All posts about
UCD

Toward a culture of integrated practice

UX design more and more involved with UX culture design and change.

“To set expectations properly, while no one’s learnings in six Mondays would approach the equivalent of earning a graduate degree in Anthropology or Sociology, they don’t need to. However, people do experience significant change toward integrating human experience into their work, along with plain speech and good reason. Let’s call that buy-in. Over time, repetition of such experiences converts their conscious acts into mental pathways and muscle memory. This feeds the unself-conscious mind and heightens creativity. While this experiment is clearly an oversimplification, it offers a powerful demonstration of integrating disciplines into actual practice. The aim of the experiment is to lower or even remove the barrier to entry from UX research.”

(Michael Davis-Burchat, Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong ~ UXmatters)

Your guide to online research and testing tools

A tool is just a tool, based upon a concept model which might not be true.

“The success of every business depends on how the business will meet their customers’ needs. To do that, it is important to optimize your offer, the website, and your selling methods so your customer is satisfied. The fields of online marketing, conversion rate optimization, and user experience design have a wide range of online tools that can guide you through this process smoothly. Many companies use only one or two tools that they are familiar with, but that might not be enough to gather important data necessary for improvement. To help you better understand when and which tool is valuable to use, I created a framework that can help in your assessment. Once you broaden your horizons, it will be easier to choose the set of tools aligned to your business’s needs.”

(Bartosz Mozyrko a.k.a. @UsabilityTools ~ Boxes and Arrows)

When change is constant: A spiral UX design model

From left to right (process), top to bottom (organization). Now, it’s a circle for process and a network for organization.

“The representation of an actual UX design process with a design model probably presents an overly simplified view of the process. However, the design model serves a descriptive function. Additionally, having an abstract representation of the design process in the form of a design model highlights the essential forces driving the process of UX design: simultaneous changes in the problem and solution spaces. In this article, I’ve proposed a possible adaptation of the spiral model for a UX design process. By incorporating continuous changes to our understanding of the problem space into a systematic investigation of the solution space, we can synchronize these self-reinforcing forces and generate high-quality UX designs. However, several important aspects of the UX design process require further discussion of empirical evidence and feedback – for instance, adapting this model to agile software development.”

(Hang Guo ~ UXmatters)

Positive design reference guide

From positive thinking and doing to happiness.

“The Positive Design Reference Guide focuses on the why, what and how of human experience – both in general, and in relation to design for well-being. The guide provides you with a quick entry point into the variety of theories that we believe can be relevant for well-being-driven design. It comprises 29 models, theories and frameworks, separated into two sections. The first section presents a collection of theories drawn from (positive) psychology, and the second section presents a collection of theories and frameworks drawn from (positive) design research.”

(Simon Jimenez, Anna Pohlmeyer & Pieter Desmet ~ Delft Institue of Positive Design)

Design for user empowerment

Empowerment: Kickass power users.

“As an accessibility researcher, I have noticed that some of the best work comes when there are people with disabilities on the design and development team, contributing to all aspects of the design and implementation, not just as participants in user studies. I call this strong engagement by users design for user empowerment, meaning, in its strongest sense, that the users of the technology are empowered to solve their own accessibility problems. Here, I will try to explain, mostly using examples, why this approach is so powerful.”

(Richard Ladner ~ ACM Interaction Magazine March/April 2015)

Radical redesign or incremental change?

Sometimes there is fundamentally something wrong: Big Bang.

“Before you throw out the old and bring in the new, make sure you have solid evidence that doing so is necessary to achieve user-centered goals.”

(Hoa Loranger ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

From empathy to advocacy

Changing perspectives can become lost in translation. It’s a competence, not an activity.

“The UX industry devotes considerable attention to the concept of empathy, and rightly so, as understanding our users and their needs is foundational to delivering quality experiences. Still, empathy and insights alone do not automatically create those experiences. What matters is how cultivating empathy alters our decisions and behaviors.”

(Lyle Mullican a.k.a. @mullican ~ A List Apart)

Designing for harmony

Compelling case study of how Intuit embraced UCD to the max.

