All posts from
June 2014

All papers from the Service Design and Innovation Conference 2014

Lots of paper gems from this upcoming design field.

“ServDes.2014 focused on how Service Design is contributing to ‘Service Futures’ and how it is developing as a field of research and practice. The conference considered how the concept and role of services have been developing in the recent decades and questioned how Service Design is evolving following a similar path. Starting from its initial focus on service interactions and experiences, Service Design research and practice have entered more strategic and transformational roles, dealing with issues of organisational change, system design, sustainability and social change, amongst others. The concept and applications of this design field is also expanding and required some collective considerations. The conference attracted 175 participants from 24 nationalities, of which 60 percent were academics and 40 percent were practitioners.”

(Service Design and Innovation Conference)

Enabling a career shift from User Experience to Service Design

People following the evolution of the practice and discipline.

“To shift from doing digital UX design to doing service design, you need to be unremorsefully analytical and inquisitive. Questioning the value and the context of what you’re doing represents a great first step toward broadening the scope of your work.”

(Laura Keller a.k.a. @ServiceDesignLK ~ UX matters)

Crossing the great UX-Agile divide

Without conflict, friction or pain nothing moves forward.

“Every year, the UX community musters more articles, interviews, conference workshops, and panel discussions in an effort to resolve the seemingly unresolvable challenge of integrating UX into an agile process. Now more than wver, it’s important to step back from the growing body of tips, strategies and best practices, and ask why this conflict exists in the first place.”

(Mike Bulajewsk a.k.a. @mrteacup ~ UX magazine)

The difference between information architecture and navigation

Simple interpretation of IA: How you move or travel from one place to the next one in this space. Navigation needs a map, compass and a goal.

“IA is the information backbone of the site; navigation refers to those elements in the UI that allow users to reach specific information on the site.”

(Jennifer Cardello ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

Service design thinking

Next-up, interaction design thinking, visual design thinking and information design thinking. Design thinking in all of its incarnations.

“In the realm of user experience, disciplines and titles can take on different meanings. Determining buzzword jargon from actual, useful distinctions and processes is sometimes a bit tricky. The term Service Design has been with us for a while now. Some see it as just plain, good UX.”

(Marc Stickdorn a.k.a. @MrStickdorn ~ User Interface Engineering)

The practitioners of Web information architecture in small and medium enterprises

In SME’s you really will find the real IA unicorns.

“This paper reports an investigation of the practice of web information architecture in small and medium enterprises . As information delivery via the web becomes a mainstream activity in all organisations, research and practical attention to Web IA remains focused on larger organisations and a new profession of information architect. The practice of web IA in SMEs has not been widely considered. This research collects the narratives of those who practice Web IA in the smaller enterprise and reveals that the dominant voice is that of a communication and marketing practitioner, rather than information professional. The outcomes of practice in this context suffer from a lack of knowledge and expertise.”

(Burford, S. & Given, L. M. (2013) ~ Journal of Information Architecture Vol. 5, No. 1-2)

How do we solve the enterprise UX skills gap?

The enterprise finally gets the UX fever. Designers at the cutting enterprise edge.

“As CIOs grapple with the UX imperative sparked by business users and consumer apps, skills gaps will cause migraines. Catering to scarce UX rock stars will be less effective than forming balanced teams. Fortunately, some designers have already dealt with UX rethinks on mobile app creation – they’ll be an asset. Then there is the whole matter of Web UX versus overall customer experience, leading us to the enormous challenge of a great customer experience across channels.”

(Jon Reed a.k.a. @jonERP ~ Diginomica)

What makes wearables valuable?

After mobile and tablet design, now it’s the design field of the wearable. The UX of it that is.

“But ultimately, I think wearables that try to replace the smartphone by shrinking it to fit on your wrist (or other body part) will struggle while those that complement our current set of devices and focus on the things they can do well will thrive. For me that means meaningful data collection, effortless authentication, contextual notifications, and faster access to. I guess we’ll have to find out as the next batch of wearable technology arrives on our wrists and beyond.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @LukeW)

Persona empathy mapping

In the end, empathy will also have its limits for great design. But we’re not there yet.

