August 03, 2020 Edition

Building Narrative into Your User Interface, Part 2

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

A column by Jonathan Walter
August 3, 2020

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I described how building narrative into a user interface (UI) helps users to better comprehend its workflows, navigational cues, and calls to action (CTAs) because humans are hardwired to respond to stories—not to complex systems. I described the following techniques for intentionally creating narrative in a user interface:

  • imposing sequence
  • using parallel structure
  • highlighting one-off elements
  • foreshadowing things to come
  • culling or relocating backstory

Now, in Part 2, I’ll pick up the story where I left off—pun intended—and present the following techniques:

  • invoking appropriate consequences
  • reinforcing themes
  • maintaining a consistent tone
  • providing clear orientation clues Read More

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New Realities: Mobile VR Design

August 3, 2020

Statista predicts that, by 2022, virtual reality (VR) will make more than $80 million a year in headsets alone. Over the past few years, top companies such as Microsoft, HTC, Facebook, and Google have been the primary adopters of VR technology. But now, virtual reality is becoming mainstream, with small and medium companies in multiple industries embracing the technology.

What companies’ adoption of virtual reality means for UX designers is that VR design is transitioning from a rare innovation to a must-have service. Design teams must get up to speed on ideating and executing VR projects. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on a stream of potential projects. In this article, I’ll give you a full overview of how to get started with designing VR experiences, from gaining a theoretical understanding to taking practical steps. Let’s go! Read More

Writing an Explainer-Video Script for Your UX Consultancy

August 3, 2020

Being an independent UX consultant is a complex, yet rewarding job. But just as with every other business, it has its pros and cons. What are the pros? Being a consultant gives you flexibility—you can choose to work on projects that you’re passionate about and you are your own boss. The cons: you’re also your own sales team, so if you want new projects, you’ll have to promote yourself.

Every company in the world needs to sell, and freelance consultants and small design agencies are not exceptions. But being a UX professional gives you a great advantage: you already know how to identify your target audience and create an ideal experience for them. Read More

User Fountain’s 2020 Usability-Testing Industry Report

August 3, 2020

In May 2020, User Fountain conducted a study of the usability-testing industry to research digital professionals’ attitudes and opinions and learn how companies are managing usability testing and user research, as well as the challenges within the space.

For the study, User Fountain recruited 55 digital professionals, who work across a range of industries. The majority of respondents were working in a UX role (58%), but other roles included digital, conversion optimization, user research, design, product, sales, and insights. In this article, I’ll summarize the key findings of the study. Read More

Mobile App UX Design Process

August 3, 2020

As our development team at Cleveroad has worked to perfect our internal processes over time, we have changed and adapted our workflow to be more effective and convenient—for both our clients and our team. We’ve paid huge attention to our UX design process, too. We follow agile principles. Each stage of the process is vital, but flexible, to accommodate changes and ensure we test our ideas.

In this article, I’ll describe how the UX design process for mobile apps looks within our software-development company—what steps we take, what people we involve, and how our clients help us. I’ll also share some UX research and design tips that should be helpful to beginners. Read More

July 20, 2020 Edition

Creating Low-Fidelity or High-Fidelity Prototypes, Part 1

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
July 20, 2020

This month in Ask UXmatters, the UX professionals on our panel of experts begin their discussion of the various factors they consider when deciding whether to create low-fidelity or high-fidelity design deliverables or prototypes. Both levels of fidelity can be useful at different stages of a project, for product teams using different methods of development, and for different audiences and purposes.

In looking at these factors in detail, our experts consider how a prototype’s intended audience, intention, and project constraints all play key roles in determining which type of prototype to create. Read More

Book Review: The Jobs To Be Done Playbook


Insights from UX research

A column by Michael Morgan
July 20, 2020

Cover: The Jobs to Be Done PlaybookIn this edition of Discovery, I’ll review Jim Kalbach’s recently published book, The Jobs To Be Done Playbook: Align Your Markets, Organizations, and Strategy Around Customer Needs. If you know nothing or everything about jobs-to-be-done, I’ll provide enough information in this review for you to decide whether this book is right for you.

In addition to authoring two other UX books—Designing Web Navigation and Mapping Experiences—Jim Kalbach is a well-known speaker at UX conferences and workshop moderator. He is also Head of Customer Experience at Mural, a software company that develops digital collaboration tools for organizations. Read More

Book Review: The Lean Product Playbook

July 20, 2020

Cover: The Lean Product PlaybookOver the last several years, I’ve noticed a shift in the adoption of User Experience within organizations. This is encouraging, but might also require UX professionals to consider the skills and the roles that we bring to product teams. There are two key factors that are now impacting the way UX professionals work with product teams.

First is the adoption of new project-management methods, as well as the integration of UX deliverables into those methods. Early in my career, most software and Web projects followed a waterfall methodology, which is still common in manufacturing industries. The difficulty I frequently encountered with this approach was that it rarely allowed sufficient time for the integration of new knowledge. UX research often got squeezed out because it didn’t directly add business value. Often, from the beginning of a project, a product team essentially had to know exactly what they would deliver at the end of the project. The team’s inability to deviate from the original plan undermined the iterative nature of most UX design approaches. Read More

When and How to Resume Face-to-Face Research After COVID-19

July 20, 2020

No one in user research or the UX industry expects the government to declare that user-research facilities are now open—in the same way the hospitality sector received such a notification. So we decided to conduct a study to get insights from UK research participants on when going back to face-to-face user-research sessions would be acceptable to them and whether they think face-to-face research would be safe—or whether trying to go back to normality would even be the right thing to do right away.

Therefore, our research focused on three core areas:

  1. How to make UX research facilities safe
  2. Whether inviting participants to take part in face-to-face research would change their opinion of our clients’ organization and brand
  3. How comfortable British people would feel about returning to in-person research  Read More

Optimizing Information Design

July 20, 2020

In today’s world, establishing a compelling online presence is an essential factor in growing any business. When designing a Web site, focus on the impact your design can have on the people who would actually visit and use it. Balance aesthetics and functionality to deliver the best possible user experience. Information design plays a crucial role in the design of any Web site.

What is information design? It is the presentation of information in a way that enables readers to easily understand and use it. Information design can ensure the clarity of any message you want to deliver to your audience. Information design can help people to understand whatever type of information they are consuming—including complex data, tables, figures, and instructions—by making it clear and engaging. Good information design transmits information in ways that enable your audience to more easily absorb it. Information design involves much more than just visual design. Read More