September 08, 2016 Edition

Mobile UX Design Approaches: Workshops

Mobile Matters

Designing for every screen

A column by Steven Hoober
September 8, 2016

Whenever a client or team comes to you for help designing anything specific—such as an app—your first question should be: Why an app? Or: Why whatever else they think they need?

UX design should always start with gathering information, understanding users’ needs, and establishing measurable objectives. Just adding design to someone else’s idea or cleaning up what development has created is not a recipe for success. Our job titles communicate our focus on users. But there’s still much pressure from businesses to go faster, and many believe we can just pull ideas out of our heads or quickly clean up turn-key vendor solutions and create something that’s good enough.

We need to start projects by focusing on the experience and push project teams to question the entire product ecosystem and set aside their assumptions so we can organically discover what we really should build and how. One effective approach to doing this is conducting design workshops. Read More

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Applied UX Strategy, Part 4.1: From Design Team to Design Culture

September 8, 2016

In the earlier parts of my series on applied UX strategy, I described the UX maturity model shown in Figure 1, the product designer’s role, and platform thinking as it applies to design delivery. Collectively, this series constitutes a manifesto for applied UX strategy—how to make a UX strategy work on all three levels: operational, tactical, and strategic. Now, we need a design team to make all of this work. How can a design team be most effective on an operational level and achieve tactical wins, so a company can achieve its strategic goals? Read More

Review: UX STRAT 2015, Part 3: Conference Highlights, Day 1

September 8, 2016

The UX STRAT USA 2015 conference took place on September 9 and 10, at the Athens Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. The conference program promised two days of excellent content.

Now, in Part 3 of our UX STRAT USA 2015 review, we’ll cover some highlights from Day 1 of the main conference, on Wednesday, September 9.

Each day at the conference, Paul Bryan, UX STRAT organizer who is shown in Figure 1, delivered his opening and closing remarks, making sure everyone knew about the events of the day and evening. Read More

The Agile Manifesto for Designers

September 8, 2016

Many say that UX design processes do not fit well into the agile methodology. As a UX designer who has experience working on both waterfall and agile projects—and many variants in between—I object to this assertion.

The Agile Manifesto outlines twelve principles that guide the agile methodology. One by one, I’ll explain how each of these principles not only fails to conflict with good UX design practice, but can even improve it. Read More

Conference Review: Digital Design & Web Innovation Summit 2015, Part 1: Overview and Day 1

September 8, 2016

On September 10 and 11, 2015, Innovation Enterprise hosted the first Digital Design & Web Innovation Summit at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles. This conference comprised the following five tracks, as shown in Figure 1:

  • Brand Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Design & Web

I chose to attend and review the Digital Design & Web track. Read More

August 23, 2016 Edition

Handling the Competing Demands of Field Studies

Practical Usability

Moving toward a more usable world

A column by Jim Ross
August 23, 2016

For three reasons, field studies are the most difficult user-research technique to master:

  1. Unpredictability—Field studies have little structure. You have to be prepared to be flexible and go wherever a session takes you.
  2. Learning about unfamiliar domains—You often must learn about participants and their tasks in domains with which you’re unfamiliar.
  3. Competing demands—As a facilitator, in addition to coping with this unpredictability and an unfamiliar environment, you have to be able to handle many competing demands.

There’s not much you can do about unpredictability and a study may require you to learn about new domains. Those are givens. But there are some things you can do that will help you cope with the competing demands of field studies. In this column, I’ll discuss these competing demands and provide tips on how to best handle them.  Read More

Conference Review: UX STRAT 2015, Part 2: Workshops

August 23, 2016

At UX STRAT 2015, the pre-conference workshops took place on September 8. There were just one full-day workshop and two half-day workshops, so the two of us were able to cover all of them.

Full-Day Workshop

Strategic UX Through Information Architecture”—Andrew Hinton and Dan Klyn, both of whom are Information Architects at The Understanding Group

Half-Day Workshops

Part 1 of this UX STRAT 2015 review provided an overview of the conference.  Read More

UX Trends

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
August 23, 2016

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses some UX trends that have surprised them—because of either their success or failure—or trends they find just plain silly. Read on for their thoughts on personalization, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, skeuomorphism, and more. The panel also considers whether it’s a good idea to follow UX trends.

Every month in my 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

Mobile App Analytics: The 12 Most Important Metrics to Measure

August 23, 2016

Eight years ago, on July 10, 2008, the iPhone App Store opened and the mobile app-development ecosystem was born. Then, just a few months later, on October 22, the Android Market came into being. Businesses, developers, and mobile users would never be the same. According to Statista, mobile app revenues are forecast to grow to $76.52 billion in 2017, which is roughly equal to $10 for every person on the face of the Earth!

Businesses that want to earn a share of this enormous mobile app–revenue pie must understand and track 12 key performance indicators (KPIs) that let them measure—and, in some cases, foretell—the success of their apps—or, in the case of 99% of all apps, their demise. With the help of these KPIs, you can better understand how well an app is doing and how users are engaging with the app. Gaining this understanding is a prerequisite to comprehending why an app is performing in a certain way and how to improve its user experience.

In this article, I’ll describe the 12 most important KPIs that will help you to measure the what before you can get to the whyRead More

Designing Desirable Experiences

August 23, 2016

As a UX designer, I have created solutions for many problems, but one simple question strikes me: is it enough to solve problems or should we look beyond merely solving problems and make our solutions more desirable, more exciting? How can we go beyond problem solving and create desirable experiences through design?

One Problem, Many Solutions

The simple use case of keeping time has shaped a huge industry for a very long time. But the industry’s primary use case has become secondary, if not trivialized.

For wristwatches alone, the sheer number of styles, types, and technologies available in the market is simply awe inspiring. For example, there are chronograph watches, big-date watches, moon-phase watches, digital watches, and smartwatches. Brands such as Omega and Rolex position themselves as status symbols for the elite. Brands like Citizen, Casio, and Timex mass-produce watches in many styles, with a variety of functions and purposes, targeting middle-income consumers. The smartwatch manufacturers Motorola, Apple, and Samsung are recent additions to the market. Read More