July 2015 Issue

By Jim Ross

Published: July 6, 2015

“Unfortunately, analysis remains underappreciated and is often overlooked. … Analysis [is] the process that transforms research data into deliverables.

User research is cool. User research deliverables can even be cool. But sadly, to many people, analysis isn’t cool. Clients and project team members get excited by the idea of user research, they like being able to say they did user research, and they like to show off impressive user research deliverables. But the unsung-hero, who does much of the heavy lifting is analysis. Unfortunately, analysis remains underappreciated and is often overlooked.

There are plenty of books, articles, and presentations about user-research techniques and deliverables, but they seldom discuss analysis—the process that transforms research data into deliverables. To some, it may even seem that you come out of research with a fully formed understanding of users and their tasks and immediately begin creating personas, diagrams, and presentations. Read moreRead More>

By Steven Hoober

Published: July 6, 2015

“The way you diagram the task flows for an app or Web site should always communicate something about the organization of the elements it contains….”

In a recent Mobile Matters column, “Tools for Mobile UX Design: Task Flows,” I covered how to draw task flows, why you should draw task flows, and the value of the level of system understanding that task flows give to your project team. However, I didn’t cover everything about the architectural decisions that go into creating task flows, so in this column, I’ll dig into some other things relating to task flows that I think are important.

Hopefully, you’ve spent some time thinking about how to organize the digital products or services that you design. What is the relationship between elements? When should they be next to each other, on top of each other, or stacked one above the other? Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: July 6, 2015

“UX Strategies Summit 2015 was a very well-organized, smooth-running conference.”

Almost exactly one year after their first, very successful UX Strategies Summit (UXSS) in 2014, the Global Strategic Management Institute (GSMI) presented UX Strategies Summit 2015, which again occurred at the beautiful Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco. A full day of pre-Summit workshops on Tuesday, June 9, preceded the two-day General Summit, which took place on June 10–11, 2015.

Here, in Part 1 of our three-part review, I’ll give an overview of the event, covering all of the categories that appear in the star ratings to the right, then review the workshop that I attended.

Organization

Logistically, UX Strategies Summit 2015 was a very well-organized, smooth-running conference. GSMI specializes in organizing conferences and did an even better job of planning, hosting, and running the Summit this year than they did last year. Summit Producer Breanna Jacobs, who is shown in Figure 1, welcomed everyone at the beginning of each day of the General Summit. She and the rest of the GSMI team did a great job. Read moreRead More>

By Andrew Micallef

Published: July 6, 2015

“Frequent delivery is an important agile principle. Empowered teams with intense user involvement can achieve frequent delivery through well-defined, time-boxed planning.”

In Part 1 of this two-part series on the agile manifesto for product management, I described the four phases of agile development projects: conception, definition, planning, and deployment; then covered the first four of nine principles for agile. Now, in Part 2, I’ll cover the remaining five agile principles, then conclude with a summary of some benefits of agile software development.

Principle 5: Frequent Delivery

Since the agile mindset is flexible, iterative, and dynamic, frequent delivery is an important agile principle. Empowered teams with intense user involvement can achieve frequent delivery through well-defined, time-boxed planning. In an agile approach, it is a team’s responsibility to deliver maximal business benefit through minimal business requirements. Read moreRead More>

By Johannes Stock

Published: July 6, 2015

“In her book Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design, Lisa Welchman shows us how to tame the digital beast. Her reality-tested approach and holistic view make for a great read….”

In her book Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design, Lisa Welchman shows us how to tame the digital beast. Her reality-tested approach and holistic view make for a great read that is worth every minute of your time.

The book’s subtitle promises digital governance by design, which will get the attention of curious designers and other digital workers alike. But it will also likely produce some skepticism in her audience. After all, don’t we owe a huge part of our creativity to the boundless freedom and chaos the digital environment provides? But if we can hold back the romantic within us for a moment, we’ll remember various situations in which our energy and creativity were stifled by chaos. Read moreRead More>

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>