July 11, 2016 Edition

Flatly Authentic

Mobile Matters

Designing for every screen

A column by Steven Hoober
July 11, 2016

Some of you may be reading this column while you’re seated at a woodgrain desk. Of course, you know it’s not really wood because wood might be too expensive, inconvenient, fragile, heavy, light, or simply impossible to use in the way we want to build a desk.

For centuries, there has been a tension between authenticity—which is often coupled with simplicity—and the decoration of surfaces or facades, which sometimes implies falseness. But there is no right or wrong in this. Often, a veneer is the best solution—in part because we are building for people, who might be happier sitting at a wood desk than one that is unabashedly plastic and made of MDF—that is, medium-density fiberboard or high-quality particle board. Read More

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Six Best Practices for Becoming a Data-Driven Design Organization, Part 3

July 11, 2016

In the first two parts of my series on becoming a data-driven design organization, I described how aligning different customer-research methods with business goals and requirements can help you to build a customer-centric framework for your organization and develop a data-driven approach to design. I also showed how metrics can demonstrate the value of making customer-experience improvements to both your organization and the business.

Now, in this third and final part, I’ll discuss how employing right-sized processes and having the right customer experience–design (CXD) professionals to support them can affect the outcomes of using customer-research methods and the resulting customer data.

Best Practice #5: Right-Sized Processes

A CXD strategy is actionable and demonstrable and identifies metrics and desired outcomes. One way to make CXD strategy concrete is to devise flexible, right-sized processes for CXD projects. Read More

An Interview with Nick Wiles, Head of User Experience at Atom Bank

Innovating UX Practice

Inspirations from software engineering

A column by Peter Hornsby
July 11, 2016

Atom Bank is a new, online-only bank that is remarkable for its clear emphasis on user experience. Nick Wiles, Head of User Experience at Atom Bank, who is shown in Figure 1, has brought some truly innovative design thinking to the typically very staid banking sector and is also notable for having some of the most amazing facial hair in User Experience! Read More

Why So Many UX Analogies?

Practical Usability

Moving toward a more usable world

A column by Jim Ross
July 11, 2016

If you frequently read UX articles online, I’m sure you’ve noticed the trend to use analogies in describing user experience. In writing about user experience, people have drawn analogies to pizza, yoga, fishing, parenting, riding a bike, home renovation, crossword puzzles, professional wrestling, talk shows, road trips, fitness classes, and ghost hunting?

UX professionals have also written articles describing valuable lessons they’ve learned about user experience from Seth Rogen, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Martha Stewart, Don Draper, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, the Terminator, the Avengers, the Blues Brothers, One Direction, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Berenstain Bears?

I’m guilty of writing two of those articles myself: “The Ghost Hunter’s Guide to User Research” and “What I Bring to UX from James Bond.” Read More

UX Careers: An Interview with Cory Lebson

July 11, 2016

UXmatters readers often want to know how to begin or advance in their career in User Experience or their chosen specialty. In this interview with Cory Lebson, author of The UX Careers Handbook, our conversation focused on UX career development. Cory, who is shown in Figure 1, has been a UX consultant for nearly 20 years—currently as Principal and Owner of Lebsontech LLC, which focuses on user research, usability evaluation, UX strategy, UX training, and mentoring. He is a frequent contributor to my column Ask UXmatters. Read More

June 27, 2016 Edition

The Next Big Thing in User Experience, Part 1

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
June 27, 2016

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, members of our expert panel begin their discussion on what they see as the next big thing in User Experience. Of course, our experts have divergent viewpoints and their vision for the future of User Experience varies, so we’ll discuss quite a few different future-focused topics across two parts. In Part 1, the topics under discussion include putting people first, customer experience and service design, and UX strategy. In Part 2, our experts will discuss several other leading-edge topics, including UX training, integrating new technologies into user experiences, and looking at the future of design for the Internet of Things, mobile, motion, and physical environments.

Every month in Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts answers our readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: [email protected] Read More

Why Emerging Technologies Are the Next Great Frontier for UX

June 27, 2016

Robotics. Genomics. Synthetic biology. Such emerging technologies are today at the cusp of widespread commercial adoption and will have disruptive impact across industries—from agriculture to manufacturing and health to energy. These technologies are the next great frontier for User Experience.

Science, engineering, and design are percolating on solutions to many technological challenges. UX designers are bringing the expertise they’ve gained in creating digital and physical products to bear on new robotic and even biological products. For instance, at the Wyss Institute, cross-disciplinary teams comprising scientists, engineers, designers, business people, and other innovators are creating and commercializing bio-inspired products. Last year, the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group at Autodesk created a synthetic bacteriophage and 3D printed the virus. The company, which is best known for its design and engineering software, is now working on a next-gen software platform for synthetic-biology design. Read More

Traditional User Experience Is at a Crossroads, Part 2

Leadership Matters

Leading User Experience teams

A column by Jim Nieters
June 27, 2016

In the first part of this two-part series, I discussed the reality that User Experience, as a profession, is facing a turning point: we either need to commit to creating high-quality user experiences within our current companies or leave them for other organizations in which we can actually make a difference. In Part 1, I covered the first two of several ingredients that are foundational to differentiating on the experience:

  • Executive support—This includes executives’ being emotionally committed to transformation and hiring an amazing UX leader, at the VP level or higher, to help drive that transformation.
  • Culture change—This includes creating an environment of radical collaboration, instilling a culture of integrative thinking; establishing rewards for teamwork, collaboration, and joint decision making; embracing candor, learning from failure, and more.

Now, in Part 2, I’ll highlights the next three factors that are necessary to transforming a company so it can be experience led. Read More

The Power of Inclusion: Why Having Your People Matters

Dramatic Impact

Theater and the creative process of design

A column by Traci Lepore
June 27, 2016

“Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been/Who I am/Do I fit in”—Irene Cara, “Out Here on My Own”

While these lyrics may be a bit cliché, this is an existential question we all have struggled with at various points in our lives, myself included. In fact, this was true for me recently. Changes in organizational structure at work and challenges in my personal life in general had me asking exactly these questions not so long ago. But I’ve always been a pretty strong, resilient person. So I wondered why it felt so hard this time. I also wondered how I’d dig myself out of my quandary.

Participating in two recent events has unwittingly made a huge impact on me—and I think I understand why. These events helped me find my people again and, in doing so, to remember who I am, as well as my place and value in the world. Read More

How Piracy Has Become the Best User Experience in Media

June 27, 2016

Media is a hot industry. Netflix is making major moves in creating award-winning new content. HBO recently launched HBO Now for users without TV service. Everyone from Hulu to Yahoo! is trying to get a piece of the media pie. But, for all the money each of these industry titans is pouring into their streaming products and platforms, it is the underground community of pirates that is truly defining the media user experience.

Considering the investments major media companies are making, it’s surprising not only that this is happening, but also that these big companies are letting it happen by relying only on legal action to curb piracy. Recent developments indicate that there are far more effective ways of stopping piracy. So let’s take a look at how the pirates have taken the lead in media user experience and why the major media companies are sitting back and watching this unfold. Read More