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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2012 Issue

By Janet M. Six

Published: December 17, 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 discuss emerging trends in user experience. As 2012 ends, it’s a good time to consider what the future of user experience might bring—in terms of both cultural shifts that impact UX professionals and UX design trends.

Every month in Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts answers our readers’ questions about a variety 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 question to us at: ask.uxmatters@uxmatters.com. Read moreRead More>

By Ritch Macefield

Published: December 17, 2012

“Intelligent UX strategies can solve certain problems with agile development—in addition to intrinsically benefiting our UX design work.”

This is the second in my series of two articles about how intelligent UX strategies can solve certain problems with agile development—in addition to intrinsically benefiting our UX design work. Please read Part 1 of this series, “Agile Problems, UX solutions: The Big Picture and Prototyping,” to completely familiarize yourself with the key concepts and terminology that I’ve explained there, which underpin the discussions in this article.

In summary, Part 1 explained that common and quite reasonable UX practices can trigger fundamental problems with agile software development methods that can ultimately lead to the implementation of inconsistent or even incompatible user interface design solutions for similar interactions in different parts of a software system. Because agile realizes these inconsistencies in working code, either or both of the following consequences can occur as a result: Read moreRead More>

By Baruch Sachs

Published: December 17, 2012

“Some people are just born consultants. They just have it. They intrinsically know what to say, what to do, and how to do it.”

There is a lot of literature out there that discusses whether leaders are born or made. Before I became a consultant, I weighed in on the born side of things. A good leader is shaped by events and experiences, but always has that leadership spirit within.

I started thinking recently about whether consultants—specifically, UX consultants—are born or made. As someone who works for a software vendor with a wide range of clients, I’ve had the fortunate experience of not only being a consultant myself and working with a team of consultants, but also of interacting directly with other groups of UX consultants. Read moreRead More>

By Afshan Kirmani

Published: December 17, 2012

“Heuristic evaluation has its strengths and limitations. UX professionals evaluating Web sites and applications use this method to deliver succinct results to clients who require design guidance.”

Heuristic evaluation has its strengths and limitations. UX professionals evaluating Web sites and applications use this method to deliver succinct results to clients who require design guidance. When I was working for a previous employer, a client asked us to evaluate their Web site’s ecommerce checkout experience and deliver a report that would point out its various weaknesses.

The client was a global brand that offered products in a great diversity of categories—ranging from video and audio, to semiconductors and components, to mobile phones, and to games. The objective of the evaluation was to increase the site’s revenue by creating a simple, efficient, customized checkout process. Read moreRead More>

By Peter Hornsby

Published: December 17, 2012

This poem was inspired by the lyrics of the song Winter Wonderland—music by Felix Bernard and lyrics by Richard B. Smith.

Alerts ring; are you listening?
On the screen, widgets glistening.
A beautiful site,
Our client’s happy tonight,
Walking in a UX wonderland.

Gone away is their old cruft,
Here to stay is our new stuff.
They love our new way.
They’re happy to pay.
Walking in a UX wonderland. Read moreRead More>

By Steven Hoober

Published: December 10, 2012

“People use smaller tablets and eReaders in somewhat different ways: Their usage rates are different. Their use outside the home is more prevalent. And their users hold them differently.”

The iPad Mini presents an interesting case study of differences in the use of particular types of mobile devices. People use smaller tablets and eReaders in somewhat different ways: Their usage rates are different. Their use outside the home is more prevalent. And their users hold them differently. [1] For the most part, UX designers and developers are trying to build user experiences that are appropriate to the ways in which people will use an iPad of a smaller size.

Last month, in my UXmatters column “Mobile Input Methods,” I talked about how there are many types of input devices other than just touchscreens. And there are even customizations and variations among touch input methods that designers need to be aware of so they can create the best possible user experiences. Read moreRead More>

By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain

Published: December 10, 2012

“Apple builds products their own employees would want, which translates nicely to the consumer population as a whole. This does not mean that Apple is not conducting research. It just means they’re doing research internally—and for Apple that just works.”

Apple has attained universal recognition as one of the most innovative companies in the technology industry. The products that they have introduced, from the Mac to iPhone to Apple TV, have mainstreamed user experience concepts and interaction models, shifting the entire industry. There’s a common misperception that Apple doesn’t do research. That these ideas sprang full formed from the cranium of the late Steve Jobs like a technological Athena. The media have mentioned a number of times that Apple builds products their own employees would want, which translates nicely to the consumer population as a whole. This does not mean that Apple is not conducting research. It just means they’re doing research internally—and for Apple that just works.

But all of the companies that don’t have a workforce that represents its users so nicely need to pursue other research strategies. Read moreRead More>

By Frank Guo

Published: December 10, 2012

“Many hold a firm belief that high information density is something to avoid at all costs.”

In Part 1 of my series Demystifying UX Design, I wrote about two design issues that people commonly and falsely believe to be problematic: long pages and the number of clicks it takes for users to get to information. In Part 2, I’ll discuss another common false belief relating to high information density and provide design recommendations for addressing this issue.

High Information Density Is Not Always Bad

Through my interactions with UX designers and Web product managers, I’ve found that many hold a firm belief that high information density is something to avoid at all costs. Granted, cramming too much information into a limited space in a disorganized manner makes it difficult for users to scan, read, and absorb the information. Besides, it seems to go against the popular usability heuristic of aesthetic and minimalist design. Read moreRead More>

By Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong

Published: December 10, 2012

“We all need to better understand the questions we should ask and the approaches we should take to prevent our jumping too quickly into selling our services and methods….”

In a previous UXmatters article titled “Positive Design Impact,” we spoke about the importance of our first meeting with a client:

“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.”

In this article, we aim to explore the importance of the first meeting with a client in greater depth. We all need to better understand the questions we should ask and the approaches we should take to prevent our jumping too quickly into selling our services and methods and risk potentially confusing our clients with language they don’t understand or concepts they have never thought about. Read moreRead More>

By Jim Ross

Published: December 10, 2012

“Over the past few years, in writing this column, I’ve developed my own writing process, which helps me to generate ideas and compose articles that get published on a regular schedule.”

Perhaps Part 1 of this series convinced you of the benefits of publishing, dispelled your fears, and defeated the excuses that have prevented you from publishing in the past. But how do you get started writing, and how do you get your writing published? These are the questions I’ll answer in Part 2. Then, in Part 3, I’ll discuss presenting at conferences.

The Writing Process

Over the past few years, in writing this column, I’ve developed my own writing process, which helps me to generate ideas and compose articles that get published on a regular schedule. My process certainly is not the only approach to writing articles, but you may find it helpful or want to adopt whatever elements best fit your own style of working. Read moreRead More>