The analogy of map and territory has its limits.
“If you ask a user experience person—academic or practitioner—whether empathy is important to design, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a resounding ‘Yes!’ Indeed, statements like the one above seem to imply that empathy is a silver bullet that will transform design and lead to innovation. Before empathy was a buzzword, many of us would still have said that helping product teams develop empathy for their users was a core function of user experience research. After all, what else could it mean to study another’s experience and share those insights with others? As often happens in business, though, once a concept like empathy catches on, it’s treated like a fresh discovery. The groundswell is then translated into a small number of new techniques that instantiate the concept concretely. As these techniques become codified, too often reification takes over and their artifacts, or deliverables, seem to substitute for the more abstract virtue they supposedly represent. We act as though the map is the territory.”
David Siegel and Susan Dray ~ ACM Interactions (XXVI.2) ★
From UI to UX to (…)
“The user experience of most web-based applications begins well below the interface, all the way down to fields in a database. Examining how systems and users experience time prove this point dramatically. Think about how messy time can be—time zones, leap years, recurring events. As the creators of educational technology, our team learned the hard way about failing to consider the UX implications of time—not just about how time works in technology, but also how our users experienced it in our UI. What follows are some of the technical issues that UX designers should consider about time, along with takeaways and specific methods that can be used to keep the user experience of time at the top-of-mind during product development.”
Michael McLeod a.k.a. @mcleodm3 ~ UXPA magazine ★
Mentals models for all objects, even smart onces.
“Users of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant conceptualize them in one of 3 ways: an interface, a personal assistant, or a brain. Frequent users are less likely to push the interaction limits of these AI systems than new users.”
Raluca Budiu a.k.a. /ralucabudiu | @rbudiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Social design, I would suggest.
“We propose a radical change in design from experts designing for people to people designing for themselves. In the traditional approach, experts study, design, and implement solutions for the people of the world. Instead, we propose that we leverage the creativity within the communities of the world to solve their own problems: This is community-driven design, taking full advantage of the fact that it is the people in communities who best understand their problems and the impediments and affordances that impede and support change. Experts become facilitators, by mentoring and providing tools, toolkits, workshops, and support.”
Donald A. Norman a.k.a. @jnd1er ~ JND.org ★
Knowledge of perception, cognition and emotion is the foundation of design.
“This paper analyses major social shifts in reading by comparing publishing statistics with results of empirical research on reading. As media statistics suggest, the last five decades have seen two shifts: from textual to visual media, and with the advent of digital screens also from long-form to short-form texts. This was accompanied by new media-adequate reading modes: while long-form content invokes immersed and/or deep reading, we predominantly skim online social media. Empirical research on reading indicates that the reading substrate plays an important role in reading processes. For example, comprehension suffers when complex texts are read from screens. This paper argues that media and reading trends in recent decades indicate broader social and cultural changes in which long-form deep reading traditionally associated with the printed book will be marginalised by prevailing media trends and the reading modes they inspire. As these trends persist, it may be necessary to find new approaches to vocabulary and knowledge building.”
Jon Yablonski a.k.a. /jon-yablonski | @JonYablonski ~ A List Apart ★
Voice interactions, a terra incognita for designers with a focus on perception. Dialogues, conversations and narratives as the new black.
“Many of the best practices for designing VUIs are the same as those for creating visual designs or interactive experiences: respect your users, solve their problems in efficient ways, and make their choices clear. But there are some unique design principles for VUIs as well. Remember, we don’t always know for sure what a user’s intent was. Plus, it’s necessary to spend more time on error cases. If you keep the principles I’ve described in this article in mind, you’ll be well on your way to crafting great VUIs.”
Cathy Pearl a.k.a. /alana-schroeder | @cpearl42 ~ UXmatters ★
Design for the upcoming generations. Quite a challenge for UCD.
“The evidence is clear: Children under the age of 10 need different interaction support than other age groups. Referring to these seven guidelines will help you design children’s touchscreen apps that are more successful for this age group by supporting their natural development and growth. Moreover, including children as part of the design process—whether they as testers, informants, or co-designers—will ensure a better experience for all. By considering these tips, we hope you will be able to focus on the fun factor of designing for kids!”
Julie A. Kientz, Lisa Anthony a.k.a. @lanthonyuf and Alexis Hiniker ~ User Experience Magazine ★
We interact with the world through our senses, with all of them.
“Our senses are always on, sending a continuous stream of information through our nervous system to our brains. But a good deal of the time, we aren’t aware of our senses at all.”
John Alderman and Christine Park ~ O’Reilly Radar Design ★
Cognition revisited, in hardware, software and wetware.
“Human working memory holds information relevant to the current task; when tasks are too hard, users should be able to offload some of the working-memory burden to user interface features that can serve as an external memory.”
Raluca Budiu a.k.a. /ralucabudiu | @rbudiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Contrary to formal, institutional and state sanctioned design education, like colleges and universities (bachelor, master, and PhD).
