October 10, 2016 Edition

Getting Enterprise Mobile UX Right

Selling UX

A unique perspective on service UX

A column by Baruch Sachs
October 10, 2016

Even today, enterprise clients are rather slow to adopt a true mobile strategy for their applications. This is just a fact. Very few internal, complex applications have realized the full potential of a world-class mobile user experience. While consumer-grade applications are causing a huge shift in the enterprise space, the biggest changes are happening in the desktop- and Web-application space, with only a trickle-down effect on mobile offerings. While, in theory, the highly touted mobile-first approach is valid, adopting a full mobile-first design strategy in practice is something that gets deferred release after release.

What is really surprising is the lack of any true understanding about what an enterprise organization’s mobile strategy actually is or should be. On an almost weekly basis, I have conversations with clients who are thinking about making mobile applications out of existing desktop applications that serve hundreds or up to tens of thousands of savvy, internal users. That’s a great goal. However, the same fractured nature of the enterprise that affects many different areas impacts mobile applications as well. While understanding the desired user experience is important, if a UX or application-development team does not understand how to implement or extend the enterprise’s existing mobile strategy, the work may never get done. Read More

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The Fundamental 4s: Secrets to Designing Extraordinary Customer Experiences

October 10, 2016

No sane person wakes up in the morning thinking: Today, I want to be a poorer version of myself than I was yesterday! Whether we’re considering a baby taking its first steps, a student acing a test, or a person winning a championship, getting a promotion, or losing a few pounds, human beings are hardwired to aspire and improve. In all aspects of life, we are extremely motivated—consciously or unconsciously—to become better versions of ourselves. Each of us is motivated to become the better me.

Think about what you’re doing at this very moment. Reading this article could demonstrate the value you place on being an educated person—your desire to BE better. Perhaps you are reading this to learn something, so you can give a better presentation at work this week—DO better. You might be reading because you want to LOOK better and get recognition of your refined knowledge from your colleagues. Or maybe you are just lounging around the house, reading to relax, clear your mind, and enjoy yourself—in which case, your strongest motivation is to FEEL better. Read More

Applied UX Strategy, Part 4.2: From Design Team to Design Culture

October 10, 2016

In Part 1 of this two-parter within my larger series on applied UX strategy, I wrote about the composition and structure of UX design teams. Now, in Part 2, I’ll cover two other areas of focus that are essential in making UX design an integral part of the development process and achieving success in a highly competitive marketplace:

  • leaders
  • culture


When thinking about UX leaders, many people might imagine somebody like Jony Ive. But having a lone regent of design is usually neither possible nor necessary. As an organization grows, a single UX leader is rarely able to deal with the massive number and broad variety of projects and tasks. A UX leader must be deeply engaged in ongoing projects to make smart decisions. This is hard to do when a company makes many products. Plus, someone outside a product team would have limited influence on that team. When a UX leader is spread thin, day-to-day project tasks often take higher priority over long-term strategy. Read More

Lean UX for Wearables: An Interview with Greg Nudelman, Part 2

October 10, 2016

Wearables are becoming increasingly pervasive devices with a growing array of apps—yet, somehow, the user experience for many of these devices is lacking. What is the best way to design for this new class of devices? In Part 2 of my interview with Greg Nudelman—who is a mobile and tablet experience strategist and a leader in the emerging arena of UX design for wearables—we’ll continue our conversation about a better approach to UX design for wearables. If you missed Part 1, you might want to read it first.

Applying Lean UX to Wearables

Janet: How does Lean UX for wearables differ from Lean UX in other contexts?

Greg: That is a great question. Basically, you follow the same principles. You need a measurable experiment and to spend as little time and money as possible in creating something people can actually put to use. The idea that I find compelling is the minimum viable prototype, or MVP. While most people interpret MVP as minimum viable product, thinking about a minimum viable prototype lets you focus on creating the cheapest, crudest, yet plausible prototype that lets you communicate your idea to a customer. Read More

Getting Along with Developers: Tips for Better Understanding

October 10, 2016

A good developer is possibly one of the best allies a UX designer can have. Given that designers and developers spend a lot of time working closely together on projects, it seems inevitable that they would develop close relationships with one another. However, while these relationships should become powerful alliances, struggles often occur between these team members.

