What is an interaction designer?

Nifty examples of digital behavior and user interaction.

“These two little words are being used a lot in the design sphere these days. But what truly is interaction design? And what makes you an interaction designer? Here, we’ll answer both of those questions and offer a showcase of some great interaction design work. (…) Users expect interactive experiences on modern websites. There is no way around it. In order to keep current and keep users coming back, having such interaction is necessary. Having someone on your team who is responsible for managing, creating and monitoring these interactions is equally important. You will need an interaction designer.”

(Carrie Cousins a.k.a. @carriecousins ~ Designmodo)

The experience makes the product, not the features

Some interesting advice. Especially for tech and info startups.

“If anything detracts from the product’s core experience, stop making changes and release your product. You’ll get more insight by doing less and seeing how people engage with the product as it is, what behavior they exhibit, and reviewing this against your assumptions. This insight will always pay the greatest dividends as you strive for product market fit.”

(Lee Dale a.k.a. @smack416 ~ UX Magazine)

How & why prototypes are mandatory for good design

From lofi to hifi prototyping, the experience maquettes of the designer.

“Nothing brings you closer to the functionality of the final product than prototyping. While wireframes sketch out the blueprint and mockups show the feel and texture of the design, it is the prototype that brings to life the ‘experience’ behind ‘user experience’. That beautiful call-to-action may look great on the screen, but you won’t know if it works on end users until the clickable prototype. Not only do prototypes help provide proof of concept, they more importantly expose any usability flaws behind the wireframes and mockups.”

(Jerry Cao a.k.a. @jerrycao_uxpin ~ Design Shack)

Designing on a system level

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, said Arthur C. Clarke.

“Data analytics can help predict behavior. Designers need to add data analytics to their skill sets in order to create the next generation of services. Goodman discusses the magical — and sometimes creepy — effect anticipatory design possesses.”

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

Showing passwords on log-in screens

The UX of security and privacy is a serious design challenge.

“Why show passwords? Passwords have long been riddled with usability issues. Because of overly complex security requirements (a minimum number of characters, some punctuation, the birthdate of at least one French king) and difficult to use input fields, password entry often results in frustrated customers and lost business.”

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

Breeding products: How objects learn through sensing

The new era of design for smartness is on the horizon.

“The addition of sensing and connectivity to products is rapidly changing what we learn from them, how we perceive them, and how we use them. Those same technologies are also feeding backwards, changing how we design products. (…) Wireless sensors and fast processors are popping up everywhere, allowing us to generate volumes of real-time data about human behavior and our world. At frog we define sensing as the ability to harness these real-time data streams to identify patterns, generate insights, and design better experiences for people. As engineers crack the technical challenges, from ultra-cheap sensors to exabyte-scale data processing, designers must discover how we can adapt these technologies to human life.”

(Tue Haste Andersen & Simone Rebaudengo ~ frog DesignMind)

The future of large UX design firms

Business and design, the other way around.

“The field of UX is growing and changing. More corporations than ever are now seeing the importance of user experience and bringing User Experience in house. Some companies are accelerating their adoption of User Experience by acquiring some of the best UX design consultancies. How will this shift affect large and medium-sized UX design firms in the near future?”

(Janet M. Six ~ UXmatters)

How to gather quantitative data on user behaviors and mental models

Design something and see how someone uses it. Revealing.

“As user researchers and UX designers, you have an almost endless number of techniques and tools to choose from when you embark on a design or redesign project. For us, closed card sorting and first-click testing provided the best balance of data, cost, and speed. We knew that these techniques would provide us with quick data to support our qualitative research, and results that would be easy to analyze and draw design recommendations from.”

(Jerry Cao a.k.a. @jerrycao_uxpin ~ The Next Web)

All you need to know about Customer Journey Mapping

Is that all you need to know? How difficult can it be.

“Most organizations are reasonably good at gathering data on their users. But data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.”

(Paul Boag a.k.a. @boagworld ~ Smashing Magazine)

The new journalist is an information startup

Couldn’t have described it better.

“At the crossroad of journalism and entrepreneurship sits a new emerging profession, made up in good part by the skills of the classic journalist, in part by those of the researcher, of the librarian and of the new emerging content curator mixed in with those of the capable independent digital entrepreneur.”

