existing work and in the shared themes we uncovered there is a strong set of related concepts from which to grow. This will be critical to ensure patient experience remains a viable, respected, and highly embraced part of the healthcare conversation, as we believe it should.”

(Jason A. Wolf et al ~ Patient Experience Journal Volume 1Issue 1)