Have we found the Margaret Mead of user experience in Technology?
"Genevieve Bell, director of interaction and experience research at Intel Corporation, says when she approaches technology she is "less interested in thinking about the piece of technology itself and more interested in the kind of work that technology is trying to do and the larger context in which it finds itself." In the following interview, Bell discusses her experience as a 'Thinker in Residence' and how anthropology concepts can be used to make tech more consumer centric."
Simply following a set of UCD processes and creating the obvious UX deliverables doesn't lead anywhere.
"(...) brands have to take the lead in innovation with a strong and consistent vision, and outlined several reasons why it's actually detrimental to listen to your users. I have to admit, their examples are compelling, but are they correct? How do we reconcile their claims with what we know about the value of design research and user-centered design? (...) I surmise that the pioneers of innovation really did have inspiration, intuition, hypotheses, hunches and non-linear thinking on their side. These are traits I would consider a part of a tinkerers' personality."
The need for a scientific foundation of what we do expressed differently.
"Experience design, especially interface design, is perhaps one of the most fertile fields for the idea of scientific design. (...) In this article, we discuss three examples of solid scientific knowledge that are often applied to interface design. In our view, the translation of scientific findings into design practices is not always as straight-forward as we wish it would be. The concept of scientific knowledge refers to convictions about the world that have been reached through controlled processes of inquiry and investigation and that, in principle, are not influenced by arbitrary conventions, personal preferences, or individual interests. Scientific knowledge is derived from systematic observation that gradually leads to an understanding of reality that must be valid for everyone."
(Gabriela Trindade Perry and Suely Fragoso ~ UX Magazine)
And if the enterprise had a baby with the economy, they would call it the customer a.k.a. the human being.
"If IBM and Apple had a baby today, it would be called UX. Not very likely, perhaps, but you see the point: UX has a mixed heritage, drawing from engineering traditions as well as big-D design traditions. I would like to characterize briefly what I have come across as typical values in professional UX practices. Then talk about what I see as 'designerly' ways of working within interaction design. And then finally put the two together in order to highlight some opportunities for designerly ways of working in UX."
Talk about Design in a language each can understand.
"Without a style guide, high-fidelity mockups are the best way to communicate a new feature to developers. Unfortunately, though, pixel-perfect mockups almost always result in duplicative and wrongly abstracted code. Why? First, fidelity alone (without good annotations) does not communicate the abstractions you intend. Without knowing how the designers conceive of the design language, developers may make different modeling choices and make the code difficult to maintain. Second, higher fidelity can unintentionally signal novelty. Developers may think that you mocked up something in higher fidelity because it is a new UI component, and thus fail to reuse existing code. This slows down development and results in bloated, less maintainable code."
As an exception, I'll post something on marketing. For making things a little better.
"Content marketing and online marketing, in general, have gotten seriously complicated, but it doesn't have to be. So, what makes content marketing so complex? And how can we simplify it for the sake of all our sanity?"
(Jayme Thomason ~ Content Marketing Institute)
Visuals are great, but what about the language it uses, spoken.
"(...) the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling."
One of the many things a camera in the iPad can do: video registration of great conference talks.
"(...) at Service Design Conference 2011 in San Francisco the closing keynote speaker Richard Buchanan was fantastic. It was interesting to hear his view that Management is a design practice and that Service Design is an emergent practice, not a novelty. He also gave the group a bit of tough love, by saying: "The role of the designer is to be the facilitator not the center", and the crowd responded with applause. This was the best speaker of the two days, hope you all enjoy."
Great conference testimonial.
"(...) I can still easily say "Wow." It was a great conference."
See, it's (still) the content, st....!
"Sites have improved, and we now know much more about e-tailing usability. Today, poor content is the main cause of user failure."
Important knowledge from inside the mind, brain and spirit.
"How does one end up in UX after counseling delinquent girls and brain injured individuals? This question is one I am asked frequently once people find out the somewhat unorthodox route I took towards my career in UX. With some explanation, the connection between the two areas becomes much clearer and there is greater understanding for how my background in psychology has laid the groundwork for a career in UX."
Devs get their principles on (interaction) design.
"I got my start as an interaction designer during the first internet bubble. Since then I've worked on interactive marketing and products for everything including finance, automotive, electronics, packaged consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. In that time and experience I have come to know that there are a few key things that make good interaction designs and designers. Here are 10 of them."
Touch this, touch that.
"Microsoft Research Redmond researchers Hrvoje Benko and Scott Saponas have been investigating the use of touch interaction in computing devices since the mid-'00s. Now, two sharply different yet related projects demonstrate novel approaches to the world of touch and gestures."
