All posts about
User experience

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

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

The author of ‘Don’t make me think’ discusses UX design’s 20-year evolution

Up to the next two decades of the field of ‘previously-known-as-UX’.

“​The book started serendipitously in the mid-’90s era of dial-up when acclaimed magazine designer and typography sage Roger Black, who is credited with the design or redesign of Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine and Esquire, along with websites like Barnes & Noble’s, approached Krug about a possible book deal with Macmillan Publishers. At the time, the two had been consulting for @Home Network, one of the country’s first high-speed cable internet service providers. They were close colleagues who admired each other’s work — Black the graphic design sage and Krug the usability pro.”

Jeff Link ~ built in

Confronting the tensions where UX meets AI

Without tensions no glory.

“​AI research has now been around for about 65 years, and the consequences of design decisions on AI outcomes have been a lively debate for 20-plus years, if not longer. Governments, companies, and investors are now pouring in copious resources to advance AI techniques and create ‘AI-powered’ products. Amid the hype, however, people question whether breakthroughs are reproducible and transferable to practice, and who benefits from them. Keeping up with the latest trends has become increasingly challenging, even for the experienced. And the definition of accepted terminology itself is ever changing. As we – HCI researchers and UX practitioners – struggle to keep up with where the field is going, it is easy to lose sight of its past, repeat mistakes, and stumble on unintended consequences.”

Henriette Cramer and Juho ~ ACM Interactions Volume XXVI.6

The State of UX Research

UX Research is definitely different from UX Design.

“​I have been a UX researcher for 25 years. I did not come up through the usual degree programs available at the time, such as cognitive psychology and human factors. Rather, I came to the field from technical communication, seeing that there was a role for technical communicators to play in advocating for the user and promoting usability testing to understand the user experience, even if it meant conducting stealth testing on the documentation at the end of the product development cycle.”

Carol Barnum ~ Journal of Usability Studies 15.1

A day in the life of a UX manager

Sounds like an old Beatles song.

“​Informed by interviews with ten UX managers, this article presents a hypothetical day-in-the-life of a first-level, non-executive UX manager. This article is meant for senior ICs who wish to learn more about UX management. (…) The UX manager’s role is to enable their team and the people on it to be successful. This purpose drives many diverse activities, from the tactical to the strategic and from the empowering to the directed. Senior ICs who wish to try UX management can start by looking beyond their deliverables and begin to help their peers, team, and products grow.”

Jerrod Larson a.k.a. /jerrod-larson ~ UXPA Magazine

User experience as legitimacy trap

Designers are responsible, always and everywhere.

“​For many years, telling someone in everyday settings that you worked on user interface design or human-computer interaction would produce puzzled looks and require a good deal more explanation. With the rise of design and interaction associated with the proliferation of interactive devices, these terms became much more familiar to people outside the discipline. Lately, though, there has been a second shift. Lately, if you tell someone that you work on interactive systems, or that you find new ways to make interaction effective and enjoyable, it is likely to evoke a skeptical or mistrustful response. In light of a series of scandals – over user data management, over online profiling, over online tracking, over targeted manipulation, over digital addiction, and more – user experience professionals and researchers have found themselves facing new questions about our work and its consequences.”

Paul Dourish a.k.a. /pauldourish ~ ACM Interactions XXVI.6

Design thinking isn’t user experience

Bounderies of labels can be fuzzy if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

“​Design thinking is everywhere, but definitions and interpretations vary. Is it a paradigm allowing you to “think like a designer?” A platform for creating innovation? A mindset you must shift into to design products? A process focused on bringing sketched ideas to life? Many believe it is the process that customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) practitioners use to do their work, and by harnessing their approach, anybody can do CX or UX work. If nothing else, it’s a cottage industry offering endless training, workshops and certifications.”

Debbie Levitt a.k.a. /debbielevitt | @PtypeUX

First things first: Exploring Maslow’s hierarchy as a service prioritization framework

Like Kahneman, Cialdini, you can use Maslow for anything.

“​This paper proposes a model for categorizing library services and resources by their importance to users based on the service’s fundamentality to the other resources and services in the library’s offerings, the degree to which the service affects users, and the scope of users that access the service. Adapted from Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation, we substitute individual human motivations for a community’s motivations for using the library. Maslow’s five tiers – physiological needs, safety needs, love and belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization – are changed to library-specific tiers: Library as Minimum Viable Product, Library as Convenience, Library as Connector, Library as Incubator, and Community as Library. The Hierarchy of Library User Needs is a theoretical tool for service prioritization with the potential to facilitate discussions between users and libraries. Libraries may wish to (re)evaluate the alignment between the resources they devote to their services and the items that are most likely to be used and appreciated by their users.”

Judith Logan & Kyla Everall ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 2.2