Go holistic: Assess the maturity of your organization via the customer experience

Go holistic, go ecosystem and go outside-in. What a mind shift you get!

“The leap from UX to CX can be a huge mind shift for many organizations. This article spells out strategies and processes that provide a framework to assess the maturity of the CX within your own organization. (…) If your company’s CX maturity level is high, putting the customer first may be relatively simple. But if your company’s CX maturity level is low, becoming a CX-focused organization may be slow and cumbersome process. Either way, it is vital to ensure the customer is front and center in the organization’s strategic thinking. Employee training and well thought-out personas can facilitate this endeavor.”

Ger Joyce, Mindy Maxwell, Jay Brewer, Saurabh Dutta ~ User Experience Magazine 16.3

Architects of information

Information intensive environments have not been this popular in Interactions Magazine.

“We live in a world where information is part of our everyday lives, where we don’t dedicate time to “doing computing,” where information is ever present and leaves a digital footprint, and where notions of online versus offline have become almost meaningless. As mentioned, we are heading toward a state where we will stop using computers and instead inhabit interactive and information-rich architecture. Many exciting challenges lie ahead. For example: How will we design the architectural interfaces to information and interaction to create relevant inhabitant experiences? How will we give inhabitants access to how their data is being captured, manipulated, used, and stored? What role can architecture play in protecting people’s privacy and security? What does an interactively augmented environment mean for how we perceive our environment when we already know that mind, body, and environment co-shape this? Given the large number of signposts in both HCI and architecture, we suggest that the only natural expectation is stronger ties between the worlds of information and the design of physical spaces to address the challenges we now face.”

Sheep Dalton, Holger Schnädelbach, Tasos Varoudis, and Mikael Wiberg ~ ACM Interactions

Careers in UX: How different organizations approach user experience design

Multiple flavors of how to embed UX design in orgs.

“When looking for a job in UX, the company, team, manager, and even sector, company size, and focus should all factor into finding the right place. The core skills for UX jobs are consistent across different kinds of organizations, but some might be a better fit for different work styles, personality types, or interests. I’m writing from the perspective of a UX researcher, but the following exploration certainly applies to other UX roles. I’ll be drawing on my experiences working at several different types of organizations, as well as numerous conversations with other UX professionals talking about their experiences. Let’s take a look at four different but common types of organizations that employ UX professionals, along with some pros and cons for working with each.”

Laith Ulaby a.k.a. /laith-ulaby ~ UX Booth

UX research methods

After design validation, we need more and more design and user research methods.

“From new ideas to proven standards in user experience research, our toolkit is a rich collection of ways to understand people and context. The articles in this issue feature innovations, like new ways to explore emotional response, to unusual places to conduct research, like trains, ferries, and conferences.”

The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association

IDEO’s secret recipe for an innovative design team

Design as a team sport. Getting rid of the genius designer myth.

“Hire for the right roles. Some people believe that founders are the only ones who can create company culture. It’s true that founders are usually responsible for creating the original values. Consider how Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google defined the way they wanted their first dozen employees to feel at work. In fact many of the best-loved parts of the culture started before Google had 50 employees. But as a company grows, there are still opportunities for cultural recalibration. Here are seven roles of people who help define, harness, reflect, and embody culture at IDEO. Think of them as the new faces of organizational culture.”

Mollie West ~ AIGA

UX in Government: Why we need to stop calling it ‘Citizen Experience’

As long as the ‘C’ in the hashtag #CX refers to customer, citizen or community, there’s no improvement of clearity.

“Why not Community Experience? I know it puts less emphasis on an individual user than the word “Citizen” — but let’s admit it — citizen actually refers to someone who belongs in or to a context. See? The word citizen carries with it the idea of community any ways! And the communities our ‘customers’ (users, citizens) belong to, or feel excluded from, directly impacts how they experience our services in any case.”

Jamie Lee ~ Medium

Second-hand UX: The social implications of tangible tech

In open ecosystems, the experiences of all humans matter.

“From a philosophical perspective, a lack of care about the psychological and sociological toll our products may take on users could drastically alter the concept of a traditional society altogether. It’s better to recognize and reverse potentially harmful design patterns now before habits and cultural beliefs lose sight of social concerns that were once fundamental. Despite popular belief, money and societal good do not have to be mutually exclusive. Let’s start taking second-hand experience into consideration and make it a core part of the way we practice UX.”

Dash Neimark a.k.a. /uxdash | @ux_Dash ~ Boxes and Arrows

Why emerging technologies are the next great frontier for UX

UX seems technology-driven, but it’s not. Experiences are as old as humans are, in whatever circumstances.

“Robotics. Genomics. Synthetic biology. Such emerging technologies are today at the cusp of widespread commercial adoption and will have disruptive impact across industries—from agriculture to manufacturing and health to energy. These technologies are the next great frontier for User Experience. Science, engineering, and design are percolating on solutions to many technological challenges. UX designers are bringing the expertise they’ve gained in creating digital and physical products to bear on new robotic and even biological products. For instance, at the Wyss Institute, cross-disciplinary teams comprising scientists, engineers, designers, business people, and other innovators are creating and commercializing bio-inspired products. Last year, the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group at Autodesk created a synthetic bacteriophage and 3D printed the virus. The company, which is best known for its design and engineering software, is now working on a next-gen software platform for synthetic-biology design.”

Jonathan Follett a.k.a. /jonfollett | @jonfollett ~ UXmatters

Customer experience versus user experience: Why the difference matters

The delta creates the concepts.