“Empathy — it’s a buzzword in the UX design world. Everybody’s doing it! But what exactly are they doing? There isn’t a quick ‘Empathy Filter’ that we can apply to our work or our team, no formula to pump out results, and no magic words to bring it forth. There is, however, a simple workshop activity that you can facilitate with stakeholders (or anyone responsible for product development, really) to build empathy for your end users. We call it Persona Empathy Mapping.”

(Nikki Knox ~ Cooper Journal)

Analyzing Minard’s visualization of Napoleon’s 1812 march

Learning about the history of your profession is the best thing you can do.

“There are some similarities to designing print data graphics and modern interfaces for mobile and web. When we need to translate numbers into graphics for users, we need to focus on communicating lots of information without overwhelming the users with extraneous content. Both Playfair and Minard created effective graphics to turn numbers into a narrative, but Minard was able to tell a much more detailed story with his design techniques.”

(Joanne Cheng a.k.a. @joannecheng ~ thoughtbot)

The container model and blended content: A new approach to how we present content on the Guardian

The container model published on a Freitag. Re-usability of a content design concept.

“This way of thinking and curating our content became known as ‘blended content’. Each container is then filled with content containing a blend of verticals, a blend of tones or both. A container full of blended content can aggregate content from across the whole of the Guardian. Rather than pigeonholing and presenting content on the basis of how it was commissioned, blending frees it to appear anywhere in any combination.”

(Nick Haley a.k.a. twobobswerver ~ The Guardian beta)

Marrying UCD with the Agile software development process: Seven tips for success

This theme will be vivid as long as the connection between design and engineering isn’t clear for many.

“(…) the move to Agile has left many product owners, development teams, and user experience professionals scratching their heads over the best way to incorporate user-centered design into the process while balancing the demands of an aggressive development schedule.”

(Wendy Littman ~ UsabilityGeek)

Transclusion: A term coined by hypertext pioneer Ted Nelson

Document thinking is still alive and kicking.

“In computer science, transclusion is the inclusion of a document or part of a document into another document by reference. Rather than copying the included data and storing it in two places, a transclusion embodies modular design, by allowing it to be stored only once (and perhaps corrected and updated if the link type supported that) and viewed in different contexts.”

(Hacker Trips)

Choosing the right metrics for user experience

To measure is to know, we think. But we don’t know.

“Metrics are the signals that show whether your UX strategy is working. Using metrics is key to tracking changes over time, benchmarking against iterations of your own site or application or those of competitors, and setting targets. Although most organizations are tracking metrics like conversion rate or engagement time, often they do not tie these metrics back to design decisions. The reason? Their metrics are too high level. A change in your conversion rate could relate to a design change, a promotion, or something that a competitor has done. Time on site could mean anything. UX strategists need to take charge of the metrics for online experiences. First, we’ll look at the current state of metrics in most organizations and some of the problems in defining metrics for user experience. Then, we’ll focus on three key types of metrics for user experience, how to track them, and how to integrate them into an organization’s measurement framework.”

(Pamela Pavliscak a.k.a. @paminthelab ~ UXmatters.com)

Beyond user experience: Onward and upward

UX turning into an interdisciplinary field for real, just like the field of complexity.

“One of the aspects that I enjoy most about the field of user experience is the constant injection of talents and perspectives from a long, eclectic list of other fields, including library sciences, cognitive psychology, ergonomics, anthropology, industrial design, architecture, computer science, and game design to name a few. Many of these fields have been fundamental in defining the roles and processes that we use in modern UX design.”

(Luke Chambers a.k.a. @lukcha ~ UXmatters.com)

Radio buttons: Select one by default or leave all unselected?

Toggling between one out of four always means selecting within a closed selection space.

“Select a single radio button by default in most cases. Reasons to deviate or not: expedite tasks, the power of suggestion, user expectations, safety nets.”

(Kara Pernice ~ Nielsen Norman Group)