Researcher introspection for experience-driven design research

Like with second order cybernetics, the role of the researcher in the researched system is essential.

“We challenge the unquestioning pursuit of the appearance of objectivity and ingrained designer-user dualism in human-centred design research and propose a resurrection of introspection as a valid approach to investigating subjective experiences. Through comparing epistemic perspectives and reviewing the histories of introspection in several disciplines, we liberate the research field of experience-driven design from a long-lasting doubt about and the disguised and unsystematic use of this method. To establish a foundation for the further development of introspective methods, we focus on its most controversial type (i.e. researcher introspection) and discuss its strengths and weaknesses, preconditions of use, diverse ways to practise for different suitable experience-driven design research purposes, and useful techniques and tools.”

Haian Xue and Pieter M.A.Desmet ~ Design Studies Volume 63

A novel technique for A/B testing using static prototypes

Fortunately, life is not as binary as you think.

“A/B testing is a powerful technique for evaluating the success of a specific design element, but it is not yet widely adopted among library user experience professionals. Many libraries cannot or choose not to do A/B testing on a live website for a variety of practical reasons. Appalachian State University Libraries recently piloted a variety of A/B testing that has the potential to address some of these shortcomings: a Qualtrics survey of tasks carried out on static prototype websites embedded into the survey as inline frames. The technique allowed us to capture qualitative data in the form of survey questions and link it to quantitative server data typical in live A/B tests. Prototype A/B testing allowed us to reap the benefits of A/B testing without needing to modify a production server environment. Based on our findings from a large sample of undergraduate and graduate students, we were able to justify a post-migration design choice.”

Scott Goldstein ~ Journal of Library User Experience 2.1

The vandalisation of UX

How the semantics of UX change all the time.

“If anything, the T in T-shape isn’t a deep dive into a specific UX sub discipline, and its not to stay within the confines of either research or design. The skill you most want to T shape is the ability transfer the principles of good design across these factors. This is why the broad UX lens is perfectly positioned to engage the ambiguity that comes with design. After all, why put a cap on your abilities? We all have a ceiling but don’t put one there yourself.”

Max Taylor ~ Medium courtesy of @thebrainlady

Time Change: How the UX of time begins below the UI

From UI to UX to (…)

“The user experience of most web-based applications begins well below the interface, all the way down to fields in a database. Examining how systems and users experience time prove this point dramatically. Think about how messy time can be—time zones, leap years, recurring events. As the creators of educational technology, our team learned the hard way about failing to consider the UX implications of time—not just about how time works in technology, but also how our users experienced it in our UI. What follows are some of the technical issues that UX designers should consider about time, along with takeaways and specific methods that can be used to keep the user experience of time at the top-of-mind during product development.”

Michael McLeod a.k.a. @mcleodm3 ~ UXPA magazine

AUX3: Making UX research track with Agile

Putting a square in a circle?

“Agile and user experience have been partnered successfully since the Agile Manifesto was first authored in 2001 and have had a history of working well together in many situations. However, user experience research (UXR) has been largely unaccounted for in this work. The Agile Manifesto encourages us to revisit our processes and to iterate on ways to better describe how we work together with our teams. That is the goal of this article: to share our progress toward improving how we work by documenting an iteration of a model for you to try.”

Carol J. Smith a.k.a. @carologic, Thyra Rauch, and Hannah Moyers a.k.a. @h_moyers ~ UXPA magazine

Forge a Guild: Elevate your UX team to superhero status

Design remains team work. Even in guilds, tribes, and other social labels.

“In our busy Agile development environment, our UX team was under-resourced and frequently a bottleneck. We had won the fight for buy-in: People wanted us, but there were not enough of us to go around. So, we were seen as more of an “injustice league” than the band of heroes we wanted to be. Facing the challenge head-on, we successfully leveraged the guild model to scale UX within our mid-sized development organization. We deputized UI developers and QA resources to lighten our design load and to spread good design throughout the land.”

Jennifer Bullard @jbullard and Carol Bergantino @cbergantino20 ~ UXPA magazine

Do you know your users? Persona-based design for the enterprise

Employee and/or buyer personas.

“You think you’re just like everyone else. You think your thoughts, opinions, values, and habits are just the same as other people. Psychology calls this the false consensus bias1 because we assume much more commonality than reality warrants. False consensus bias contributes to making bad decisions when we design software.”

Kayla Block a.k.a. /kaylablock ~ Boxes and Arrows

Taxonomy (the secret ingredient of great content) and how it is linked to business strategy

Taxos for business as well.

“While I haven’t shared all the strategic reasoning behind the website taxonomy, I hope this post explains the approach well enough to solicit feedback. Is it perfect? I don’t know! We will come to know only after the website is launched, feedback is collected from the target audience, and website traffic is tracked over a period of time. That’s when I am going to update this post.”

The Verditer

Conversations with robots: Voice, smart agents and the case for structured content

Structure as the backbone of all conversations.

“Design practices that build bridges between user needs and technology requirements to meet business goals are crucial to making this vision a reality. Information architects, content strategists, developers, and experience designers all have a role to play in designing and delivering effective structured content solutions. Practitioners from across the design community have shared a wealth of resources in recent years on creating content systems that work for humans and algorithms alike.”

Andy Fitzgerald a.k.a. /andyfitzgerald | @andybywire ~ A List Apart

Agile research

Agile eats research, design and evaluation for (fast food) breakfast.