“Brad Smith describes Intuit as a 30 year old startup where all 8,000 employees are entrepreneurs, and it is everyone’s job to create, invent, and improve their customers’ lives. The most powerful tool they have to do this is user-centered design, which allows them to improve their customers’ lives and create delightful experiences. As long as they hold on to that – regardless of what method they wrap around it – they’ll continue to be successful.”

(David Bloxsom ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Why DesignX? Designers and complex systems

Progressing on the design maturity path for all designers: from wicked problems to complex systems.

“For many years, together with a number of design educators, I have been discussing how design can address the complex socio-technological systems that characterize our world. The issues are not new: many people and disciplines have grappled with them for some time. But how can design play a role? Do our educational methods, especially the emphasis upon craft, prepare designers for this? What can design add?”

(Donald A. Norman ~ Core77)

Promise, vision, scenario, and user stories

UX getting confronted with higher order concepts.

“If you listen closely to the stories, you can hear the underlying user experience interactions. You can hear where those interactions went well and where they failed. The promises can be the key to how you deliver better products and services.”

(Jared Spool a.k.a. @jmspool)

UX in an Agile process

Examples are great, but in the end we need more abstraction from all of them.

“Originally, the field of usability and interaction design was slow, cumbersome and costly. These were some of the reasons that it was not adopted very fast among practitioners. However, recent years a lot of the methods and techniques have been adapted to better fit the fast moving development processes that are predominant in software companies today. But what do you do when you can’t include users because of NDAs? How do you handle the fierce security demands, that are part of your project? Does your customer really know their users, or do they only think they do? And when you have a deadline, how do you avoid UI slowing your progress? This talk is a case story of how UX was included in the agile development process that resulted in the first Danish mobile bank app: Danske Banks mobile banking app. “

(Janne Jul Jensen a.k.a. @jjjtrifork ~ GOTO Conference 2014)

Principles over standards

Like standards, there’s so many principles to choose from. Pick your own.

“For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process.”

(Peter Hornsby ~ UXmatters)

A closer look at personas: A guide to developing the right ones (2/2)

Besides wireframes, prototypes and task maps, personas still remains one of the poster childs of UCD.

“How can designers create experiences that are custom tailored to people who are unlike themselves? As explained in part 1 of this series, an effective way to gain knowledge of, build empathy for and sharpen focus on users is to use a persona. This final part of the series will explain an effective method of creating a persona.”

(Shlomo Goltz a.k.a. @MoGoltz ~ Smashing Magazine)

Honing your research skills through ad-hoc contextual inquiry

UCD mantra: “Don’t listen to them, but watch them.”

“It’s common in our field to hear that we don’t get enough time to regularly practice all the types of research available to us, and that’s often true, given tight project deadlines and limited resources. But one form of user research – contextual inquiry – can be practiced regularly just by watching people use the things around them and asking a few questions.”

(Will Hacker a.k.a. @willhacker ~ Boxes & Arrows)

Design’s fully-baked deliverables and half-baked artifacts

Digital design cooks and pastry chefs do their magic.

“In design, we have something similar to the two states of a cake: artifacts and deliverables. If deliverables represent the fully-baked ideas in our design, artifacts represent the half-baked ones still forming. The distinction between artifacts and deliverables is very important, yet something we never find ourselves discussing, just like the multiple states of cakes. If we create one when we think we’re creating the other, it will lead to confusion that wastes time and convolutes the team’s efforts. We need to understand how they work and what makes each one valuable.”

(Jared Spool a.k.a. @jmspool ~ User Interface Engineering)

Digital government service: The fragmented experience

Government must become the new hunting ground for UX designers, as well as Health and Education. Which is Government in the broadest sense.

“Governments around the world face a set of challenges that are highly complex and interconnected: education, health, social security, and transparency to name a few. Public institutions haven’t changed much in the last couple of centuries. Their architecture, practices, processes, platforms and communication streams have remained pretty much the same. We have 18th century institutions trying to deal with 21st century problems.”

(Livework)

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)

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)

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)