October 2014 Issue

By Jim Nieters and Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: October 6, 2014

“Insights on how to help companies progress from delivering mediocre user experiences, as is all too common, to producing truly great experiences that differentiate their products and services in the marketplace.”

This column is the first in a series that will offer insights on how to help companies progress from delivering mediocre user experiences, as is all too common, to producing truly great experiences that differentiate their products and services in the marketplace. Doing so requires a radical transformation in the way business executives and UX teams engage in creating user experiences.

This series is not about making incremental improvements to the way UX teams work. It is about taking a different approach and driving radical transformation within organizations. No major changes in history have ever come about by playing it safe. Having said this, all of the ideas that we’ll share in this series have proven effective in one business context or another. Read moreRead More>

By Kimberly Dunwoody

Published: October 6, 2014

“During internal UX design presentations, many UX designers find themselves faced with well-meaning stakeholders who believe that their needs are highly representative of the needs of users, or customers.”

During internal UX design presentations, many UX designers find themselves faced with well-meaning stakeholders who believe that their needs are highly representative of the needs of users, or customers. For example, in recent months, stakeholders have told designers on my team:

  • “I prefer using a house icon instead of the word Home in the navigation, and I am sure that our users would feel the same way.”
  • “I used to be in the same field as our users five years ago, so I am sure that I know what they want.”
  • “If this is too difficult, we’ll just put more information in the training manual. That is what our users would expect.”

Read moreRead More>

By Peter Morville

Published: October 6, 2014

This is a sample chapter from Peter Morville’s new book, Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything. 2014 Semantic Studios.

Chapter 3: Connections

“It’s hard to argue with the success of the Internet…, and yet it’s worth reflecting upon what was lost in the translation from idea to implementation.”

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost

Read moreRead More>

By Matt Rintoul

Published: October 6, 2014

“If you start with the idea that user experience is a feeling, you’ve already made progress toward really understanding user experience.”

Many people seem to think of user experience as a controllable outcome of a design process—as though it were something at which you can throw minds, designers, and builders with the goal of understanding and manipulating a person’s experience of a product or service. In fact, user experience is often thought of as defining and managing a person’s experience of a product.

But your product doesn’t define a user’s experience. That person’s own behavior, attitudes, and emotions do. Thus, user experience is a feeling. In reality, it’s even more than that, but if you start with the idea that user experience is a feeling, you’ve already made progress toward really understanding user experience. Read moreRead More>

By Evan Wiener

Published: October 6, 2014

“Google … wanted to increase the legitimacy and value of data collection to deliver a better product to users as they expanded beyond Web search products.”

Google had a problem. They realized that the more they knew about user behavior outside the limited scope of a search box, the more valuable their services could be to their users. They wanted to increase the legitimacy and value of data collection to deliver a better product to users as they expanded beyond Web search products. To ensure that they had sufficient control of the user experience, Google felt it would be best to offer their own Web browser as a way to gain more direct access to the diverse range of people who grew accustomed to using Google Search to find what they were looking for on the Web. The Google brand had enough cachet that it had become a verb in the lexicon—something Google would like to protect. The large population of novice users who usually search using Microsoft Windows were at risk when Microsoft offered a competitive product to their captive audience. Read moreRead More>

By Laura Keller

Published: September 22, 2014

Numerous similarities also exist between designing physical and virtual spaces. … I want to share what some of these similarities are—in the hope that UX professionals who … aspire to expand their skillset to designing physical spaces will be able to understand how relevant their existing expertise is to designing them.

UX professionals are accustomed to thinking about how people interact with digital user interfaces. Whether we’re designing a mobile application or a marketing Web site, it’s in our DNA to consider what would be the optimal experience for people. But digital user interfaces are not the only elements of an experience with which people interact. In services, people may also interact with each other, with processes, with communications, and with physical spaces, and it’s the responsibility of the service designer to understand their needs and create an optimal experience that considers all of these diverse elements. Plus, while the goal of a service designer is to think holistically about how these elements work together in a service experience, each element has its own discreet set of design considerations. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: September 22, 2014

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 answers questions about two issues that confront UX professionals:

  • Should accessibility be a UX team’s responsibility?
  • What is the best way to work with a visual designer?

Should user experience and accessibility be the responsibility of the same team? Should accessibility be part of a UX team’s purview? When should designers think about the accessibility of a design? What types of disabilities may impact people’s ability to use your products? Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: September 22, 2014

“Reflections on the state of democracy in the United States and how we can use design thinking to imagine a more participatory form of democratic government.”

Dirk Knemeyer, shown in Figure 1, is a UX thought leader, an entrepreneur, a game designer, and a former UXmatters columnist. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Dirk about his experiences as a UX professional and entrepreneur, as well as his reflections on the state of democracy in the United States and how we can use design thinking to imagine a more participatory form of democratic government.

Perspectives on User Experience and Entrepreneurship

Dirk shared some thoughts on working in agencies, as well as his various pursuits as an entrepreneur, including starting up Involution Studios, Facio, and Conquistador Games. Read moreRead More>

By Baruch Sachs

Published: September 22, 2014

“Effective planning … differentiates a truly successful UX consultant from one who is merely busy—constantly putting out fires.”

These are words that one never really wants to hear from a home-improvement contractor. Or any type of contractor really. Recently, I built a new house. And I heard these very words from a person who was coming in to clean up a mess. At some point, the tile guy had messed up the work the hardwood guy was doing and left an inch gap between the place leading into the bathroom—where the tile floor ends and the marble threshold begins. Or maybe it was the hardwood guy who had messed up the tile guy’s work. It’s hard to tell these days. We live in an era when the deflection of blame and the avoidance of personal responsibility are common. Read moreRead More>

By Jennifer Romano Bergstrom and Andrew Schall

Published: September 22, 2014

“This chapter is an exploration of what eye tracking can tell us about the user experience of forms and surveys. It discusses when eye tracking is appropriate and when it can be misleading. This leads to some tips for what to do when using eye-tracking techniques to test your forms and surveys.”

This is a sample chapter from Jennifer Romano Bergstrom and Andrew Schall’s new book, Eye Tracking in User Experience Design. 2014 Morgan Kaufmann.

Chapter 5: Forms and Surveys

By Caroline Jarrett and Jennifer Romano Bergstrom

Introduction

Most parts of a Web experience are optional. Forms usually are not.

You want to use a Web service? Register for it—using a form. You want to buy something on the Internet? Select it, then go through the checkout—using a form. Want to insure a car, book a flight, apply for a loan? You will find a form standing as a barrier between you and your goal. Read moreRead More>