May 21, 2019 Edition

Are You Really Ready to Grow Your Design Team?

May 21, 2019

Because the screen has become the primary touchpoint between companies and their customers, more organizations are ratcheting up their spending on design and bolstering their design teams. Recent years have seen a flurry of design M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) activity, with companies such as Salesforce, Verizon, Capital One, and many major consulting firms making a land grab for design talent. IBM has hired thousands of designers in its quest to become the world’s largest design company and reduce its designer to developer ratio from 1:72 to 1:8. Perhaps most telling of all, UX design is now the fifth most in-demand hard skill, according to recent LinkedIn data.

As someone who has worked in the design industry for nearly 20 years, I welcome these incredibly positive developments. However, it’s critical for both companies and design leaders to keep in mind that increasing headcount is not the only way to advance one’s design prowess. Read More

How to Hire Content Strategists

May 21, 2019

Recently, I scaled a content-strategy team from three to eight people. In the process of conducting dozens upon dozens of interviews, while involving various internal stakeholders, I quickly learned how to avoid some common pitfalls of hiring for strategic roles.

It’s challenging to hire for strategic roles—neither as easy nor as straightforward as hiring for other skill-based positions. Ultimately, you’re looking for a strategic thinker who understands UX principles and best practices. If you’re not asking the right questions, it’s all too easy for candidates to bluff their way into a content-strategy role by saying what superficially seem to be the right things, without providing enough substance to show their strategic thought process.

In sharing my tips for hiring content strategists in this article, I hope to help you avoid these common pitfalls so you can hire talented strategists who can hit the ground running. Read More

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Conference Review: Enterprise UX 2018, Part 3

May 21, 2019

In Part 1 of my Enterprise UX (EUX) 2018 review, I gave an overview of the conference and reviewed Jorge Arango’s very enjoyable “San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour.” Then, in Part 2, I shared some highlights from Day 1 of the main conference, which convened on Thursday, June 14, at the Mission Bay Conference Center, on the UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) Mission Bay campus. On Day 1, the BUILD theme was the focus in the morning; the COMMUNICATE theme, in the afternoon.

Now, in Part 3, I’ll cover some highlights from Day 2 of the main conference, Friday, June 15, whose sessions focused on the theme INVEST in the morning and the theme SCALE in the afternoon. Issues relating to investment and scalability are key factors in the success of User Experience within enterprise organizations. Read More

Book Review: How to Get People to Do Stuff

May 21, 2019

Cover: How to Get People to Do StuffSusan Weinschenk is known for her psychological approach to User Experience. She holds a PhD in Psychology, worked with Human Factors International, and created a following by portraying User Experience through the lens of brain science. Weinschenk is a well-known speaker and the author of several books that discuss the application of psychology to User Experience, including How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art and Science of Persuasion and Motivation.

In descriptions of User Experience, it is common to see phrases such as ease of use or removing friction. We often talk about reducing barriers to user goals. However, we can hypothesize that User Experience exists on a continuum, ranging from difficulty in achieving goals, to making things easier or even enjoyable for users, to pushing users toward a specific outcome, as shown in Figure 1. Read More

Reflections on Our Journey So Far

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
May 21, 2019

This is the 125th edition of our Ask UXmatters column! Thanks to our readers for being part of this anniversary. I am also very grateful to the many wonderful colleagues who have contributed to this column since our eleven-year journey began in 2008, and I look forward to collaborating on many more columns with them. Thank you all!

Today’s column is a look back over some of the many topics we have covered in Ask UXmatters thus far, as well as some of the changes we’ve observed in the industry over the years. The UX professions have evolved significantly, as have the business contexts in which we work. Read More

May 06, 2019 Edition

A Design Language for Touch, Gesture, and Motion

Mobile Matters

Designing for every screen

A column by Steven Hoober
May 6, 2019

Prototyping is a form of digital sketching. Whenever you need to develop, depict, or demonstrate motion, gestures, scrolling, or other interactions, you need to prototype.

But people can’t look at a prototype and determine at a glance how it works. Many prototyping tools have no useful inspection mode, so people can’t take apart an existing prototype to find out how it works or emulate it—unlike the bad, old method of measuring and slicing Photoshop comps to create a static user interface (UI).

To make sure a product gets built right, you need to write everything down and draw it out. You need to create design specifications. Read More

Project Estimation, Part 2: Creating a Scoping and Estimating Tool

May 6, 2019

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced my idea for a scoping and estimating tool that emphasizes transparency, puts the customer in control, and focuses on the work outcomes for piecework rather than hourly rates. Now, in Part 2, I’ll present a tutorial for creating this tool, while providing some theory on crafting a service business.

To build an estimation tool that meets your own needs, follow these steps:

  • Identify the services you’ll provide.
  • Perform a time-and-motion study for delivering each of these services.
  • Quantize and assign a price to each of your deliverables. (I use the term quantize to refer to the process of converting the value of a deliverable from an hourly rate to a discrete unit of work.)
  • Build a spreadsheet that includes each quantized element.
  • Refine the spreadsheet as necessary. Read More

Lessons on Visualization from the Industrial Environment

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

A column by Jonathan Walter
May 6, 2019

Picture this: You’re in a windowless room, bathed in sterile, fluorescent lighting. A rattling HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling) system is pumping in recycled air from above. You’re sitting in front of multiple, large-monitor displays—which may not be positioned ergonomically—studying complex, graphic visualizations for any problems that may reveal themselves. These could be simple nuisances or present potential dangers to human lives. You’re working a long shift today—twelve hours to be exact. While you may get the occasional break, you’re otherwise rooted to your chair. You must try not to miss anything important.

This scenario isn’t fiction. It’s a reality for many employees who work in operational control rooms. While automation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) have, in many ways, eased the burdens of humans who monitor complex operations, offloading much of the work to artificial intelligence, humans are still a critical part of the process. And, as we all know, humans are not infallible. We grow tired. We begin to daydream. We become distracted. Read More

The Show Must Go On

Practical Usability

Moving toward a more usable world

A column by Jim Ross
May 6, 2019

A lot of time, effort, and expense goes into planning user research, recruiting research participants, and scheduling user-research sessions. To prepare for user research, you must do the following:

  • A project manager prepares a contract for the client.
  • The client signs the contract.
  • The project manager sets firm dates for the research sessions and subsequent project activities and documents them in a project plan.
  • Someone books a research facility for those dates.
  • A recruiter screens and schedules participants.
  • A UX researcher plans the research activities.
  • Everyone on the team travels to the research facility.
  • Participants begin traveling to the research facility for their scheduled sessions. Read More

Getting Shared Value from Design Systems

May 6, 2019

“Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”—Steve Jobs

With the emergence of Node-based technologies such as React and Angular have come new opportunities for both UX designers and developers to leverage design systems to enhance their application user experiences. This article aims to help those of you who are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of using design systems and component libraries for your application.

Consider the scenario of a Web application that is being designed using a Material Design style, which could be built to specifications for one device, serving one operation, or could perform significantly differently under other conditions, in another context. When you consider the variances in how user interactions function, the value of leveraging a design system starts to pay returns as front-end development teams build out component libraries at scale, yet performance teams may also find variances in the user experience that are worth researching. Read More