“In this paper we ask: “How might we take the ideas, the methods and the underlying philosophy behind agile software development and explore applying them in the context of doing research — even research that does not involve software development?” We look at some examples of agile research methods and think about how they might inspire the design of even better methods. We also try to address some potential criticisms of an approach that aims to minimize a need for Big Design Up Front by developing tighter iteration cycles, coupled with reflection and learning as part of a process for doing research.”

Michael Twidale and Preben Hansen ~ FirstMonday 24.1

Community-based, human-centered design

Social design, I would suggest.

“We propose a radical change in design from experts designing for people to people designing for themselves. In the traditional approach, experts study, design, and implement solutions for the people of the world. Instead, we propose that we leverage the creativity within the communities of the world to solve their own problems: This is community-driven design, taking full advantage of the fact that it is the people in communities who best understand their problems and the impediments and affordances that impede and support change. Experts become facilitators, by mentoring and providing tools, toolkits, workshops, and support.”

Donald A. Norman a.k.a. @jnd1er ~ JND.org

UX education: The rise of educational programs

UX programs must incorporate educational thinking as well (e.g. psychology, educational science and didactics).

“The future for UX depends on the people who choose to work in this field; their skills and experience are what companies are looking for. For the next generation of UX professionals, access to education, whether through traditional venues or online certificates and programs, is essential to gain the practical knowledge of ever-changing UX fundamentals and processes. UX certificate and degree programs may be a start for future UX candidates, but it will be experience that reinforces strong design and research skills.”

Lee Okan a.k.a. @SayVous ~ UXPA Magazine

UX mentoring at scale: A how-to guide

Growing the nextgen digital designers at scale.

“Traditional mentoring programs have a lot of value. But finding the mentors can be difficult, and then pairing them one-by-one with mentees can be time-consuming. Because the recruiting and matching processes are such a heavy lift, the number of mentees who can be paired with mentors is always limited to the maximum number of mentors. Many potential mentees are left without mentors. In this article, you will learn about the following: How we created rapid group mentoring activities, how we organize the mentoring activities so mentees and mentors get the most out of the time they have together, and all the details of logistics and recruiting, so you can organize a similar activity in your UX community.”

Bob Thomas and Jen McGinn ~ UXPA Magazine

Designing for meaningful social interactions

Meaning as driver for design decisions.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way. Now the time has come for us—designers, working on digital products—to step up our game and act like real gatekeepers. Instead of unethical practices and cheap tricks to lure people into more and more engagement, we need to do the hard work of designing meaningful products where people can connect, collaborate in a meaningful way, and help each other build a better world. We have a huge responsibility here as designers. It’s up to us how we design these platforms and what social norms we set there. In this article, I will share a few good examples I’ve seen, and I will also share a few stories from my UX company, where we try hard to put more meaningful social features in both our client’s products and our own.”

David Pasztor /davidpasztor ~ Boxes and Arrows

An Information Architecture Framework for the Internet of Things

Academic thinking on IA, IoT and ecosystems. We need more of this.

“This paper formalizes an approach to the Internet of Things as a socio-technical system of systems and a part of the infosphere. It introduces a principle-based, human-centered approach to designing Internet of Things artifacts as elements of contextual cross-channel ecosystems. It connects the Internet of Things to the conceptualization of cross-channel ecosystems from current information architecture theory and practice, positing that the Internet of Things is both a formal, objective superset of any given ecosystem and a contextual, subjective subset of specifically instantiated ecosystems. The paper argues for the necessity of a transdisciplinary theoretical framework to promote a human-centered generative understanding of the Internet of Things phenomena and their consequences, in accordance with the Metamodel Methodology (M3). It proposes a phenomenology-grounded information architecture model detailing a set of 16 principles and secondary heuristics grouped according to an architectural perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts considering their objective characteristics; a human perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts considering subject/object relationships and the production of meaning; and a systemic perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts as relational parts of information-based ecosystems. These principles and guidelines are meant to provide the foundations for a practice-based approach to designing the Internet of Things–enabled information ecosystems.”

Flávia Lacerda, Mamede Lima-Marques and Andrea Resmini

Anthropocene Economics and Design: Heterodox Economics for Design Transitions

Design interventions for Earth System.

“Economics is a field under fierce contestation. In response to the intersecting challenges of the Anthropocene, scholars who take a broader and more critical view of current economic models have described the shortcomings of orthodox economic theory along with the severe consequences of its systemic discounting of the environment. Heterodox economists describe how the logic of neoclassical and neoliberal economics disregards the interests and needs of the natural world, women, workers, and other historically disadvantaged groups. Explorations of the household, the state, and the commons as alternative economies open space at the intersection of economics and design for incorporating and valuing the provisioning services provided by the ecological context and the undervalued work provided by certain groups of people. Design theorists, economists, social and cultural theorists, and anthropologists describe the relationship between value and values in ways that reveal how sustainable and socially just futures depend on the priorities (notions of value) embedded in the systems that determine what is designed. With these ideas, design can contribute to economic transitions with conceptualizing, modeling, mapping, framing, and other future making practices. Ecologically engaged, heterodox economics is a basis for societal responses to climate change on a scale that can make a difference.”

Joanna Boehnert a.k.a. /jodyboehnert | @Ecocene ~ She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 4.4 courtesy of @KateRaworth