All posts from
October 2014

Experience design is shaping our future

Tech pub company sees the design light.

“Design aligns humans and technology, it aligns business and engineering, it aligns digital and physical, and it aligns business needs and user needs. (…) Design is both the disruptor and being disrupted. It’s disrupting markets, organizations, and relationships, and forcing us to rethink how we live. The discipline of design is also experiencing tremendous growth and change, largely influenced by economic and technology factors. No longer an afterthought, design is now an essential part of a product, and it may even be the most important part of a product’s value.”

(Mary Treseler a.k.a. @marytreseler ~ O’Reilly Radar)

The architecture of understanding

Design and understanding are a great couple.

“In his presentation at User Interface 19 in Boston MA 2014, Stephen Anderson talked about the onset of ubiquitous information sources and their impact on user experience design practices. Here’s my notes from his talk.”

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

System thinking and UX: Exploring systems and our addictions

Deep thinking and expressing it is not a great characteristic of practitioners. Grosso modo.

“I have a hypothesis. It is that the best path to the simplest user experience is through understanding the whole experience and that we are addicted to surface thinking, a way of thinking that leads to bad, shallow and fragile results.”

(Stew Dean a.k.a. @stewdean)

How to adjust your content strategy for adaptive content personalization

It’s COPE again, but now relate to strategic thinking.

“(…) the underlying ethos of content marketing and user-centric content strategy involves karma: The more real value you give to consumers, the more that will come back your way. The more we can make our content adaptive, the more we can realistically deliver tailored, high-value content without running out of budget, resources, or time. We didn’t invent content marketing because we’re such clever marketers. Content marketing came to be because our audiences simply stopped listening. And who can blame them? The new model is based on attention-for-value-added exchanges rather than blanket messages. It’s a sustainable strategic approach to communication. It sure beats the days of just trying to out-shout the competition.”

(Noz Urbina a.k.a. @nozurbina ~ Content Marketing Institute)

Designing for large screen smartphones

How many inches you need to increase in order to get another design?

“As smartphones continue to get larger but our hands don’t, what kinds of design solutions can ensure mobile interactions remain comfortable, quick, and easy on our thumbs?”

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

Progress indicators make a slow system less insufferable

Leading the attention of a person somewhere else than necessary.

“Wait animations, such as percent-done bars and spinners, inform users of the current working state and make the process more tolerable to the user by reducing uncertainty. Users experience higher satisfaction with a site and are willing to wait longer when the site uses a dynamic progress indicator.”

(Katie Sherwin ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

The designer’s dilemma

After the dilemma of the innovator, we have the one of the designer.

“If you have ever worked on a design project or any other open-ended, ill-defined problem, you’re familiar with the designer’s dilemma. It works like this: at the beginning of a project you have a lot of freedom to take the design or project in many, possibly infinite, directions. But you also don’t know that much about the problem or the potential solutions, so making decisions during those early phases of the project of the project is challenging because your level of knowledge is low.”

(Durward Sobek ~ The Lean Post)

How to integrate user experience and content strategy

A relevant item of our FAQ.

“(…) the lack of strategy and integration is creating a new problem that continues to go ignored by many: poor user experiences and inconsumable content that never quite strikes that balance between business goals and user needs.”

(Jessica Negri ~ ethology)

Complexity

Some (design) challenges are complex by nature.

“A complex system consists of numerous interacting agents and the interactions are key for the complexity, yielding unpredictable emergent behaviors and systems that are changing over time. Complex systems are always non-linear, which means that only because A resulted in B once it won’t necessarily do so the next time A happens. There’re no well-defined problems so solve, rather a problem space to act in, and there’s no such thing as right or wrong, only better or worse.”

(Anna Viggedal ~ Ericsson UX Lab blog)

Measuring digital skills: From digital skills to tangible outcomes (project report)

Digital design for humans is taking their skills, competences, and capabilities into consideration, a lot.

“As the Internet becomes an increasingly embedded part of everyday life for many people, research on digital inclusion has been criticized. There are concerns about the lack of strong theoretical developments within the field and the limitations of the survey measures typically used in this research domain. In this project, we have aimed to address these criticisms through developing theoretically informed survey measures of people’s digital skills, engagement with the Internet, and the tangible outcomes this Internet use has in their lives.”

(Alexander J.A.M. van Deursen, Ellen J. Helsper and Rebecca Eynon ~ Oxford Internet Institute)

Edge practices: How do you measure value?

A longstanding and (still) happy marriage: design and systems.

