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)

Social enterprise by design

Great to see Milans work of the INTERSECTION Conference 2014 in moving images.

“Traditional organizations around the world are now beginning the intentional effort to re-design themselves en masse for the contemporary digital world. Transformative technologies such as social media, digital ecosystems, and community-powered processes are often driving these changes. But smart organizational design, open and community-based process re-engineering, and careful cultivation of network capital is required to deliver meaningful results. The data now seems to show that the major challenge of making the transition to next-generation business in the current stage of industry maturity is a lack of balance between the sizes, motivations, and interests of employees, business parnters, customers, and the marketplace. Fortunately, it’s also clear that this situation doesn’t have to exist. Organizations that pro-actively re-design their structures and processes at scale are beginning to distinguish themselves from their peers in terms of real business performance. To see how to make the transition, we can explore how organizations can achieve these results today.”

(Dion Hinchcliffe a.k.a. @dhinchcliffe ~ The INTERSECTION14 videos)

Provide meaning with motion: Why motion design is now a required skill for designers

Another step to use cinematography features into digital design for understanding.”

“Carefully choreographed motion design can effectively guide the user’s attention and focus through multiple steps of a process or procedure; avoid confusion when layouts change or elements are rearranged; and improve the overall beauty of the experience.”

(Paul Stamatiou a.k.a. @Stammy)

Undesigning interaction

A really good start of any article: “This article has no pictures. I don’t want to disappoint readers who are expecting glossy images, straightforward examples, or prescriptive methods. I’m not going to give any.”

“The point of this article is to motivate ‘undesign thinking’ and rethink the familiar forms of interaction design. I want to recast with positive connotations the words we have for articulating what is objectively negative. Doing so will hopefully allow us to speak and write more openly and productively about designing to inhibit, displace, erase, or foreclose. But beyond speaking and writing about design, I want to suggest practical design action. Not just the type of practical action we typically think of as interaction design, but forms of design that may seem too different or else too trivial to fall within the scope of interaction design. Indeed, thinking in negative terms about design may require us to broaden our understanding of practical action. Is replacing a digital technology with a non-digital technology interaction design? Is replacing a high-tech digital display with a paper display interaction design? Is removing Wi-Fi interaction design? (…) At the very least, such intentions, actions, and outcomes suggest both opportunities and responsibilities for interaction design—regardless of whether we call them undesign, design, or something else altogether.”

(James Pierce ~ ACM Interactions Magazine July + August 2014)

All papers from the Service Design and Innovation Conference 2014

Lots of paper gems from this upcoming design field.

“ServDes.2014 focused on how Service Design is contributing to ‘Service Futures’ and how it is developing as a field of research and practice. The conference considered how the concept and role of services have been developing in the recent decades and questioned how Service Design is evolving following a similar path. Starting from its initial focus on service interactions and experiences, Service Design research and practice have entered more strategic and transformational roles, dealing with issues of organisational change, system design, sustainability and social change, amongst others. The concept and applications of this design field is also expanding and required some collective considerations. The conference attracted 175 participants from 24 nationalities, of which 60 percent were academics and 40 percent were practitioners.”

(Service Design and Innovation Conference)

Enabling a career shift from User Experience to Service Design

People following the evolution of the practice and discipline.

“To shift from doing digital UX design to doing service design, you need to be unremorsefully analytical and inquisitive. Questioning the value and the context of what you’re doing represents a great first step toward broadening the scope of your work.”

(Laura Keller a.k.a. @ServiceDesignLK ~ UX matters)

Crossing the great UX-Agile divide

Without conflict, friction or pain nothing moves forward.

“Every year, the UX community musters more articles, interviews, conference workshops, and panel discussions in an effort to resolve the seemingly unresolvable challenge of integrating UX into an agile process. Now more than wver, it’s important to step back from the growing body of tips, strategies and best practices, and ask why this conflict exists in the first place.”

(Mike Bulajewsk a.k.a. @mrteacup ~ UX magazine)

Service design thinking

Next-up, interaction design thinking, visual design thinking and information design thinking. Design thinking in all of its incarnations.

“In the realm of user experience, disciplines and titles can take on different meanings. Determining buzzword jargon from actual, useful distinctions and processes is sometimes a bit tricky. The term Service Design has been with us for a while now. Some see it as just plain, good UX.”

(Marc Stickdorn a.k.a. @MrStickdorn ~ User Interface Engineering)

The practitioners of Web information architecture in small and medium enterprises

In SME’s you really will find the real IA unicorns.

“This paper reports an investigation of the practice of web information architecture in small and medium enterprises . As information delivery via the web becomes a mainstream activity in all organisations, research and practical attention to Web IA remains focused on larger organisations and a new profession of information architect. The practice of web IA in SMEs has not been widely considered. This research collects the narratives of those who practice Web IA in the smaller enterprise and reveals that the dominant voice is that of a communication and marketing practitioner, rather than information professional. The outcomes of practice in this context suffer from a lack of knowledge and expertise.”

(Burford, S. & Given, L. M. (2013) ~ Journal of Information Architecture Vol. 5, No. 1-2)

How do we solve the enterprise UX skills gap?

The enterprise finally gets the UX fever. Designers at the cutting enterprise edge.

“As CIOs grapple with the UX imperative sparked by business users and consumer apps, skills gaps will cause migraines. Catering to scarce UX rock stars will be less effective than forming balanced teams. Fortunately, some designers have already dealt with UX rethinks on mobile app creation – they’ll be an asset. Then there is the whole matter of Web UX versus overall customer experience, leading us to the enormous challenge of a great customer experience across channels.”

(Jon Reed a.k.a. @jonERP ~ Diginomica)

What makes wearables valuable?

After mobile and tablet design, now it’s the design field of the wearable. The UX of it that is.

“But ultimately, I think wearables that try to replace the smartphone by shrinking it to fit on your wrist (or other body part) will struggle while those that complement our current set of devices and focus on the things they can do well will thrive. For me that means meaningful data collection, effortless authentication, contextual notifications, and faster access to. I guess we’ll have to find out as the next batch of wearable technology arrives on our wrists and beyond.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @LukeW)