“I believe in the power of design education to change people’s lives, to improve products, and to alter the strategic course of a corporation, for the better. I hope to see a resurgence of design craftsmanship training riding alongside design thinking training. I don’t think it’s impossible to teach craft, in a broad way, in an organization. But it will take more time and a different approach to training to realize the power of design as an applied discipline, and to recognize how important true competency of doing is for institutionalizing design and creativity.”
Jon Kolko a.k.a. /jkolko | @jkolko ~ The Modernist Studio ★
HCI and UX connected to the business world.
“The majority of business versus UX design choices are influenced by a combination of market megatrends and sales distribution channels. Within this context, the trade-offs vary by industry. The design constraints placed upon an FDA-regulated mobile health solution cannot be compared to those of a chat app for teenagers that blocks parental access. However, the requirement for high-quality UX has become universal to achieve success across all distribution channels and industries. Therefore, every digital product or service requires a UX strategy that considers the business dimensions described here and more. Doing so optimizes for a high-quality user experience in conjunction with the best commercial outcome possible. Finally, it needs to be loudly emphasized: Even the most exhaustive UX strategy must be frequently revisited because the underlying market megatrends and constraints evolve continuously to disrupt the most carefully crafted plans of mice and men.”
Daniel Rosenberg a.k.a. /danielrosenbergux ★
Design for trust is the best design principle for IoT.
“The internet of things requires a different, expanded kind of design. It’s all about paying attention to several principles (and thousands of trifles).”
Dieter Petereit a.k.a. @dpetereit ~ noupe ★
The ultimate consequences of bad design: Three Mile Island, Challenger, and now Hawaii.
“The author and eminent design researcher Don Norman examines how poorly designed software spread panic in Hawaii–and offers tips for avoiding such incidents in the future. (…) To me, the most frustrating aspect of these errors is that they result from poor design. Incompetent design. Worse, for decades we have known how proper, human-centered design can prevent them. “
Donald A. Norman a.k.a. /donnorman | @jnd1er ~ FastCo.design ★
Always learn from adjacent disciplines. Unexpected connections are the best.
“I don’t think drama teachers will replace us all. But as product designers, we need the capacity to change our skillsets whenever it is needed. With visual UI shifting to conversations and voice-enabled interfaces, we can make our devices more inclusive and communicate with them more like with other humans. For these goals, learning new skills certainly pays off.”
Augmentation of the mind, not of ‘reality’.
“The challenge with tech-oriented definitions is that they tend to keep the tech at the heart of the matter and neglect the people, or end users. As a result, applications are driven by what kind of technology is available for an AR-enhanced project, rather than being driven by the type of human experiences we want to create through augmentation. To resolve this, we need to bring user experience more prominently into the AR conversation.”
Kieran Evans a.k.a. @kieranevans1 and Jes A. Koepfler a.k.a. @jeskak ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Screens still relevant, even when they talk.
“Devices which include screens, but employ voice as the primary input method point the way towards a more integrated and useful holistic user experience.”
Kathryn Whitenton a.k.a. /kwhitenton | @kwhitenton ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
If you can scale, you can deliver at any level of abstraction.
“HCI has had a massive impact on the world through streamlining and enabling millions of interfaces on billions of devices. As we face the potential of a tenfold increase in the number of devices and their complexity, it is worth asking about the relationship between HCI and scale. Do the tools and research methods we currently deploy scale to the millions of future interfaces and systems, used by billions of people, across multiple contexts? In this article we outline how we see the challenge of scale. By scale we mean how technology is used in large networks of interconnected systems, with billions of users, across diverse contexts. How can we understand and design for this complex of interconnected uses? Put simply, does HCI scale?”
Barry Brown, Susanne Bødker, and Kristina Höök ~ Interactions XXIV.5 ★
Good old usability testing for brand new technologies.
“The philosophy behind usability testing for speech-enabled systems is shared with general usability practices, but many usability practitioners have little or no experience testing speech interfaces, and the specific techniques required for collecting valid and reliable data are not widely understood. Spoken language and conversation have a number of properties that should influence the methods used to test speech user interfaces.”
Susan L. Hura a.k.a. /susan-hura | @SpeechUsability ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.4 ★
AI is eating the HCI world.
“There has been a revolution, but it snuck up on us so gradually that you’d be forgiven if you missed it. It’s called artificial intelligence, and it will have a profound impact on how we design digital products in the near future.”
Lars Holmquist ~ Interactions XXIV.4 ★
HCI as an academic field is waking up, too.
“A potential revolution is happening in front of our eyes. For decades, researchers and practitioners in human-computer interaction (HCI) have been improving their skills in designing for graphical user interfaces. Now things may take an unexpected turn—toward natural language user interfaces, in which interaction with digital systems happens not through scrolling, swiping, or button clicks, but rather through strings of text in natural language. This is particularly visible in recent developments in chatbots, that is, machine agents serving as natural language user interfaces to data and service providers , typically in the context of messaging applications.”
Asbjørn Følstad and Petter Bae Brandtzæg ~ Interactions XXIV.4 ★