Good design drives shareholder value: 2014 design value index results and commentary

2015 version coming soon, because ‘the results are in’.

“The 2014 Design Value Index shows us for a second year that corporations that put an emphasis on design as a strategic asset perform significantly better than those that do not. As corporate design capabilities mature, executives are able to direct this power towards their companies’ most challenging problems. This, in turn, allows design-driven companies to grow faster, and often with higher margins, due to the exceptional customer experiences they are uniquely positioned to create. Key trends identified through this work include the rise of user-experience (UX) design as a sub-discipline whose growth is expected to outpace all other design disciplines as the number of digital interfaces expand and the significant investment in internal design capabilities under way in many large U.S. companies today, as we see from DVI companies Intuit and IBM .”

(Jeneanne Rae a.k.a. @JeneanneMRae ~ Design Management Institute)

The psychology of UX

Old and still relevant. Human characteristics are of all times.

“When it comes to designing the UX, we need to take into consideration the necessity for a social outlet within our website or application. Allow for greater social interconnectedness in your designs so that people can go to each other for guidance and advice within your application, such as with ratings, reviews, news and forums. Allow users to forge helpful relationships, be it with similar users or with customer support. Give people an awareness of the size of the community they operate in to give them a sense of belonging as well as the choice of where they want to fit in within the community by establishing their profile.”

(Vanessa Carey ~ Methods & Tools) HT janjursa

Journey Maps: Not the end of the story

Have we found another silver bullet for UCD? And remember, the map is not the terrain.

“Journey maps have been around for the better part of a decade – some would argue longer – but it’s really only in the last three or four years that they’ve come into more common use, and more strategists are advocating their use as a framework for improving the customer experience. Without getting into the specifics of what a journey map is or isn’t in this column – there’s no shortage of material on the subject – suffice it to say that many in our field, including me, strongly believe in the potential of journey mapping for helping companies to achieve human-centric business transformations.”

(Ronnie Battista ~ UXmatters)

Heading towards UX excellence: Challenges from the UX Management Roundtable

Or how the middle management of Enterprise UX deals with the wicked problems of the experience landscape.

Disclosure: I work at Informaat experience design (The Netherlands) ~ “There is a growing need for UX managers in many organizations. Employees in this new role are facing big and complex challenges. Informaat organizes on a regular basis sessions of the UX Management Roundtable. In these meetings challenges are addressed and discussed UX managers are facing. Conversations of the roundtable from the past two years have now been documented in a free white paper.”

(Susanne van Mulken, Rob van der Haar, and Peter J. Bogaards ~ Informaat BiRDS on a W!RE)

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)

Information architecture’s role in UX design

Fortunately, no more discussions on information design versus information architecture. We’ve come from far away.

Jorge Arango discusses the state of IA and the importance of designers’ understanding of context and perspective – “Information architecture has always been an important part of user experience design, though not always acknowledged as such. With the emergence of social, IoT, and mobile, we have watched IA taking on a more dominant role in product development.”

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

What does it really mean to design in the browser?

Design with the digital material at hand. The browser interface being the canvas for it.

“Some insist designing in the browser is the only way to design a website. Some say designing in the browser limits creativity and these people don’t want to give up their graphic editors. What’s going on? Why the split? Why so many for and so many against designing in the browser? (…) I think the main reason for any pushback or misunderstanding is that detractors look at the phrase design in the browser literally and those in favor of it don’t.”

(Steven Bradley a.k.a. @vangogh ~ vanseo design)

Merging service design with user experience design

Designing the flow and the journey as a coherent experience.

“There are as many ways of doing Service Design and User Experience Design as there are design companies working in these fields. This makes it somewhat complex and perhaps pointless to define these design fields. I understand that this blogpost will be a subject of discussion, and I’ll therefore begin by saying that the description that follows is based on my own, professional experiences as to the differences and similarities between Service Design and User Experience Design. (…) I’ll describe the differences and similarities between service design and user experience design and how they can work in symbiosis to generate exceptional services, products, business models and customer experiences.”

(Erik Westerdahl a.k.a. @erikwesterdahl ~ Screen Interaction)

What is object-oriented experience design?

So there must be a Gang of Four as well.

“The way we think about experience design and visual design is evolving. The digital environment is becoming increasingly more diverse, and experience design professionals need to adapt accordingly. Object-oriented design provides the toolset for user experience designers to face these challenges head-on.”

(Sharon Carter ~ Macquarium)

IBM is banking on design’s ROI

What else do you need to be convinced that Design has made it into The Enterprise.

