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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2014 Issue

By Janet M. Six

Published: February 24, 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 experts discuss whether wireframes can sometimes be a crutch that product teams rely on too much when trying to achieve alignment rather than becoming aligned by truly collaborating.

In my monthly column Ask UXmatters, our UX experts provide answers our 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 Lis Hubert and Donna Lichaw

Published: February 24, 2014

“The nonprofit needed help solving a common problem…. They asked us to create a digital product of some kind that would enable the intended users of the programs’ content to continue reaping its benefits.”

Wouldn’t it be great to experiment with a new user experience method at a company that truly needs it—with people who are not only great UX colleagues, but also great friends? Sounds like an ideal situation doesn’t it? Well, that is the situation in which we found ourselves back in November 2013. A nonprofit based in New York City hired us to help them figure out their long-term strategy. Without hesitation, we jumped on board.

The Problem

The nonprofit needed help solving a common problem that many companies and organizations face. With a nonprofit program nearing the end of its grant, they were looking for a way to disseminate the content from that program once the money ran out. Ultimately, the nonprofit wanted to be able apply whatever solution we came up with to their other programs as well. They asked us to create a digital product of some kind that would enable the intended users of the programs’ content to continue reaping its benefits. Read moreRead More>

By Peter Hornsby

Published: February 24, 2014

“Working together at an Internet startup and trying to build software from PowerPoint and Visio wireframes and Word specifications, they decided that there had to be a better way, and Axure was born.”

Since 2003, Axure has been one of the go-to tools for prototyping designs—not only for UX designers, but for business analysts, product managers, and others, too. Victor Hsu and Martin Smith founded the company Axure in May 2002, in Berkeley, California. Before founding Axure, Victor was an electrical engineer turned software developer turned product manager, while Martin was an economist and self-taught hacker. Working together at an Internet startup and trying to build software from PowerPoint and Visio wireframes and Word specifications, they decided that there had to be a better way, and Axure was born.

As a longtime fan of Axure, I was delighted when Victor Hsu agreed to be interviewed for UXmatters.

Peter: Victor, thanks for your time today! How did you move from working in a startup to deciding to make solving the prototyping problem your obsession? Read moreRead More>

By Giovanni Calabro

Published: February 24, 2014

“As I entered the door to Best Buy, a man on their display screen reminded me to open my Best Buy app.”

Let’s start with a scenario: During the holiday season, I sat on my couch, searching for toys on Amazon using my tablet. Not a particularly stimulating activity, but a necessity nonetheless. I took a break from my research to read some details about the Canon 900 Speedlite flash. Much better.

Time was ticking, and I was getting nervous that Prime wouldn’t deliver on time, so off I went to Best Buy. I downloaded their app, input a few of the items I was interested in, and I was on my way. As I entered the door to Best Buy, a man on their display screen reminded me to open my Best Buy app. To my dismay, I didn’t see the toys I was looking for. But a saleswoman approached me with a tablet in hand, saying, “Hi Giovanni! We don’t have that doll you were looking for. Do you think some movies might do the trick? We have some in stock.” She tapped her tablet a few times and said, “I also noticed you’re interested in the Speedlite flash. Want to check it out?” Read moreRead More>

By Chris R. Becker

Published: February 24, 2014

“A growing number of jobs are going unfulfilled, and the skills that are necessary to fill them are shifting.”

In an increasingly fast-changing marketplace, where commerce and the Internet are indistinguishable from one another, a growing number of jobs are going unfulfilled, and the skills that are necessary to fill them are shifting. As a rule of thumb, consider that 60% of the jobs that will be prevalent in 10 years don’t yet exist.

Are educational institutions equipped to prepare UX designers for the workplace of the future as advances in technology outpace those in education? Should the UX community be pushing for levels of accreditation to verify that someone has the skills and education necessary to call himself or herself a UX designer? How can an employer ensure that a candidate meets their expectations for a role in user experience? Read moreRead More>

By Nathaniel Davis

Published: February 11, 2014

“It is … beneficial to adopt a compass that dictates what is good and right in information architecture—in essence, a professional compass for information architecture.”

