It’s not just decoration: Design is a competitive advantage

All the rational arguments to convince C-level. Still no gut feeling.

“This is one reason why many in the field now downplay the D-word in favour of “User Experience,” or UX. Born out of software design, UX has become a useful lens for understanding everything from watches to wheelbarrows. The total experience of the customer is what counts. That includes the product’s fit and finish, its ergonomics and safety features, and how intuitive it is to use.”

Graham F. Scott ~ Canadian Business

Applying UX design tactically to achieve strategic objectives

Strategic thinking for in-house UX teams.

“UX design encompasses user research, user interface design, visual design, and content. But what about process design? Why should seasoned companies – whose product-development process hasn’t previously relied on conducting design research – hire UX professionals to help them devise and realize a new business model?”

Mark Baldino a.k.a. /markbaldino | @fuzzymath ~ UXmatters

Thinking about Design Thinking: Is it important?

All thinking is important.

“Design thinking is just another way to talk about problem-solving. Every design project you take on aims to solve some sort of problem for the client, whether it is helping more people learn about their company through a website, getting people into a store with a coupon or enticing people to buy something with an amazing package design. But design thinking is more than just problem solving. It is a hands-on approach to developing solutions.”

Carrie Cousins a.k.a. @carriecousins ~ Design Shack

Augmented Reality: The past, the present and the future

AR and VR, the new design ‘terra incognita’.

“Augmented reality has come a long way from a science-fiction concept to a science-based reality. Until recently the costs of augmented reality were so substantial that designers could only dream of working on design projects that involved it – today things have changed and augmented reality is even available on the mobile handset. That means design for augmented reality is now an option for all shapes and sizes of UX designers.”

The Interaction Design Foundation

Creating a design system language

System thinking in a design context.

“It seems like the current buzz word in the design industry and everyone wants one. But how exactly can a product benefit from having a living, breathing design language? I’m going to try break down the very basics so you can understand why it’s needed. Creating an underlying language will unite our design philosophies and methodologies across our platform.”

Ezequiel Bruni a.k.a. @ezequielbruni ~ Webdesigner depot courtesy of @IAtv

Effective and efficient: Conducting UX and design reviews

Shaping the feedback loop in a cybernetic way.

“We have all been there—the umpteenth design review on a feedback loop that just will not end. The team is exhausted and creativity has been squeezed like water out of a dishrag. The stakeholders keep giving new feedback, often derailing previous feedback. The team wonders if it will ever be done. There is no clear path forward and the team has lost sight of the original goals, instead spending time on copy for one link or a particular shade of blue. Endless rounds of feedback and wayward comments are crippling to team morale. Without a clear path forward, repeated reviews can ultimately make attempts at innovative UX suffer and leave stakeholders questioning the approach. There is hope; this does not have to happen. With the three-step process of reviews introduced in this article, creativity can be restored and your team can help clients and stakeholders achieve their goals. This process will ultimately lead to better UX and designs because it starts with defining a clear UX strategy and limits the design project to three rounds of review.”

Kristin Zibell a.k.a. /kristinzibell | @takeyourbigtrip The Magazine of the UXPA

UX Research is the biggest bang for the buck most companies fail to invest in

Research comes in many shapes for digital design.

“The problem I see with having a UX Designer without a UX Researcher is that as a company, you develop the illusion that you are doing enough to comprehensively assess and change the user experience in a way to get the optimal results out of your investment. And, truth be told, many UX designers do a little bit of everything highlighted in this article. But they don’t do enough. They can’t. There simply isn’t enough time in a day to both create the user experience and validate its effectiveness. Moreover, as we saw above, there’s a wide variety of techniques through which User Researchers monitor, analyze and report on user experience developments.”

Craig Tomlin a.k.a. /wcraigtomlin | @ctomlin

Design-led firms win the business advantage (.pdf)

Preaching to the choir.

“Today’s digitally empowered customers expect seamless experiences that allow them to interact with brands how they want, when they want, and where they want. These expectations are constantly evolving as consumers are exposed to new experiences and technologies, and customer experience competition for customers’ attention is intensifying amid the continued proliferation of devices, displays, and interfaces. In this changing landscape of customer goals and choices, design becomes a key business advantage. A well-crafted experience — one based on deep customer understanding, effective visuals, and relevant interactions — can make the difference between a loyal, repeat customer and one who gives up and walks away unsatisfied. As one notable designer put it, “Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.”

A Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper commissioned by Adobe

The biggest problem facing UX design

Must be multiple problems.

“As with many trends that have seen a rapid rise, there is a strong likelihood that there may be an equally strong decline in UX design. It is fear of this risk that is prompting many UX designers to call for their fellows to prove their value. It stands to reason that, if designers can prove their worth and, thus, convince their employers that design is providing a strong return on investment (ROI) to them, they’ll have no choice but to keep championing designers. Now, if that were easy, nobody would have a worry, but it’s not. How can design – something that companies have traditionally assessed according to the taste of a few important people – prove to a company that it’s providing real, measurable value? How can UX designers show that they are actually valuable, strategic assets who can impact all areas of a business?”

Ben Newton a.k.a. /bencnewton | @ben_c_newton UXmatters

Designing for disappearing interfaces

However you assemble them, you have to define them.

“The internet becomes something that’s omnipresent, instead of just something you click on. As everything around us becomes inherently more dynamic, user interfaces will become more and more amorphous in their boundaries. And just as the internet will in effect ‘disappear’, so will our interfaces. We’ll still use them, but we won’t perceive them as separate, limited, defined spaces. They’ll be something far more integral to our experience.”

David McGillivray a.k.a. /dmcgillivray | @David_McG

Conversational UI: The slow death of creative interfaces?

Designing for visual pixel to audio prose.

“Conversational UI is any UI that can mimic the communication with a human being. This means that a human being can communicate with a virtual human being.These UIs work on platforms such as iPhone, Android, Windows, etc. These applications work based on the strong and collective cognitive data, with the support of artificial intelligence.”

Sreeraj ~ Prototypr.io

The experience era is upon us

Computational experiences in ehealth will be next up.

“In this moment in healthcare, the challenges for those in the system are dynamically shifting and the perspectives, desires and needs of the healthcare consumer are putting positive and lasting pressures on how healthcare works that will shift healthcare from where it has been to where it must go. At the heart of this transition are the ideas framing an experience era, where collaborative, consumer-focused and purposeful actions can and will lead to a healthcare system returning to its fundamental calling, that of human beings caring for human beings. In doing so we can change the nature of healthcare and reignite the purpose that brought people to this work and that have individuals seek it for care. In this framing is also the call to action to contribute new insights and perspectives to expand the dialogue, reinforcing the critical and lasting nature of the experience conversation for all it has influenced and all it will impact for many years to come.”

Jason A. Wolf ~ Patient Experience Journal Volume 3 – Issue 2

New report on service design impact in public sector

Service design into the challenging environment of the government.

“Service design is also taking a role in the process of cultural and organizational change. It collaborates with other experts in this field in order to enable change by reframing the challenges, by engaging stakeholders in development of scenarios of futures that do not yet exist and by prototyping envisioned scenarios. These processes change the role of public servants from experts to partners. It is no longer the public service that is doing something for the citizens but doing it with them. This new way of thinking and working demands not only a change in mindset, but also in the way of doing things. Service design helps to build these new capacities. Very often it is a combination of teaching and learning by doing, in the process of capacity building small service design projects can be approached that create a sense of what service design can do and how to do it.”

Putting People First

Institute-wide task force on the future of libraries

Library, the computational version.

“In this report, we describe a bold new vision for the library as an open global platform rooted in our shared values and mission; supported by innovative approaches to community and relationships, discovery and use, and stewardship and sustainability; and informed and enabled by an expanded emphasis on research and development.”

MIT Ad Hoc Task Force on the Future of Libraries

The state of UX in 2016

Annual state of UX affairs: growth, stagnation, or decline.

“(…) it shows that organisations that aim to use human-centred design to lead their markets and capitalise on the potential of digital technologies do so by creating empowered, appropriately-staffed UX operations. And for all the companies still sprinkling a little UX on existing processes? Well, don’t expect to change the world. Or your industry. Or even stave off the competition. It’s a digital world we’re living in, and UX design will be an integral part of it for a long time to come.”

Leah Buley a.k.a. /leahbuley | @leahbuley ~ Creative Bloq