“Companies of all sizes are recognizing that by taking a design-first approach to product development, they can improve profit. I recently sat down with Phil Gilbert, GM of design at IBM, to discuss how he is helping to lead the transformation to a design-first company within IBM. Adopting design as a key corporate asset may seem like a no-brainer, but for a company of more than 350,000 employees, it’s a massive undertaking. IBM hasn’t been quiet about its plans to hire 1,000 designers over the course of five years and embed design in product teams throughout the organization.”

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

How to become a UX leader

Leadership is not only a personal talent but also a social one. Our field needs that as well.

“No matter your status or situation, whether director or loner, you are in a position to lead, to raise the bar in a place where it consistently sits lower than you think it should. As an in-house UX professional, I’ve formed and run UX teams for multiple companies. As a consultant, I’ve worked with dozens of clients on hundreds of projects. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to get what you want. Most of these things can be applied whether you’re inside of a company or consulting for one, whether you’re a fledgling designer or a veteran leader. Note: This article will be leaving out the stuff about how to be a good UX’er in the first place, such as how to do good research, define strategy, track and analyze data and so on.”

(Robert Hoekman Jr a.k.a. @rhjr ~ Smashing Magazine)

The User Experience Designer’s Charlatan Test

Self-awareness is a great virtue.

“The purpose of this exam is an introspection for the benefit of our profession. I hope people undertake this test honestly in their hearts and let it serve as a guide for where they may wish to work on their profession in order to become less and less a charlatan and more and more a professional. For those who wish to hire UX professionals, I hope this quiz can also serve as a guide to ask questions that will lead you to a competent candidate. Let me just repeat what this paper is not: this paper does not single out any single company or person. I mean to accuse us all and almost without exception. There is no one company, organization or designer more culpable than another. My observations cover the work of many colleagues in many companies for whom I have not worked. So everyone should feel equally distressed.”

(Jonathan Arnowitz a.k.a. @arnoland ~ Arnoland)

Advice from UX heroes: 9 golden nuggets

Always learn from the experienced experiences.

“A little over a year and a half ago, I was a UX intern with no idea what the heck was going on. I had a million questions about the field and desperately wanted answers and advice. I decided to start a podcast to pose these questions to some of my personal UX heroes. For the 18 months I’ve had the privilege of talking with some of the brightest minds in our field. I’ve bombarded them with questions from my perspective as a UX intern, and they’ve shared their wisdom with me. What follows are the pieces of advice that were most repeated on the show and that stood out most to me. I want to share them because they inspire me to become a better designer, and to be better rounded as a person.”

(Wesley Noble a.k.a. @wesley_noble ~ UXPA magazine)

Envisioning experience outcomes

Getting hold of the messy concept of experience.

“When your organization’s goal is to differentiate on the experience, you must start every product-development project by defining the experience that you want people to have with your product or service. Companies that differentiate on the experience do not begin by defining feature sets. They first define a vision for the experience outcome that they intend to deliver to their users and customers. Only once your team fully understands the experience outcomes that you want users to have can you make good decisions about what features and technologies would optimally support that vision.”

(Jim Nieters and Pabini Gabriel-Petit a.k.a. @pabini ~ UXmatters)

The future of UX research: Uncovering the true emotions of our users

Without facts based upon research you’ll end up with a lot of opinions.

“Truly understanding the feelings of our users has always been the dream of user experience researchers. Are they enjoying themselves? Are they frustrated? Are they genuinely interested and engaged? Understanding how a user truly feels in reaction to an experience can help us to optimize specific aspects of the experience to exude certain expressive states. We are entering a new age of insight that probes at the core of our users’ experience: studying their emotions.”

(Andrew Schall a.k.a. @andrewschall ~ User Experience 15.2)

From the vault: Watching (and re-watching) The Mother of All Demos

On giants and shoulders.

“To give an idea of the scope of the demo, Engelbart demonstrated an early look at word processing, windowing, hypertext, and dynamic file linking, as well as using graphics in a computer program. It was also the first time many of the attendees had seen a mouse, although work on the mouse began in 1963.”

(Megan Geuss a.k.a. @MeganGeuss ~ Ars Technica)

UX in the era of Internet of Things

Any technology push gets the UX drift.

“The Internet of Things is accelerating rapidly, and bringing with it a wealth of opportunity. Though many focus on the data and technology needs of the Internet of Things – the sensors, data, and the storage, security, and analysis of that data – we’re already forgetting to think about the humans interacting with those technologies.”

(Ted McCarthy a.k.a. @thisrunson ~ ThoughtWorks)