In the social context of human engagement, there is a concept called a moral compass. A person’s moral compass generally guides one to do what is socially good and right. Exercising one’s moral compass offers reliable guidance for one’s future actions and decisions in ways that are holistically beneficial to society. For information architecture and UX design professionals who regularly tackle information architecture (IA) problems, it is equally beneficial to adopt a compass that dictates what is good and right in information architecture—in essence, a professional compass for information architecture.

In this column, I’ll demonstrate that, with an IA compass in place, expressing the value that information architecture delivers to a business becomes clearer. The IA compass that I’ll describe is absent of theoretical and technical rhetoric and focuses on a greater good. This greater good is one that is most likely to resonate with our business and marketing colleagues. While it is important that they acquire a general understand of information architecture, they are more interested in how information architecture fits into their business model and delivers value. Read moreRead More>

By Amanda Stockwell

Published: February 11, 2014

“Experienced and talented UX professionals had resumes and portfolios that had confusing layouts, failed to provide proper context for their work, prioritized work samples that did’t demonstrate their strengths or their passions, or just plain did’t demonstrate their capabilities.”

There’s an old saying that you should never trust a skinny chef. The sentiment behind this tongue-in-cheek reference to a chef’s inability to resist his own delicious food applies to most professions. Would you want to hire a mechanic with a broken car or a financial planner with loads of debt? Likely not. Nor would one be likely to hire a UX professional with a confusing resume or a lackluster portfolio.

Few people specialize in both user experience and job placement, but that’s my job. I’m primarily a UX research consultant, but I also review UX candidates for a talent agency—analyzing skill levels, providing portfolio feedback, and helping to determine what roles people would best fit. While I’ve met many qualified UX professionals, in some cases, I would have had no idea of their skills from reviewing their resumes and portfolios. Experienced and talented UX professionals had resumes and portfolios that had confusing layouts, failed to provide proper context for their work, prioritized work samples that did’t demonstrate their strengths or their passions, or just plain did’t demonstrate their capabilities. In short, these resumes and portfolios provided a poor user experience. Read moreRead More>

By Margie Coles and Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: February 11, 2014

“UX STRAT was a single-track conference, so all attendees shared the same conference experience.”—Pabini Gabriel-Petit

The first day of the main conference at the inaugural UX STRAT took place on September 10, 2013. UX STRAT was a single-track conference, so all attendees shared the same conference experience. The day kicked off at 9am and closed at 5:30pm. Paul Bryan’s welcome and opening remarks and closing comments bookended the day. Morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks gave attendees opportunities to network.

Keynote: What Does It Mean to Be Strategic?

Reviewer: Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Presenter: Nathan Shedroff

Day 1 of the conference opened strongly with an excellent keynote address by Nathan Shedroff, shown in Figure 1, who is Chair, MBA in Design Strategy, at California College of the Arts, author of several books on business and user experience, and has spoken at many international conferences. Read moreRead More>

By Nicki L. Davis

Published: February 11, 2014

“Demonstrating business value is a continual challenge for the UX community….”

Demonstrating business value is a continual challenge for the UX community, as Lis Hubert and Paul Callee noted in their recent series of articles on UXmatters. I’d like to contribute to the discussion about business value by presenting a case study that offers hard numbers on the business value of field studies:

  • a 50% reduction in project scope as a direct result of doing field studies
  • a 300% return on investment (ROI) for the time UX researchers spent on field studies

If you’re interested in learning more about the business value that field studies provide, read on. Read moreRead More>

By Serban Enache

Published: February 11, 2014

“Our core UX design challenge is making images searchable and browsable, so users can find what they need.”

How do you make it convenient for people to peruse over 17 million images and purchase the one they need? At Christmastime, our core UX design challenge is making images searchable and browsable, so users can find what they need. If content is not free, it had better be high quality and readily available.

To improve the user experience on Christmastime, we redesigned our search engine results page keeping three questions in mind:

  1. How can we use screen space more efficiently?
  2. How can we optimize search engine results pages (SERPs) for our stock photography business?
  3. How can we minimize the steps and distractions between arriving at the site and making a purchase?

In this article, I’ll describe how we answered those questions when redesigning Christmastime and share the key UX lessons that we learned from the experience. Read moreRead More>