All posts from
December 2012

Content Planning Demystified

Without a plan, no project. Without a plan, no modification of the planning.

“It turns out that the only real way to avoid a trainwreck with editorial work is to get ahead of the trouble, line everything up carefully, and leave oodles of room for all the pieces to connect on time. The same is true of content strategy, content planning, and just about everything to do with content on the web, except for the writing itself – and that, too, usually takes far longer than anyone expects. If you’re not a professional editor and you suddenly find yourself dealing with content creation, you’re almost certainly going to underestimate the time and effort involved, or to skip something important in the planning process that pops up to bite you later.”

(Erin Kissane a.k.a. @kissane ~ 24ways)

Applying the Principles of Stage Magic to the User Experience

And then… something magic happens here.

“Stage magicians have been astonishing and delighting their audiences for years. But there is a surprising amount of repeatable principles behind the art of illusion. The bulk of the actual work in a practiced stage act is more about directing the audience’s attention and expectations. Your application can also benefit from the principled application of practices such as direction/misdirection and not letting your users see your secret preparations and many others.”

(Danno Ferrin a.k.a. @shemnon)

The Discipline of Organizing

Great topic. Always wondered how people organize their stuff, activities, and their lives.

“We organize things, we organize information, we organize information about things, and we organize information about information. But even though “organizing” is a fundamental and ubiquitous challenge, when we compare these activities their contrasts are more apparent than their commonalities. We propose to unify many perspectives about organizing with the concept of an Organizing System, defined as an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support. Every Organizing System involves a collection of resources, a choice of properties or principles used to describe and arrange resources, and ways of supporting interactions with resources. By comparing and contrasting how these activities take place in different contexts and domains, we can identify patterns of organizing. We can create a discipline of organizing in a disciplined way.”

(Robert Glushko)

The Flaneur Approach to User Experience Design

Thinking has always been a critical skill. Not mobile, content or user first, but think first!

“As user experience designers, we must lead our processes and people with meaning, purpose, and intent. We must connect the dots forward from a problem to solution, not the other way around. This can only be done if we become more observant, aware, and empathetic.”

(Sarah Doody a.k.a. @sarahdoody ~ UX magazine)

Architects of Learning

Learning, understanding and cognition. Architecture, structure and node relationships.

“Technology won’t save the day, and teachers can’t cross the chasm alone. Designers, developers, publishers, and librarians are just a few of the folks needed to build these cross-platform services and structures for learners. And those of us outside the schools can’t wait to be invited. We must crash the party. So, in the spirit of transgression, let’s now explore the perilous intersection of technology, pedagogy, and the future of education.”

(Peter Morville a.k.a. @morville ~ Semantic Studios)

Some thought on user experience in corporate research

The relevance of user experience design in business contexts is mounting rapidly.

“This presentation is divided into two parts. The first part is about setting the stage a bit, and in order to do so I will address the interrelations between some of the changes the telecom industry is facing, and how corporate research and innovation relate to these. In the second part I will illustrate how we at Ericsson Research recon that user experience plays a role in all of this.”

(Cristian Norlin a.k.a. @cristiannorlin ~ Ericsson UX blog)

Trends in User Experience

The hunting season for trends of 2013 has been opened.

“(…) As user experience matures, it will become more closely aligned with business strategy—so the same priorities that drive the business will guide UX design. Instead of producing designs and deliverables to meet business requirements, UX professionals will collaborate with business strategists to co-create solutions that successfully engage customers and exceed competitive offerings. This expansion will require some learning on the part of UX professionals, who must gain literacy in the business drivers that cause their companies to succeed or fail in the marketplace.”


UX is not UI

Food is not gastronomy as well.

“UI design is a huge part of UX. I would say that in a good majority of cases the UX designer does in fact design the interface as well. But UX is not UI. This is where the education of others comes in. Helping people understand just what UX is and the invaluable role it plays is illustrated beautifully with the UX Umbrella.”

(Erik Flowers a.k.a. @Erik_UX) ~ courtesy of thomasmarzano

Fitting Big-Picture UX Into Agile Development

Design spikes to protect our design core.

“The rapid pace of UX design in the agile world can lead to shortsighted design decisions. Focusing on addressing the immediate needs of particular user stories within the limits of a sprint can lead to neglect of larger design questions, which can come back to haunt UX designers later.”

(Damon Dimmick a.k.a. @damondimmick ~ Smashing Magazine) ~ courtesy of willemijnprins

The Dark Side of User Experience Design

Standing in the mud is the real work. The rest is just words.

“User experience design just stopped to be a niche and became a standard. (…) User Experience Design lies at the crossroads of art and science. It’s a magical mixture of visual art, hard-boiled psychology and numbers. Non of these nobel ingredients can be omitted, as it may put your whole design endeavor at risk. (…) All my experience taught me that conversion optimization is not a weekend-long job – it’s a way of developing your service. That’s the tiresome reality. The true Dark Side.”

