Agile UX: It’s not as bad as you think

We never thought that, didn’t we?

“As Agile has become the standard working model for development teams, UXers are, oftentimes grudgingly, learning to integrate into existing Agile development teams. But few are exploring how a UX team can use Agile techniques, and perhaps more importantly an Agile mindset, to improve team performance and morale. It turns out that when done right, Agile can help UXers achieve personal and strategic goals, giving value and purpose to the problems UX teams face daily. Sound too good to be true? If so, read on to learn how this cross-functional UX and architecture team used an Agile approach to improve our product, team performance, team member engagement, job satisfaction, and influence.”

Becky Bristol a.k.a. @paintingblue and Nicole Derr a.k.a. @Nicole_Derr ~ User Experience Magazine

UX writing: The case for user-centric language

Sometimes you just have to change the label to make a ‘new’ start.

“UX writing recognizes language as an intrinsic part of a user’s experience with a product. UX writers think intentionally about how words alone can facilitate – or get in the way of – users’ goals. As a discipline, UX writing lets you manipulate language. It helps you prod your users one step closer toward desired actions. Indeed, validating the effectiveness of language – on websites, apps, and other digital products – is just as important as other areas of UX research.”

Alana Schroeder a.k.a. /alana-schroeder | @ealanaschroeder ~ Boxes and Arrows

Web typography and layout: Past, present and future

From movable type to computational type.

“Can typography encourage long-form reading – not just scanning? What are the most exciting areas of cutting-edge experimentation in typographic technology and digital layout, and what new skills will we need to design tomorrow’s web content? Three experts – Mozilla’s Jen Simmons, publication design legend Roger Black, and ALA’s Jeffrey Zeldman – discuss typography and layout on today’s web: where we are now, and where we’re going.”

A List Apart

Lean user research: Lessons from the Agile trenches

All phases of the design cycle transform into lean. Oh dear.

“The Agile approach to product development focuses on continually and quickly releasing, learning about, and improving a product to enable sustained movement forward. By focusing on incremental improvements rather than a finished product, product teams can learn and pivot as needed to maintain their competitive edge. Most product teams use, or are moving toward, some form of an Agile methodology to rapidly and incrementally evolve their product or service. The good news is that user experience research and design can fit into the Agile process quite effectively.”

Michelle R. Peterson, Anna Rowe, Valle Hansen, and Carmen Broomes ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association

The divisiveness of Design Thinking

When places and spaces become too popular, the professionals redraw the map.

“In this article, I want to explore the split between the value of design thinking and the backlash, and see if there’s room to reclaim the value of this powerful way of working. Bear with the history lesson – it’s useful in seeing how design thinking has warped into something superficial.”

Jon Kolko a.k.a. @jkolko ~ ACM Interactions Magazine XXV.3

AI UX: 7 Principles of Designing Good AI Products

Known design principles applied in new territories.

“Artificial intelligence often looks like magic: sometimes even engineers have difficulty explaining how the machine-learning algorithm comes up with something. We see our job as a UX team as helping people understand how machines work so they can use them better. This doesn’t mean we should explain how a convolutional neural network functions in a simple photo search up. But we should give users hints about what the algorithm does or what data it uses. A good old example comes from e-commerce, where we explain why we recommend certain products. These recommendation engines were the first AI UX many people encountered, many years ago.”

Dávid Pásztor a.k.a. /davidpasztor ~ UX Studio Team

Are you ready for the next evolution of UX: the human experience?

Adding to our acrosoup: HX.

“The human experience trumps everything, and a product or service that’s designed with a contextual view of someone’s life will dominate the marketplace. For makers this means creating desired experiences through their products and services that users crave. But user experience always fits somewhere within the great context of one’s life. This is key. The human-centered design ethos is gaining momentum as context plays a greater role in the design of everyday things. So perhaps it’s time to expand the idea of what a product is to reflect that shift.”

Paul Campillo a.k.a. /paulcampillo | @paulcampillo ~ Typeform

The Rise (And Fall?) of Corporate Design Education

Contrary to formal, institutional and state sanctioned design education, like colleges and universities (bachelor, master, and PhD).