(Janie Chang ~ Microsoft Research)
Not really sure why we changed data and information into content, as if it's something completely different.
"Content can be a little frightening, it's true. Not to everyone mind you. Some people simply love content, with all its oddities and challenges. More often than not these are the people who spend much of their time designing and creating content. But there are definitely people who look somewhat askance at this thing called 'content'. The reasons why some people are less than enamored with content are worth considering and not only to refute them. There may well be good reasons to be afraid - or at least to approach content with due respect."
Some things are innate, others you have to learn. It's called Hard Fun.
"Taxonomy and metadata skills are now much more important library skills. A lot of information being created today does not fit into the Dewey Decimal Classification, the Library of Congress Subject Headings or many other classification systems. Companies struggle with how to organize digital information to ensure everyone can find it and many companies are starting to move away from file servers and into content management systems where taxonomy and metadata are crucial to categorizing and retrieving information. However, most people don't have the instinctual skills to create information organization structures that are useful or the practical knowledge and experience to be confident in the structures they create."
After the Age of Aquarius (source: Hair, the musical), we're now entering the Age of User Experience.
"(...) as pervasive and unstoppable as its progress may seem, the web can still be lost if we don't temper ideological extremisms that preach 'the one web' above all else, including pragmatism and user experience. In this (no doubt rather controversial) session, Aral Balkan will outline the essential role of user experience in our age and demonstrate how the web must embrace user experience if it is to compete with native. Flawed 'native is laserdisc' analogies will be shattered as Aral demonstrates how, in the Age of User Experience, the only possible future is a native one where focused, optimised, and expertly-crafted experiences empower, delight, and thrill users."
Inter touchpoint is cross-channel design; intra touchpoint refers to the design of the artifact.
"Seamless, cross-channel experiences are the way of the future, as technology fades into the background and the personal, physical, and social context determine the methods we use to interact with information."
Seven is the magic number, for ux strategy as well.
"UX strategy is about building a rationale that guides user experience design efforts for the foreseeable future. This article provides an overview of the ingredients I consider essential for developing a successful UX strategy. If you want to enter the growing field of UX strategy or learn more about it, this overview points you in the right direction."
Even fleet owners need to understand service design.
"Service design is a relatively new discipline that asks some fundamental questions: What should the customer experience be like? What should the employee experience be like? How does a company remain true to its brand, to its core business assets and stay relevant to customers? It has grown as our economies have moved from being primarily manufacturing based to service based, and as our world becomes increasingly complex, networked, and interconnected via technology. It uses design methodologies, but applies new, heuristic design tools to develop service models that delight both users and employees who deliver services. A service designer isn't just rational and analytical, but uses creative insight and inspiration to help organizations develop innovative services."
(Darren Weiss ~ The SmartVan)
One wonders why it takes so long finding valuable stuff from other fields. And btw, a customer journey depiction is not a storyboard!
"The fields of user experience and service design typically use storyboarding to sell design solutions. They do this by casting personas in stories, showing the benefits of those solutions. They often look quite polished and professional, and can be daunting to some in these fields to pick up a pencil and try it for themselves. But not only can you draw these scenario storyboards yourself to sell your solutions, you can also use them as a powerful method for devising those solutions in the first place. Storyboards are part of the intriguing world of sequential art, where images are arrayed together to visualise anything from a film to a television commercial, from a video game to a new building. They're an effective communication device, bringing a vision to life in a way that anyone can grasp and engage with, before investing in producing the real thing." ~ UPDATE: Added part 2 and part 3
Let's register, trademark or patent all 'new' ideas we have so we can stifle society.
"Wasn't the Lean Start-up® simply a case of the Emperors New Clothes? A combination of User Experience Design and Agile development rebranded and repackaged for a new market. Also, what the hell was that ® about?"
So, the next internet is approaching rapidly. I hope people can handle it.
"In the end what I am describing here is not the Internet of Things, or ubiquitous computing, but it is the innovation ecosystem that will lead to the Internet of Things."
Always good to have many 101's.
"Service design is a process that examines the relationship between those who use a service and the service environment. By focusing on and making improvements to the points at which users interact with other people or the environment, service design enables an organization to run smoothly, provide the best service to its users, and reduce the kind of situations that that can generate complaints."
Paying attention to UX is just good business.
"User experience is a catch-all term that we use in the software industry to describe the overall feeling an end-user gets when using a product. The UX is the attitude that is triggered when using (and subsequently thinking about) a company and their products and services. Since your user's attitude affects their future behavior toward your brand or product, a good user experience is vital to product adoption, engagement and loyalty."
