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) ★
Reflection on naming is framing.
“In experience, every voice matters, and each of those individual voices are contributing to an ocean of ripples that are positively impacting countless lives. In experience, no one organization owns, nor should claim to own all the answers, but many contribute to the possibilities found in elevating the human experience in healthcare. In experience, when we ensure this is a true strategic focus at the heart of healthcare we will find our way to achieving all the outcomes we aspire to achieve and know are possible in healthcare. This issue helps frame that reality though contributions from around the world touching on a broad range of topics, but yet in their distinction, find a powerful commonality, a commitment to the humanity of healthcare. If we reframe the conversation on patient experience to one that is about all we aspire to achieve, about how every role matters, every voice contributes, every perspective brings value and seasoning to an ever expanding mix of possibility, than what we can do in healthcare is boundless. A conversation on experience is not tangential to this opportunity we face, rather it rest squarely at its core and it is incumbent on each and every one of us to contribute. That may be our greatest opportunity in a global healthcare system where access and equity, quality and safety, empathy and compassion and health and well-being are not just what we do as work, but the fundamental reality of all do as human beings caring for human beings.”
Jason Wolf ~ Patient Experience Journal (Volume 6 Issue 1) ★
Like with second order cybernetics, the role of the researcher in the researched system is essential.
“We challenge the unquestioning pursuit of the appearance of objectivity and ingrained designer-user dualism in human-centred design research and propose a resurrection of introspection as a valid approach to investigating subjective experiences. Through comparing epistemic perspectives and reviewing the histories of introspection in several disciplines, we liberate the research field of experience-driven design from a long-lasting doubt about and the disguised and unsystematic use of this method. To establish a foundation for the further development of introspective methods, we focus on its most controversial type (i.e. researcher introspection) and discuss its strengths and weaknesses, preconditions of use, diverse ways to practise for different suitable experience-driven design research purposes, and useful techniques and tools.”
Haian Xue and Pieter M.A.Desmet ~ Design Studies Volume 63 ★
Fortunately, life is not as binary as you think.
“A/B testing is a powerful technique for evaluating the success of a specific design element, but it is not yet widely adopted among library user experience professionals. Many libraries cannot or choose not to do A/B testing on a live website for a variety of practical reasons. Appalachian State University Libraries recently piloted a variety of A/B testing that has the potential to address some of these shortcomings: a Qualtrics survey of tasks carried out on static prototype websites embedded into the survey as inline frames. The technique allowed us to capture qualitative data in the form of survey questions and link it to quantitative server data typical in live A/B tests. Prototype A/B testing allowed us to reap the benefits of A/B testing without needing to modify a production server environment. Based on our findings from a large sample of undergraduate and graduate students, we were able to justify a post-migration design choice.”
Scott Goldstein ~ Journal of Library User Experience 2.1 ★
How the semantics of UX change all the time.
“If anything, the T in T-shape isn’t a deep dive into a specific UX sub discipline, and its not to stay within the confines of either research or design. The skill you most want to T shape is the ability transfer the principles of good design across these factors. This is why the broad UX lens is perfectly positioned to engage the ambiguity that comes with design. After all, why put a cap on your abilities? We all have a ceiling but don’t put one there yourself.”
Max Taylor ~ Medium ★ courtesy of @thebrainlady
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 ★
Putting a square in a circle?
“Agile and user experience have been partnered successfully since the Agile Manifesto was first authored in 2001 and have had a history of working well together in many situations. However, user experience research (UXR) has been largely unaccounted for in this work. The Agile Manifesto encourages us to revisit our processes and to iterate on ways to better describe how we work together with our teams. That is the goal of this article: to share our progress toward improving how we work by documenting an iteration of a model for you to try.”
Carol J. Smith a.k.a. @carologic, Thyra Rauch, and Hannah Moyers a.k.a. @h_moyers ~ UXPA magazine ★
Design remains team work. Even in guilds, tribes, and other social labels.
“In our busy Agile development environment, our UX team was under-resourced and frequently a bottleneck. We had won the fight for buy-in: People wanted us, but there were not enough of us to go around. So, we were seen as more of an “injustice league” than the band of heroes we wanted to be. Facing the challenge head-on, we successfully leveraged the guild model to scale UX within our mid-sized development organization. We deputized UI developers and QA resources to lighten our design load and to spread good design throughout the land.”
