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December 2008 Issue

By Paul J. Sherman

Published: December 15, 2008

“As important as the user experience of enterprise software is to a business’s success, why isn’t its assessment usually a factor in technology selection?”

Over the past twenty years, the field of user experience has been fortunate. Software and hardware product organizations increasingly have adopted user-centered design methods such as contextual user research, usability testing, and iterative interaction design. In large part, this has occurred because the market has demanded it. More than ever, good interaction design and high usability are part of the price of entry to markets.

However, there’s one area that I believe has lagged behind: the enterprise software space. I can’t tell you how many frustratingly unusable enterprise Web applications I’ve encountered during my 12 plus years in corporate America. As important as the user experience of enterprise software is to a business’s success, why isn’t its assessment usually a factor in technology selection? Read moreRead More>

By Richard F. Cecil

Published: December 15, 2008

“Neither personas nor scenarios succinctly communicates to your business what features a product or service should have and why it should have them.”

So, you’ve wrapped up your customer research, completed your personas, and have even written a few scenarios that show how users would want to interact with your brand new product. What’s next? What happens to the personas and scenarios once you’re ready to start requirements definition and design. Are you sure you’ve adequately communicated the type of system your users need to the Business Analyst and Interaction Designer on your team?

If you’re like me, you’ve always felt something was missing once you finished creating your personas and scenarios. They communicate the heart and goals of the user, but miss out on a lot of details. And while it’s the intent of both documents to do just that, neither personas nor scenarios succinctly communicates to your business what features a product or service should have and why it should have them. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: December 15, 2008

Send your questions to Ask UXmatters and get answers from some of the top professionals in UX.

In this installment of Ask UXmatters, our experts discuss two different topics:

Have a pressing question at work for which you need an answer? Want to read our experts’ responses to your queries in an upcoming installment of Ask UXmatters? Please send your questions to: ask.uxmatters@uxmatters.com. Read moreRead More>

By Colleen Jones

Published: December 1, 2008

“Your content needs to sound like a human being crafted it, not like a system regurgitated it.”

In many of my columns, I have touted the importance of persuasive, or influential, content and shared relevant theories and arguments, sprinkling in some practical tips and examples along the way. This column brings together a collection of practical tips, or recipes, for persuasive content. My goal for these recipes is to help anyone who touches content to bake in some influential goodness. Because of my background and experience, these recipes have an English-speaking American flavor, but I think they are a useful starting point for international content, as well.

1. Talk like a person.

Your content needs to sound like a human being crafted it, not like a system regurgitated it. Letting Go of the Words, by Ginny Redish, offers some great tips along these lines—such as using first person. [1] Additionally, I’d like to point out two things you can do to make your content appealing to readers. Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit, Publisher & Editor in Chief

Published: December 1, 2008

The 2008 UXmatters Reader Survey has closed, but you can view the results.

Thanks to the 94 readers who have participated in our third annual UXmatters Reader Survey so far! We’re grateful to you for sharing your thoughts with us. To those of you who have not yet participated in the survey, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to do so now. Help shape the future of UXmatters! The survey will close on December 4, 2008, so this is your last chance to participate. Once the survey closes, we’ll publish the results on the UXmatters Web site. Read moreRead More>

By Traci Lepore

Published: December 1, 2008

“I realized I had to step back and take a new perspective on both my role and the goal of our design.”

I’m sitting in a conference room with a coworker and two clients. It’s chaotic, hot, and a challenge just to walk around without tripping on the mess surrounding us. We are in the midst of designing and are buried in paper and sharpies and flipcharts. The walls around us are covered with consolidated data from requirements gathering and flipchart pages we’ve filled with our thought processes. Every few minutes, we need to retape some piece of paper that’s in danger of falling into a crumpled heap on the floor. Then, suddenly, I’m gripped with the feeling of déjà vu. It seems like I’m working on the same design I’ve worked on a thousand times before—and I’m getting bogged down in the details to boot! It’s at once disheartening and terrifying. But I’m the lead on this project, so I need to drive the team forward—which presents a challenge at this particular moment.

In that moment, I realized I had to step back and take a new perspective on both my role and the goal of our design. Read moreRead More>