All posts from
July 2010

Debunking the Myths of Remote Usability Studies

“Success in a diverse global marketplace increasingly demands that companies engage customers from diverse global backgrounds in both discussions and usability studies. However, funding for user research travel is becoming more limited, and the availability of local users who meet the need for diversity is often insufficient. Therefore, UX professionals have started using remote usability testing methods to gather adequate user feedback.” (Corrie Kwan, Jin Li, and May Wong ~ UXmatters)

The Value of Education in Research and Human Factors

“Education is always enriching. It increases your capabilities and improves the quality of your work. As UX professionals, it is essential that we continue to improve our educations and develop new skills. For people who do user research as a part of their jobs, we highly recommend getting formal research education. Even if it is just a single class in experimental methods, research education improves your ability to do your job effectively and gives you the flexibility to deviate from the standard kinds of studies we all tend to do on a day-to-day basis. We work in an innovative industry, so it is important for us to be able to innovate new user research methods. Having an understanding of the fundamentals of research would enable more user researchers to innovate effectively and advance the whole field of user research.” (Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain ~ UXmatters)

Recruiting Better Research Participants

“Recruiting the right participants is the foundation of effective user research, because your research results are only as good as the participants involved. Representative, well-spoken, and thoughtful research participants can provide invaluable feedback. Yet finding and recruiting such ideal participants and getting them to show up for their sessions is sometimes difficult.” (Jim Ross ~ UXmatters)

Maturing a Practice

“The authors of this paper position pratice-led research (PLR) as an effective agent in the transformation of the seemingly inherent and natural acts found in casual practice into the formal arrangement of accepted truths and regulated practices of a discipline for user experience design (UXD) and information architecture (IA) communities of practice. The paper does not intend to exhaustively define discourse analysis, discipline practice or pratice-led research per se, but rather to introduce practitioners and the fields of UX and IA at large to the basic concepts of PLR so as to begin establishing discussion and awareness.” (Hobbs, J., Fenn, T., & Resmini, A. ~ Journal of Information Architecture No. 3)

Beyond Findability: Search-Enhanced IA for Content-Intensive RIAs

“This paper details a way to extend classic information architecture for web-based applications. The goal is to enhance traditional user experiences, mainly based on navigation or search, to new ones (also relevant for stakeholders’ requirements). Examples are sense making, at a glance understanding, playful exploration, serendipitous browsing, and brand communication. These new experiences are often unmet by current information architecture solutions, which may be stiff and difficult to scale, especially in the case of large or very large websites. A heavy reliance upon search engines seems not to offer a viable solution: it supports, in fact, a limited range of user experiences. We propose to transform (parts of) websites into Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), based, beside other features, upon interaction-rich interfaces and semantic browsing across content. We introduce SEE-IA (SEarch-Enhanced Information Architecture), a coherent set of information architecture design strategies, which innovatively blend and extend IA and search paradigms.” (Spagnolo, L., Bolchini, D., Paolini, P., & Di Blas, N. ~ Journal of Information Architecture No. 3)

My Heart is in The Work

“In 1900, Andrew Carnegie quietly declared that his ‘heart is in the work’ – that he had found an endeavor worth pursuing, and that he would passionately follow-through on that endeavor until it was complete. We interaction designers feel that passion on a daily basis, as we’ve found ourselves at the heart of industry, policy, and culture. Our endeavors are worth pursuing and we approach them with the whole of our hearts. We build the artifacts and frameworks that support engagement, that keep us entertained, aroused, engaged and productive. We are building the culture we live in, and we possess the capability to enable massive change in an increasingly fragmented and tense world. This talk will examine our ability to affect change at the intersection of experience, behavior, meaning, and culture, and will emphasize our responsibility to approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud.” (Jon Kolko – IxDA)