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User experience

User experience is about how a person feels about using a product, system or service. (source: Wikipedia)

The UX of voice: The invisible interface

A bright new future for design with natural language.

“Voice interaction represents the biggest UX challenge since the birth of the smartphone, so we break down the implications and opportunities for this paradigm shift in UX design. (…) In this post, we’re going to explain some of the profound implications of the rise of voice interaction for UX design. Just as the internet began as a playground of raw new technical capability that embraced the guiding principles of intuitive, user-friendly product design over time, so too I see today’s voice-enabled tools and devices in their infancy, with limitless potential ready to be unlocked through innovative, user-centered design.”

Jason Amunwa a.k.a. /jasonamunwa | @King_Jaffy ~ Digital Telepathy

Big data UX: Research opportunity and ethical challenge

Ethics, the new unique selling point of design.

“As the user experience professional, when the business wants to let videos wander (in other words, business leaders or other well-intentioned team members want to use the video in a way that the participant didn’t agree to), someone must serve as gatekeeper. Whenever these moments occur, our UX Cassandra role should compel us to represent not only our users’ need for great user experience, but for proper ethical handling of their participation in our experiments. Each of our new tools provide ethical challenges. We have an obligation to consider their challenges and address them as seriously as we do with our live participant studies or any of our methods.”

Josephine Scott a.k.a. @josies

The differences between enterprise and consumer UX design

It’s all about humans in the end.

“Enterprise applications typically have much greater scope and are much more complex than consumer applications, so enterprise solutions are often tailored for people working in specific roles. Plus, enterprise applications are designed for a specific business domain rather than a specific task, as many consumer applications are. Administrators usually configure enterprise applications, while consumers configure their own applications. Employees routinely use enterprise applications in their work, while the use of most consumer applications is less predictable. Enterprise applications often must connect with legacy systems.”

Janet Six a.k.a. /janetmsix ~ UXmatters

How to avoid UX burnout

Burn baby, burn!

“After the launch, I was all UX’ed out. Even the sight of a Post-It note felt exhausting. Attributing the fatigue to creative block, I planned to take a few days off to recharge. But because my version of “recharge” also means “process everything,” I also decided to write an article for creatives about how to deal with this kind of block. But when I sat down to write, something surprising happened. Despite my fatigue, the words flew off the page and my energy levels soared. I could hardly get my flood of ideas down fast enough! And that’s when I realized: This wasn’t a creative block at all. I had UX burnout.”

Benjamin Earl Evans a.k.a. /benjaminearlevans | @benjamineevans ~ Boxes and Arrows

Designing for the human side of banking: Inside the design culture at Capital One

Design from within the organization.

“Let’s face it: As designers, we have a reputation for being a little, well… fussy about the work we do. We’re known for seeking novelty, form over function, and creative boundary-pushing. So it’s not surprising that banking isn’t the first area to spring to mind when designers think of creative work. You know the stereotype most designers have in their heads: Suits and ties. Dry, serious and stuffy. Looking at everything strictly by the numbers — including the customers. It sounds drab and unsexy.”

Jesse James Garrett a.k.a. /jesse-james-garrett @jjg courtesy of @julienamoreus

Experience design in the machine learning era

ML eats XD for breakfast, lunch, and diner.

“Traditionally the experience of a digital service follows pre-defined user journeys with clear states and actions. Until recently, it has been the designer’s job to create these linear workflows and transform them into understandable and unobtrusive experiences. This is the story of how that practice is about to change. Over the last 6 months, I have been working in a rather unique position at BBVA Data and Analytics, a center of excellence in financial data analysis. My job is to make the design of user experiences reach a new frontier with the emergence of machine learning techniques. My responsibility — among other things — is to bring a holistic experience design to teams of data scientists and make it an essential part of the lifecycle of algorithmic solutions (e.g. predictive models, recommender systems). In parallel, I perform creative and strategic reviews of experiences that design teams produce (e.g. online banking, online shopping, smart decision making) to steer their evolution into a future of ‘artificial intelligence’. Practically, I boost the partnerships between teams of designers and data scientists to envision desirable and feasible experiences powered by data and algorithms.”

Fabien Girardin a.k.a. /fabiengirardin ~ D&A blog courtesy of puttingpeoplefirst

Applying UX design tactically to achieve strategic objectives

Strategic thinking for in-house UX teams.

“UX design encompasses user research, user interface design, visual design, and content. But what about process design? Why should seasoned companies – whose product-development process hasn’t previously relied on conducting design research – hire UX professionals to help them devise and realize a new business model?”

Mark Baldino a.k.a. /markbaldino | @fuzzymath ~ UXmatters

Effective and efficient: Conducting UX and design reviews

Shaping the feedback loop in a cybernetic way.

“We have all been there—the umpteenth design review on a feedback loop that just will not end. The team is exhausted and creativity has been squeezed like water out of a dishrag. The stakeholders keep giving new feedback, often derailing previous feedback. The team wonders if it will ever be done. There is no clear path forward and the team has lost sight of the original goals, instead spending time on copy for one link or a particular shade of blue. Endless rounds of feedback and wayward comments are crippling to team morale. Without a clear path forward, repeated reviews can ultimately make attempts at innovative UX suffer and leave stakeholders questioning the approach. There is hope; this does not have to happen. With the three-step process of reviews introduced in this article, creativity can be restored and your team can help clients and stakeholders achieve their goals. This process will ultimately lead to better UX and designs because it starts with defining a clear UX strategy and limits the design project to three rounds of review.”

Kristin Zibell a.k.a. /kristinzibell | @takeyourbigtrip The Magazine of the UXPA

The biggest problem facing UX design

Must be multiple problems.

