All posts from
May 2009

Using Verbs As Nouns in User Interfaces | UX Roles in Organizations

“What are your experience and wisdom on the use of verbs as nouns in naming software functionality? Do you have any other brilliant names for views? (…) We are looking to update our UX team to align with advanced needs, and I am having trouble finding an organizational view of UX roles. I am not sure where UX architects, art directors, information designers, visual designers, user researchers, usability testers, creative managers, interactive designers, and other UX roles fit into the big picture. Do you have any examples of organizational layouts?” – (UXmatters)

Refactoring the User Experience

“The ability to take a broad view of the world and incorporate lessons learned from other disciplines distinguishes the best practitioners in any field. As UX professionals, there is much we can learn from good software engineering practice, which maps a team’s understanding of a problem at a human level onto the implementation of a technical solution. The essence of good software engineering practice is effective user experience—from developing the high-level design documentation that describes how the main elements of a system interact to its implementation in clearly written code. Though the relationship between software engineering and user experience is not always an easy one, software engineers and UX professionals share some common goals. Both have a vested interest in producing systems that are useful and usable.” – (Peter HornsbyUXmatters)

Fjord 09 Mobile Trends

“From the ‘Android invasion’ to the ‘War for the world’: Fjord presents 9 mobile trends for 09. This report focuses on technologies and behaviors that have been building up over the last few years and are going to break through to the mainstream in 2009.” – (Fjord)

Online language pathways: understanding how brands need to communicate with their customers online

“Our study found that language that engages people on web pages is not the same as the language that forms the pathways to a site. Rather, people change or adapt language terms as they refine their search from their original language of intent (their thoughts) to terms and phrases that more closely mirror language they see in their search, coupled with a mechanical style they think will be better understood by search engines. But the language they appear to respond to most favourably when they finally engage with a website is language that more closely resembles their original language of intent – less mechanical, more natural and human. The ‘translation’ from human language into online language seems to be a sub-conscious and iterative or fluid process: people refine or filter their language as their online journey progresses and this is particularly evident during the search journey.” – (Content Delivery & Analysis)

Content strategy and the new face of documentation

“The idea of looking at trends in our profession speak directly to the idea of content strategy. It’s a ‘beyond the document’ look at how we create and deliver content to various audiences. It’s about content re-use and single-sourcing, about content management, about filtering content, about creating better ways to serve content consumers. It’s also about how social media has raised the bar, and how consumers will take matters into their own hands if we don’t step up to the plate.” – (Rahel Anne BailieIntentional Design Inc.)

Why is service design so heterogenous? And does it matter?

“In the end, I don’t think we should be surprised to see a lot of heterogeneity in service design. Heterogeneity is a strength, not a weakness – it allows service design agencies (and service designers) to constantly reframe their offer, adapt quickly to the market and tackle the most interesting, most complex challenges. Pinning all of that into a simple definition seems rather silly really.” – (Choosenick)

Attention and awareness in stage magic: Turning tricks into research

“Just as vision scientists study visual art and illusions to elucidate the workings of the visual system, so too can cognitive scientists study cognitive illusions to elucidate the underpinnings of cognition. Magic shows are a manifestation of accomplished magic performers’ deep intuition for and understanding of human attention and awareness. By studying magicians and their techniques, neuroscientists can learn powerful methods to manipulate attention and awareness in the laboratory. Such methods could be exploited to directly study the behavioural and neural basis of consciousness itself, for instance through the use of brain imaging and other neural recording techniques.” – (Nature Reviews Neuroscience)

The Wisdom of Community

“A defining element of any WOC system is that the more participants it has, the better it gets. Discussion systems and chat rooms fall apart when too many voices get involved. If your community feature gets worse the more people use it, it’s not a WOC system.” – (Derek Powazek – A List Apart 283)

Design Fiction

“Science fiction is a form of popular entertainment. The emotional payoff of the science fiction genre is the sense of wonder it conveys. Science fiction ‘design’ therefore demands some whiz-bang, whereas industrial design requires safety, utility, serviceability, cost constraints, appearance, and shelf appeal. To these old-school ID virtues nowadays we might add sustainability and a decent interface.” – (Bruce Sterling – ACM interactions XVI.3)

The poverty of user-centered design

“(…) the set of methods employed by most user-centered professionals fails to deliver truly user-centric insights. The so-called ‘science’ of usability which underlies user-centeredness leaves much to be desired. It rests too much on anecdote, assumed truths about human behavior and an emphasis on performance metrics that serve the perspective of people other than the user. – If we could de-couple user-centered design and usability then there might be some benefit but I don’t think this is as important as it might first appear. More important is the very conception we have of users and uses for which we wish to derive technologies and information resources. Designing for augmentation is a very real problem and a great challenge for our field theoretically and practically.” – (Andrew Dillon – InfoMatters)

Play in social and tangible interactions

“Many of the interactions seen in tangible and social computing are essentially playful. Play can take on many forms, but they all involve people exploring a conceptual space of possibilities. When designing these ’embodied’ interactions, it is therefore helpful to have a good understanding of play – this session aims to do just that. We’ll compare the role of interaction designers to that of game designers, who concern themselves primarily with the creation of rule-sets. By using rules, designers have unique opportunities for conveying messages. We’ll discuss the emergent behaviour of many social and tangible systems and propose that gardening might be a helpful metaphor. This requires designers to sketch in code and hardware, build prototypes, and observe their use ‘in the wild’. Ultimately, we hope to encourage designers to put themselves on equal footing with the people using their systems, so that they can playfully grow meaningful interactions together.” – (Kars Alfrink – IxDA Library)

Shall We Dance? PDF Logo

“It is with great pride that I welcome you to the inaugural issue of the Journal of Information Architecture. The Journal of Information Architecture is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, and its aim is to facilitate the systematic development of the scientific body of knowledge in the field of information architecture. The journal will focus on information architecture research and development in all types of shared information environments, such as for example social networks, web sites, intranets, mobile and Rich Internet Applications, from various perspectives such as technical, cultural, social, and communicational.” – (Dorte Madsen – Journal of Information Architecture 1.1)

The Content Strategy Land Rush

“I don’t have the answers. I’m sorry if that’s disappointing news and I have lead you this far to learn it. In fact, this is what we are all watching to see. Such things as the social web explosion and the recent economy crash will undoubtedly shape content strategy considerations. The semantic web, and web as a platform, are increasingly becoming a part of that picture too.” – (Wion)

Information Architecture: Synthesis Techniques for the Muddy middle of the Design Process

“Information Architecture has arisen as a field related to interaction design. It is commonly found embedded within the profession of computer science, and is associated with the creation of complicated software. This relatively new field exists to make meaning out of data, and can be applied to disciplines that have little to do with computing or even technology. This paper provides an overview of established Information Architecture modeling techniques, and discusses how they can be applied to the industrial design process during the synthesis phase of design. The text reflects on the nature of this messy and critical period in the design process, and offers methods of quickly making information and even knowledge out of data. Finally, the text briefly describes the changing nature of professional demands on students entering industry, indicating that Information Architect may be a lucrative alternative job title for students graduating from Industrial Design programs.” – (Jon Kolko)