March 04, 2024 Edition

Conversational AI Search Engines: Implications for Usability and the User Experience

Envisioning New Horizons

A critical look at UX design practice

A column by Silvia Podesta
March 4, 2024

In February 2024, Fast Company [1] reported on the rise of conversational AI search engines. Large language models (LLM) power these tools, which can answer users’ questions by retrieving and summarizing information from the Internet.

Since the rise of generative AI, several conversational AI search applications have cropped up online. Academic and scientific research is spearheading a wave of experimentation in this field. [2] Frenzied enthusiasm exists around what seems to be a new way of searching for content that provides an alternative to the Google model of search to which we’ve all become accustomed. Read More

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Designing for Mobile Accessibility: Enhancing the User Experience on Small Screens

March 4, 2024

In the span of just a few years, mobile devices have gone from being useful gadgets to essential lifelines. They seamlessly bridge the gap between the physical and digital realms, making information and services readily accessible to their users at all times. And yet, our appreciation of this convenience often overlooks a crucial aspect of the user experience: mobile accessibility. It’s vital to understand that designing for mobile isn’t just about aesthetics or functionality; it’s about inclusivity.

However, designing for small screens comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. Designing for the reduced screen real estate of mobile devices demands both creativity and precision. Every pixel counts, and every interaction matters. Mobile design is a balancing act between functionality and simplicity, in which the goal is to create a user experience that is easy to use for all. Read More

Fostering Inclusive Design in Industrial Automation, Part 2

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

March 4, 2024

In Part 1 of this series, we defined inclusive design and acknowledged its ever-growing impact, including on industrial automation. We then described inclusive design challenges in industrial automation and previewed how we solve them. Now, in Part 2, we’ll delve more deeply into a few of these design solutions, focusing on the following efforts:

  • considering diverse human factors in designing hardware
  • evolving our terminology to be more inclusive
  • weaving accessibility into our common design system

We now plan to extend this series to three parts. In Part 3, we’ll cover some additional activities and solutions that merit their own column. Read More

Harnessing the Power of User-Generated Content in eCommerce

March 4, 2024

In the world of ecommerce, creating a seamless, highly engaging user experience is paramount. One thing that can significantly enhance the user experience is user-generated content (UGC). UGC encompasses a wide range of content, including customer reviews, photos, videos, and social-media interactions, all of which can transform the way users interact with an online store. In this article, I’ll explore how ecommerce companies can harness UGC to create more captivating and trustworthy ecommerce experiences.

The Trust Factor

In the world of ecommerce, trust is the foundation of every successful transaction, and user-generated content is the linchpin of trust-building. This is particularly true of customer reviews, which offer unfiltered, authentic insights that come directly from customers and serve as invaluable social proof that instills confidence in potential buyers. Read More

Achieving Design Collegiality While Maintaining Psychological Safety

March 4, 2024

Creating a collaborative, inclusive atmosphere on a Design team is essential to promoting psychological safety and the mental well-being of all team members. This requires fostering open communication and mutual respect, while developing a harmonious, supportive ambiance that encourages creativity and originality.

Cultivating a safe space in which colleagues can freely share their ideas and perspectives and take risks requires offering constructive criticism in a nonjudgmental environment. By cultivating the values of collaboration, you can enhance team dynamics, elevate team morale, and ultimately, propel successful design projects. Read More

February 19, 2024 Edition

Spatial Computing: A New Paradigm of Interaction

Conscious Experience Design

Designing for the evolving human+machine relationship

A column by Ken Olewiler
February 19, 2024

As UX designers, along with the rest of the world today, we’re hyperaware of the impact and momentum of generative artificial intelligence (AI)—so much so that we’re now wondering whether people might be focusing so much on a few trees that they’re forgetting to consider the forest. Allow me to explain. While AI is undeniably a sea change in computing, it ultimately represents a much broader revolution in which technology is becoming more human centric and human conscious. Essentially, technology is now learning to adapt to people, as opposed to people needing to learn and adapt to new technologies.

As part of this shift, technology is expanding not only its cognitive abilities but also its sensory, social, and ethical capabilities. Within the expansion of technology’s sensory abilities, we’re seeing advancements and growth in spatial computing. Spatial context and movement within three-dimensional spaces are core human-sensory abilities, and thus, likely new growth areas in humanizing machine interactions. Spatial computing has emerged as one of the most compelling paradigms that are melding with AI—so compelling that we can consider it the third wave of interactions in personal computing. Read More

7 Effective Ways to Craft Compelling Problem Statements for UX Design

February 19, 2024

In the realm of UX design, crafting an effective problem statement is a crucial first step toward creating innovative, user-centric design solutions. A problem statement serves as the foundation for the entire design process. It helps UX designers to understand users’ needs and serves as a compass that guides designers through an intricate maze of user needs, frustrations, and aspirations. Understanding your user’s needs is essential to successfully addressing their painpoints.

In this article, I’ll define what a problem statement is and explore six effective ways of crafting compelling problem statements for UX design. Read More

Fostering a Collaborative Onboarding Team to Design Better Onboarding Experiences

The Onboarding Experience

Mastering the art of user onboarding

A column by Himanshu Sharma
February 19, 2024

A good onboarding team brings together people with many different talents, as follows:

  • planners—Product managers map out the user journey and UX designers design the experience.
  • UX designers—This team makes the onboarding process visually appealing and easy to understand and use.
  • writers—They craft clear instructions and helpful messages.
  • user researchers—This team endeavors to understand what users need and how they feel about the onboarding process.
  • customer-support representatives—These people work directly with users to help them if they get stuck.
  • data analysts—They track the ways in which users interact with the onboarding process.
  • technology developers—This team builds the actual onboarding tools and features.
  • project manager—This person oversees the entire onboarding project and makes sure everything works well together.

When everyone works together collaboratively to help new users get started, they can create a smooth, friendly experience for new users. They talk regularly with each other, share common goals, and follow the same plan, enabling them to adjust things throughout the project, as necessary, and make the users’ first experience even better. Read More

The AI Advantage: How UX Designers Can Transform Challenges into Opportunities

February 19, 2024

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and UX design is currently among the hottest technology topics. AI has the power to completely change how we use digital tools and services, opening up new avenues for development and innovation. It also poses several difficulties for product developers and UX designers, who must negotiate the intricate and quickly changing field of AI technology.

AI is driving UX design changes in this era of digitalization when automation and process optimization are important objectives. The development of AI technologies and neural networks is causing profound changes in many areas of our lives. Design is by no means an exception. UX design is inextricably linked to the story of digitalization and automation. Achieving efficiencies through automation is king, and AI is driving this trend forward. Read More

How to Design an Accessible Web Site for People with Color-Deficient Vision

February 19, 2024

Modern Web design frequently relies on the strategic use of color to communicate information effectively. For instance, red might signify an error or a value missing from a field, while green is often associated with success. While these color-coded cues enhance the user experience for the majority of users, they pose significant challenges to the 300 million individuals globally with color deficits.

In this article, I’ll explain the importance of crafting color-accessible Web sites and explore some practical tips on designing Web sites that are friendly to individuals who have some form of color-deficient vision. Read More