June 11, 2018 Edition

Empathy and UX: You Can’t Have One Without the Other

June 11, 2018

If there’s one term that’s front-and-center in business right now, it’s empathy. Empathy is capturing headlines and executives’ attention alike—especially as it relates to a company’s overall mission and customer service. But there’s a key aspect of business for which empathy is a cornerstone and that’s User Experience—the science of heightening the quality of your customers’ interactions with and appreciation of your product. The focus of User Experience is on gaining a deep understanding of users—what they need, what they value, and their abilities and limitations.

Before we dive into how User Experience and empathy power one another, let’s take a look at each of them separately to understand why they’re essential to business. Read More

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4 Tips for Handling a Product Owner Who Is Nervous About UX Research

June 11, 2018

Have you ever worked with a product owner who has never collaborated with UX researchers before? Or a product owner who is fearful of or even hostile to your conducting research for his product? How do you educate a product owner on the value of UX research and reassure him or her that you’re not coming in to issue orders?

A product owner could feel threatened that a UX researcher—who might not know the ins and outs of the product that well—would be evaluating the product and recommending future actions, features, and strategies. As a UX researcher, empathy and communication are two of your most important tools—and working with a new product owner is a great opportunity to leverage them. It’s important to consider things from the product owner’s point of view and alleviate any concerns through clear communication. Read More

Connecting the Dots to Create Magic at the Intersections

June 11, 2018

When I was a young boy growing up in Melbourne in the 1970s, I often looked up into the vastness of space and all the stars in the night sky. I reflected on our place in the universe and considered our connections to all the possible planets and life forms that were out there beyond our vision. Possibilities we could only wonder about, not fully understand.

As time has marched on, the practice of seeing connections between things has been a constant throughout my life and work. It is important to develop the ability to see the connections and consider both the good and the challenging relationships between objects, people, and places—as well as the interactions that happen at the intersections in between. Read More

User Research Within Budget

June 11, 2018

The project lead shared his estimate for the development of the proposed API: 21 business days with four resources. The project requirements were to migrate the features and functionality of a legendary network-monitoring application to a new Web-based application.

The initial project meeting started with an analysis of each of the existing features, during which the team discussed them in detail. When the discussion moved to a feature relating to a Network Monitoring widget, the product owner was very keen to enhance the feature. He believed it would be one of their key selling points once the product launched. Even promotional activities would focus on this feature. So he proposed some concepts for enhancing this feature and had an in-depth discussion regarding them with the marketing and sales teams and technical managers. The project team came up with an estimate of the effort necessary to meet the product owner’s expectations. Read More

The 9 Best A/B Testing Tools: How Using Them Can Improve Your User Experience

June 11, 2018

It’s important for Web site visitors to be able to easily and comfortably find what they’re looking for. A better user experience translates into better conversion rates, as well as happier visitors and customers.

You can use A/B testing tools to support these goals. A/B testing is about putting multiple versions of a page up on a Web site and comparing their performance. How you measure performance is up to you. You can prioritize conversions, downloads, or some measure of user experience such as engagement, time on site, or user satisfaction.

In other words, A/B testing doesn’t have to be just about sales and conversions. As long as you have something to measure, A/B testing is a tactic you can use to support your goals for improving a Web site’s user experience. Read More

May 28, 2018 Edition

UX Research: Facing Ambiguity Head On


Insights from UX research

A column by Michael Morgan
May 28, 2018

When we do early-phase UX research, we dream of getting clear-cut results from the data we collect. That everything will come together neatly. But, often, our research findings end up being less obvious than we’d like them to be. This ambiguity makes deciphering our research findings and defining a product strategy challenging. As UX researchers, which results and recommendations should we present to stakeholders? Will they miss out on something important if we don’t share all of our findings with them? Which results should we deemphasize? How can we navigate the ambiguity that can result from formative UX research?

In this column, I’ll provide some key strategies for how to handle the ambiguity that comes with analyzing qualitative data from formative UX research. As much as we try to remain unbiased and rely on the actual evidence that we’ve gathered during our research sessions, we may sometimes talk ourselves into taking a side when presenting our findings and recommendations. How can we double-check our motives and ensure that we do right by our product stakeholders—even if that might mean delivering bad news to our product team? Read More

Making the Shift from Designing GUIs to Designing VUIs

May 28, 2018

It’s a great time to be a voice user interface (VUI) designer. Voice user interfaces are becoming more and more common in our daily lives. To ensure great user experiences, it’s crucial that designers lead the way in this space.

Many visual designers and interaction designers who are interested in becoming VUI designers are well placed to switch from designing more traditional graphic user interfaces (GUIs) to designing VUIs. Although all UX design disciplines share certain principles, there are some things about VUI design that differ from GUI design for Web or mobile apps. In this article, I’ll cover the main things you should keep in mind when designing VUIs. Read More

Creating a UX Team within a Large Enterprise

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
May 28, 2018

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses the challenges of creating a UX team within a large, established company and how to overcome them. These challenges differ somewhat depending on whether you’re creating a new UX team within an organization that has already adopted User Experience or you’re creating the first UX team within an organization that has been slow to adopt User Experience. Because the latter is more challenging, many of our experts have focused their advice on the overcoming the challenges of establishing User Experience within a large enterprise.

Our experts also consider some of the organizational challenges that confront UX teams within large enterprises that lack adequate UX resources. Addressing these challenges is largely a matter of adequate hiring and optimal organization. Read More

Measuring Usability in a Lean Assembly Environment

May 28, 2018

Many well-known technologists have embraced the potential of augmented reality (AR). According to Tim Cook, Apple CEO, “We’re already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect, and learn. Put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever.” Although an AR future sounds promising, the question remains: What real problems have we actually solved using AR? While people are chasing an augmented Pikachu around the globe, could AR disrupt an entire industry?

As UX professionals at an AR startup, our focus was on leveraging technology to create more efficient methods of performing enterprise-related tasks. One such task was the lean assembly of complex products. Could the use of AR measurably improve this process? As our workforce ages, could AR play a vital role in the transfer of knowledge from experienced workers to novices? Finally, is it possible that this emerging technology could eliminate entry-level workers’ production errors? We attempted to answer these questions by conducting an experiment. Our objective was to gather quantifiable data to investigate whether AR work instructions on a head-mounted display (HMD) would improve key usability metrics. In comparison to standard, paper-based, exploded-view work instructions, could AR improve the assembly of an automotive alternator in a lean assembly environment? Read More

Designing for Emotion

May 28, 2018

This is a sample chapter from Aarron Walter’s book Designing for Emotion. 2011, A Book Apart.

Chapter 2: Designing for Humans

Cover: Designing for EmotionWe humans are complex beings, and can be difficult to design for. We all have distinct personalities, emotional baggage, and unique dispositions, so how can we design something that can appeal to such wide-ranging perspectives?

Beneath disparate personalities and perspectives lie universal psychology principles common to all humans. These principles are invaluable tools in our quest to design for emotion. In this chapter, we’ll explore the psychological firmware we share and establish a foundation on which we can build emotional design strategies. Read More