Why UX designers need to think like architects

Design and architecture or architecting. Designer and architect. More parallels than differences: bits and atoms.

“The connections between architectural and experience design are undeniable, the thought processes nearly indistinguishable from one another. When we explore other, older design disciplines, their evolution may begin to guide ours, and we may begin to truly innovate. We are truly the architects, the chief builders, of the web (…)”

(Rima Reda a.k.a. @rimareda ~ UX Magazine)

Cross-platform service user experience: A field study and an initial framework (.pdf)

Complexity goes exponential with the IoT design challenge.

“Many web-based services utilize both desktop and mobile terminals in delivering content and functionality to their users. In terms of user experience, the overall chain of interactions, including mobile and non-mobile settings, becomes a central design target. The aim of this study was to investigate, what are the key elements of user experience associated with these, cross- platform interactions. This paper presents the findings from a four week long field study with three web-based cross-platform services. During the study, participants used the services on both their PCs and mobile devices. Diaries and interviews were used for gathering users’ experiences with the services. Based on our findings and reflection with related work, we argue that central elements of cross-platform service UX include fit for cross- contextual activities, flow of interactions and content, and perceived service coherence. We propose an initial conceptual framework of cross-platform user experience. The framework can be used to guide the design of cross-platform web services, as it draws attention to elements of user experience that are essentially influenced by the characteristics of cross-platform settings.”

(Authors: Minna Wäljas, Katarina Segerstah, Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila, Harri Oinas-Kukkonen)

Systems & design thinking: A conceptual framework for their integration (.pdf)

Two mindsets integrated, one from the 20th century, the other from the 21st century.

“This paper explores the relationship between Systems and Design Thinking. It specifically looks into the role of Design in Systems Thinking and how looking at the world through a systems lens influences Design. Our intention is to show the critical concepts developed in the Systems and Design Thinking fields, their underlying assumptions, and the ways in which they can be integrated as a cohesive conceptual framework. While there are many important distinctions that must be considered to understand the similarities and differences of these concepts, gaining a complete understanding of these factors is more than can be covered in this paper. Nevertheless, the most critical classifying variable used to distinguish these concepts will be discussed in order to make their integration possible. This variable, the recognition of purposeful behavior, will be used to develop a conceptual vision for how a combined approach can be used to research, plan, design and manage social systems. Systems in which people play the principle role.”

(Authors: John Pourdehnad, Erica R. Wexler, and Dennis V. Wilson)

The UX axioms: Design better products for people

And now not only remember these, but also act upon them accordingly.

“The set of UX axioms has gone through an evolution over the last year as I iterated through the concepts, refined and combined ideas. I started with 150 concepts that were combined and synthesized into an initial set of 50 axioms presented to IxDA Grand Rapids in December 2012. Over the course of 2013, I presented the UX Axioms several times and further synthesized the set down to 21 Axioms. I recently added a few more axioms to the set I felt were missing. The current set stands at 26 UX axioms. Once the axioms are finalized, I will work to produce a card deck similar to the previous Design Axioms and Health Axioms decks produced by Invo. As you go through the axioms, you may notice that several of them equally apply to how we make sense of the world and how we craft our products that are birthed into the world.”

(Erik Dahl a.k.a. @eadahl)

Designing effective experiences for financial services

Financial management for people is a great UX design challenge.

“In this article I want to focus on what we can consider from a UX design perspective to address these challenges. I’ll draw from a set of powerful truths about how people evaluate options and make decisions. These have been gleaned from robust research findings within the fields of behavioral decision theory and cognitive psychology.”

(Colleen Roller a.k.a. @DecisionUX ~ UX magazine)

Get started in UX: The complete guide to launching a career in User Experience Design

Still waiting for the ‘Bluff your way into…’ edition.

“Many of the UX techniques we discuss are strictly operational. These are important, but different roles allow you to have differing levels of input on a business’s strategy. While the challenges of directing a business strategy of a one-person startup are wildly different from making strategic decisions within a large corporation, it’s still useful to visualize at what stages you’ve had the opportunity to apply strategic thinking.”

(Matthew Magain a.k.a. @mattymcg and Luke Chambers a.k.a. @lukcha ~ UXmatters)

Treating enterprise software like game design

“Recognizing different layers and viewpoints gives game designers a nomenclature for understanding games’ inner workings and highlighting shortcomings. For example, a game aimed at a social aesthetic needs some form of multiplayer or social network integration. A game aimed at competition needs a visible score or ranking and consistent, well communicated rules.”

(Anthony Langsworth a.k.a. @alangsworth ~ Random Acts of Architecture)

Interaction design for the internet of things

And all the other UX disciplines for the IoT as well.

“While the technological development around this area is indeed fascinating, it is from my perspective even more interesting to see where this will take interaction design over the next few years. From an interaction design perspective, it is always interesting to explore what this digital material can do for us in terms of enabling new user experiences and the development of new digital services.”

(Mikael Wiberg ~ ACM Interactions Magazine)

The evolving purpose of design: Design is about communication and respect as much as function

How curation can make a big difference.

“I’ve had quite a bit of interaction with venture capitalists there, and I must say I was quite disappointed, she said. I was amazed that they consider design an embellishment, something superfluous. Yes, I know that Steve Jobs is always cited as a master of design, and that he’s a symbol for Silicon Valley. But Jobs was only one guy, and his vision was his vision. You can’t imitate Jobs. And frankly, at this point, his approach is a bit old-fashioned. He was obsessed with beauty and purity above all else. For the strongest designs, you have to be willing to get a little dirty. I have no problem with beautiful objects, but the purpose of design isn’t to be beautiful — it’s to communicate, to inform clearly and concisely. Again, it’s about respect, both for the object and the person who uses it.”

