“Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.”—Thomas Mann
As a young product designer, I worked hard to perfect my craft. I read widely, studied the work of the masters, and challenged myself. But I was also fortunate: My managers in those early years were good mentors. They gave me projects that would test me, as well as the autonomy to work, learn, and mess things up a bit. They looked out for me—assigning projects that were suitable for my skill level and helping me to avoid any serious mistakes. However, whenever I asked them what I needed to do to move up to the next level, they’d give me answers, but not a detailed career roadmap. What I was lacking was a comprehensive overview of the specific skills and objectives that would be necessary for me to make progress in the professional world of User Experience.
Although I was mastering the design skillset, I soon realized that this was not sufficient to take me where I ultimately wanted to go. Mastery of craft is simply not enough. It is also important to master the work context so we can design effectively within a product-development organization, as depicted in Figure 1. Read More
The idea behind my new UXmatters column, 3 x 5 UX, is an idea that formed several years ago when I was preparing for a Pecha Kucha event. I wanted to document a handful of key UX concepts and share them with the UX team that I lead. Simple visualizations seemed like a promising approach. To constrain my slideware exuberance, I hit upon the idea of using 3 x 5-inch note cards and simple, hand-drawn visualizations as an expressive medium for this content. To keep my drawing skills intact, I typically use 3 x 5 cards to capture ideas, manage my daily to-do lists, and dash out quick sketches. Creating visualizations at that size for my presentation required a minimalist approach and was both challenging and fun. My team enjoyed the presentation, and I thought these cards might have value for a broader audience. Pabini Gabriel-Petit, publisher of UXmatters, agreed and 3 x 5 UX, was born. Read More
“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”—Alan W. Watts
Making a Business Case for User Experience
Building modern software products is expensive. The design and implementation of a product user experience typically requires 40% of the overall software development cost. Therefore, on a $2 million software development project, building the user experience will require roughly $800,000 of the project budget. This is a non-trivial amount of money. Of course, just designing and building the product is not the end of it. There are the costs of marketing, advertising, and selling the product, as well as the cost of supporting it after its release. The total expense of creating a software product can easily run into millions of dollars. Read More