July 2015 Issue

By Pamela Pavliscak

Published: June 22, 2015

“The best thing about analytics is that they can show us what people do on their own. The worst thing is that analytics don’t tell us much about context, motivations, and intent.”

When we think of analytics, we think of marketing campaigns and funnel optimization. Analytics can seem a little overwhelming, with so many charts and lots of new features. How can we use analytics for design insights?

The best thing about analytics is that they can show us what people do on their own. The worst thing is that analytics don’t tell us much about context, motivations, and intent. Like any kind of data, there are limitations. But that doesn’t mean analytics aren’t useful. Working with analytics is about knowing where to look and learning which questions you can reasonably ask. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: June 22, 2015

Send your questions to Ask UXmatters and get answers from some of the top professionals in UX.

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts discusses how serious UI design flaws can still happen in today’s world of better UX design.

Imagine that you’re driving your luxury car down the road when your front-seat passenger decides to change the radio station, and all of a sudden your car unexpectedly shuts down and comes to a screeching halt. This is exactly what happened to at least one owner of a 2015 Lincoln MKC. How did this happen? The location of the Engine Start/Stop button was where the driver or a passenger could inadvertently hit it. In this day and age of better UX design, how could this design have made it to market? Could usability testing have prevented this?

For our second topic, our panel discusses how to determine whether you’ve completed sufficient user research. How do you know when you’ve completed enough user research to inform product design? Is it a certain number of participants? A certain amount of time? Are we ever truly finished with user research? Read moreRead More>

By Laura Keller

Published: June 22, 2015

“When an organization is a service organization—that is, their revenue and business model center on offering a service to their customers—the customer service experience has a direct correlation with the success of that organization.”

In December of 2014, I wrote a column for UXmatters titled “Designing Great Organizational Services.” It focused on the services a company offers through departments such as Human Resources, Finance, and Information Technology. As service designers, we often forget that these types of services exist. While, as employees, we interact with such services every day, only recently have companies begun to care about employees’ experiences using these services. This has, in turn, made them top of mind for service designers.

In contrast, the external-facing services that an organization offers to its customers are what designers typically envision when thinking about service design. When an organization is a service organization—that is, their revenue and business model center on offering a service to their customers—the customer service experience has a direct correlation with the success of that organization. The purest form of service organization is one that has no product. Education, cleaning, financial, hospitality, medical, transportation, and legal services are all examples of pure services. When you introduce a product into a business model, an organization becomes less of a pure service organization. For example, restaurants are a great example of service organizations that also have a product—the food they serve—at the heart of the experience. Both the service and the food have to be good for the customer to have a good overall experience. Read moreRead More>

By Alesha Arp and Scott Ryan-Hart

Published: June 22, 2015

“Hello, Siri … I don’t know what to do with you.”

“Can I have access to your GPS?”

“There is a direct correlation between users’ perceptions of a technology’s capabilities and their satisfaction with that technology. When user expectations exceed those capabilities, user satisfaction suffers.”

There is a direct correlation between users’ perceptions of a technology’s capabilities and their satisfaction with that technology. When user expectations exceed those capabilities, user satisfaction suffers. Read moreRead More>

By Peter Hornsby

Published: June 22, 2015

“My responding to a Web page as a designer usually starts with mild cursing—questioning the parentage and intelligence of the person who designed the page.”

My name is Peter, and I’m a designer. This is not something I’d previously thought of as a problem—until recently, when a friend pointed out that I was looking at a Web page as a designer and not taking the time to experience it as, you know, a regular human being. Most people like to think of themselves as just regular folks, and I do, too. So I had not given any real thought to my identity as a designer before. But the signs were there for me to see if I’d paid attention to them.

My responding to a Web page as a designer usually starts with mild cursing—questioning the parentage and intelligence of the person who designed the page. Then I move on to deriding specific details—for example, the apparent lack of thought given to the labels on a form, the poor alignment of elements on a page, or the ubiquity of a Useful Links page on so many Web sites. (One day, I plan to create a page called Useless Links that is filled with similar content.) Finally, I realized—when my friend pointed this out to me—that I was experiencing the page as a designer first and a human being second. If you’re a designer, I’ll bet you’ve done the same thing on more than one occasion. Read moreRead More>

By Michael Davis-Burchat, Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong

Published: June 8, 2015

“For over a century, workers in most spheres … have been held captive by the idea that the division of labor is the right approach.”

Frederick Winslow Taylor was a Quaker, so was repulsed by waste. With only a stopwatch and a clipboard, he set about inventing a productivity revolution. Using modular parts made it possible for laborers to specialize, and specialists were quicker to master competencies and to produce widgets at scale. We can trace the origins of scientific management, industrial engineering, and the lifelong pursuit of efficient returns on capital to Taylor. People often refer to these ways of working as Taylorism.

To this day, many do not question Taylorism, primarily because it was the foundation of many business, engineering, and marketing texts. All of these professions built their knowledge atop the same foundation—which is as old as the Harvard Business School, making it roughly the same age as game-changing innovations like the assembly line and incandescent light bulb. Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit and Jim Nieters

Published: June 8, 2015

“Attendees of UX STRAT 2014 reconvened at the Boulder Theater, in Boulder, Colorado, for Day 2 of the conference….”

This final part of our UX STRAT 2014 series of reviews covers Day 2 of the main conference. Attendees of UX STRAT 2014 reconvened at the Boulder Theater, in Boulder, Colorado, for Day 2 of the conference on Tuesday, September 9. Paul Bryan kicked off Day 2 with his opening remarks. Read moreRead More>

By Michael Bamberger

Published: June 8, 2015

“The primary goal of creating a minimum viable product is not to build something, but instead to learn something.”

Lean methods are tempting to large organizations. The concept that product owners should shorten iteration cycles to optimize learning and minimize waste is certainly a valuable one. But when Steve Blank and Eric Ries put forth the now world-renowned build-measure-learn model, they did not frame it for the context of enterprise product management. Unfortunately, this has caused unforeseen problems for the otherwise prescient practitioners of this approach.

The primary goal of creating a minimum viable product is not to build something, but instead to learn something. For Ries, who was working at a startup consisting almost entirely of engineers, the easiest way to get their product in front of prospective customers was to build and launch an initial version of it. Hence, the minimum viable product, or MVP. Read moreRead More>

By Andrew Micallef

Published: June 8, 2015

“Through the phased application of these nine principles, agile development can deliver superior business solutions.”

In Part 1 of this two-part series on agile development, I’ll first describe the four phases of agile development projects:

  • Phase 1: Conception
  • Phase 2: Definition
  • Phase 3: Planning
  • Phase 4: Deployment

Then, I’ll cover the first four of the nine key principles for agile development. Read moreRead More>

By Devan Goldstein

Published: June 8, 2015

“Making a page scannable is about helping people who are not reading entire sentences.”

As writers, it’s easy for us to think that whatever topic has held our interest throughout the stages of research, synthesis, and composition will also pull our readers through to the end of whatever we’ve written. But that’s not the case. Many who come to this article may not even reach the end of this sentence, as the article “How People Read Online: Why You Won’t Finish This Article” explains.

So how can writers reach people who don’t read? Through scannability. Read moreRead More>