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User experience

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

Cybernetics and the design of the user experience of AI systems

Finally, two years after the workshop. Hopefully there will be another one.

“Cybernetics and artificial intelligence (AI) are often considered the same thing, with cybernetics having something to do with creating intelligent cyborgs and robots. In actuality, cybernetics and AI are different ways of thinking about intelligent systems or systems that can act toward reaching a goal. AI is primarily concerned with making computers mimic intelligent behavior based on stored representations of the world. Cybernetics more broadly encompasses the study of how systems regulate themselves and take action toward goals based on feedback from the environment. These systems are not just computational; they include biological (maintaining body temperature), mechanical (governing the speed of an engine), social (managing a large workforce), and economic (regulating a national economy) systems. In addition to reaching goals, AI and cybernetics both consider how systems can learn; however, while AI considers using stored representations as a means of acting intelligently, cybernetics focuses on grounded and situated behaviors that express intelligence and learning based on feedback and interaction.”

Nikolas Martelaro and Wendy Ju ~ ACM Interactions XXV.6

Developing a Code of Ethics for UX Design: What we can learn from the field of architecture

Learning from other disciplines is key.

“(…) the WELL Building Standard is rigorous and well developed compared to the initiatives for ethical standards in the UX field, which makes it a valuable resource that we can learn from. This makes sense as we are a much younger and smaller profession than architecture, although we are growing at lightning speed. When you think about how fast digital technology is being propagated, our profession is in a slow-motion explosion. The reach and influence of our work has the potential to be wholly pervasive. Establishing ethical standards that uphold our commitment to ‘take care of’ our users is urgently needed.”

Dorothy Shamonsky a.k.a. /dorothyshamonsky | @dr_dor ~ UXPA Magazine

Blockchain UX: Challenges, principles and heuristics

UX still remains relevant for any type of technology.

“If you are a designer looking to pave ways into the Blockchain technology and applications, it is never late to start. From my personal experience I would suggest to kick start your learning by getting acquainted with the three core components the technology is composed of being: distributed ledger technology (DLT), decentralized (or better, distributed) networks, and public-key cryptography.”

Jo Mercieca a.k.a. /jomercieca ~ Medium

Things that Beep: A Brief History of Product Sound Design

Design for the ears to provide information, to communicate and to experience.

“As we move into an artificially intelligent world whose logics of operation often exceed our own understanding, perhaps we should linger a bit longer on those blips and clicks. Compressed within the beep is a whole symphony of historical resonances, socio-technical rhythms, political timbres, and cultural harmonies. Rather than simply signaling completion, marking a job done right, a beep instead intones the complex nature of our relationships to technology — and the material world more generally.”

Shannon Mattern ~ avant.org courtesy of designobserver

The evolution of UX research: A job posting analysis

The job market for UX research follows the field of UX design practice.

“Our conclusion is that these seemingly opposing trends will persist for a while due to the different levels of research maturity in the market. UX teams of one, T-shaped UX, or UX unicorns are still in demand and will continue to be so. However, in our opinion, the demand for specialized UXers will keep growing. The increased understanding of UX by big companies is translated in the definition of job postings for ‘mixed’ UX researchers or specialized quantitative or qualitative researchers. It is likely to be a slow trend in the same way that UX took awhile to reach companies. However, and luckily, the future looks bright for anyone wishing to work in UX research.”

Muriel Garreta-Domingo a.k.a. @mparticulars and Alberto González Mosquera a.k.a. @Agonzalezmosq ~ UXPA Magazine

Don’t discount the role of UX in IoT

Machines have feelings too.

“The IoT network can range from a smart home thermostat to medical devices that send patient data from an ambulance to the emergency room to a tractor gathering crop yield data from different areas of the field, and so much more. IoT products are in their infancy—well, maybe the toddler stage—and spreading in different industries (for example, UX will play a huge role in smart factories of the new Industry 4.0) And, as mentioned, UX is not limited to the outside of the device; it is in all areas of the device. Let’s make it count.”

Kianosh Pourian a.k.a. /kianoshpourian | @kianoshp ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association

As machine learning and AI perform magic, how can UX professionals help?

Deep understanding through some deep human learning.

“(…) UX designers and researchers need to be the co-creators of intelligent solutions to make sure AI technology works for people and society. More than ever, we must consider the capabilities and roles of human versus machine. When should machines make decisions and take action, and when should they augment or support people making decisions? How will these AI solutions make people feel? Do people feel like the solution is trustable, easy, and fun, or do they feel frustrated or even potentially endangered? UX professionals must act to learn, share, collaborate, and participate in cognitive technology research and development both at a strategic level and as a part of the product development process. We should also get involved in governance. We encourage UX professionals to join us and continue this dialog so that we can help create a better world.”

Cindy Lu a.k.a. and Alice Preston ~ UXPA magazine

XR design: Imagination, immersion, and presence

New hunting grounds for experience designers with a mixed view on reality.

“XR is an incredibly powerful new tool for bridging the gap between imagination and reality. It achieves this most effectively when full immersion occurs, a solid sense of presence exists, and a multimodal experience looks, feels, and sounds believable. These are foundational concepts to keep top of mind when you’re moving from designing experiences for traditional mediums to designing the magical world of XR.”

Dashiel Neimark a.k.a. /uxdash | @ux_Dash ~ UXmatters

What augmented reality can do for the user experience

New forms of reality are kicking in and we have no idea how to deal with it.

