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July 26, 2016 Edition

An Interview with Leah Buley

UX Strategy

Building a rationale to guide design

A column by Paul Bryan
July 26, 2016

Until just a few months ago, Leah Buley was a Principal Analyst at Forrester, where she conducted, analyzed, and published research on the role of design in business; the relationships among user experience, customer experience, and service design; and best practices for customer understanding and empathy. She is now working as an independent design consultant and advisor through Leah Buley Co. When Leah presented the case study “The Marriage of Corporate Strategy and UX Strategy” at the first UX STRAT in 2013, she was a Design Strategist in Intuit’s Design Innovation Group. Earlier in her career, she was a Lead Experience Designer at Adaptive Path. Leah is the author of the Rosenfeld Media book The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide and frequently speaks and blogs on UX topics.

I recently interviewed Leah, shown in Figure 1, about her vision of where the combination of experience design and business strategy is headed in the coming years, which will be the topic of her upcoming keynote presentation at UX STRAT USA, as well as her recent research and work at Forrester. She’ll also be conducting a workshop on “How to Speak Strategy” at UX STRAT, which will take place on September 14–16, 2016. Read More

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The Ascendance of User Experience: Are We There Yet?

Strategy Matters

Realizing the power of UX strategy

A column by Ronnie Battista
July 26, 2016

User Experience has finally arrived! You may have heard this before—okay, perhaps many times before. I’ve said this a few times myself: “This is going to be the year for UX!” But, after my more than 15 years in this field, I’m personally convinced at last because I’m no longer predicting change. I’m seeing this change all around me. I think 2016 really is the year I’ll remember for the scales tipping toward User Experience as a strategy—when the business game changed in substantive ways.

As a consultant who works with many clients on their experience strategy and design, I’m seeing strong evidence that UX skills—both strategic and technical—are no longer ancillary, nice-to-have, episodic considerations. Read More


Conference Review: UX STRAT 2015, Part 1: Overview

July 26, 2016

UX STRAT USA 2015 convened at the Athens Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, September 8–10, where the UX strategy tribe came together for the best UX STRAT yet. Pre-conference workshops took place on September 7; the main conference, September 9 and 10. This was another another excellent, well curated, and very enjoyable conference.

In this review, I’ll provide an overview of the conference, critiquing its

  • organization
  • content
  • presenters
  • proceedings
  • venue
  • hospitality
  • community Read More


The Next Big Thing in User Experience, Part 2

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
July 26, 2016

Last month in Part 1 of this Ask UXmatters two-part series, our experts shared some of their thoughts on what might be the next big thing in user experience. The discussion covered putting people first, customer experience and service design, UX strategy, and UX training. Now, in Part 2, members of our expert panel continue their discussion about what they think the future of user experience holds. The topics they’ll explore include integrating new technologies and user experience, the Internet of Things, the future of mobile design, motion design, designing physical environments, and considering the rhythm of life.

In my monthly column 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, or 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


The Three R’s of Regional UX Research: Roadblocks, Relevance, and Rewards

July 26, 2016

With our UX research deadline looming, my project partner and I were reviewing user-interview video footage. When analyzing data to validate our project hypothesis, we realized that there were regional differences that were having unexpected influence on our results. Once we’d completed the project, we discovered that not much has been written about regional UX research, so we decided to publish our findings.

Later, when I signed on as a UX Researcher with a software development company, I used those project findings to demonstrate the importance of regional UX research to stakeholders. Understanding regional differences can help ensure we are designing for all of our users. Read More

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


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