All posts from
September 2011

What I Bring to UX From… Architecture

Sounds more like information architecture, projects and clients to me.

“To do well in either architecture or user experience design, the ability to communicate well is key, and the most important part of communicating is listening. As designers, we need to listen to our clients and their customers to understand their needs and requirements. We need to communicate our designs to both our clients and our development teams in a way that they will understand. Our ideas need to be translated into designs and made concrete, through user scenarios, workflow diagrams, mock-ups or wireframes so that they can be discussed, understood, tested and improved upon. Communication becomes even more important once those designs start being built. As I already stated, nothing ever gets built as planned. Therefore, communication is key in working with the development team to evolve and refine the design as it gets built, and to manage the expectations of the client throughout the development process as those changes are occurring. And, a lot of that communicating is listening.”

(Jennifer Fraser a.k.a. @jlfraser ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

The mouse dies: Touch and gesture take center stage

A NUI is still an interface, so how natural can it be.

“The moment that sealed the future of human-computer interaction for me happened just a few months ago. I was driving my car, carrying a few friends and their children. One child, an 8-year old, pointed to the small LCD screen on the dashboard and asked me whether the settings were controlled by touching the screen. They were not. The settings were controlled by a rotary button nowhere near the screen. It was placed conveniently between the driver and passenger seats. An obvious location in a car built at the tail-end of an era when humans most frequently interacted with technology through physical switches and levers.”

(Jonathan Reichental a.k.a. @Reichental ~ O’Reilly Radar)

Reading the conversation cloud

The company as part of markets, which are conversations since the Cluetrain Manifesto.

“We can’t look back at historical data. We can’t search for patterns in the data. We can’t build predictive models. All because we just don’t have the data. And until we have consistent, reliable data, these things just aren’t going to happen. If only we had the data. Well now we do.”

(The Connected Company)

Back to Information Architecture

It’s not about information, content and stuff. It’s about answers, meaning and understanding.

“I am an information architect; I have always identified myself this way professionally because it describes information architecture as my core practice, which I simply think of as making the complex clear (Wurman). It defines my professional and personal ethos – and it does so to an extent I was not even aware of until recently.”

(Livia Labate a.k.a. @livlab ~ I Think Therefore IA)

Demystifying Design

‘Then a magic occurs’ is not enough anymore.

“Designers are makers who craft solutions to problems that plague customers, clients, and at times, society as a whole. The specialized tools and jargon (leading? kerning? cognitive load?) often understood only by other practitioners are a designer’s hallmarks. How we actually design and arrive at viable solutions is a mystery to most. Some believe this mystery helps us maintain the perceived value of design in our organizations. In today’s world – a world craving more and better design – however, this mystery is actually holding us back as a profession.”

(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie ~ A List Apart Issue 335)

Wizards Versus Forms

But where’s the magic from these wizards?

“When I find myself designing an application that is complex, either in terms of its length or its logical dependencies, my natural instinct is to take a wizard approach. Wizards are cool; forms are dull. Product managers love wizards because they are so Web 2.0. Developers like wizards because they involve more programming expertise than just cranking out forms.”

(Mike Hughes ~ UXmatters)

This Is Service Design Thinking: Deconstructing a Textbook

Part of becoming a field of knowledge and practice for real: a student textbook.

“This book is likely to become the quintessential service design textbook for students, educators, and professionals alike. In this column, I’ll share highlights from the book, along with some of my own interpretations, and tell you why you should add this book to your own personal collection.”

(Laura Keller a.k.a. @ServiceDesignLK ~ UXmatters)

What I Bring to UX From… Market Research

Market research is rooted in demographics related to consumerism. Design research does the psychographics of me and my ‘group’.

“Research plays a vital role in UX, as we need to understand our users and their motivations in order to design products which meet their needs. Market research is all about finding out what people do and why. But how many companies have combined market research and UX teams? I’m going to outline what it’s like to work in this kind of team and share how my background in market research led to a passion for UX.”

(Jessica Hall a.k.a. @mycatistheboss ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

Seven Organizational Barriers to Designing Better Experiences

Reading this, I would almost give up on organizations. But I don’t.