“I believe in the power of design education to change people’s lives, to improve products, and to alter the strategic course of a corporation, for the better. I hope to see a resurgence of design craftsmanship training riding alongside design thinking training. I don’t think it’s impossible to teach craft, in a broad way, in an organization. But it will take more time and a different approach to training to realize the power of design as an applied discipline, and to recognize how important true competency of doing is for institutionalizing design and creativity.”

Jon Kolko a.k.a. /jkolko | @jkolko ~ The Modernist Studio

Scrolling and attention

Page turning versus scrolling. Except for snippets.

“While modern webpages tend to be long and include negative space, and users may be more inclined to scroll than in the past, people still spend most of their viewing time in the top part of a page. Content prioritization is a key step in your content-planning process. Strong visual signifiers can sometimes entice users to scroll and discover content below the fold. To determine the ideal page length, test with real users, and keep in mind that very long pages increase the risk of losing the attention of your customers.”

Therese Fessenden a.k.a. /tbfessenden | @TBFessenden ~ Nielsen Norman Group

How to map your customer’s journey

The persona of service design, nicely laid out.

“To identify the opportunities for growth along the customer lifecycle, it is first important to understand the customer’s experience engaging with the company and its product or service. A customer journey map is an illustration of exactly these experiences. The map can tell the full story covering the entire customer lifecycle from initial contact to activation, engagement, and beyond or focus on only a part of the story that lays out interactions or touchpoints critical to a subset of the customer’s experience.”

Kimmy Paluch a.k.a. /kimmy | @kimmypaluch ~ Branding Strategy Innsider

Why ‘design for experience’ is becoming the new normal

Experience design at the big consultancies. It’s getting more crazy day by day.

“Experiences are intrinsic to each individual; they are subjective by nature. In fact, we cannot design how our clients will experience our products or services. What we can do, instead, is coming up with design that can positively influence that personal, unique experience.”

Anna Vassileva a.k.a. /anna-vassileva ~ PWC.lu

Are we taking the ‘U’ out of UX?

Acronyms never live long.

“User experience is a huge buzzword these days. Although seemingly self-explanatory, some companies aren’t getting the point—they’re still overlooking behavioral experience in lieu of look and feel. Many of the ads I saw reserved their most specific and vivid language for the visual design end of things. It left me scratching my head and wondering if only the most sophisticated—and largest—companies truly wanted UX and had the budget to support it. Are other companies just paying lip service to the current buzz by hiring visual designers and labelling them UX?”

Mark Richman a.k.a. /markjrichman ~ Boxes and Arrows

The business of UX strategy

HCI and UX connected to the business world.

“The majority of business versus UX design choices are influenced by a combination of market megatrends and sales distribution channels. Within this context, the trade-offs vary by industry. The design constraints placed upon an FDA-regulated mobile health solution cannot be compared to those of a chat app for teenagers that blocks parental access. However, the requirement for high-quality UX has become universal to achieve success across all distribution channels and industries. Therefore, every digital product or service requires a UX strategy that considers the business dimensions described here and more. Doing so optimizes for a high-quality user experience in conjunction with the best commercial outcome possible. Finally, it needs to be loudly emphasized: Even the most exhaustive UX strategy must be frequently revisited because the underlying market megatrends and constraints evolve continuously to disrupt the most carefully crafted plans of mice and men.”

Daniel Rosenberg a.k.a. /danielrosenbergux

The politics of design systems: Keeping stakeholders and UX teams invested through the process

Design systems, getting into the 2018 hype cycle.

“As digital ecosystems mature, a design system is rapidly moving from an innovation to a requirement for companies looking to execute quality design at scale. But framing the effort as a simple design and front-end development exercise minimizes the impact of the system on every aspect of the product design cycle. By recognizing and treating your design system effort as organizational change, enterprises are better equipped to set themselves up for success.”

Dani Nordin a.k.a. /daninordin | @danigrrl