“As with many trends that have seen a rapid rise, there is a strong likelihood that there may be an equally strong decline in UX design. It is fear of this risk that is prompting many UX designers to call for their fellows to prove their value. It stands to reason that, if designers can prove their worth and, thus, convince their employers that design is providing a strong return on investment (ROI) to them, they’ll have no choice but to keep championing designers. Now, if that were easy, nobody would have a worry, but it’s not. How can design – something that companies have traditionally assessed according to the taste of a few important people – prove to a company that it’s providing real, measurable value? How can UX designers show that they are actually valuable, strategic assets who can impact all areas of a business?”

Ben Newton a.k.a. /bencnewton | @ben_c_newton UXmatters

The state of UX in 2016

Annual state of UX affairs: growth, stagnation, or decline.

“(…) it shows that organisations that aim to use human-centred design to lead their markets and capitalise on the potential of digital technologies do so by creating empowered, appropriately-staffed UX operations. And for all the companies still sprinkling a little UX on existing processes? Well, don’t expect to change the world. Or your industry. Or even stave off the competition. It’s a digital world we’re living in, and UX design will be an integral part of it for a long time to come.”

Leah Buley a.k.a. /leahbuley | @leahbuley ~ Creative Bloq

Jared Spool on UX Design

The need for designers starts to get intop formal education as well.

“The design industry is torn over the issue of certification. Today anyone can be a designer. Basically, you’re a designer if you put it in your Twitter bio. We probably have more people saying they’re designers than we have designers. On the other side we have folks like yourself who have now produced an entire curriculum that outputs a pretty well-defined industry-ready designer.”

Des Traynor a.k.a. /destraynor | @destraynor ~ Intercom

User experience in libraries: Applying ethnography and human-centered design (Book review)

UX in specific contexts, now libraries.

“It’s easy to acknowledge and broadly accept the general concepts of user experience and human-centered design in relation to libraries, but the real work illustrated in User Experience in Libraries is hard to do. It requires support, buy-in, and dedication of time and resources. As with so many things, the question becomes how to get this book, these powerful chapters, into the right hands. How do we move beyond the echo chamber of passionate advocates? There are no answers offered in this review, other than for practitioners to keep talking and sharing. If we’re lucky, with its honesty and rational approach, ‘User Experience in Libraries: Applying Ethnography and Human-Centered Design can break through’.”

Heidi Steiner Burkhardt a.k.a. /heidisteiner | @heidi_sb ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 1.5

Innovation and UX: Towards an adaptive and motive-based approach

Holism as a mindset for UX thinking.

“UX is more than just key performance indicators (KPIs). Yes, they are helpful for standardized testing or measures of satisfaction, but commonly used UX KPIs do not show the whole picture when assessing user needs and experiences. This is because current UX KPIs like efficiency, satisfaction, and learnability constrain the perspective to the already known and pre-defined UX dimensions. They neglect other at least equally important aspects of the user’s reality. A holistic UX approach is needed that incorporates user needs and motives and allows technical product innovations to be truly human-centered.”

Clemens Breuninger, Benjamin Dennig, and Sebastian Klein ~ UXPA Magazine

What is the User Experience of content?

UX is the outcome, interacting with content.

“Good UX is all about getting out of the user’s way. A successful ecommerce site makes it phenomenally easy to shop, deeply evaluate, and compare products. The best sites let the audience do these things without even paying attention to how they get from product description to comparison chart to category page. Good content is about the same thing. The best content doesn’t draw attention to itself, but focuses instead on its subject matter–the information you as a marketer want to impart. Good UX is also about knowing what your user wants. Do the work up front (or have an agency do it) to figure out what your user wants, what they would ask if you were standing face to face. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, ‘Did you find everything you needed today?” in whatever form you can. Pay attention to the details of all your content. Improve what you have first, identify the gaps, then start knocking them out one step at a time.”

Augustin Kendall a.k.a. /augustinkendall ~ Portent courtesy of petermorville

Designing desirable experiences

The holy trinity: Usable, useful and desirable experiences.

“There is no justification for designing something that doesn’t solve a problem. However, the whole world is ready to consume things based on their aesthetic elegance. We cannot ignore the value of beauty. So, as a designer, if you can use your problem-solving ability to create a product that has great utility—as well as characteristics such as desirability, elegance, and beauty—and inspires pride of ownership, you can create a delightful ownership experience. Human emotions such as joy, pride, and love will enrich your product experience and actually give life to the product, making its ownership compelling and truly fulfilling.”

Arindam Roy a.k.a. /arindam-roy ~ UXmatters

Careers in UX: How different organizations approach user experience design

Multiple flavors of how to embed UX design in orgs.

“When looking for a job in UX, the company, team, manager, and even sector, company size, and focus should all factor into finding the right place. The core skills for UX jobs are consistent across different kinds of organizations, but some might be a better fit for different work styles, personality types, or interests. I’m writing from the perspective of a UX researcher, but the following exploration certainly applies to other UX roles. I’ll be drawing on my experiences working at several different types of organizations, as well as numerous conversations with other UX professionals talking about their experiences. Let’s take a look at four different but common types of organizations that employ UX professionals, along with some pros and cons for working with each.”

Laith Ulaby a.k.a. /laith-ulaby ~ UX Booth

Second-hand UX: The social implications of tangible tech

In open ecosystems, the experiences of all humans matter.

“From a philosophical perspective, a lack of care about the psychological and sociological toll our products may take on users could drastically alter the concept of a traditional society altogether. It’s better to recognize and reverse potentially harmful design patterns now before habits and cultural beliefs lose sight of social concerns that were once fundamental. Despite popular belief, money and societal good do not have to be mutually exclusive. Let’s start taking second-hand experience into consideration and make it a core part of the way we practice UX.”

Dash Neimark a.k.a. /uxdash | @ux_Dash ~ Boxes and Arrows