As designers, we may find it difficult to see a developer’s point of view, which is ironic because we constantly strive to put ourselves into other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective. We are obsessed with doing usability testing and user research to understand users and customers, but, for some reason, we don’t always apply the same approach to understanding our teammates.

In recent years especially, there has been a lot of talk about having empathy for the user. Strangely, developing empathy often doesn’t extend beyond users and homeless kittens. What about having empathy for the people we work with on a regular basis? Applying the same approach to your teammates will go a long way—especially when it comes to developers. This may seem like a daunting task, but as with most things, you can break it up into smaller steps and develop understanding and empathy over time. Here’s what you should start doing. Read More

September 26, 2016 Edition

Effective UX Leaders

September 26, 2016

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses the characteristics of effective UX leaders and how they function within an organization. Our experts consider business acumen, emotional intelligence, and the ability to teach while, at the same time, being a life-long learner.

Each month in 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

Beyond the Lab: Gathering Holistic, Qualitative User Experience Data

September 26, 2016

The field of User Experience is increasingly under pressure to gather qualitative data in shorter amounts of time. As a UX professional, I’m on the hunt for novel methods and approaches that facilitate the collection of meaningful information about users’ emotions and engagement. A central tenet of User Experience is the importance of gathering revealing, informative, powerful data about the user experience by engaging with users. For example, during usability tests, users interact with Web sites, applications, products, and concepts and give us detailed feedback as they go. Whether you are a UX designer, developer, marketer, engineer, or in executive leadership, seeing users use your product first hand is invaluable.

After leading many formative and summative studies, including usability tests, I’ve become more and more interested in the reactions of users at the conclusion of an experience—when they reveal their feelings about the overall experience they’ve had. As we take a more holistic view of the user experience, there is growing interest and value in looking at what artifacts stick to the user’s memory. However, this is not easy information to access—especially within the context of a lab study where the moderator and the situation may make even the most confident participant feel inhibited. Developing rapport with participants and facilitating authentic sharing from them is challenging.

However, with companies today increasingly looking to improve the holistic experience they provide to their customers, it’s time to find a way to tap into users’ authentic feedback and engage with them in a way that allows them to share something real—beyond what we can usually capture within the lab. Read More

The Problem with Personas and Some Solutions

September 26, 2016

Personas, when they’re done right, can offer valuable insights into a typical user’s goals, behaviors, and aspirations, as well as highlight motivations and contexts of use. Above all, they provide a constant reminder that designers and others on a product team are not the users.

Personas are also an excellent communication tool. A designer can effectively describe each design decision in terms of an experience outcome for a certain persona. This provides clear context and clarifies the fact that a user’s goals and aspirations differ from the designer’s. Read More

UX Leadership Roles: Multiple Paths

September 26, 2016

Over the last 15 years, I’ve had a recurring conversation with senior UX professionals: “I want to progress in UX, but I’m not sure I really want to manage teams.” It seems to many that the one way up is the management track—and in many organizations, this is the only upward path for UX professionals.

In my long and varied career working on staff within companies and for clients in agencies and consultancies, I have seen many roles in User Experience that need a senior, mature person—some with people-management responsibilities; others that continue to focus on product design. These roles include the following:

  • Creative Director
  • UX Principal
  • Team Leader
  • UX Manager
  • UX Project Lead

Each of these UX professionals plays a specific role within an organization. For senior UX professionals, their quandary is to work out which role is required when and what role suits them best. Read More

Mapping Experiences

September 26, 2016

This is a sample chapter from the book Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value Through Journeys, Blueprints, & Diagrams, by Jim Kalbach, which O’Reilly Media published in May 2016. UXmatters is publishing this chapter with O’Reilly’s permission. Copyright © 2016 O’Reilly Media. All rights reserved.

Chapter 4: Initiate: Starting a Mapping Project

Mapping Experiences CoverOne of the most common questions I get in my workshops on mapping is, “How do I begin?” Aspiring mapmakers may see the immediate value in these techniques, yet they have barriers getting started.

Getting stakeholder buy-in is a common challenge. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to create diagrams of all kinds and have found that stakeholders see the value in mapping only after the process is complete. As a result, initiating an effort requires convincing them up front. Read More