All posts from
November 2013

Systemic design

Designing with a system in mind is just an important hygiene factor.

“Planes, buildings, automobiles, software. On the surface, one of these things is not like the other. But at a recent talk at the Warm Gun conference in San Francisco, our UX Developer Federico Holgado connected the systems of manufacturing and app development. The rapid iterations and MVPs inherent to software already exist in the assembly of products much bigger and more complex. What Federico points out is that a ship, a building, and a car are merely collections of components. Components are manageable and flexible. So long as the components join together seamlessly in the end, modularizing the pieces translates to flexibility, speed, and paradoxically both independence and collaboration.”

(MailChimp ux a.k.a. @MailChimpUX)

Nine ways to get the most out of Design Thinking

DT is a mindset, not a silver bullet.

“Design thinking is a slightly murky concept that means different things to different people. At heart, though, it is about fusing the creative and open-ended with the analytical and operational, combining very different ways of thinking and acting. This is, of course, easier in theory than in practice. How do you get children’s book authors and chemical engineers to click into something greater than the sum of the parts — rather than devolve into warring camps? Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way as CEO and rules we all try to adhere to at Lippincott.”

(Rick Wise ~ Fast.CoDesign) ~ courtesy of riander

User experience debt

Many products and services suffer also from UX deficits.

“UX debt is the quality gap between the experience your digital product delivers now and the improved experience it could offer given the necessary time and resources. Put another way, UX debt measures the number and magnitude of potential product enhancements that would improve the user experience.”

(Andrew Wright a.k.a. @andrewjwright ~ nForm)

Soldiers & Hessians, Ronin & Ninja

Challenges for UX managers and their teams are mounting.

“When UX’ers talk, they tend to talk about process, but the ability to deliver an innovative user experience starts before kickoff and lasts after the launch. Repeatable success in UX depends on the right culture. This is particularly important in enterprise scale organizations, with long-lasting relationships.”

(Stephen Turbek a.k.a. @StephenTurbek ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Responsive typography

Online typography, typefaces and fonts get mature, finally.

“With the chaos of different screen sizes and a new generation of web browsers, the design paradigms of layout and typography have shifted away from static layouts and system fonts to dynamic layouts and custom web fonts. But screens have not just changed in size but also in pixel density. In other words: maybe we do not just need responsive layouts, we might also need responsive typefaces.”

(Oliver Reichenstein a.k.a. @iA ~ Fronteers 2013)

The changing nature of service and experience design

There is no field that’s stable. High levels of dynamics require repositioning and reframing all the time.

“Designing service experiences is a multidisciplinary affair. You need people with business management, psychology, and social sciences experience alongside designers and developers of all flavors. A key skill that trained designers bring is the ability to make ideas tangible in some form, through diagrams, sketches, and prototypes. That takes the business idea out of the spreadsheet, which is a poor vehicle for understanding human experiences, and turns it into something that people can look at and interact with. Then they can make informed decisions about the concepts.”


Fritz Kahn: The little-known godfather of infographics

Every current field has its longtime history. You should only look for connections, inspiration and influences.

“Around the time when Austrian sociologist, philosopher, and curator Otto Neurath was building his ISOTYPE visual language, which laid the foundation for pictogram-based infographics, another infographic pioneer was doing something even more ambitious: The German polymath Fritz Kahn – amateur astronomer, medical scientist by training, gynecologist by early occupation, artist by inclination, writer, educator and humanist by calling – was developing innovative visual metaphors for understanding science and the human body, seeking to strip scientific ideas of their alienating complexity and engage a popular audience with those essential tenets of how life works.”

(Maria Popova ~ Brainpickings)

The intersection of user experience, customer experience and corporate strategy: The holy grail for 21st century business?

In the end, it all depends on the execution. Like always.

“UX and CX advocates and practitioners would do well to have a few beers together and explore how they can work to the common purpose of increasing customer uptake, loyalty, and advocacy across the entire ecosystem of their business’ interaction with their target market. And, senior executives need to lead that collaboration, if not mandate it. Their competitive position in the marketplace and future profitability may be at stake.”

(Chris Allen ~ HFI Connect)

Using personas for executive alignment

The customer is not who you think it is, shareholder, stakeholder or stockholder.

“(…) there was an unspoken goal to bring design thinking, gamestorming and traditional UX practices into the executive suite. We wanted to see how it would fare and how the team would react. It was our hope that this would give UX an even stronger foothold at the executive level then it enjoys today. Given the feedback received, the team enjoyed the exercise and saw value in it. Whether we’ll get invited back will be answered in time.”

(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie)

Utilizing patients in the experience design process

Contextualized version of the UCD process: Health.

“(…) there is much to be learned from typical patients as well, and observational research might be particularly favored in such cases. Unfortunately, whether you are talking about ePatients or most patients, patients continue to be the most underutilized resource in the badly needed redesign of healthcare and the patient experience.”

(Richard Anderson a.k.a. @riander)

UX and the civilizing process

Computers start to evoke all kinds of human reactions, including civil ones.

“The concept of a person is arguably the most important interface ever developed. (…) As software becomes increasingly complex and entangled in our lives, we begin to treat it more and more like an interaction partner. Losing patience with software is a common sentiment, but we also feel comfort, gratitude, or suspicion. Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves studied some of these tendencies formally, in the lab, where they took classic social psychology experiments but replaced one of the interactants with a computer. What they found is that humans exhibit a range of social emotions and attitudes toward computers, including cooperation and even politeness. It seems that we’re wired to treat computers as people.”

(Kevin Simler a.k.a. @KevinSimler ~ Ribbon Farm)

Change management for enterprise content strategy

The enterprise context always adds complexity to the matter.

“Content strategy, its processes and tactics, are for many employees a new way of doing things. With so many content stakeholders and creators within a company, it can be incredibly difficult to not only get buy-in for strategic enterprise content approaches, but also on-going adoption.”

(Kris Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ the discontented company)

Experience design is a perspective, not a discipline

Dynamic DTDT at the edges of our field.

“Our intention is to help business and design collaborate more intelligently. Unlocking the power of design allows a business to anticipate, plan for, and deliver experiences that are more likely to engage a customer in value-based relationships – ones that can be differentiated in ways that are both meaningful and measurable.”

(Patrick Newbery ~ UX Magazine)

14 ways to improve the UX of on-site search results

Like enterprise software applications, SERPs are the pages UX forgot.

“An effective site search tool is hugely important tool for ecommerce as it’s a common way for shoppers to navigate sites and find products. In fact up to 30% of visitors will use the site search tool and these tend to be highly motivated shoppers who know exactly what they’re looking for. The speed in which results are returned is very important, but there are also many other factors that influence the overall user experience and could be the difference between making a sale or losing a potential customer.”

(David Moth a.k.a. @DavidMoth ~ Econsultancy)