“It’s too early to dive deep into AR technology. Sure, the UX design for headless interfaces will be an important core competence in the future. However, we’re not really able to gain experience in that area as of right now. What UX designers can and should do now, is to experiment with established technologies, such as 360-degree videos, and virtual reality. Even if these experiences will not really cover the challenges of AR, they broaden your horizon in the right direction. This is important, as your approach will have to change fundamentally.”

Dieter Petereit a.k.a. @dpetereit ~ noupe

Embedding product design in a large Agile organization

Fitting a square into a circle can be a real challenge.

“The Agile approach can be tough for designers — if misinterpreted it creates the expectation that a solo designer assigned to a scrum team will constantly and magically generate just-in-time designs. That a great cohesive overall product experience will be envisioned and unfolded piece by tiny piece across multiple scrum teams. On the other hand, if strategically focused on both discovery and delivery, Agile represents a great opportunity to center product development around frequent user feedback, and to constantly iterate by treating every release as a prototype that demands learning and improvement.”

Scott Mackie a.k.a. /srmackie ~ Medium

UX and service design for connected products report

Take it away!

“In this Insight Report, we’ll look at the factors which make UX for IoT particularly challenging. We’ll discuss how technical architecture and business models shape UX, and how IoT blurs the line between product and service experiences. We’ll look at the need to give users transparency around how complex systems work and share data, in particular in relation to GDPR. And we’ll set out the challenges of designing distributed user experiences across multiple UIs, and show how some companies are tackling the challenges of designing for both hardware and software in parallel.”

Claire Rowland a.k.a. /clairerowland | @clurr ~ IoT.uk

Agile UX: It’s not as bad as you think

We never thought that, didn’t we?

“As Agile has become the standard working model for development teams, UXers are, oftentimes grudgingly, learning to integrate into existing Agile development teams. But few are exploring how a UX team can use Agile techniques, and perhaps more importantly an Agile mindset, to improve team performance and morale. It turns out that when done right, Agile can help UXers achieve personal and strategic goals, giving value and purpose to the problems UX teams face daily. Sound too good to be true? If so, read on to learn how this cross-functional UX and architecture team used an Agile approach to improve our product, team performance, team member engagement, job satisfaction, and influence.”

Becky Bristol a.k.a. @paintingblue and Nicole Derr a.k.a. @Nicole_Derr ~ User Experience Magazine

UX writing: The case for user-centric language

Sometimes you just have to change the label to make a ‘new’ start.

“UX writing recognizes language as an intrinsic part of a user’s experience with a product. UX writers think intentionally about how words alone can facilitate – or get in the way of – users’ goals. As a discipline, UX writing lets you manipulate language. It helps you prod your users one step closer toward desired actions. Indeed, validating the effectiveness of language – on websites, apps, and other digital products – is just as important as other areas of UX research.”

Alana Schroeder a.k.a. /alana-schroeder | @ealanaschroeder ~ Boxes and Arrows

Are you ready for the next evolution of UX: the human experience?

Adding to our acrosoup: HX.

“The human experience trumps everything, and a product or service that’s designed with a contextual view of someone’s life will dominate the marketplace. For makers this means creating desired experiences through their products and services that users crave. But user experience always fits somewhere within the great context of one’s life. This is key. The human-centered design ethos is gaining momentum as context plays a greater role in the design of everyday things. So perhaps it’s time to expand the idea of what a product is to reflect that shift.”

Paul Campillo a.k.a. /paulcampillo | @paulcampillo ~ Typeform

Why ‘design for experience’ is becoming the new normal

Experience design at the big consultancies. It’s getting more crazy day by day.

“Experiences are intrinsic to each individual; they are subjective by nature. In fact, we cannot design how our clients will experience our products or services. What we can do, instead, is coming up with design that can positively influence that personal, unique experience.”

Anna Vassileva a.k.a. /anna-vassileva ~ PWC.lu

Are we taking the ‘U’ out of UX?

Acronyms never live long.

“User experience is a huge buzzword these days. Although seemingly self-explanatory, some companies aren’t getting the point—they’re still overlooking behavioral experience in lieu of look and feel. Many of the ads I saw reserved their most specific and vivid language for the visual design end of things. It left me scratching my head and wondering if only the most sophisticated—and largest—companies truly wanted UX and had the budget to support it. Are other companies just paying lip service to the current buzz by hiring visual designers and labelling them UX?”

Mark Richman a.k.a. /markjrichman ~ Boxes and Arrows

The business of UX strategy

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

The UX of Design Systems: On Google’s Material Design and the templatization of digital products

Now that the hype on Google MD has faded, we’re waitng for the next killer DesSys.

“What is new is that today design systems can be more than printed design manuals. We have the ability to write design systems in code and use them directly in digital products. (…) All this critique of design systems is essentially an argument for UX designers to create design systems that grow from user-centric research. As UX designers, you are here to bridge the aesthetics with the functionality of digital products. Rather than starting with a fascination of design systems, you have to first of all focus on the user and let that inform your design system – and keep doing that over time. You have to argue for the process of understanding your users, talking to them, learning from them, and drawing up coherent systems that work on behalf of them. If you do this, systems are an incredibly powerful way of creating products that are beneficial to both companies and users.”

Rune Madsen a.k.a. @runemadsen

Preparing your UX career for Virtual Reality

Digital designers really need to understand the underlying technologies. As always.

“Designers will need to ramp up on new design skills to make a smooth career transition to the design of immersive experiences when the inevitable wave of new VR and AR design projects hits the pipeline.”

Pabini Gabriel-Petit a.k.a. /pabini | @pabini ~ UXmatters