December 2014 Issue

By Janet M. Six

Published: December 22, 2014

“While innovation is something that many companies would like to achieve, most long-established companies fail to innovate.”

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts discusses two topics:

  • how to encourage innovation and creativity within organizations
  • when and how to define the scope of a consulting project

While innovation is something that many companies would like to achieve, most long-established companies fail to innovate. How can organizations foster innovation and creativity? In this column, our expert panel first describes various ways to encourage innovation and creativity within an organization. They also consider these philosophical questions: why should organizations foster innovation and creativity and what do they gain by doing so?

Our expert panel then discusses the importance of consultants’ defining the scope of their projects to ensure that they get paid for all their work. They describe the approaches that they take to project scoping. Read moreRead More>

By Laura Keller

Published: December 22, 2014

“In contrast to big brands and agencies, who are always looking to stand out, do something new, and pursue big ideas, the internal IT group believed in standards, consistency, [and] reuse….”

I began my career over twelve years ago in marketing, defining the user experiences for healthcare Web sites at an interactive agency. At first, I loved the dynamic environment and start-up feel of an agency. It felt great that a large audience would interact with the sites that I helped design. Over time, however, I realized that I wasn’t doing good UX design. Rather, I was doing whatever the agency Account Manager or client Brand Manager wanted, which didn’t always jibe with what customers needed. The Account Manager or Brand Manager wanted site registrations and glossy, auto-play video tours, while customers needed educational content and information about financial assistance. I had lost the integrity that had driven me to choose user experience as a career in the first place. I wanted to design great user experiences for people based on their behaviors, needs, and preferences—not the whims of the agency or client. So, after five years, I decided to leave the agency to work on internal applications at an IT (Information Technology) consulting firm. Read moreRead More>

By Pamela Pavliscak

Published: December 22, 2014

“Data-informed design can be difficult to define, because there is not even agreement on what counts as data. … But the more I work with data…, the more inclusive my definition of data becomes.”

Despite all the talk about data-informed design, there is not much agreement on what data really means for a product or service’s user experience. That might be because teams don’t yet have a shared language for talking about data, or because access to data is uneven or siloed, or perhaps because team members have different goals for the use of data.

At its core, data-informed design can be difficult to define, because there is not even agreement on what counts as data. We tend to think in dichotomies: quantitative and qualitative, objective and subjective, abstract and sensory, messy and curated, business and user experience, science and story. But the more I work with data and the more familiar I become with the data-science community, the more inclusive my definition of data becomes. Read moreRead More>

By Shefik Bey

Published: December 22, 2014

“Regardless of the organization or industry, we encounter similar challenges around grappling with, understanding, and leveraging big data in our efforts to realize exceptional customer experiences.”

From my discussions with fellow UX and CX professionals, it’s clear that we share a sense of pressure and frustration when it comes to big data. Regardless of the organization or industry, we encounter similar challenges around grappling with, understanding, and leveraging big data in our efforts to realize exceptional customer experiences.

Attending the NG Customer Experience Summit in Canberra recently—alongside many executives from Australia’s leading corporations—reinforced my awareness of this sentiment. Although big data has been a huge focus of industry discussion for quite some time, most large corporations have not yet embedded a framework into their operations that would let them harness its real potential. Read moreRead More>

By Peter Hornsby

Published: December 22, 2014

“Banking seemed quite boring and staid—because everything up till then had been kind of boring and crappy. … But then I realized that banking affects so many people. Everyone needs it, but the user experience is generally neglected.”

Every so often, different aspects of my life collide, with interesting results! I recently watched a presentation by Toby Sterrett, Director of UX at Simple, that really resonated with my work in financial services. Toby has graciously agreed to let me interview him for UXmatters.

One of the things that I love from Toby’s video is this quote from Coda Hale:

“Build a shared vision; get the fuck out of the way.” Read moreRead More>

By Jim Nieters and Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: December 8, 2014

“Producing great, highly differentiated user experiences should be the goal of every UX leader. But in many companies, UX leaders face challenges that force them to approach leading User Experience in a less than optimal way.”

This column is the second in our series that highlights our insights on what it would take for companies to go from producing dreary, overly complex user experiences to producing truly great user experiences that differentiate their products from those of competitors in their marketplace. In our first column, we stated that producing great, highly differentiated user experiences should be the goal of every UX leader. But in many companies, UX leaders face challenges that force them to approach leading User Experience in a less than optimal way. If, as a UX leader, you find yourself stuck in a situation where you and your team cannot do great work—that is, you are unable to produce user experiences that solve people’s problems, inspire, and delight—you’re working for the wrong organization and should find a better job. In that column, we also discussed how to position User Experience for optimal impact. Read moreRead More>

By Will Hacker

Published: December 8, 2014

“When creating early mobile designs, we should still start with the same simple sketching techniques that we’ve traditionally used for desktop designs.”

These days, it’s easy to design mobile user experiences using powerful tools such as Axure RP, Blueprint, or Protot.io. But when creating early mobile designs, we should still start with the same simple sketching techniques that we’ve traditionally used for desktop designs. Now, there are apps that let us get our sketches on real mobile devices for demos and usability testing. In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite tools for sketching mobile user experiences.

When I first started designing user experiences for mobile devices, there were almost no tools whose specific purpose was sketching hand-held user interfaces. Designers were creating six-ups and Photoshop and Illustrator templates for their own use, but since these belonged to individual designers or design agencies, few became resources for the larger UX community. Fortunately, the landscape has changed, and many tools and resources are now available for designers to sketch mobile user interfaces—working within the constraints of device screen sizes—then turn their sketches into interactive prototypes. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: December 8, 2014

In exploring potential means of integrating user experience into an organization’s product strategy and overall business strategy, our expert panel discusses such approaches as presumptive design and the Jobs to Be Done model.

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts discusses two topics:

  • how to integrate user experience into an organization’s product and business strategy
  • how to best understand the culture of an organization for which you are providing design solutions

In exploring potential means of integrating user experience into an organization’s product strategy and overall business strategy, our expert panel discusses such approaches as presumptive design and the Jobs to Be Done model. On the related topic of best design practices for a particular culture, the Expert Panel considers observation and anthropology. Read moreRead More>

By Oleksandr Sukholeyster

Published: December 8, 2014

“The user experiences of enterprise applications do have direct impact on an organization’s performance. When the applications that an enterprise employs provide better user experiences and usability, its people are more efficient and productive.”

Organizations that have IT (Information Technology) departments should be more effective than organization that lack them. If your organization doesn’t use and maintain its software and servers efficiently and effectively, that’s money down the drain.

But, while it’s easy to see the direct impact that the user experience of a consumer application has on user conversions, that’s not true of user experiences for the enterprise segment of the software marketplace. Computer software that automates the business of non-software organizations is usually slow evolving. However, the user experiences of enterprise applications do have direct impact on an organization’s performance. When the applications that an enterprise employs provide better user experiences and usability, its people are more efficient and productive. The greater the cost of human resources within organization, the bigger that impact is. Read moreRead More>

By Hang Guo, Khasfariyati Razikin, and Muhammad Hatib

Published: December 8, 2014

“The UX community has a long acquaintance with the pile-sort method of user research.”

The UX community has a long acquaintance with the pile-sort method of user research. In this article, we’ll revisit the origin of the pile-sort method in anthropology and provide an account of how we used this method to understand user task flows. We’ll also introduce an extension to the pile-sort method that helped us to collect user data more effectively while working in an agile software-development environment. Finally, we’ll discuss the analytical method that we used to process our study results: factor analysis. Read moreRead More>