Do you create products or organize events for UX professionals or manage a UX team that’s hiring? Sponsor UXmatters and see your ad or logo here! Learn moreLearn More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2012 Issue

By Paul Bryan

Published: May 21, 2012

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends; it is only yourself.

“Just because there is a UX Strategy group on LinkedIn…, that doesn’t make UX strategy real in the same way that other disciplines and roles—for example, information architecture—are real.”

The Twitter feedback on my last column, “What Does a UX Strategist Do?” was overwhelmingly positive, but there were a few skeptics, too. Read moreRead More>

By Tal Bloom

Published: May 21, 2012

“Only users themselves can intimately appreciate their own needs, and user experience is the only field that considers the user’s perspective at every stage of a project.”

I often reflect on how privileged I am to be in the field of user experience, because we always have the trump card: the user. Let me explain. As UX professionals, we generally have an abundant breadth of experience across different industries and businesses. Our clients, on the other hand, have great depth of knowledge in their own domain. However, only users themselves can intimately appreciate their own needs, and user experience is the only field that considers the user’s perspective at every stage of a project.

Why is this such an awesome novelty?

The Triangulation Principle

There is a social science research approach called triangulation, which is “the combination of multiple perspectives in the study of the same phenomenon.” [1] Social science borrowed the triangulation metaphor from navigation systems that, given basic principles of geometry, use multiple reference points to locate an object’s exact position. [2] Read moreRead More>

By Laura Keller

Published: May 21, 2012

“The service design challenges when the human body is the object of service are significant. … In healthcare and, specifically, for hospitals, the body is the service focus.”

The focus of many services is some primary object: your car in for maintenance at a garage, your clothes at a dry cleaners, your home being cleaned by a maid service. But for some services, the object of focus is you: your hair being cut at a salon or barber shop, your back being adjusted by your chiropractor. Your whole body can even be the focus of a service—for example, transportation, restaurant, or hotel services.

The service design challenges when the human body is the object of service are significant. One particular challenge is the diversity of customers’ contexts and mindsets. The service goal for an airline is getting you to your destination. But as a designer, you cannot assume that the reason someone is traveling is for a vacation at Disney World, a boring business meeting, or a funeral for a close friend. In healthcare and, specifically, for hospitals, the body is the service focus. Although the service goal of a hospital visit is improved health, the reasons for needing healthcare are diverse—ranging from getting treatment for a case of flu to an operation to correct a heart defect to palliative cancer support—each with an infinite number of accompanying patient and caregiver contexts and mindsets. Read moreRead More>

By Tomer Sharon

Published: May 21, 2012

The number one reason organizations do user research is because they want to learn about what their customers want and make the changes necessary to satisfy their customers’ needs.”

For a UX professional, one of the hardest things to measure is how much stakeholders and clients have bought into UX research. There is no clear, quantifiable answer to this question. Nevertheless, there are several signs that indicate stakeholder engagement, uptake, and buy-in. This article identifies some of these signs.

Think about the reasons people and organizations decide to conduct UX research. Why are they doing it? Why are they making the effort? The number one reason organizations do user research is because they want to learn about what their customers want and make the changes necessary to satisfy their customers’ needs. When stakeholders act on the findings of UX research, you can clearly point to the positive effect that the research is having on the organization, its products, and its customers. All you need to do is pay attention and be aware. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: May 21, 2012

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

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts tell you how to choose a UX conference that’s right for you, as well as about their favorite UX conferences.

Every month in Ask UXmatters, our UX experts answer readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: ask.uxmatters@uxmatters.com. Read moreRead More>

By Caroline Jarrett

Published: May 7, 2012

“It’s rather easy to find buttons that don’t comply with these basic best practices….

Here are my basic best practices for buttons:

  1. Make buttons look like buttons.
  2. Put buttons where users can find them.
  3. Make the most important button look like it’s the most important one.
  4. Put buttons in a sensible order.
  5. Label buttons with what they do.
  6. If users don’t want to do something, don’t have a button for it.
  7. Make it harder to find destructive buttons.

