News Flashes - Hand-Picked Since 1997
Curator Peter Bogaards (a.k.a. @BogieZero)
March 11, 2014
Codifying and normalizing gesture languages. Getting inspiration from sign languages.
"The Gesture Markup Language is the world's first markup language for multitouch gesture-based interactions. This extensible language not only shapes how applications are developed but it allows developers to explore new interaction paradigms and user experiences."
Functionalities and features across touchpoints. Compare and contrast.
"So you want to extend your website's account management features to mobile devices. Well you're not alone; most major websites today have cross-platform accounts and profiles that make for a more engaging and cohesive user experience. And many sites enable account management features on mobile devices."
March 10, 2014
Adding French philosophers to the equation mostly complexifies things.
"In the post-modern era, knowledge is being understood as information. In reality, knowledge is commoditized and objectified as decontextualized representations. More information may mean that the society is drawn into a critical phase where loss of knowledge occurs with the unlimited flow of information. Such ubiquitous information could lead to less understanding, less trust and less truth, which would erode rationality in the governance of the society. Using a framework based on Michel Foucault's archeological methodology, i.e., unearthing how information and communication technologies came to be viewed as a source of truth/knowledge, this paper explores the question: Do ICT contribute information that can be construed as knowledge? Does this knowledge contribute to truth or to power? Do ICTs push an information society towards Foucault's disciplinary society, where the so-called knowledge speaks truth to power?"
(Indhu Rajagopal ~ First Monday)
March 7, 2014
Designing interactions, designing media. The academic route.
"The article sketches the basic steps of a theoretically informed practical testing of opportunities inherent in the interfaces and procedures of communication. It is an experience-based technique for discovery and problem solving."
March 6, 2014
Using power words doesn't make any opinion any better.
"It looks like Google's Android UX team used a now-debunked research paper to guide much of their UX work. Does this mean the Android interface now needs to change? Probably not, and that might be worse. I'll look at what this means and how we can be more careful when using research to inform our work."
Design in a rollercoaster (against) due to technology disruption.
"Technology extends our grasp, making it possible for us to achieve our goals rapidly and efficiently; but it also places its own set of demands upon us. The fields of industrial design, graphic design, and software user experience design have all evolved in response to these demands - a need for a human way to relate to and interact with our new tools."
In general, poor UX kills all human-facing digital applications.
"Because of the word design, UX often gets conflated with styling. But they're not the same. UX is a problem solving discipline. Identifying problems, solving them and designing elegant solutions. Styling is often part of the solution, but doesn't have to be."
Enterprise software, the apps UX forgot. Use it or you're out!
"Most big businesses globally are locked into some kind of reliance on enterprise technology. Unfortunately such systems are not only fiendishly difficult to install and maintain, but often equally challenging for the workforce to use. When the stakes are so high, why is the user experience of enterprise systems so bad?"
Update of a seminal post towards our new technological, social and economic reality.
"This is a huge revision. I expect I have made mistakes. Please leave corrections and suggestions in the Comments at the end. If you have better examples than I'm using, please include them as well, but give me enough information about them, including links or cites, that I can make use of them. This revision features new examples and discussion involving mobile, wearables, and Internet-connected smart devices. However, the naming and organization remains the same except for three changes: I have shortened the name of one principle to extend its reach: 'Color Blindness' is now simply Color and includes more than just color blindness. I've added one new principle, Aesthetics, and brought back two old principles, Discoverability and Simplicity. I dropped them from the list more than a decade ago when they had ceased to be a problem. Problems with Discoverability, in particular, have come roaring back. What has changed greatly is the level of detail: You will find many new sub-principles within each category, along with far more explanation, case studies, and examples."
March 4, 2014
Galaxies and Copernicus, doesn't that ring a bell.
"So with three different starting points - UX from product development, service design from service delivery, and customer experience from marketing and customer support - we've all arrived at the same place: the realization that by consciously crafting the experiences people have with those products, services, or organizations, we can help those people be more successful and find more satisfaction. Oh yeah, and it's good for business too."
