All posts from
March 2011

Introducing Content Talks

“When Dan Benjamin asked if I’d be interested in doing a podcast for 5by5, I said Absolutely not! I hate talking about content strategy!” OK, no, that’s not what I said. I accepted on the spot and immediately put together a long, exciting list of smart, interesting people I hoped to interview in the months to come.” (Kristina Halvorson ~ Brain Traffic)

Why Curation Is Just as Important as Creation

“The personal web publishing boom has led to an information explosion. It’s a data free-for-all, and it’s just beginning. Andrew Blau is a researcher and the co-president of Global Business Network in San Fransisco. Blau has foretold the changes in media distribution and content creation. Now he’s watching this new, historic emergence of first-person publishing.” (Steve Rosenbaum ~ Mashable)

Seven myths about paper prototyping

“Paper prototyping is probably the best tool we have to design great user experiences. It allows you to involve users early in the design process, shows you how people will use your system before you’ve written any code, and supports iterative design. So why are some design teams still resistant to using it? Here are 7 objections I’ve heard to paper prototyping and why each one is mistaken.” (David Travis ~ userfocus)

The Materials of Digital Products

“A perfect example is developing for the mobile platform. A native iOS app will allow for much greater refinement in performance, motion and visual treatment, but there will likely be greater build costs compared to an HTML5 mobile app. Conversely, HTML5 will allow much greater flexibility in deployment and distribution. Both technologies have their place in mobile, we just need to know when plastic is more appropriate than stainless steel.” (P.J. Onori ~ Adaptive Path)

More, better, faster: UX design for startups

“Startups don’t have capital to burn or luxurious schedules for big-design-up-front. But unless your idea is by-and-for-engineers, design isn’t something you want to skip on your way to market. For a startup, design may mean the difference between simply shipping, and taking the market by storm. But with tight budgets, and aggressive timelines, how to include design and get the best value for the investment?” (Stefan Klocek ~ Cooper Journal)

DIY usability testing: Steve Krug explains it all for you

“Many discussions about user interfaces see the same type of arguments. Developers like complicated things, with many things on the screen. Designers like pleasant esthetic experience. This problem can be addressed with usability testing. Many sites have usability problems, including Steve Krug’s own site. Steve hasn’t fixed the problem, because it’s cheaper to send an email in support of a struggling user than to fix the actual problem. You don’t have the resources. Easy to find, but hard to fix. Steve makes the argument you should do the usability testing yourself. Most sites aren’t tested, because it costs money, time, and it’s hard to find professionals to do it. So Steve will show how to do it yourself.” (Michiel Berger – SXSW NL Report)

Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed

“A lot of designers seem to be talking about user experience these days. We’re supposed to delight our users, even provide them with magic, so that they love our websites, apps and start-ups. User experience is a very blurry concept. Consequently, many people use the term incorrectly. Furthermore, many designers seem to have a firm (and often unrealistic) belief in how they can craft the user experience of their product. However, UX depends not only on how something is designed, but also other aspects. In this article, I will try to clarify why UX cannot be designed.” (Helge Fredheim ~ Smashing Magazine)

Innovation in Customer Experience

“The experience delivered by a product or service can be a source of competitive advantage and business value through innovation. Experience designers – using the empathy they generate with customers during primary research, and the understanding of the customers’ broad context of use they gain – are well-placed to be the source of such innovation.” (Steve Baty ~ Meld Studios) courtesy of jameskalbach

The European content strategy industry is on the rise

“From the accomplishments of the past two years and the unrelenting momentum of content strategy discourse, it’s safe to say local communities will grow and international events will continue. We’ll probably even learn of one or two more books in the works by the end of 2011. These events will increasingly draw content-minded people of varying kind, who will, in turn, roll ideas back into the businesses they represent. Opportunities will start opening up for CS consultants and agencies alike. Even positions inside larger companies will form as a more cost-effective way to retain and grow internal content strategy processes.” (Destry Wion ~ CS Forum 2011)

Where Innovation Belongs in User-Centered Design

“While user-centered designers haven’t always been the greatest advocates for innovation there is incredible potential for UX professionals to become the champions of innovation and the leaders of holistic design. User experience practitioners are in a unique position to reach out to users and across silos in pursuit of a beautiful user experience. Furthermore, while innovation can come from anywhere only user experience practitioners are equipped to evaluate whether a user population is willing to adopt an innovative idea. Innovation is inherently risky, and usability can mediate that risk through testing. Perhaps greater consideration needs to be given to how innovative ideas are evaluated in order to avoid focusing on the first use, but there is a place for User Experience in an world where innovation is king.” (Jake Truemper ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

UX is 90% Desirability

“We are part of creating an experience. We are manufacturing something that wasn’t there before. Sure usability is important. Yes, it needs to be designed well. Of course, it should function without a glitch. But, are those really what sell the experience? There’s something more intangible that drives people to products: The desire to use it.” (Francisco Inchauste ~ FINCH)

FYI: TMI: Toward a holistic social theory of information overload

“Research into information overload has been extensive and cross–disciplinary, producing a multitude of suggested causes and posed solutions. I argue that many of the conclusions arrived at by existing research, while laudable in their inventiveness and/or practicality, miss the mark by viewing information overload as a problem that can be understood (or even solved) by purely rational means. Such a perspective lacks a critical understanding in human information usage: much in the same way that economic models dependent on rationality for their explanations or projections fail (often spectacularly, as recent history attests), models that rely too heavily upon the same rational behavior, and not heavily enough upon the interplay of actual social dynamics — power, reputation, norms, and others — in their attempts to explain, project, or address information overload prove bankrupt as well. Furthermore, even research that displays greater awareness of the social context in which overload exists often reveals a similar rationality in its conceptualization. That is, often the same ‘social’ approaches that offer potential advantages (in mitigating information overload) over their ‘non–social’ counterparts paradoxically raise new problems, requiring a reappraisal of overload that takes social issues into account holistically.” (Anthony Lincoln ~ First Monday Volume 16, Number 3)

My So Called Service Design Life

“There is a fierce debate about the relationship between service design (SD) and interaction design (IxD) here in the United States, particularly among interaction designers. The discussion often devolves into hostile crossfire between two camps: one that believes that the service design is a type of interaction design, and another that believes that the two disciplines are separate and distinct. When a teenager is a smart, compelling, interesting, independent, charismatic, hardworking, analytical, talented, humorous, knock-kneed being, a parent would rightly feel a great sense of pride. Interaction designers — and those whose careers, and sources of income are indebted to that practice — have very good reasons to hold strongly to the idea that service design is indeed a chip off the old block.” (Renna Al Yassini ~ Cooper Journal)

App Madness & The Open Web

“Web content is publishing: we’ve been saying it for awhile now, and it’s starting to sink in. And if everyone is a publisher, then we—content strategists and other people who specialize in content work—should be able to advise our clients on their publishing plans, or at least those that cross into the online world. We’ve done so before, in the long push to demonstrate that the web isn’t the same as print, and that dumping print content into a web page serves neither user nor publisher. But in the last two years, the online publishing landscape has undergone a major change, both in perception and reality.” (Clinton Forry ~ Confab 2011 blog)

A Checklist for Content Work

“There’s really only one central principle of good content: it should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context. Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its style and structure, and above all in its substance. As Erin Kissane explains, content strategy is the practice of determining what each of those things means for your project – and how to get there from where you are now.” (A List Apart)