Jennifer Bullard @jbullard and Carol Bergantino @cbergantino20 ~ UXPA magazine ★
Don Norman and Don Draper: The Fraternal Twins.
“The difference between the CX and UX team is not their mission, but their origin. Because of that difference, they achieve the goal quite differently.”
Jared Spool a.k.a. /jmspool | @jmspool ~ User Interface Engineering ★
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 ★
Employee and/or buyer personas.
“You think you’re just like everyone else. You think your thoughts, opinions, values, and habits are just the same as other people. Psychology calls this the false consensus bias1 because we assume much more commonality than reality warrants. False consensus bias contributes to making bad decisions when we design software.”
Kayla Block a.k.a. /kaylablock ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
Taxos for business as well.
“While I haven’t shared all the strategic reasoning behind the website taxonomy, I hope this post explains the approach well enough to solicit feedback. Is it perfect? I don’t know! We will come to know only after the website is launched, feedback is collected from the target audience, and website traffic is tracked over a period of time. That’s when I am going to update this post.”
The Verditer ★
Everything is personal, but some things more than others.
“Just as UX people took up the torch around content strategy years ago, there is a watershed moment quickly approaching for personalization strategy. Simply put, the technology in this space is far outpacing the design practice.”
Colin A. Eagan a.k.a. @ColinEags ~ A List Apart ★
Always something new to discover in the old.
“In a delightful new book (The Minard System: The Complete Statistical Graphics of Charles-Joseph Minard), author Sandra Rendgen uncovers the man who made the graphic as well as his many data visualization innovations.”
Jared Green ~ The Dirt ★ courtesy of @jarango
Structure as the backbone of all conversations.
“Design practices that build bridges between user needs and technology requirements to meet business goals are crucial to making this vision a reality. Information architects, content strategists, developers, and experience designers all have a role to play in designing and delivering effective structured content solutions. Practitioners from across the design community have shared a wealth of resources in recent years on creating content systems that work for humans and algorithms alike.”
Andy Fitzgerald a.k.a. /andyfitzgerald | @andybywire ~ A List Apart ★
Agile eats research, design and evaluation for (fast food) breakfast.
“In this paper we ask: “How might we take the ideas, the methods and the underlying philosophy behind agile software development and explore applying them in the context of doing research — even research that does not involve software development?” We look at some examples of agile research methods and think about how they might inspire the design of even better methods. We also try to address some potential criticisms of an approach that aims to minimize a need for Big Design Up Front by developing tighter iteration cycles, coupled with reflection and learning as part of a process for doing research.”
Michael Twidale and Preben Hansen ~ FirstMonday 24.1 ★
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 ★
UX programs must incorporate educational thinking as well (e.g. psychology, educational science and didactics).
“The future for UX depends on the people who choose to work in this field; their skills and experience are what companies are looking for. For the next generation of UX professionals, access to education, whether through traditional venues or online certificates and programs, is essential to gain the practical knowledge of ever-changing UX fundamentals and processes. UX certificate and degree programs may be a start for future UX candidates, but it will be experience that reinforces strong design and research skills.”
Lee Okan a.k.a. @SayVous ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Growing the nextgen digital designers at scale.
“Traditional mentoring programs have a lot of value. But finding the mentors can be difficult, and then pairing them one-by-one with mentees can be time-consuming. Because the recruiting and matching processes are such a heavy lift, the number of mentees who can be paired with mentors is always limited to the maximum number of mentors. Many potential mentees are left without mentors. In this article, you will learn about the following: How we created rapid group mentoring activities, how we organize the mentoring activities so mentees and mentors get the most out of the time they have together, and all the details of logistics and recruiting, so you can organize a similar activity in your UX community.”
Bob Thomas and Jen McGinn ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Meaning as driver for design decisions.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way. Now the time has come for us—designers, working on digital products—to step up our game and act like real gatekeepers. Instead of unethical practices and cheap tricks to lure people into more and more engagement, we need to do the hard work of designing meaningful products where people can connect, collaborate in a meaningful way, and help each other build a better world. We have a huge responsibility here as designers. It’s up to us how we design these platforms and what social norms we set there. In this article, I will share a few good examples I’ve seen, and I will also share a few stories from my UX company, where we try hard to put more meaningful social features in both our client’s products and our own.”
David Pasztor /davidpasztor ~ Boxes and Arrows ★