“User experience is not the same as customer experience. While most designers directly influence the UX, they also need to understand the larger context of the CX. The customer experience represents every step of the journey from when users are running price comparisons, to when users try the product, to when users may resort to customer service if their needs aren’t met.”

Jerry Cao a.k.a. /thinkjerrycao | @jerrycao_uxpin ~ The Next Web courtesy of @nicooooooon

Manufacturing Magic and Computational Creativity

Magic from the Machine.

“This paper describes techniques in computational creativity, blending mathematical modeling and psychological insight, to generate new magic tricks. The details of an explicit computational framework capable of creating new magic tricks are summarized, and evaluated against a range of contemporary theories about what constitutes a creative system. To allow further development of the proposed system we situate this approach to the generation of magic in the wider context of other areas of application in computational creativity in performance arts. We show how approaches in these domains could be incorporated to enhance future magic generation systems, and critically review possible future applications of such magic generating computers.”

Howard Williams and Peter W. McOwan ~ Frontiers in Psychology

Algorithms as the new material of Design

From code to language: algorithms.

“As experience designers, we rely more on algorithms with every iteration of a Web site or application. As design becomes less about screens and more about augmenting humans with extended capabilities, new ideas, and even, potentially, more emotional awareness, we need algorithms. If we think of experience designers as the creators of the interface between people and technology, it makes sense that we should become more savvy about algorithms.”

Pamela Pavliscak a.k.a. /pamelapavliscak | @paminthelab ~ UXmatters

Preface: A decade of Web 2.0: Reflections, critical perspectives, and beyond

Next versions of HTTP, URI and HTML will be even more important.

“Just as many of the practices and ideas subsumed under the ‘Web 2.0’ label in fact preceded the term in important ways, so too have they outlasted it. Though use of the term itself has waxed and waned, its fundamental (if sometimes conflicting) ideals have spread outwards — winding their way through cultural and social shifts as well as subtle technological and economic reconfigurations — and continue to inform contemporary discussions of new platforms and practices.”

Michael Zimmer and Anna Lauren Hoffmann ~ First Monday 21.6

Why is sketching (still) important (to design)?

First visual contours of the design, a sketch.

“(…) if we think of design as a sequence of iterative phases that progress towards final production, we are then able to identify an open or fuzzy phase of design. In this we contrast a divergent conceptual design ideation with a more convergent, specific and detailed design phase. We do this as much to contrast the different aims of design at these different phases of the process, as to highlight the kinds of design work involved or tools used at any given stage.”

James Self ~ Core77

A Comparison in Pursuit of “The Masterworks of Information Architecture”

Finally some time for real in-depth research on the IA roots.

“In a search for classic works on information architecture, Joyce’s Ulysses and Richard Saul Wurman’s The City, Form and Intent are each compared internally across different versions and considered in terms of content, context and user. Each author modified readers’ experiences through changes in the content and physical form of their works. Wurman’s 1963 work, a loose-leaf collection reflecting architecture through clay models of cities, was redone in 1974 with the same content but different physical presentation. Joyce’s Ulysses was marked by variations across versions, with omissions, additions and typographic errors carried inconsistently through editions, leaving the author’s intended meaning ambiguous. The context of Wurman’s work was the very early stage in the author’s career. The context of production of Ulysses involved composition, editing, publishing, correction and republishing across multiple channels, making consideration of the totality of the editions key to understanding the information architecture of the work. Users of Wurman’s original print work exalted it, while users of a 2014 spin-off web project see it from a different perspective. Similarly, the user experience for Ulysses varies widely, depending largely on which edition is read. The analysis and internal comparison of the two works highlight the importance of both content knowledge and technical skill throughout any information architecture project. Whether they will serve as masterworks for the field remains an open question.”

Dan Klyn a.k.a. /danklyn | @danklyn ~ ASIS&T Bulletin June/July 2016

Building a visual language: Behind the scenes of the new Airbnb design system

Personas, wireframes and customer journey maps. Now, design systems for visual designers. Each UX discipline has its own deliverable.

“Working in software development and design, we are often required to ship one-off solutions. Sometimes we’re working within time constraints and sometimes we just haven’t yet agreed upon a path forward. These one-off solutions aren’t inherently bad, but if they aren’t built upon a solid foundation, we eventually find ourselves having to pay back accrued technical and design debts. Visual language is like any other language. Misunderstandings arise if the language is not shared and understood by everyone using it. As a product or team grows, the challenges within these modalities compound.”

Karri Saarinen a.k.a. /karrisaarinen | @karrisaarinen ~ Airbnb Design

Traditional User Experience is at a crossroads (part 1)

Pick your wars as a UX leader.

“Great UX leaders understand what it takes to transform a company into a design-led organization. They know how to set up an organizational structure and inspire a culture that can attract the best talent—a culture that lets designers do what they do best and incorporates strategic design thinking into the organization. Such leaders also understand the language of business and can communicate within a business framework.”

Jim Nieters a.k.a. /jimnieters | @Jimnieters ~ UXmatters

The war on information: A time to muster our UX practitioners

Many synonyms for the tsunami, deluge or overload of information.

“The world as we know it today is rich in information. At whim, we can usually find (without much delay) an information source that answers a question, suggests nearby restaurants, tells us how to travel, or provides us with data for the paper we are writing. The internet, as well as the technological innovations that allow us to easily and enjoyably access it, has given rise to a new era where knowledge is plentiful and interpretation is vital.”

Dash Neimark a.k.a. /uxdash | @ux_Dash ~ Boxes and Arrows