(Marcin Treder a.k.a. @marcintreder) ~ courtesy of thomasmarzano

The Evolution, Methods, Processes, and Distinct Value of Service Design

From application or site to service. Not really a giant leap.

“The emerging focus on user experience will be the key to companies’ success as we move from an industrial to a service-oriented society. Service Design focuses on the methods and processes of a service from the point of view of the user. The goal is to make sure that when a client or customer interacts with the service, from branding to customer service to any point of contact, there is room to make the service more useful, efficient, and effective.”


Creating An Adaptive System To Enhance UX

Adaptation is the best way to survive.

“The abilities of today’s network information technologies to create rich, immersive personalized experiences to track interactions and aggregate and analyze them in real time, together with the data collected by the sensors we carry in our smart devices, provides us an opportunity like never before to design adaptivity in order to ultimately offer a better user experience that is both unobtrusive and transparent. This article will cover the fundamental concepts for utilizing smart device technologies and sensor data in order to understand context and introduce ‘adaptive thinking’ into the UX professional’s toolset. I will demonstrate the importance of context when designing adaptive experiences, give ideas on how to design adaptive systems, and perhaps inspire designers to consider how smart devices and context aware applications can enhance the user experience with adaptivity.”

(Avi Itzkovitch a.k.a. @xgmedia ~ Smashing Magazine) ~ courtesy of fabiosergio

Service design needs a better understanding of the raw materials of service

Know your materials: bits, events, and people.

“This post is a critique on service design, and especially the thinking and talking side of it. This is based on both my own experiences as someone who has been involved in quite a few service design projects during past years and how those have changed my own view, and what I have seen and heard my colleagues around the world are doing. Of course there’s as many ways to use the toolbox of service design, as there are people who practice it. However, among those who preach and practice service design there’s plenty of enthusiasm and talking, without real life experimentation and implementation of conceptual ideas and actual proof of delivered effects. And that’s a thing I personally have been a little frustrated about.”

(Reima Rönnholm ~ Meaningful Experience)

Interface Matters: Postphenomenological Perspectives on Service Design

To simplify the matter is great; to make it simplistic not. A PhD thesis.

“One of the fundamental questions facing the emerging discipline of service design concerns the definition of its object. In this thesis, I posit that the practice of service design, as a recent development within the tradition of industrial design, may be approached primarily as the design of interfaces between service providers and clients.”

(Fernando Secomandi ~ TU Delft)

Five UX Research Pitfalls

Be careful not to fall in any of them. Other mistakes still ahead.

“More and more organizations view UX as a key contributor to successful products, connecting teams with end-users and guiding product innovation within the organization. Though it’s fantastic to see this transition happen, there are growing pains associated with becoming a user-driven organization. These are the pitfalls that I see organizations grappling with most often.”

(Elaine Wherry a.k.a. @elainewherry)

Designing for Users and Their Devices

Building more intimate UX.

“The iPad Mini presents an interesting case study of differences in the use of particular types of mobile devices. People use smaller tablets and eReaders in somewhat different ways: Their usage rates are different. Their use outside the home is more prevalent. And their users hold them differently. For the most part, UX designers and developers are trying to build user experiences that are appropriate to the ways in which people will use an iPad of a smaller size.”

(Steven Hoober ~ UXmatters)

Service Design for Innovative Banking

Financial services are utility services, for all people.

“(…) how service design techniques can produce unique service ideas for the rapidly evolving banking sector. We were lucky to have some fantastic attendees from various European banks and hearing their thoughts on design in their industry was really interesting. I have summarized the content of our workshop and some innovative new financial services in this post.”

(Chris Brooker ~ Service Design Programme)

4 key ingredients for creating an exceptional patient experience

It’s the human touch in a ‘moment-of-truth’ that makes the difference.

“While walking back to the infusion center from the hospital cafeteria, my mom briefly stopped and held the wall-railing to catch her breath. Enter a maintenance man 10 feet away who asked “Would you like a wheelchair?” My mom thanked him but graciously declined and we were on our way once again heading to the elevators. We were both moved by his kind and proactive attention. This man exceeded our expectations and two weeks later we’re still talking about him. With four key ingredients, he transformed an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one for us and delivered an exceptional patient experience.”

(Doug Della Pietra a.k.a. @DougDellaPietra ~ Hospital Impact)

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Just make the customer, the user or ‘whatever-you-call-this-person’ the Hero of the Story.

“(…) the best services are those that allow us to tell our stories. And the next challenge in design is based on the fact that more and more objects are connected. The amount of data available about all of us and our environment is growing tremendously. But what to do with this data? Our lives are not made up of data, but of choices: a thousand small choices everyday. And stories. Data becomes valuable when it is interpreted by humans. We have to make sense out of it. And we should use it to tell better stories, richer stories from which we can benefit.”

(Louisa Heinrich ~ NEXT Berlin service design)