An industry in flux: Where does UX go from here?

A much-needed reflective perspective on our discipline and practice.

“Being in UX may feel like climbing a mountain in a snowstorm, but it doesn’t have to. By reflecting on these changes, we can begin to acknowledge and address our field’s growing pains, celebrate and build on its strengths, and work together—academics and industry professionals alike—to define a clearer and more stable UX future.”

Craig MacDonald, Emma Rose, and Cynthia Putnam ~ interactions magazine XXIX courtesy of keith instone

Designing curiosity: A beginner’s guide

Curiosity with a well-prepared mind: sagacity.

“Curiosity is powerful. Research tells us it has the power to enhance intelligence and increase perseverance. Being curious propels us to deeper engagement, superior performance, and more meaningful goals. This article explores how we can be more curious as individuals and suggests ways designers can invite others to be curious as well.”

Cassini Nazir and Jingwen Wang ~ The magazine of the UXPA

Gui Bonsiepe: Framing Design as Interface

So many gems from this historical perspective.

“Bonsiepe’s career may serve as a signal of where design is heading or even as a model for a new generation of designers — a model of how designers may explore the ‘space’ of design and also expand that space as they adapt to a continuously changing world.”

Hugh Dubberly a.k.a. /hughdubberly | @DubberlyDesign courtesy of jorge arango

A Canon of User Experience: Seminal works of a discipline

Love making relevant and interesting curated lists, especially about the past.

“Without being familiar with the ‘classics’ there is always the danger of repeating mistakes from the past. And also, proper knowledge of the ideas, theories and works of previous movers and shakers is always interesting, valuable and usefull. Some of them were too far ahead at the time and some even be forgotten. This overview can be especially used for educational purposes getting new generations connected to relevant predecessors. To be more specific, UX as a term was coined by Donald Norman when he was leading Apple’s ‘User Experience Architecture Group’ (1995). This is a contemporary term. In the near future, the label UX wil evolve (just like experience design, customer experience or service design will). However, the field has much deeper historical roots. These roots can be found in seminal documents on research, design and validation of user experiences in and for the digital domain. Texts upon which new and current ideas are built or are refer to. Starting from WW II on to the World Wide Web, mobile, social and what came after. UX as a field is grounded in many disciplines and therefore is to be considered interdisciplinary.”

Peter J. Bogaards a.k.a. /peterbogaards | @BogieZero

Human-AI interaction: Intermittent, continuous, and proactive

A.k.a. Man-Machine Symbiosis.

“With the rise in artificial intelligence — driven interactive systems, both academics and practitioners within human-computer interaction have a growing focus on human-AI interaction. This has resulted in, for example, system-design guidelines and reflections on the differences and challenges when designing for AI-driven interaction as opposed to more-traditional applications. We argue that the current work on human-AI interaction is defined primarily by a focus on what we refer to as intermittent interaction scenarios, in which there is a clear line between the human initiator of an interaction and an almost immediate system response.”

Niels van Berkel, Mikael Skov, Jesper Kjeldskov ~ ACM Interactions Magazine 28.6

Incorporating User Testing Into Learning Experience Design

Validating learning, much better than just using or experiencing.

“While much of the literature regarding usability testing in libraries focuses on library websites, this article describes an approach that evaluates the usability of learning artifacts, such as learning objects and print materials, as well as learning experiences. In three case studies, we describe our approach to testing these materials and experiences, the results and improvements we made, and the lessons we learned that have informed our approach. We argue that librarians should incorporate usability testing into instruction, from testing learning objects in development to testing complex learning activities and print materials. This approach to usability testing and evaluation will give educators an evidence-based way to develop more effective learning materials and experiences, making them better for our learners.”

Becksford, L. & Hammer, K. & McNabb, K. B. ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 4.2

Using design thinking to investigate and improve patient experience

The scientific method for future experiences: design thinking.

“Understanding and enhancing the patient experience can lead to improved healthcare outcomes. The purpose of this study was to capture a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the patient experience on an inpatient medical teaching unit in order to identify key deficiencies and unmet needs. We then aim to implement a design-thinking methodology to find innovative ways to solve these deficiencies. Here we present the first two phases of this four-phased study. We retrospectively and prospectively collected quantitative data about patient experience with the Canadian Patient Experiences Survey-Inpatient Care. We then used this data to guide patient interviews. We identified several key deficiencies including call bell response times, noise levels at night, pain control, education about medication side effects, communication between healthcare team members, and how well healthcare team members remain up to date about patient care. In the final two phases of our study, we will select one or more of these deficiencies and collaborate with patients and other stakeholders to rapidly create, employ, and assess the impact of prototypes through an iterative action cycle until effective and sustainable solutions are found.”

Jennifer Smiechowski et al. ~ Patient Experience Journal 8.3

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots: Creating Positive Experiences

Man machine conversation through the voice.

