All posts from
October 2012

The Languages of Design

Language, the tool of communication.

“It’s common in design to discuss the “language of things”, the language expressed by physical objects and digital systems. We often consider the visual layout of a website – how it guides a user; what the hierarchy of fields in a form might suggest; or what the look and feel of a product says about a brand or company – but what about that company’s words; how do they fit into all this?”

(Angus Edwardson a.k.a. @Namshee ~ UX Booth)

Modelling is not the answer!

A model is what it is: a model.

“In HCI we have witnessed the rise and fall of conceptual modeling in general. The 1980s focused on changing human behavior, which was captured in models to inform designs. Around 1990 a second wave of HCI questioned the usefulness of this type of approach, pointing out how human behavior is contingent and situated, and that human beings actively work around whatever technical solutions exist. In more recent years, this has been supplemented with a focus on emotion and experience. More than ever, this research points away from conceptual modeling.”

(Susanne Bødker, Niels Mathiasen, Marianne Petersen ~ ACM Interactions Sep/Oct 2012)

Lean Strategy for UX Design

The perfect mixology: strategy, lean, UX, and design.

“Lean strategy in UX design means getting to a simple, actionable statement about what problem we are going to solve for the user as soon as possible, so that the design process can proceed. In fact, lean strategy often happens in concert with design, enabling us to be more adaptive and to more easily apply our thinking to our designs. It’s about being less precious and profligate with our decks and deliverables, freeing us up to bring greater clarity and focus to our ideas. It’s strategy in motion, pressing us forward rather than holding us back until everything has been figured out and proven with mathematical certainty.”

(David Gillis a.k.a. @davegillis ~ UX Magazine)

The Age of User Experience Design: Infographic

The numbers – if true – are amazing.

“The growth of the User Experience Design field is breathtaking, but well deserved. Thanks to UX Designers all over the world, the quality of products has increased dramatically. Design really does matter now. It’s a user centric world in which there’s not only Apple on the scene anymore.”

(Martin Treder a.k.a. @marcintreder ~ UXPin)

Introducing the storygraph

Service design deliverable galore.

“The storygraph is a deliverable I made to visualize the user needs/touchpoint matrix. (…) Let’s think about the customer’s journey. As designers we can’t have control over the path our customers walk. They can approach us from any possible touchpoint: our website, some else’s website, phone, friend advice, our headquarter or any other physical location, remote help desk, social media etc. They use whatever they will to get informations or complete a task. From the customer’s point of view, they’re just interacting with our brand. And they don’t care about what channel or system or device they’re using. That’s exactly why we have to.”

(Raffaele Rainwiz)

How Visuals Can Help Content Strategists Find Their Voice

Visual thinking and communication, the way to tackle many wicked design problems.

“It’s not just clients who are compelled by visuals. Visuals grab everyone’s attention in meaningful, memorable ways, whether we’re trying to influence project managers or CMOs. Content strategists use words to argue our points, yet our colleagues (UX and Creative, and even Project Management) use visuals. We should, too. Not sure how to turn data into information?

(Tosca Fasso a.k.a. @toscafasso ~ SUBTXT)

The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry (EPIC 2012): Conference Proceedings

Or how epic is EPIC?

“The EPIC Conference promotes the use of ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings. By understanding people, what they do, how they do it and how these change over time, we can create better business strategies, processes and products, as well as enhance and simplify people’s lives. Beyond this, the conference aspires to promote the integration of rigorous methods and theory from multiple disciplines into business practices; to advocate business decisions based upon sound research; to promote public recognition of practicing ethnography as a profession; and to support the continuing professionalization of the field.”

(EPIC 2012)

Empathy and Content Strategy: on Teaching, Listening and Affecting Change

Would this also apply to non-textual data?

“Our job is to help make useful, usable web things. Our job is also to ensure that the passion is passed along to the next in line – that we provide some level of empathy and empowerment for the people who will work the content long after we’re gone.”

(Corey Vilhauer a.k.a. @MrVilhauer ~ @MrVilhauer ~ Eating Elephant)

Design thinking isn’t about thinking. It is about doing.

Multi-disciplinary teams rulez.

“Products are developed by large multi-disciplinary teams. The teams deal with many topics requiring the expertise of several specialists simultaneously. They have to decide together if something is a problem; propose multi-disciplinary solutions; and align their activities into a seamless whole. Stated differently: team members have to think collectively, which is named team cognition. In September 2012, Guido Stompff received his PhD at Technical University of Delft, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. The topic was team cognition in high tech development teams, and how designers contribute to it. This website are bits and pieces of his observations and findings, combined with reflections on trending topics.”

(Guido Stompff a.k.a. @guidostompff ~ Team Cognition)

Content and the journey: Building a good user experience for news sites

Finally, content as main driver of the user experience.

“Discussions at recent news industry conferences have often referred to the importance of good user experience, particularly during discussions about how news outlets are reaching and interacting with their users on digital platforms. References to user experience could cover a range of aspects, including the user’s journey through content, an app or a news website, the usability of those products and the experience of consuming a single piece of content. For the purposes of this feature I asked managing editor of the Wall Street Journal’s digital network, Raju Narisetti, what user experience meant to him in the context of news and journalism.”

(Rachel McAthy ~

Thinking in Network Terms

Network replaces hierarchy, everywhere.

“We always lived in a connected world, except we were not so much aware of it. We were aware of it down the line, that we’re not independent from our environment, that we’re not independent of the people around us. We are not independent of the many economic and other forces. But for decades we never perceived connectedness as being quantifiable, as being something that we can describe, that we can measure, that we have ways of quantifying the process. That has changed drastically in the last decade, at many, many different levels.”

(A Conversation with Albert-László Barabási ~ EDGE)

Top 10 things still to fix in experience design

Figure that!

“As user experience extends itself across devices and channels in the years ahead the biggest winners will be companies that take a holistic and planned view of how it all works for the customer. (…) If user experience people are to be successful in changing the hearts and minds of these groups, then we need to seek out opportunities to speak with them on their own ground and use a vocabulary that resonates with them: tying UX to social benefit, improved business performance and new marketing opportunities.”

(Ray McCune ~ Foolproof)

Information Architecture in the Age of Complexity

The discipline is alive and kicking.

“If modeling is the act of establishing congruence between the elements and entailment structures of two systems, the object and its model, complexity is simply what belies modeling. Behavior in a simple model (and hence in a simple system) can always be correctly predicted: not so in complex systems.”

(Andrea Resmini ~ ASIS&T Bulletin Oct/Nov 2012)

Demystifying UX Design: Common False Beliefs and Their Remedies: Part 1

Perceptions are all based upon belief systems.

“There are many common beliefs about UX design that are, unfortunately, based on casual and inaccurate observation. However, through systematically planned and conducted user research, we can see that some of these could not be further from the truth. In this series, I’d like to single out a few such design beliefs that meet two conditions: many product development professionals believe them and little user data supports them.”

(Frank Guo ~ UXmatters)