Thinking beyond the interface

‘Insert crappy content here’. Filling empty boxes and minds with content. The Nurnberg Funnel.

“Designers have largely shifted their skill sets toward interface design, prototyping, and code. Are writing and art direction getting left behind? (…) But with designers increasingly focused on the interface, a fundamental problem has emerged. The emphasis becomes the design of the frame, and the content takes a backseat — an easily exchangeable placeholder that can be replaced with more or less anything. Layouts become filled with gray boxes and fake headlines.”

Paul Woods a.k.a. /paulthedesigner | @paulillustrator ~ FastCoDesign

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

Design thinking origin story plus some of the people who made it all happen

Allways know where you’re coming from.

“Design thinking has an amalgamation of approaches, this is still quite unique — which is why sometimes — design thinking is applied as more of an umbrella term that catches multi-disciplinary, human-centered projects that involve research and rapid ideation. Most recently it has begun to monitor and measure itself in a quantified way, a trick its leant from the business and economics sectors.”

Jo Szczepanska a.k.a. /joszczepanska | @szczpanks

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

AI and the future of design: What will the designer of 2025 look like?

We’re getting some clear messages on this topic lately.

“As I began to explore how AI would affect design, I started wondering what advice I would give my daughter and a generation of future designers to help them not only be relevant, but thrive in the future AI world. Here is what I think they should expect and be prepared for in 2025.”

Rob Girling ~ O’Reilly Radar

Strategic UX: The value of making the problem bigger

Now UX has to deliver on tactics and strategy.

“As usability and user research have matured, the emphasis has shifted from championing the concept of user-centeredness to making it happen on a daily basis. For many UX researchers, this can mean functioning tactically, like QA technicians. Even researchers who do foundational user research, which we tend to consider strategic, can face routinization, functioning as gatherers and packagers of descriptive information about users and leaving it to others to identify any decision-making implications. This is not a style of practice that earns the seat at the strategic decision-making table that so many practitioners seek.”

David Siegel ~ ACM Interactions

Algorithm-driven design: How artificial intelligence is changing design

Algos as the augmentation tools for designers.

“I’ve been following the idea of algorithm-driven design for several years now and have collected some practical examples. The tools of the approach can help us to construct a UI, prepare assets and content, and personalize the user experience. The information, though, has always been scarce and hasn’t been systematic. However, in 2016, the technological foundations of these tools became easily accessible, and the design community got interested in algorithms, neural networks and artificial intelligence. Now is the time to rethink the modern role of the designer.”

Yury Vetrov a.k.a. @jvetrau ~ Smashing Magazine

What is design thinking? Human-centered design and the challenges of complex problem-solving

Design thinking, the scientific method of the 21st century.

“What is it that we’re talking about, when we’re talking about design? We may first encounter design as aesthetic treatment and styling – certainly important, but not, of course, the entire story. Stylistic design is often seen in contrast with design as a process for tackling tough problems. Design thinking is an abductive approach to complex problem solving that leverages the designer’s empathetic mindset in order to understand people’s unarticulated needs and identify opportunities for solutions. This is a human-centered innovation process that can be applied to a wide range of challenges: design thinking can be used to create everything from products and services to business models and processes.”

Jonathan Follett a.k.a. /jonfollett | @jonfollett ~ O’Reilly Radar

Designing progressive web applications for the future

Progression is just an idea, not a practice.

“The premise is refreshingly simple: bridge the gap between offline and online experiences and gain performance increases, lower bounce rates, and even better conversion rates while doing so. Progressive web applications (PWAs) are basically another layer to add on an existing website, one that interacts between the browser and http connection. This means that any and all requests first go through the service worker, which is an important part of any PWA. The service worker then determines whether there is even a need to connect to the internet for the request, or whether it should just serve a locally stored cache of the website the user is currently browsing.”

Mark Pedersen ~ Boxes and Arrows

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

The decentralization of knowledge: How Carnap and Heidegger influenced the Web

In the end, everything connects. The web and philosophers as well.

“Does the centralization of the Web change both the diffusion of knowledge and the philosophical definition of knowledge itself? By exploring the origins of the Semantic Web in the philosophy of Carnap and of Google’s machine learning approach in Heidegger, we demonstrate that competing philosophical schools are deeply embedded in artificial intelligence and its evolution in the Web. Finally, we conclude that a decentralized approach to knowledge is necessary in order to bring the Web to its full potential as a project for the spread of human autonomy.”

Harry Halpin and Alexandre Monnin ~ First Monday 21.12

How creating a design language can streamline your UX design process

Language being used in processes for communication and specifics.

“Around a year ago, while working at a digital agency, I was given the objective of streamlining our UX design process. Twelve months later, this article shares my thoughts and experiences on how lean thinking helped to instill efficiencies within our UX design process.”

Kyle Cassidy a.k.a. /kycassidy | @kyecass ~ Smashing Magazine

It’s not just decoration: Design is a competitive advantage

All the rational arguments to convince C-level. Still no gut feeling.

“This is one reason why many in the field now downplay the D-word in favour of “User Experience,” or UX. Born out of software design, UX has become a useful lens for understanding everything from watches to wheelbarrows. The total experience of the customer is what counts. That includes the product’s fit and finish, its ergonomics and safety features, and how intuitive it is to use.”

Graham F. Scott ~ Canadian Business

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

Thinking about Design Thinking: Is it important?

All thinking is important.

“Design thinking is just another way to talk about problem-solving. Every design project you take on aims to solve some sort of problem for the client, whether it is helping more people learn about their company through a website, getting people into a store with a coupon or enticing people to buy something with an amazing package design. But design thinking is more than just problem solving. It is a hands-on approach to developing solutions.”

Carrie Cousins a.k.a. @carriecousins ~ Design Shack