All posts about
User experience

User experience is about how a person feels about using a product, system or service. (source: Wikipedia)

An industry in flux: Where does UX go from here?

A much-needed reflective perspective on our discipline and practice.

“Being in UX may feel like climbing a mountain in a snowstorm, but it doesn’t have to. By reflecting on these changes, we can begin to acknowledge and address our field’s growing pains, celebrate and build on its strengths, and work together—academics and industry professionals alike—to define a clearer and more stable UX future.”

Craig MacDonald, Emma Rose, and Cynthia Putnam ~ interactions magazine XXIX courtesy of keith instone

Designing curiosity: A beginner’s guide

Curiosity with a well-prepared mind: sagacity.

“Curiosity is powerful. Research tells us it has the power to enhance intelligence and increase perseverance. Being curious propels us to deeper engagement, superior performance, and more meaningful goals. This article explores how we can be more curious as individuals and suggests ways designers can invite others to be curious as well.”

Cassini Nazir and Jingwen Wang ~ The magazine of the UXPA

A Canon of User Experience: Seminal works of a discipline

Love making relevant and interesting curated lists, especially about the past.

“Without being familiar with the ‘classics’ there is always the danger of repeating mistakes from the past. And also, proper knowledge of the ideas, theories and works of previous movers and shakers is always interesting, valuable and usefull. Some of them were too far ahead at the time and some even be forgotten. This overview can be especially used for educational purposes getting new generations connected to relevant predecessors. To be more specific, UX as a term was coined by Donald Norman when he was leading Apple’s ‘User Experience Architecture Group’ (1995). This is a contemporary term. In the near future, the label UX wil evolve (just like experience design, customer experience or service design will). However, the field has much deeper historical roots. These roots can be found in seminal documents on research, design and validation of user experiences in and for the digital domain. Texts upon which new and current ideas are built or are refer to. Starting from WW II on to the World Wide Web, mobile, social and what came after. UX as a field is grounded in many disciplines and therefore is to be considered interdisciplinary.”

Peter J. Bogaards a.k.a. /peterbogaards | @BogieZero

Human-AI interaction: Intermittent, continuous, and proactive

A.k.a. Man-Machine Symbiosis.

“With the rise in artificial intelligence — driven interactive systems, both academics and practitioners within human-computer interaction have a growing focus on human-AI interaction. This has resulted in, for example, system-design guidelines and reflections on the differences and challenges when designing for AI-driven interaction as opposed to more-traditional applications. We argue that the current work on human-AI interaction is defined primarily by a focus on what we refer to as intermittent interaction scenarios, in which there is a clear line between the human initiator of an interaction and an almost immediate system response.”

Niels van Berkel, Mikael Skov, Jesper Kjeldskov ~ ACM Interactions Magazine 28.6

Incorporating User Testing Into Learning Experience Design

Validating learning, much better than just using or experiencing.

“While much of the literature regarding usability testing in libraries focuses on library websites, this article describes an approach that evaluates the usability of learning artifacts, such as learning objects and print materials, as well as learning experiences. In three case studies, we describe our approach to testing these materials and experiences, the results and improvements we made, and the lessons we learned that have informed our approach. We argue that librarians should incorporate usability testing into instruction, from testing learning objects in development to testing complex learning activities and print materials. This approach to usability testing and evaluation will give educators an evidence-based way to develop more effective learning materials and experiences, making them better for our learners.”

Becksford, L. & Hammer, K. & McNabb, K. B. ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 4.2

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots: Creating Positive Experiences

Man machine conversation through the voice.

“In a broad sense, artificial intelligence uses computers and machines to simulate human decision-making and thinking. More modern definitions of AI describe it as the ability of a machine to generalize its knowledge and skills to new environments and to efficiently learn new skills or knowledge. Some current applications of AI include online shopping, facial recognition, speech recognition, and autonomous vehicles. This article will focus on conversational AI and the user interface considerations specifically for designing chatbots. A chatbot is an application of AI that simulates a conversation with a user using natural language processing through either text or voice communication. A digital or virtual assistant is a more complex form of a chatbot that can also complete tasks for the user.”

Dabby Phipps, Jason Telner, and Jon Temple ~ UXPA Magazine

Beware the Cut ‘n Paste Persona

What’s real and what’s not?

“Design needs simplification but not generalization. You have to look at the research elements that stand out: the sentences that captured your attention, the images that struck you, the sounds that linger. Portray those, use them to describe the person in their multiple contexts. Both insights and people come with a context; they cannot be cut from that context because it would remove meaning. It’s high time for design to move away from fiction, and embrace reality – in its messy, surprising, and unquantifiable beauty – as our guide and inspiration.”

Emanuela Cozzi and Lennart Overkamp ~ A List Apart

UX of data: Making data available doesn’t make it usable

The use, action and value are in the design.

