The next UX revolution: Transforming stodgy enterprise applications into engaging experiences

Zeitgeist: IBM and Apple showed the way.

“Businesses are starting to realize the potential of good UX. With a substantial percentage of the workforce retiring in the next three to five years, organizations need software for a new wave of workers—business software that works like the apps they use at home. Our customers who have already adopted Infor’s new UX are seeing lower turnover rates, less training time, and more satisfaction among their workers. They tell us they’re hungry for more. And we’re getting ready to deliver.”

(Marc Scibelli ~ UX Magazine)

Brand experience: There’s no app for that

Challenging the UX way of thinking from a marketing and branding perspective.

“In his opening keynote Thomas Marzano challenges the HCI community to think about Brand Experience instead of User Experience. Tapping from his experience with the new Philips Brand, he will demonstrate us how a company should approach its brand in a holistic way and thus create a better and deeper felt brand differentiation. Thomas firmly believes that putting people at the centre of imagination is the only sustainable way of creating meaningful experiences.”

(Thomas Marzano a.k.a. @ThomasMarzano ~ Chi Sparks 2014 videos)

Designing innovation

Talk about design and innovation after the phase of ‘just do it’.

“Finding the sweet spot in terms of a timeframe or design skeleton is one thing, but the real challenge comes with translating consumer insights into something innovative that the designers can stand behind. (…) And just as we’ve made the transition from a much more “magic” way of introducing design to completely immersing ourselves into the thoughts, suggestions and feelings of consumers, we’re looking to a future where the the public will ultimately be playing a much smaller role in the actual function of their products. All we can do is wait to see what comes out of the woodwork – and offer our opinions as consumers whenever we have the chance.”

(Core77 Design)

Designing for content

Great example of content-first experience design.

“Our jobs as designers, coders, thinkers and writers is to deliver relevant content in a meaningful context. We are creating a complete reading experience where not only the visual delivery is responsive (desktop to tablet to smartphone) but also the content is responsive to the context of it’s consumption. We look at new phenomena like agile publishing and self-publishing (and a pretty triumphant return of print) and we collect data to get insights in the behavior of our audiences.”

(Robert Stulle a.k.a. @robertstulle ~ EdenSpiekermann)

UX strategy blueprint

First level of abstraction: a blueprint. Kind of a template.

“Once all of the elements have been agreed on, consolidate the strategy. A good, succinct strategy should only be about two pages long. Give it multiple forms to illustrate your intent to different audiences. Create a presentation, document and a graphic, as needed. Share the strategy as often as possible. It’s hard to over communicate: print it out, hang it up, start every meeting with your strategy slide, use it as dummy text in wireframes instead of lorum ipsum. Reiterate. Developing strategy is a craft, one that involves exploration and choice but also systematic thinking. The UX Strategy Blueprint helps you see all the moving parts in a single overview. In doing so, it simplifies strategy, making an abstract concept more tangible for all involved.”

(James Kalbach a.k.a. @jimkalbach ~ Experiencing Information)

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)

What is the relationship between HCI research and UX practice?

HCI evolved into UX, but is still in need of theory (a.k.a. ideas), research, and design.

“It is perhaps through effectively communicating the outcomes of academic HCI’s explorations of future interactive technologies that academia can offer the greatest value to UX professionals working in industry. Many UX professionals do not have the luxury of time that would enable them to look beyond immediate requirements. But doing research with a broader focus is common in academia.”

(Stuart Reeves ~ UX matters)

Breaking web design conventions is breaking the user experience

De facto standards are still standards, if you like it or not.

“(…) the reality is that too often, resources are spent on making the site look great or creating an innovative widget, and usability is neglected until the very end of development (if it’s even ever looked at). Ideally, you’ll be doing testing throughout the project, be it testing your information architecture, creating and testing wireframes and paper prototypes, and conducting usability tests with real users on all the devices that you’re targeting with your design, all with enough time before the launch so that you can iterate your designs and test them again.”

(Katie Sherwin a.k.a. @kwsherwin ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

Up and down the ladder of abstraction: A systematic approach to interactive visualization

Abstraction, the core competency for thinking.

“This interactive essay presents the ladder of abstraction, a technique for thinking explicitly about these levels, so a designer can move among them consciously and confidently. I believe that an essential skill of the modern system designer will be using the interactive medium to move fluidly around the ladder of abstraction.”

(Bret Victor a.k.a. @worrydream)

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)

Deciphering data through design

That’s why the byline of this stream is ‘Understanding by Design’.

“Understanding problems are common when trying to visualize data. Designing a layout to effectively communicate complex or even simple data can be a challenge. If the visualization isn’t immediately apparent to a user, it requires a level of understanding to get the most out of their experience. (…) In this podcast with Jared Spool, Stephen outlines what he calls the 7 Problems of Understanding. These range from problems of comprehension to problems of discovery and more. Each of these problems is usually brought about by a design or display decision. Looking further at these issues, simple changes can greatly increase the experience for users.”

(Stephen Anderson a.k.a. @stephenanderson ~ User Interface Engineering)

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)