Nothing particularly revolutionary there, right? Ever since the <button> tag arrived in HTML4, buttons haven’t been especially difficult to create. Despite this, it’s rather easy to find buttons that don’t comply with these basic best practices, so I’m going to dig into them a little deeper in this column. Read moreRead More>

By Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong

Published: May 7, 2012

“The purpose of our first meeting with the prospective client was to get an initial understanding of the product, determine its value, discuss scenarios for how people might use it, … explore who the target customers might be, and determine what differentiates the product against its competitors.”

Recently, a client asked us to help one of their teams that was developing a new product. This is our story about that engagement.

The First Meeting

The purpose of our first meeting with the prospective client was to get an initial understanding of the product, determine its value, discuss scenarios for how people might use it, watch a concept video to better understand how it works, explore who the target customers might be, and determine what differentiates the product against its competitors. We shared our respective backgrounds, then took the opportunity to communicate how we approach user research and UX design, show some of our previous work, describe the positive impacts we’ve made on teams and products, and tell them where we thought we could provide the best design guidance. This initial discussion helped us to get a preliminary idea of what might be the most appropriate approach to take in order to discover more about the product, the team, and the business. Read moreRead More>

By Nathaniel Davis

Published: May 7, 2012

“There is information architecture that resembles UX architecture and design, then there’s information architecture that looks like, well, information architecture.”

If you’re new to the debate about the practice of information architecture, you’ll discover that there are two polarities of thought. As Peter Boersma proposed in his 2004 blog post “Big IA Is Now UX,” there is information architecture that resembles UX architecture and design, then there’s information architecture that looks like, well, information architecture. The Big IA perspective is still evolving, as the creation of digital products and services reveals new gaps and challenges, while the narrow perspective on information architecture remains a highly under-researched, under-developed, and under-communicated subject domain that is as important today as it was when it originally surfaced in the early 1990’s.

People originally called the narrow perspective on information architecture little IA. Today’s more politically correct term is classic IA. I’d really like to call it just information architecture. Why? Simply for the fact that—before there was any need to produce wireframes; improve Web site planning, strategy, or tactics; or discuss platforms and channels—there was a need to address a unique concern within the new context that the Internet had created, for which there was no single source to which one could go for answers. Read moreRead More>

By Barnabas Nagy

Published: May 7, 2012

“Words are not always sufficient to describe things accurately.”

It is all too easy to create UX deliverables that are not visually pleasing. But UX expertise encompasses Web design, graphic design, and branding, so why should we be satisfied with mediocre design in our deliverables? When we present our personas, sitemaps, user flows, wireframes, and other design deliverables to our clients and stakeholders, it is our duty and responsibility to create well-designed deliverables.

Words and Objects Are Not Enough

People visualize words differently. If people read, “The apple fell from the tree,” some might picture a red apple; others, a green apple. However, if we show them a green apple, it is obvious to everyone that we’re talking about a green apple. Words are not always sufficient to describe things accurately. Read moreRead More>

By Riley Graham

Published: May 7, 2012

“I’ll describe the event from my perspective, and hopefully, talk you into attending next year!”

From February 1st through February 4th, Dublin, Ireland, hosted about 800 interaction design fanatics from all around the world. Over four days at Interaction12, there were 15 workshops, 6 keynotes, and more than 80 presentations. In addition, many activities and events took place all over the city. During the conference, I met many wonderful people and attended many talks, but unfortunately, I cannot cover all of these presentations in this review. Check out the Interaction12 Web site for any other information you might be curious about. In this review, I’ll describe the event from my perspective, and hopefully, talk you into attending next year!

The conference was held in the beautiful Convention Center Dublin, known as The CCD. A glass-enclosed atrium that extended the full height of the building overlooked the river Liffey, Dublin city center, and Wicklow mountains. Throughout all four days, in the time between the talks, musicians of all kinds filled the hallways of The CCD. Read moreRead More>