(Glen Martin a.k.a. @GlenWM5440 ~ O’Reilly Solid)

Bringing change to life

Design and designer as change agents, their best versions.

“Change in an organization is really hard. This is especially true when a company that was once on the forefront of innovation finds itself having lost that luster through its own growth and success. The last couple of years there has been a transformation happening at PayPal that is touching every part of the organization to make it innovative again. At the heart of this change is a new, close partnership between design and engineering. Can your organization be changed? From Bill’s experience at Yahoo!, Netflix, PayPal and consulting with numerous companies he believes there are some core principles you can employ to drive transformation that are all centered around the customer. The question Bill will explore is ‘How can design be the catalyst for that change?” While this talk will be inspirational, it will take an honest (and humorous) look at what has worked and what hasn’t worked so well in trying to scale change.”

(Bill Scott a.k.a. @billwscott ~ Adaptive Path‘s Managing Experience Conference 2014)

The customer experience obsession

Obsessed with customers, always good?

“Customer Experience is now accepted as a key driver for business growth, regardless of industry. This view is supported by research showing that customer experience leaders have significantly, consistently out-performed the S&P 500 in recent years — but understanding the value of customer experience and transcending engrained organizational processes that hinder it are different matters. Digital strategy has unleashed new, creative ways to engage customers throughout every step of their journey; it’s now time to consider the strategic role community plays in harnessing the value of digital interactions to inform long-term customer relationship and loyalty goals.”

(Wendy Lea a.k.a. @WendySLea ~ Adaptive Path‘s Managing Experience Conference 2014)

Does typography affect UX?

Typical case of a rhetorical question. ‘Look-and-feel’ as the layman’s definition of UX.

“Typography matters as much as geography. Businesses take a great deal of time to consider the implications and pitfalls of entering a new market, but they often leave major components of their UX to the arbitrary decisions of outside contractors. Everything matters in brand identity, especially the look-and-feel of the fonts that identify your company.”

(Creative market)

When Service Design meets the divided company

A focus of service design on the service experience makes it the brother or sister of UX and CX in the Experience Design family.

“What happens when a service design project meets a hierarchical, divided company? You can design an amazing service, and yet at the end of the day, the organizations still has to deliver. A service design project that ignores organizational readiness is doomed to fail. How to move service projects forward in the face of such constraints? Service design usually means a change initiative. More than half of change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives. Most of these initiatives fail because they don’t adequately understand the organization’s culture and potential for resisting the change.”

(Dave Gray a.k.a. @davegray ~ Adaptive Path’s The Service Experience Conference 2013)

Organizing the world: How hypermedia looked in 1934

So pleased with this information graphics from Paula and her team.

“Sharing Paul Otlet’s dream about Mundaneum – a kind of hypermedia system that allowed the management and sharing of all human knowledge in the 30′s. (…) Systems, principles and machines created by Otlet and La Fontaine to organize the huge documents and index cards in the RBU. The creation of a highly flexible language management system for databases: The Universal Decimal Classification (UCD), the first modern faceted classification system, in opposition of Melvil Dewey´s Decimal Classification.”

(Paula Azevedo Macedo a.k.a. @paulamacedo, Seth Pérez, and Larissa Braga)

Creating style guides

Documenting design decisions is a honorable piece of work.

“(…) a style guide is a living document of code, which details all the various elements and coded modules of your site or application. Beyond its use in consolidating the front-end code, it also documents the visual language, such as header styles and color palettes, used to create the site. This way, it’s a one-stop place for the entire team—from product owners and producers to designers and developers—to reference when discussing site changes and iterations. Several companies have even put their guides online; Starbucks is the most well known of the bunch, but others exist.”

(Susan Robertson a.k.a. @susanjrobertson ~ A List Apart)

An extended interview with John Maeda, Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Always a treat to read John Maeda speak about design, Design and De$ign. Even though it’s briefly in this interview.

“Technology has matured. We don’t buy things because they have better technology; we buy them because they’re better designed. People in technology generally don’t understand what design is. I think there’s an opportunity and responsibility for designers to play a larger role in economic development and leadership. I call it moving from lowercase design to capital D Design to dollar sign De$ign. It’s going to be important for design to take a larger role in the technology economy.”

(Tina Essmaker a.k.a. @tinaessmaker ~ The Great Discontent)

Mapping user journeys using visual languages

Great to see InfoDesign entering the territory of Service Design. We had to wait a while, but there it is.

“The use of wayfinding systems does not focus on aesthetics, but on the best ways of communicating key flows, barriers, and necessary improvements to stakeholders and clients, as well as to show opportunities to streamline experiences. Using the common framework of boxes and arrows just does’t do justice to the value that you can obtain from journey maps.”

(Shean Malik ~ UXmatters)

Orchestrating touchpoints

Cross-channels, omni-channels and trans-channels, all working in harmony to deliver great services.

“As services become more interconnected across channels and devices – and more importantly across time and space – it’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to gain insight about customers’ interactions with your product or service. Whether it’s an expanding digital product ecosystem, a cross-channel retail experience, or a complex, intangible service experience — how do we design experiences that unfold over time and through changing contexts?”

(Chris Risdon a.k.a. @chrisrisdon ~ From business to buttons 2014 videos)