“In a broad sense, artificial intelligence uses computers and machines to simulate human decision-making and thinking. More modern definitions of AI describe it as the ability of a machine to generalize its knowledge and skills to new environments and to efficiently learn new skills or knowledge. Some current applications of AI include online shopping, facial recognition, speech recognition, and autonomous vehicles. This article will focus on conversational AI and the user interface considerations specifically for designing chatbots. A chatbot is an application of AI that simulates a conversation with a user using natural language processing through either text or voice communication. A digital or virtual assistant is a more complex form of a chatbot that can also complete tasks for the user.”

Dabby Phipps, Jason Telner, and Jon Temple ~ UXPA Magazine

A Content Model is not a Design System

System modelling applied to content a.k.a. information.

“Do you remember when having a great website was enough? Now, people are getting answers from Siri, Google search snippets, and mobile apps, not just our websites. Forward-thinking organizations have adopted an omnichannel content strategy, whose mission is to reach audiences across multiple digital channels and platforms.”

Mike Wills a.k.a. @HeyMikeWills ~ A List Apart

The Architecture of Algorithm-driven Persuasion

Modern persuasion is still persuasion, or manipulation of some might refer to.

“Persuasion is a process that aims to utilize (true or false) information to change people’s attitudes in relation to something, usually as a precursor to behavioural change. Its use is prevalent in democratic societies, which do not, in principle, permit censorship of information or the use of force to enact power. The transition of information to the internet, particularly with the rise of social media, together with the capacity to capture, store and process big data, and advances in machine learning, have transformed the way modern persuasion is conducted. This has led to new opportunities for persuaders, but also to well-documented instances of abuse: fake news, Cambridge Analytica, foreign interference in elections, etc. We investigate large-scale technology-based persuasion, with the help of three case studies derived from secondary sources, in order to identify and describe the underlying technology architecture and propose issues for future research, including a number of ethical concerns.”

Jeremy Rose & Oskar MacGregor ~ Journal of Information Architecture 6.1

Voice Content and Usability

Old is new and new is old.

“We’ve been having conversations for thousands of years. Whether to convey information, conduct transactions, or simply to check in on one another, people have yammered away, chattering and gesticulating, through spoken conversation for countless generations. Only in the last few millennia have we begun to commit our conversations to writing, and only in the last few decades have we begun to outsource them to the computer, a machine that shows much more affinity for written correspondence than for the slangy vagaries of spoken language.”

Preston So a.k.a. /prestonso | @prestonso ~ A List Apart

Levelling up the Design Org

Growth of design maturity in orgs. Goes very slowly, from progression to regression (even).

“At Redgate we place a significant emphasis on the growth and development of our employees. This investment in folks’ progression is, I believe, one of the main reasons why we continue to attract and retain some amazing people. Alongside a compelling mission, strong culture and ethics, individual’s are highly motivated where there is a genuine sense that the company cares about and is committed to their growth.”

Matthew Godfrey a.k.a. /msgodfrey | @MatthewGodfrey ~ Redgate

How does AI challenge design practice?

The designer-machine symbiosis addressed (again).

“Machine learning-based systems have become the bread and butter of our digital lives. Today’s users interact with, or are influenced by, applications of natural language processing and computer vision, recommender systems, and many other forms of so-called narrow AI. In the ongoing commodification of AI, the role of design practice is increasingly important; however, it involves new methodological challenges that are not yet solved or established in design practice.”

Thomas Olsson and Kaisa Väänänentaş ~ ACM Interactions XXVIII.4

The Profession of Human-Computer Interaction: What HCI researchers do, and how to become one

Back to the scholarly roots of people and digital technologies.

“This is the first thing you need to understand, if you’re interested in HCI: it’s an academic research discipline. This means that it comes with all of the concerns and constraints that apply to scientific and academic research disciplines: You must be interested in the rigor and philosophy of science and academia. You have to read thousands of research papers, and write a lot of your own. You have to engage with the academic world: a whole ecosystem of universities, academic careers, research funding, peer-reviewed conferences and journals… You will be teaching courses, giving lectures… And crucially, all of this takes up most of your time – you have very little time left to spend on creating actual HCI designs.”

Mehmet Aydın Baytaş a.k.a. @doctorBaytas ~ Design Disciplin

Defining the Behavioural Design Space

Nudging galore.

“Behavioural Design is a critical means to address human behaviour challenges including health, safety, and sustainability. Practitioners and researchers face difficulties in synthesising relevant perspectives from across fields, as behavioural challenges are complex and multi-dimensional.”

Bay Brix Nielsen, Daalhuizen & Cash ~ International Journal of Design 15.1

Beware the Cut ‘n Paste Persona

What’s real and what’s not?

“Design needs simplification but not generalization. You have to look at the research elements that stand out: the sentences that captured your attention, the images that struck you, the sounds that linger. Portray those, use them to describe the person in their multiple contexts. Both insights and people come with a context; they cannot be cut from that context because it would remove meaning. It’s high time for design to move away from fiction, and embrace reality – in its messy, surprising, and unquantifiable beauty – as our guide and inspiration.”

Emanuela Cozzi and Lennart Overkamp ~ A List Apart