March 3, 2014
Solutions always will create new problems, wicked ones this time.
"Apple and Google will not provide it. They are too big. They are not the solution. They are the problem. This revolution will probably come from some unsuspecting source, like the Maker Movement, or an independent group of people or company that is manufacturing physical goods. (...) we need to return to natural affordances that are as intuitive as putting a spoon in a bowl or carving the bark off a stick. The more natural the affordance, the less arbitrary the design. Designers will have to be less cocky, more reverent to human nature and physical nature. When real physical things start dictating how we interact with software, the playing field will be different. And software interaction designers will have to fully understand natural affordances, and design for them. That's a revolution I can get behind."
Always interesting to see the DTDT question answered again, again and again.
"The common misconception comes from the word design. Due to influence of fashion, design is often associated with aesthetics of the product. User Experience Design is much more complex than you think."
February 26, 2014
Content chunck and design. XML revival?
"Richer, more flexible designs can coexist with the demands of multichannel publishing; future design changes can sidestep the laborious process of scrubbing old content blobs; and simpler, streamlined tools can help editors and authors produce better content faster. By combining the best of XML and structured web content, we can make the body field safe for future generations."
February 24, 2014
Aesthetics, beauty, or attractiveness can't be defined by itself. But I recognize it when I see it.
"Design does not equal making things pretty, but a significant number of people seem to think it does. They think aesthetics are design and somehow think all the other things designers do just happen on their own."
Formal power entering the field of UX. Who's to decided?
"Are educational institutions equipped to prepare UX designers for the workplace of the future as advances in technology outpace those in education? Should the UX community be pushing for levels of accreditation to verify that someone has the skills and education necessary to call himself or herself a UX designer? How can an employer ensure that a candidate meets their expectations for a role in user experience?"
Any information environment needs structure, therefore IA. Intranets not exclused.
"Intranets are improving findability and discoverability by organizing content by task rather than department, using megamenus to present deep content, offering clear cues to help orient users, and providing shortcuts to important pages and tools."
February 21, 2014
Integration, synergy and connections of bits and atoms. A new design ecosystem with many options.
"We're at a revolutionary information crossroads, one where our symbolic and physical worlds are coming together in an unprecedented way. Our temptation thus far has been to drive ahead with technology and to try to fit all the pieces together with the tried and true methods of literacy and engineering. Accepting that the shape of this new world is not the same as what we have known up until now does not mean we have to give up attempts to shape it to our common good."
February 20, 2014
This is a discours, not just conversation
"The big question: Is this still information architecture? (...) I can't answer that question for everyone, of course, but yes, it's definitely IA from my perspective and in my (scientific) narrative."
February 18, 2014
It's academic, so it must be European. Go Andreas, go!
"This paper maintains that in the epistemological shift from postmodernism to pseudo-modernism, technological, economic, social, and cultural elements of change have thoroughly transformed the scenario in which information architecture operated in the late 1990s and have eroded its channel-specific connotation as a website-only, inductive activity, opening the field up to contributions coming from the theory and practice of design and systems thinking, architecture, cognitive science, cultural studies and new media. The paper argues, through a thorough discussions of causes and effects and selected examples taken from the practice, that contemporary information architecture can be thus framed as a fundamentally multi-disciplinary sense-making cultural construct concerned with the structural integrity of meaning in complex, information-based cross-channel ecosystems."
CS and UX in concert.
"Understanding how people think and what makes them tick is the common building block behind both creating content and designing experiences that matter to people. But before you dive into content planning or begin designing an experience, you have to understand what your audience finds meaningful. This is where UX research can provide insight to help inform content marketing efforts."
A flying vision of the future.
"According to J.D. Power, eighty-seven percent of travelers used the Internet for the bulk of their travel planning in 2012, yet the online booking experience being offered by modern airlines is still stuck in the 90s. Inspired by the opportunity to bring progressive disruption to this huge marketplace, we reviewed all major airline websites, and graded them against design and usability criteria including: information architecture, interaction design and visual design. The results were disheartening. We believe that unless the airlines take drastic measures to improve their digital experiences, third-party sites like Kayak and Expedia will continue to eat into their profits. So we launched an experiment to explore, What if?"