Too bad user experience (still) doesn't ring a bell.
"Usability is critical for any medical device and is a key element of our product design and innovation. A product may be technically excellent, but if there is a problem with how it is used or applied, its effectiveness will be impaired."
Less screen estate, higher constraints on publication.
"Writing for mobile readers requires even harsher editing than writing for the Web. Mobile use implies less patience for filler copy."
So, information architecture and digital literacy fix filter failure.
"When thinking about folksonomies and similar user-generated knowledge organization, we can see that professional goals would most probably require not only the use of these unsophisticated tools, but also classification and subject indexing that employ classification schemes, top-down hierarchical taxonomies, thesauri and other formal structures."
Dead of alive? Who cares? Making the complex clear and understandable is more necessary than ever.
"Employees need to perform their jobs to support their clients. Information architects are on the front lines when it comes to improving performance. We know how to listen to what users want from a system; we know how to analyze what we learn so we can determine what to put in and what to leave out; we know how to cluster information into smaller usable chunks that support information processing and decision-making; and we know how to test our assumptions and optimize a system so it is directed toward a common goal."
Great set of interesting conference talks.
"Welcome to the world of atoms. The human body is part of the physical world. It savors touch and feeling, movement and action. How else to explain the popularity of physical devices, of games that require gestures, and full-body movement? Want to develop for this new world? There are new rules for interacting with the world, new rules for the developers of systems."
A column is like a site. Great to start but a hell of a job (for most) to maintain it on a regular basis. As always, benefit of the doubt.
"This column explores the strategic aspects of information architecture and the tools to equip information architects for success. Topics will address the business, strategy, user experience, and implementation of strategic information architecture, including organizational, content management, and tactical considerations."
(Andrea Ames and Alyson Riley ~ STC Intercom)
Always doubt if behaviour is the real thing, except buying something. Thoughts are more important.
"People are creatures of habit and this can introduce challenges should you want them to adopt a new behaviour. We all start forming and evolving our behaviours from the time we are born, and each of us will respond to different stimuli in our own unique way. Some of us can't start their day without our morning coffee whereas others will reach for a cigarette as a first port of call. Some can't fall asleep without a book in their hands and others like to leave their T.V. switched on. These behavioural differences are a big part of what makes us human."
We not only love people, but products as well. And they don't talk back, sort of.
"People often say they love a product. What do they really mean when they say this, and is this a phenomenon that is relevant to the field of design? Findings from a preliminary study in this thesis indicated that people describe their love as a rewarding, long-term, and dynamic experience that arises from a meaningful relationship built with products they own and use. Inspired by existing approaches to the experience of love from social psychology, research tools are developed for the closer study of person-product love. Using those tools the research in this thesis investigates how person-product interactions are linked to the experience of love and how these influence love over time. The findings reveal how the experience of love arises from person-product relationships, how love relationships develop over time, and which factors can provoke change in the love experience and love relationships over time. These findings present opportunities for design researchers and designers to foster rewarding experiences and long-lasting person-product relationships. Person-product love relationships can bring emotional rewards that benefit people's wellbeing and stimulate sustained efforts to keep loved products for longer."
(Beatriz Russo ~ Technical University Delft)
Or, what a simple diagram can bring.
"What I also find disturbing is the lack of competency that some senior IA practitioners, with three to five years of experience, demonstrate when looking for employment. As a manager of an IA team, I have reviewed many resumes and portfolios of IA practitioners who don't meet the basic requirements; whose design artifacts don't reflect what I would expect of someone with senior-level experience. Does anyone know what junior or senior means? UX design managers, managers of information architecture, and IA practitioners should have a shared understanding of what makes a junior or senior IA practitioner a viable candidate."
Some handy tips and tricks from the ghost hunter.
"It was never my childhood dream to become a usability professional. In kindergarten, I didn't observe the other kids playing with their toys and think of ways to improve them. I didn't yearn to perform heuristic evaluations, usability tests, and contextual inquiries. Don Norman wasn't my Mister Rogers and Jakob Nielsen wasn't my Captain Kangaroo."
Looking into understanding from an art perspective is always interesting.
"Much of design is informed by research of some sort; research, on the other hand, is almost never informed by design. Over the past several months, my students and I have built a curriculum centered around the idea that research and design are two sides of the same coin. We took it for granted that research can inform design; what took us by surprise was the great extent to which design can, in turn, enhance research."
(Kevin Walker ~ Design Observer)