“Data plays an important part in our daily lives. It shapes how we view the world and, for better or worse, informs the decisions we make. Despite controversies around who collects and does what with data, data-centric work is seen as critical to solving the most complex problems of today, from climate change and security to health crises and inequality. It spans many types of tasks in various professions, undertaken by multiple stakeholders, who may or may not share a common understanding of the domain or the task. It also raises questions of data literacy, inclusion, and fairness in ensuring that the value the data creates is shared as widely as possible.”

Laura Koesten and Elena Simper ~ ACM Interactions Magazine XXVIII.2

UX designers pushing AI in the enterprise: A case for adaptive UIs

UX design can’t be seperated from new technologies.

“AI and UX design have grown up as quite different disciplines. But we’re now starting to see that small bits of AI can enrich a UI in interesting, useful ways. Adaptive user interfaces (AUIs) employ elements of AI to improve user experience. AUIs recognize and automate frequent tasks, such as when an email recognizes a phone number and lets users initiate a call with a tap on the number. These bits of low-risk AI free up a little time for consumers and maybe make them a little happier.”

John Zimmerman et al. ~ ACM Interactions Magazine XXVIII.1

Structuring and Supporting UX Work in Academic Libraries

Crossing of UX (design) and the organization of academic information.

“This article describes how academic libraries structure and support user experience work, how different structures and supports affect the UX work that is done, and the impact of that work on users and UX workers. With the aim of identifying structures and supports that work well, I asked thirty people who do UX work in academic libraries to complete interviews and a short questionnaire. In this article, I define structural facets that shape the institutional contexts of UX work, and I draw from the research to describe where these contexts created striking patterns in the data. After examining the contextual differences, the article concludes with structures and supports that make a positive difference to UX workers and to users.”

Shelley Gullikson a.k.a. @shelley_gee ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 3.2

Usability Diverges, Media Converges, Design Remerges

The evolution of HCI has followed many roads.

“UX divergence into interaction and service design shows that creative design must be a good thing. However, it must also be a real thing, not a sanitized “safe for work” substitute from Design Thinking or Agile development. Creative design is mostly not scientific. Attempts to impose rational systematic processes and rigorous scientific practices have constantly failed and will fail more and more as more and more creative designers are recruited for their critical expertise for 21st century technological innovation. Creative designers are now at the heart of the technology industry. They won’t go away and they can’t be side- lined or marginalized. They need to be understood on their own terms and valued for the millennia of achievements that cram every museum and gallery.”

Gilbert Cockton ~ Journal of Usability Studies 15.2

Reliability and Validity: Ensuring a Foolproof UX Research Plan

I rather go for a full proof research plan.

“Both reliability and validity are necessary ingredients for determining the overall success of a research project (…). Let us now see how we can estimate the reliability of our research findings and ensure the validity of the methods used in our research plan.”

Pallabi Roy Singh a.k.a. @pallabi1220 ~ UXPA Magazine 20.2

UX Writing: The Art of Designing Conversations

A new UX-related discipline emerges.

“It refers to the practice of writing small pieces of text that intend to help or guide users on various touchpoints as they interact with an interface. It primarily aims to establish a medium of communication between the user and the interface. It also helps in mending (or evading) any potential conflicts or discrepancies that users may face while interacting with a digital product. UX writing differentiates itself from other forms of writing by being extremely concise, yet communicating a lot of meaning at the same time.”

Ritwik Mital a.k.a. /ritwik-mittal ~ Galaxy Weblinks

Content strategy is a design function

Finally are we getting somewhere with design and content (‘Writing is a Design Discipline’).

Throughout my career, I’ve seen content strategy operate in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes it’s explicitly called strategy. Other times not. At some businesses, it’s highly valued. At others, it’s outsourced. Sometimes it’s run as a part of a larger line-of-business or integrated marketing team. Other times it’s wrapped into the design organisation. In many of these situations, content strategy can thrive. But across the board, in my experience, the companies that are successful in creating content-led experiences that deliver real value to their customers are the ones that see content strategy as a design function, not a management function.”

Matthew Rayback a.k.a. /matthew-rayback ~ Digital Drum

Designing the structured search experience: Rethinking the query-builder paradigm

In search we trust.

“​Knowledge workers such as healthcare information professionals, legal researchers, and librarians need to create and execute search strategies that are comprehensive, transparent, and reproducible. The traditional solution is to use command-line query builders offered by proprietary database vendors. However, these are based on a paradigm that dates from the days when users could access databases only via text-based terminals and command-line syntax. In this paper, we present a new approach in which users express concepts as objects on a visual canvas and manipulate them to articulate relationships. This offers a more intuitive user experience (UX) that eliminates many sources of error, makes the query semantics more transparent, and offers new ways to collaborate, share, and optimize search strategies and best practices.”

Farhad Shokraneh a.k.a. /farhad-shokraneh ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 3.1