February 17, 2014
When people talk about it, there is such a thing by definition. Beauty, love, friendship, experts, you name it.
"2013 saw a lot of discussion around the topic of UX Strategy. In fact, there was at least one conference on the topic and a string of articles. However, all of this activity around a topic doesn't actually mean it exists."
Sharing as a design principle.
"Humans tend to return good deeds: use this social psychology law in user interface design to gain users' trust and motivate engagement with your site or app."
February 16, 2014
That's why the byline of this stream is 'Understanding by Design'.
"Taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, those are just tools. Metadata is just a material. Information Architecture is about making meaning out of piles of facts. Who cares how you do it, or in what medium? (...) Information Architects are in the understanding business. Clarity is their north star, and organizing and clarification are their tools. We may have a new tsunami of data. But we also have information architects ready to help. Let us never forget how much we need them."
February 15, 2014
An expert speaks...
"In today's global cities, public urban space is constituted in my different ways. Residents in the same neighborhood may have very diverse types of knowledge about their shared public space: The children know the neighborhood at ground level, the tech designer knows the Wi-Fi coverage at the cafes, the homeless know about the night fauna. How do these understandings of urban space affect our view, use, and design of technology?"
February 13, 2014
Will they then become CX consultants?
"UX is a broad field and designers are increasingly playing a strategic role in many companies. Be that designer. Businesses are increasingly adopting user-centered approaches to create experiences, moving UX design to be one of the core activities driving the company strategy and operations. This is an incredibly valuable opportunity that we designers can take to step up and contribute to create the great experiences and services they envision, taking our vision, tools and understanding to a different level. But we need to learn the new skills to play at this table, a table that's often speaking a different language with a lot of politics and different stakeholders. This talk will cover exactly these extra skills that are required to make this strategic jump: understanding the business needs, educating the client, understanding the hidden request, managing the various party involved in a project, defining the right process, understanding the internal impact and more."
February 12, 2014
This time, the C is Citizen and not Customer. Citizens are entitled to great CXs too.
"The past decade has brought enormous and growing benefits to ordinary citizens through applications built on public data. Any release of data offers advantages to experts, such as developers and journalists, but there is a crucial common factor in the most successful open data applications for non-experts: excellent design. In fact, open data and citizen-centered design are natural partners, especially as the government 2.0 movement turns to improving service delivery and government interaction in tandem with transparency. It's nearly impossible to design innovative citizen experiences without data, but that data will not reach its full potential without careful choices about how to aggregate, present, and enable interaction with it."
Sailing the volatile oceans of digital transformation, you need a compass, maps and a sense of direction.
"In this column, I'll demonstrate that, with an IA compass in place, expressing the value that information architecture delivers to a business becomes clearer. The IA compass that I'll describe is absent of theoretical and technical rhetoric and focuses on a greater good. This greater good is one that is most likely to resonate with our business and marketing colleagues. While it is important that they acquire a general understand of information architecture, they are more interested in how information architecture fits into their business model and delivers value."
February 10, 2014
Designing mission, vision, and strategy. Making decisions with intent is the essence of design.
"As digital products and services come to comprise an increasingly important part of our everyday life, the division between the digital and the physical begins to blur. We can, for instance, see a washing machine on TV, read reviews of it online, purchase it on our phone, and have it installed by our local shop-all without leaving our computer. The sum total of these processes functions as a single, continuous experience. Designers can more prudently frame the experiences they create by incorporating ecosystem thinking into their process."
(Sofia Hussain ~ UX Booth)
Language, the most important instrument to communicate, interact and view the world.
"In his keynote, Klaus will distinguish four theories from the philosophy of language and elaborate on dialogical conceptions of how reality comes to be constructed. To him, languaging – the process of conversing in language - is a creative and fundamentally socio-cultural practice. Language does not merely describe, it creates realities in conversations and actions. Dialogical conceptions raise doubts in several common epistemological assumptions. Questioning them could open possibilities of seeing interaction design in a new way."