(Robin Good a.k.a. @RobinGood ~ MasterNewMedia)

Designing the connected everyday

Another design challenge emerging from technology: Design for connected experiences.

“(…) we live in a world of increased complexity, in which digital data, everyday objects, and social practices are increasingly connected and interdependent. In a world of increasing complexity, designing digital technologies that facilitate meaningful interactions and integrate elegantly in our everyday lives requires an understanding of how to design for commensurability – that is, making our ability to connect across networks commensurate with our current practices in the physical world. Designing the connected everyday is fundamentally about making things commensurate as much as it is about making them smart.”

(Elisa Giaccardi a.k.a. @elisagiaccardi ~ ACM Interactions Magazine Jan/Feb 2015)

Architecting happiness

Bravo! Such a nice initiative to bring the design challenge to our community. Great starting point for #WIAD15 and #ArchHappy.

“The world is complex. Information is subjective. Customer Experience is key. Globally there is a big community of courageous professionals for whom their daily work is about making sense of any mess. They are information architects, user experience designers, developers, social media experts, visual designers, innovators… sometimes working as specialists but in other roles too: as creative directors, entrepreneurs, managers or consultants. They are to be found in agencies, startups, big corporations or work as freelancers. They all have something in common: they are responsible for Designing, Developing, Building, Communicating webs, mobile apps or digital services and products that act as information spaces in ubiquitous ecologies (on any device, in any location, and in any format). The aim of this project is to stimulate discussion about how we Architect for Happiness.”

(Silvia Calvet a.k.a. @silviacalvet and Nicole Neuefeind a.k.a. @nicneuvision ~ About Architecting Happiness)

A critical, creative UX community: CLUF

Know your professional history. Moving from HCI to UX into a steep valley or ravine.

“In this editorial, I advocate a new form of interactive community publication (…) to respond to new creative emphases within human-focused interaction design practices and research. I have called this CLUF (creatively led user foci), pronounced like the Northern English word clough, meaning a steep valley or ravine. The realities of reflective creative practices are that we can always probe further and explore more as we work down through layers of design practice. CLUF would support a much needed online community of practice around systematic rigorous exploration of creative UX.”

(Gilbert Cockton ~ Journal of Usability Studies Volume 10, Issue 1, November 2014)

How prototyping is replacing documentation

We seem to be still in the deliverable business.

“Creating a prototype as a final deliverable allows for greater interaction with the product and a deeper-level understanding of how the product is experienced. It can also easily be adopted for usability testing and iterated on quickly and efficiently to push out new versions. Prototyping is also an impactful way to present to your client. People know how to interact with products. Demonstrating interactions with a prototype helps to spark well-informed discussions with clients and can lead to better design more quickly.”

(Ian Schoen a.k.a. @icschoen ~ UX Magazine)

Making and breaking UX best practices

Re-usable components, elements and patterns, the Holy Grail on UX Design.

“Imagine a website with a beautiful, enticing, full-screen image, where a transparent button leads to pages of well constructed, adaptive content. The navigation functions perfectly across devices, switching from a horizontal to a mobile menu at just the right times. Unfortunately a large portion of the potential audience lives in Africa, and won’t have the bandwidth to use it. Does that mean our best practices failed us? No, it means that an experience is made up of more than the sum of its parts.”

(Brendon Cornwell a.k.a. @bcornwell ~ The UX Booth)

From empathy to advocacy

Changing perspectives can become lost in translation. It’s a competence, not an activity.

“The UX industry devotes considerable attention to the concept of empathy, and rightly so, as understanding our users and their needs is foundational to delivering quality experiences. Still, empathy and insights alone do not automatically create those experiences. What matters is how cultivating empathy alters our decisions and behaviors.”

(Lyle Mullican a.k.a. @mullican ~ A List Apart)

17 usability testing myths and misconceptions

And there are so much more. Myths and misconceptions also apply to design, designers and De$ign.

“Usability testing has been around so long that it’s the most well-known and most frequently practiced user research method. So I find it amazing that there are still so many misconceptions about usability testing. In this column, I’ll debunk the most common myths and misconceptions that I’ve encountered over the years.”

(Jim Ross a.k.a. @anotheruxguy ~ UXmatters)