“I think its significant that most large organizations have no formalized design processes, they have – at best – practices in different locations. Yes, the major product companies have UX teams, but I’d remind (anyone) that Google had a very marginal design practice until only recently. (…) So this question will keep coming up in systemic design. When value is delivered by creating collaborative engagements across stakeholders, we have to understand how they value and measure collaboration. Are the outcomes better projects and programs, better strategies and planning, faster time to delivery, making the right decisions earlier? There are ways to show these values, but we can’t measure everything. You want to measure what sponsors value most, and demonstrate how your practices delivered that value.”

(Peter Jones a.k.a. @redesign ~ Design Dialogues)

Design thinking: Snake oil of today?

A mindset is just a start, first step. The journey is more important.

“The word that is repeated most often when describing Design Thinking is process. Design Thinking is not a job task you can start in the morning and be done with by lunch-time. Instead, Design Thinking requires much more planning, preparation and normal work than most people that participate in just the workshops realize. But the work that you put into the process will pay itself off in the end.”

(Jukka Kaartinen ~ Service Innovation and Design programme Laurea Finland)

Responsive content modeling

Creating a model of the content world always must be systematic a.k.a. systems thinking.

“The most important thing anyone can do on a web project is find its nucleus. The core, that central piece of content around which everything orbits. Finding that reveals how all of the content fits together. It offers clarity to the relationships between the project’s content and the project’s vision, and will make your process far more successful.”

(Steve Fisher a.k.a. @hellofisher ~ Republic of Quality)

The challenges of designing for experience

Let’s call it ‘inter- and intra-touchpoint experience design’ (i2TED).

“Design has become incredibly multifaceted in recent years, encompassing subfields such as interaction design, user experience design, customer experience design and service design, to name just a few. We discuss the skills gap that exists today, and open a conversation on how you could begin your career in this industry.”

(Hyper Island)

Usability testing is undermining UX design

Usability being a characteristic of a product in use. UX being a mental state of a person with a product in and after use.

“I’m a big fan of usability testing. It’s a useful tool, and one that all UX designers should have in their toolbox. But we need to see usability testing in a broader context and consider its strengths and limitations.”

(Peter Hornsby ~ UXmatters)

Improving your information architecture with card-sorting: A beginner’s guide

“(…) one of those buzzwords.” OMG!

“Information architecture (IA) is one of those buzzwords you’ve probably heard before. It refers to the organization of the information on your website and how it all fits together. When planning your IA, involve users of your website in the process as soon as you can. In this article, we’ll discuss card sorting, a tried and true technique for doing just that. We’ll go through some practical tips for running a card-sorting session, and also cover some examples.”

(Smashing Magazine)

Professional UX credentials: Are they worth the paper they’re printed on

Value is in the mind of the beholder.

“The value of credentialing in various occupations is well-known. We would never consider going to a physician who was not licensed. Similarly, we wouldn’t want our tax returns filed by an accountant who wasn’t certified. In addition, some everyday activities, such as voting, owning a car, or collecting money for charity, require proof of credentials by larger organizations before they can be legally performed. Yet there are fields, including user experience, that do not regulate the credentials of practitioners, even though bad practice could jeopardize human health and safety as well as individual, corporate, or organizational well-being. Bad practice also damages the reputation of the entire profession. Do we not regulate credentials because our profession is not perceived as that important, or because we lack professional definition and integrity sufficient to differentiate a competent UX professional from one who is not? And what is the value to hiring managers of the human factors, ergonomics, and UX certification programs that exist today?”

(Anna Wichansky ~ ACM Interactions Magazine sep/oct 2014)

Cascading Style Sheets: Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor Philosophiœ

Always go to the source to read the real intensions.

“The topic of this thesis is style sheet languages for structured documents on the web. Due to characteristics of the web – including a screen-centric publishing model, a multitude of output devices, uncertain delivery, strong user preferences, and the possibility for later binding between content and style – the hypothesis is that the web calls for different style sheet languages than does traditional electronic publishing. Style sheet languages that were developed and used prior to the web are analyzed and compared with style sheet proposals for the web between 1993-1996. The dissertation describes the design of a web-centric style sheet language known as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). CSS has several notable features including: cascading, pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, forward-compatible parsing rules, support for different media types, and a strong emphasis on selectors. Problems in CSS are analyzed, and recommended future research is described.”

(Håkon Wium Lie, 1994-2005)

20 tips for selling UX to clients

Selling UX leads to the CX of UX.

“Do you ever feel like you’re banging your head against a wall when it comes to selling UX to your clients or colleagues? User-centred processes are slowly gaining traction in the mainstream, but there is still some evangelising to be done! We asked 20 UX professionals to share their tips on how to convince clients that a UX process is the best way to design (or redesign) a product or service.”

(Kimberley Magain a.k.a. @MelbourneMum1 ~ UXmastery)