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

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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

February 05, 2024 Edition

Tackling the Social Costs of the Digital Divide

Envisioning New Horizons

A critical look at UX design practice

A column by Silvia Podesta
February 5, 2024

My mum decided that we had to fill out our family’s income-tax returns online, on the Tax Agency’s Web site, and from that moment on, my dad had to confront the daunting practicalities of obtaining his own digital identity. This entailed his making a Web call to a service provider to get his identity verified by a human agent. Seeing my dad struggling with this unknown medium, engaging in a type of interaction that felt completely cringey to him, was touching and somehow a bit funny, too. It struck me that he just couldn’t make himself look at the person on the screen. Instead, he invariably turned around to look at me, where I was standing silent and out of view—given the legal requirements of the online verification—but ready to provide assistance during the procedure.

To be fair, my eighty-year-old dad is quite comfortable tinkering with his smartphone and proficient in carrying out the tasks that matter to him—for example, texting his loved ones, looking up information online, or perusing a Web shop. However, other tasks that are novel for him often come with unexpected hurdles and the risk of failure. A case in point: his identity verification failed. Read More

From Surface to Core: The Uncharted Path of Domain Expertise in UX

February 5, 2024

Well-established UX design patterns, laws, and rules form the foundation of our profession. Foundational principles steer our design decisions and offer scaffolding for our design processes. These tools and techniques make up our toolkit. In contrast, domain expertise provides the blueprint, which gives us the context, depth, and understanding to use our design tools effectively. For example, the design of a healthcare app requires knowledge of healthcare protocols, while designing a finance tool demands financial expertise.

This article emphasizes the significance of domain expertise in UX design, positioning it as essential for informed decision-making, efficient communication, and enhanced user empathy. Any UX designer who lacks domain knowledge faces significant challenges during the discovery phase, highlighting the need for designers to adapt quickly to new industries. It also outlines a strategic learning plan for acquiring domain expertise, with a focus on identifying knowledge gaps, useful learning approaches, and the efficient creation of documentation. Read More

Achieving Harmony: Balancing Business Goals and the User Experience in Design

February 5, 2024

In the intricate world of technology, the role of the UX designer involves a delicate balancing act, demanding constant alignment between two goals: creating exceptional user experiences and meeting the strategic objectives of the business. This challenge is central to our work because achieving this balance lies at the heart of UX design for technology.

The Challenge: Achieving Business Goals and User Satisfaction

As UX designers, our aim is to craft user experiences that seamlessly resonate with users’ needs. Achieving this goal involves creating product user interfaces and navigation systems that are easy to learn, easy to use, and provide delightful interactions. Our ultimate goal? To step into the users’ shoes and design the best possible experiences for them. Read More

Revolutionizing Usability Testing with Machine Learning

February 5, 2024

Usability testing has long been a cornerstone of the design and development of software products, ensuring that user interfaces meet the needs and expectations of users. Traditionally, the testing process has relied heavily on human insights, often involving UX research methods such as usability studies, A/B testing, user interviews, and surveys. But these approaches, while effective, are time consuming and often limited in their scope and scalability.

Enter the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies are revolutionizing the field of usability testing, offering new dimensions of efficiency and accuracy. Through the integration of usability testing with AI and ML, the software industry is witnessing a paradigm shift from conventional, manual testing to more sophisticated, data-driven approaches. Machine learning—with its ability to analyze vast amounts of user data and learn from user interactions—is not just enhancing usability testing; it’s reshaping it. AI and ML are also empowering product teams to create more personalized user experiences and making software more user centric than ever before. Read More

Visual Hierarchy: Making User Experiences Easier to Understand

February 5, 2024

When users interact with a digital product, its visual design guides them in knowing what to do next. Prominently placed banner images draw their eye, and the design of call-to-action (CTA) buttons lets users know that they are clickable.

A key component of mindful UX design, visual hierarchy is instrumental in making user experiences as easy to learn and use as people expect them to be. UX designers often use visual-hierarchy frameworks to arrange design elements and place elements in a user interface. Logic, user expectations, and common best practices support this design process. In this article, I’ll describe the main features of visual hierarchy and explore how it helps make user experiences both more functional and more delightful for users. Read More