January 18, 2021 Edition

Creating Presentations for Stakeholders

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
January 18, 2021

This month in Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses how to create presentations for development teams versus executive teams. Since both teams support the creation of products, but deal with different aspects of creating them, they need different information that is tailored to the goals of their role in the company.

Development teams need information that affects their implementation efforts directly, including many design details. You must tailor the information you present to developers to the team’s current stage of the design process. In contrast, the executive team needs to understand how your work fits into the company’s objectives. To help busy executives absorb the information you’re providing, your presentations should begin with your conclusions. Read More

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6 Reasons Your Touch-Screen Apps Should Have Voice Capabilities

January 18, 2021

Many brands have explored voice user interfaces (VUIs) by creating some kind of skill for a smart speaker. While that’s a good start, it’s not the optimal way of leveraging voice capabilities for the future.

Instead, you should add voice to your existing apps to complement their current touch user interface. Early adopters such as Spotify have taken this approach and have received universal praise for their voice functionality. Spotify users can keep on using the app just as they’ve always used it, with its traditional touch user interface. Plus, they can use voice commands to control the media player. This is how you should use voice.

Rather than creating VUIs as replacements for your applications’ current user interfaces—as for Google Home or Alexa—create voice capabilities that provide a complementary user-interaction modality for your current user interface. Read More

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Book Review: How Design Makes the World

January 18, 2021

This is a review of a PDF, media version of the book How Design Makes the World that I received from the author, Scott Berkun.

Cover: How Design Makes the WorldEvery once in a while, I read an article or a book that seems to have channeled my own thoughts. My reading of Scott Berkun’s latest work, How Design Makes the World, was just such an experience.

Throughout my career, I have advocated User Experience as more than simply a way of designing Web sites or apps, but instead a design methodology that begins with people. Plus, as Berkun notes in his opening lines, “Except … the natural world, if you look at everything you have ever loved, hated, used, or purchased…, it was all designed and made by human beings.” With that in mind, every person and organization engages in design—though to what degree they are successful is debatable. Read More

Why Mobile Apps Need Voice Interfaces

January 18, 2021

Both Web and mobile innovations are progressing at an incredible rate, making any lack in these essential technologies a critical issue for any company. As long as a decade ago, a poorly optimized Web site could lead to your losing traffic and revenues. Today, businesses cannot afford to ignore technology trends. Don’t let your business fall behind the technology curve.

Creating voice user interfaces (VUIs) for mobile apps is the hottest trend right now—and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Voice is a natural user interface. Some leading brands have already boosted awareness of their mobile apps and increased customer engagement by adding voice capabilities that are powered by existing VUI platforms. For example, Snapchat has launched an in-app voice assistant that is based on SoundHound, which lets users trigger filters with voice commands, immediately improving user engagement and loyalty. Pretty soon, users won’t just appreciate the greater functionality and friendliness of a voice-powered mobile app, they’ll expect it. Read More

Potential Dangers of Becoming Data Driven

January 18, 2021

Over the past decade, more and more organizations have been doing their best to become data driven. This is a huge and much-awaited mindset leap—especially given corporate dinosaurs’ typical way of thinking: “I’m the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person in the Office) and my gut tells me this is what the customer needs.”

User research is one of the most powerful antidotes to this outdated mindset and is becoming part of the vocabulary and practice of an increasing number of organizations. It also signifies an increase in UX maturity, so is a very promising trend!

The Problem with Data Being in the Driver’s Seat

Making decisions based on data reduces risk and increases your potential for creating useful outcomes. However, if you make decisions based on bad data, you risk making a similar—or perhaps an even worse—kind of gamble or bet as when making decisions based on untested assumptions. Read More

January 04, 2021 Edition

Regionalizing Your Mobile Designs, Part 2

Mobile Matters

Designing for every screen

A column by Steven Hoober
January 4, 2021

There is a lot more to offering your Web site, mobile app, or other digital product in other markets than automatically translating or hiring a service to translate your content into another language. In Part 1 of this two-part series, I provided an overview of how to regionalize your products—approaching regionalization from a procedural and technical point of view—and detailed the approach you should take, as follows:

  • Do more than just translate. Rewrite the content in the target language, considering the context of use. Avoid slang, jargon, colloquialisms, metaphors, and jokes.
  • Use people, not just tools or services. Hire a content manager or content designer to create content-management documents. Work with your translation service, and engage locals who are sufficiently familiar with your product to at least review it. Read More

Understanding Gender and Racial Bias in AI, Part 3

January 4, 2021

In my four-part series about gender and racial biases in artificial intelligence (AI) and how to combat them, Part 1 focused on educating UX designers about bias in voice- and facial-recognition software and the AI algorithms and underlying data that power them. Part 2 discussed how our everyday tools and AI-based software such as Google Search influence what we see online, as well as in our design software—often perpetuating our biases and whitewashing our personas and other design deliverables. Now, in Part 3, I’ll provide a how-to guide for addressing your own implicit biases during user research, UX design, and usability testing.

If your 2020 went anything like mine, you may have put up your Black Lives Matter poster, read How to Be an Antiracist, and subscribed to the Code Switch podcast. Perhaps you even watched Coded Bias, this year’s eye-opening documentary on facial-recognition software. (If you haven’t watched it, you should.) Perhaps you then read Anthony Greenwald’s interview with Knowable Magazine and discovered: “Making people aware of their implicit biases doesn’t usually change minds.” (PBS News Hour republished it.) What should you do next? Read More

Hibernation and Innovation

Selling UX

A unique perspective on service UX

A column by Baruch Sachs
January 4, 2021

“Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.”—Ralph Ellison.

In his 1953 book The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison explores a number of social and intellectual issues of the African-American community of that time period. The book is as relevant today as it was in 1953. The quotation at the beginning of this column has transfixed me for a long time now—especially given that we are coming up on almost a year of relative hibernation because of the global pandemic. How can you write something that is interesting and compelling in a time when people just want to hibernate until it is all over? Read More

Making Meaningful Business Propositions

January 4, 2021

Starting a business, running a business, and sustaining a business’s success implies that we have considered how to make a meaningful business proposition. Making meaningful business propositions requires continual effort, perpetual learning, and continuous improvement to clarify intentional practices and the drivers that underpin why you do what you do. The practices that are necessary to achieve this do not come easily. In fact, they include a number of factors that could provide, but do not always promise the chance of success in business.

In this article, we’ll describe the five stages of making meaningful business propositions. We’ve learned—and continue to learn—them from over 20 years of running a consulting business that explores products and platforms and considers their implications for professional development. Read More

Case Study: Learnings from the Design of an Online-Education Platform

Business of Design

Learnings from design projects

A column by Manik Arora
January 4, 2021

With every project, there are new learnings. Because educational technology, or ed-tech, is one of the fastest growing product domains, I thought sharing my learnings and insights from designing a marketing Web site for Leverage Edu would be of interest to many UX designers.

Leverage Edu is not your typical commercial Web site. Its target users are students who need help making their career choices and university-admissions decisions. The Leverage Edu Web site uses simplified technology that drives streamlined access to the mentors and the leading global universities that best match a student’s particular needs.

Thus, Leverage Edu is transforming access to higher education and democratizing mentorship to accelerate exponential career growth by going beyond traditional systems and helping students to realize their academic ambitions. Read More