“Over the last 6 years, I’ve been fascinated by watching how teams work together to create experiences. Much of these 6 years was spent with agile teams. Slowly, my personal practice as a user experience designer has evolved. Instead of focusing on what I can do to improve the experience, I’ve come to focus on what I can do to improve the organization.”

(Austin Govella a.k.a. @austingovella ~ Follow the UX Leader)

What is serendipity? A workshop report

Great to see such an important concept researched.

“On 16th June 2010, a workshop took place at Dundee Contemporary Arts with the aim of gaining an initial understanding of the nature of serendipity. This workshop involved 3 groups of interdisciplinary researchers and academics generating examples from their work or everyday lives that they deemed to be serendipitous. These examples, along with any patterns identified, were then discussed with the larger group. It was proposed that serendipitous events are unexpected, with the specific serendipitous outcomes unintended. It was also proposed that serendipitous outcomes are clear and positive, always resulting in a change in the head (and sometimes in a change in the world). It was also suggested that while some serendipitous connections might be recognised immediately, others might only be recognised after some time, or might not be recognised at all.”

(Stephann Makri & Ann Blandford ~ Information Research Vol. 16 no. 3)

Videos from Device Design Day 2011

After two instantiations, it looks like it’s going to be a tradition.

“Kicker Studio marked our 3rd Anniversary on August 8, 2011. To celebrate, we hosted the Second Annual Device Design Day at the San Francisco Art Institute, Jody’s alma matter. It was a great success thanks to inspiring speakers and involved attendees. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we’ve posted videos of the talks for you to share and enjoy. And be sure to join us next year for our 3rd Device Design Day.”

(Kicker Studio)

The S.M.A.R.T. User Experience Strategy

Or how old skool insights can be revived.

“(…) I (and many others) have been told to “create a good user experience.” We’ve heard this in creative briefs, project kick-off meetings and critiques. It may have been a bullet point in a PowerPoint presentation or uttered by someone trying to sell a client or company on the value of their services. But there’s a fundamental problem with stating that your goal is to “create a good user experience.” It’s not specific, directly measurable, actionable, relevant or trackable. Thus, it will create disagreement and disorganization, sending many projects into chaos. However, we can avoid this by using S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting criteria when defining user and business goals.”

(Dickson Fong a.k.a. @dicksonfong ~ Smashing Magazine)

Interaction Design Tactics For Visual Designers

It keeps coming back to the idea of ‘know the material you work with’.

“Interaction design is a multi-faceted discipline that links static communications together to form an experience. Understanding the basic principles of this discipline is core to designing websites that are not only aesthetically pleasing but that actually solve business problems and bring delight to their users. This article just scratches the surface of interaction design. For Web designers of any kind, considering these fundamentals when designing any transaction or interaction is imperative.”

(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie ~ Smashing Magazine)

Alignment Diagrams: Focusing the business on shared value

Or how designers can communicate with MBA’s on strategy.

“Alignment diagrams bring actions, thoughts, and people together to address the causes of poor experience at their root. Ultimately, they are a tool to help designers have real business impact. James Kalbach shows how designers can use their skills to map value creation and use design to solve business problems.”

(James Kalbach a.k.a. @JamesKalbach ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Framing the Practice of Information Architecture

The ship ‘Titanic’ sets course to a new UX iceberg.

“Over the past two decades, the volatile evolution of Web applications and services has resulted in organizational uncertainty that has kept our understanding and framing of the information architect in constant flux. In the meantime, the reality of getting things done has resulted in a professional environment where the information architect is less important than the practitioner of information architecture.”

(Nathaniel Davis a.k.a. @iatheory ~ UXmatters)

Leveraging UX Insights to Influence Product Strategy

How UX influences product strategy and the other way around.

“Many UX researchers and analysts aspire to influencing not only design implementation, but also product strategy. However, it is rather difficult to effect this kind of influence because user research insights tend to center on design and fail to speak to a company’s overall strategy for a product. In this article, I’ll describe how you can influence product strategy through a well-defined approach to user research and illustrate this approach by describing my first-hand experience with it. I’ll also discuss how any UX professional intending to add business value can leverage this approach in influencing product strategy.”

(Frank Guo ~ UXmatters)