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July 19, 2021 Edition

The Future of UX Design

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
July 19, 2021

In this special sesquicentennial (150th) edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel ponders the future of UX design. Our panelists discuss the sustainability of the discipline of User Experience, specialization in the UX professions, required skills for UX designers, the value of T-Shaped people; merging the best practices of Product Management, User Experience, and Engineering; sharing the ownership of User Experience, the growing importance of design as strategy, user experiences of future technologies—including interacting with our environments—and how all of this can help us create a better world.

I want to thank the many UX experts who have contributed to Ask UXmatters since its first edition, “Choosing the Language for a User Interface,” in November 2008. We have covered a wide variety of UX topics since then, including strategy, user research, design validation, working with stakeholders, agile and Lean methodologies, systems engineering and interrelated systems, and artificial intelligence. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the field of User Experience since 2008. This column would not be a success without the time and efforts of our more than 100 expert-panel members, from six of the world’s seven continents. Thanks to the many readers of Ask UXmatters as well. I sincerely hope that this column helps you to advance and grow in our field. Read More

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UX Paradise, Part 3: A Day in UX Paradise

July 19, 2021

In this article, I’ll describe a typical day in the life of Huxley, the UX manager at Delta Market, an organization that is at the highest level of UX maturity, and explain how functioning at this high level of UX maturity affects Delta Market’s employees—in particular its UX professionals. The purpose of this article is to encourage discussion and to help organizations define their UX vision and set goals for their UX development.

This article is the third in my four-part series “UX Paradise,” which relates the journey of the fictitious Delta Market toward UX maturity. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the company’s state circa 2012 and presented personas for their team, as well as their UX maturity model. In Part 2, I chronicled their journey from the lowest to the highest level of UX maturity—from the UX Swamp to UX Paradise—outlining the steps that Delta took to change the organization and its UX culture. Read More


What Is a Normal Level of Innovation Risk?

Selling UX

A unique perspective on service UX

A column by Baruch Sachs
July 19, 2021

Normal is an odd word, one that has taken on new meaning in these days of a global pandemic. As I write this column, there are some parts of the world that are seeing light at the end of the tunnel, while other parts are firmly entrenched in the darkness. Many of us are currently engaging in introspection about what we want to do with our life, our career, and what challenges we need to face. At such a time as this, the topics of risk and innovation are coming up more than usual. Plus, I’m seeing massive confusion about what innovation actually is.

Innovation is a differentiator, a way to make great things happen. But how can we go about innovating as we crawl out of the pandemic we’ve faced over the last 18 months and will continue to deal with for some months into the future? How can we apply and scale all the innovating we have actually done during these past long months? What lessons have we learned? How can we ensure that innovation is still the main driver of our success? Read More


Change Management of the Product Experience, Part 2

July 19, 2021

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I described some challenges that companies have in managing their customers’ experience as their software products evolve. These are not uncommon problems, nor are they easy challenges to overcome.

In my experience, developers of legacy software that are working to grow their platform are generally the furthest behind the curve. If, in general, they have dealt with change management in a piece-meal fashion, they are bound to face a sobering reality at some point. These companies also have existing customers who have contributed to and have a vested interest in the legacy software. Plus, they need to onboard new customers on the legacy system who may struggle with the legacy software and want improvements. This situation can present a wicked problem that puts a company in a perpetual technical tug of war. Read More


Book Review: Org Design for Design Orgs

July 19, 2021

Cover: Org Design for Design OrgsAs the strategic business value of design as a methodology gains recognition, so has the importance of the structure and leadership of Design teams. In fact, I describe my own career as having started out with my designing Web sites, then digital solutions, then systems, and finally, designing business models and teams.

Fortunately, many business schools and thought leaders within the UX community have recognized the importance of the structure and leadership of Design teams. We see this in discussions that focus on topics such as soft skills or the UX maturity of organizations, as well as in a number of books that focus on the management of Design teams and an increasing number of business writings that discuss design. Read More

July 05, 2021 Edition

Task Flows and the Process of Designing Interactions

Mobile Matters

Designing for every screen

A column by Steven Hoober
July 5, 2021

In my job as a UX design consultant, I work with any number of organizations—and often with their in-house designers. This means one of my biggest consulting duties is explaining myself. Why is something a good idea, or what is the best way to approach a task or problem. I derive the subjects of most of my columns directly from my work. The most common occurrence for me is that I’ve typed a long explanation of a process or created a design pattern for a client organization, and I realize that I’m repeating the same work for others. So, if I can generalize something, I try to share it.

A few years back, for this column, I wrote a series on what I called design tools, covering software, deliverables, and design methods that I commonly used. Lately, my six-year-old column “Tools for Mobile UX Design: Task Flows” has been coming up in discussions about this topic. While it’s not truly out of date, and I still agree with everything it says, it was a bit broad and offered almost too many options. So let’s dive into this topic again, and I’ll discuss some very specific tactics that really help organizations of all sorts get a handle on the design of interactions. Read More


How to Design for Non-native English Speakers

Business of Design

Learnings from design projects

A column by Manik Arora
July 5, 2021

The definition of design is continually changing and evolving—at least in the public’s perception. But design will forever remain a problem-solving process. As a design community, we have always designed for a global audience, for which English is their first language. But, today, we must think about designing for the next billion people. As we progressively focus more and more on inclusive design and diverse cultures, we must accept that 98% of the population are not native English speakers. Designing for this broader audience has become an imperative.

For designers, communication is a key facet of everything we create. The entire design process is predicated on systems requiring clear communication between clients, stakeholders, teams, and users. The language barrier seems bigger than ever when we’re designing for an audience with whom we don’t share a common language. In this column, I’ll discuss some common challenges that you’ll confront when designing for an audience of users who aren’t proficient in English. I’ll also share my tried-and-tested strategies for solving this problem. Read More


The State of UX Design Education, Part 3: The Future of Design Education

July 5, 2021

This is Part 3 of my three-part series on the state of UX design education. In Part 1, I discussed the role of undergraduate education in User Experience, looking at arts and sciences programs versus design programs. In Part 2, I reviewed graduate degree and certificate programs. Now, in Part 3, I’ll look at the future of User Experience. Based on self-reported data from UX professionals and industry trends, I’ll consider what hard and soft skills will be most in demand. I’ll also provide my professional take on where User Experience could and should grow, both in the near term and the future. Read More


Elements of the Employee Experience: The Interview

July 5, 2021

With this article, we’ll kick off our new series about the employee experience, exploring the current state of various elements of the employee experience (EX) that people encounter at work, implications for the acquisition and retention of talent by organizations, and our vision for what the future holds for the employee experience.

In this series, we’ll explore some emerging workplace trends within the context of hybrid work arrangements, including both work contexts that are on site, within an office, and remote-work contexts. The impact of the global pandemic on the way we work has made these topics more important than ever. The employee-experience element in focus in this first installment of our series is The Interview. Read More


The Role of UX: 2020 Benchmark Study Report and Analysis

July 5, 2021

UXmatters and the UX research consultancy User Fountain recently teamed up to survey UX professionals around the world on the role of User Experience within their organization. The Role of UX: 2020 Benchmark Study explores UX roles, tools, methods, and organizational structures, as well as organizations’ various levels of UX maturity.

Our analysis of the survey’s findings explores three key themes:

  1. How did the work of UX teams change in 2020? What impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on these teams and their work?
  2. What might 2021 bring for UX professionals?
  3. What impact has User Experience had on organizations?

Finally, we’ll take a look at the UX professionals who participated in our survey—particularly their role within their organization—and the UX community resources on which they rely. Read More