January 10, 2022 Edition

Filling UX Skills Gaps in an Increasingly Cloud-based World, Part 1

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

A column by Jonathan Walter
January 10, 2022

Someone recently asked me what UX roles and positions companies such as Rockwell Automation should invest in, as they evolve their business strategy to focus on SaaS (Software as a Service) and cloud-based services. My immediate thought: we first need to consider what skills will be necessary to support this change, because focusing too much on roles and positions tends to skew people’s mindsets toward staffing and recruiting before they’ve considered the user value they must deliver and the business outcomes they need to achieve.

Nevertheless, the question was certainly a valid one that I’ve wrestled with over the past several months, as we’ve been preparing to expand our UX teams and capabilities to meet the demands of an evolving industry with new customer expectations. Now, after having had some time to mull over this question, I’ve concluded that companies on paths that are similar to Rockwell’s should bolster and invest in the following skills over the course of the next couple of years:

  • UX strategy
  • service design
  • UX writing  Read More

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The Importance of Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Belonging in the Workplace

January 10, 2022

“We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it.”—Michio Kaku

Inclusiveness, diversity, and belonging in the workplace have become essential parts of a ubiquitous, ever-present ideology for organizations. Diversity and inclusion are quickly moving to the top of organizations’ lists of priorities because of the value they add. Not only do they contribute to creating a happier, more discretionary, and productive workforce, they also improve the organizations’ financial performance, as multiple studies have reported.

Still, one of the biggest challenges we face today is creating a diverse and inclusive environment for the workforce. Achieving true diversity and inclusion takes more than a training video or a session about being polite to coworkers. Many reputed organizations have been taking measures across multiple fronts—including hiring, promotions, opportunities, behavior, and more—to instill, improve, and constantly monitor these principles. Awareness of the business case for inclusion and diversity is on the rise. While social justice is typically the initial impetus behind these efforts, companies have increasingly begun to regard inclusion, diversity, and belonging as a source of competitive advantage—and more specifically, as a key enabler of growth. Read More

How Contactless Technology Is Transforming the Consumer Experience

January 10, 2022

COVID-19 has shifted the manner in which we interact with each other and with our surroundings—in ways both large and small. The physical health of themselves and their families are the top concerns of consumers worldwide, and this shift in their thinking has accelerated the growth of the contactless economy. A recent report from Deloitte, “Contactless Economy: Are you prepared?” defines five drivers of the contactless economy that will persist far beyond the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Hyper-awareness of health and safety
  2. Digitally enabled consumers’ maintaining a sense of normalcy
  3. 5G as the force multiplier
  4. The rise of the human-experience platforms
  5. The rise of the new cloud native-enabled technology architectures Read More

User Onboarding: Principles and Guidelines

January 10, 2022

Onboarding is the process of helping new users to get started with your product, service, or app by guiding them through your product’s features and functionality and enabling them eventually to fully embrace all of its capabilities. The onboarding process should help your users to understand a product’s promise and learn how they can realize it.

Some believe that, in most cases, users prefer to explore a product or app on their own rather than by following onboarding guidelines. Nevertheless, displaying a few friendly tips and reminders during a user journey can be comforting and helpful to users.

An effective product-onboarding process reduces both users’ and the business’s painpoints and improves the product’s usability, helping to increase user retention and loyalty, brand value, business growth, and profit. So let’s take a deeper look at user onboarding. Read More

Conducting User Interviews, Usability Testing, and Surveys

January 10, 2022

When I began my career as a UX designer, many product developers shared the aspiration of building great products with numerous features. While building great products is a worthy goal, teams often paid little attention to users’ real needs when deciding what features to build, which is a great shame. App development is not just about creating a product but about solving a problem for users. As an essential part of human-centered design, user research helps us to crystallize users’ problems and create solutions that directly address them.

As a design lead, I make user research an integral part of my team’s design process. We use various approaches to interacting with users to help us tailor the end product to the audience’s needs. In this article, I’ll share some of my experiences conducting different types of user research, focusing mainly on in-depth user interviews, usability testing, and surveys, but we’ve used all of the approaches that Figure 1 depicts. You’ll learn how to use each of these types of user research and discover useful methods of collecting and analyzing users’ thoughts. Read More

December 20, 2021 Edition

Restoring Publication of UXmatters

December 20, 2021

Although the unfortunate Twitter incident that caused us to suspend publication of UXmatters in mid-October was an ill-conceived reply from the editor of UXmatters to a post on @uxmatters, the silver lining is that it has led the UXmatters Advisory Board to take a step back and think about the role of UXmatters in the UX community.

In the two months that have passed since we temporarily halted publication of UXmatters, we have had many discussions and plenty of time to reflect on what happened and how best to respond and move forward. In this message from the UXmatters Advisory Board, we’ll share our thoughts with our readers. Read More

Design Sprints Revisited: Designing with Your Users and Developers

December 20, 2021

Many development teams are now working in some form of agile—be it Scrum, Kanban, or another form of agile that a team has adapted to their own needs. Thus, most teams organize their work in sprints. Sprints start with planning and end with reviewing the goals that you’ve accomplished and the process you’ve followed. However, because many UX designers think agile methodologies are primarily for developers, they face the problem of not knowing exactly where their work fits into the development process.

In trying to solve this problem, Google Ventures created the idea of design sprints. During a process that usually lasts just one week, a team considers the problems, ideates a solution, tries it out, and learns from the experience. Ideally, all members of a product team participate in the design process. Leaving individual members or disciplines out of the product team can lead to miscommunication and barriers in the path of future implementation. Read More

9 UX Design Secrets for Designing Chatbots

December 20, 2021

With their promise of taking the overall user experience and customer experience to the next level, chatbots are fast making their mark in the world of technology. Leading corporations are readily investing in artificial intelligence to build user experiences that run-of-the-mill mobile apps cannot deliver.

Chatbots offer the potential to enhance customer loyalty to a business. These human-machine interfaces can be so realistic users honestly feel like they’re having a live, one-on-one conversation with a real human being. The aim of creating an impeccable user experience lies at the core of a successful chatbot experience. Read More

How to Make the Most of User Interviews

December 20, 2021

UX design focuses on creating products that offer excellent, meaningful experiences for users. Therefore, UX designers must keep the user in mind when working on all aspects of product design, including branding, usability, and functionality. Another UX design concern is creating products that give users everything they need, from efficiency to fun and pleasure. However, there is no single way to define a good user experience because a design’s success depends on how well it meets the needs of the particular consumers who are using a product.

To meet the needs of your actual users, it is vital that you do UX research to understand your target market. In this article, I’ll provide some useful tips for conducting user interviews. Read More

Why UX Is the Best SEO Strategy

December 20, 2021

User Experience should be a focus for most businesses. Better user experiences make life easier for people by optimizing the products and services they use in their daily lives.

UX design is a demanding career option with a great future and, today, comes into play in almost everything—especially on the Web. In this article, I’ll discuss some ways in which UX design impacts a Web site’s search-engine optimization, or SEO.

What Is SEO?

If you’re not aware of what SEO is, here’s a brief definition: search-engine optimization is the process of optimizing your Web site to rank higher in the search results of Web-search engines by leveraging their respective algorithms. Read More