“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.”—Milton Glaser
User experience and its associated fields of expertise—such as usability, information architecture, interaction design, and user interface design—have expanded rapidly over the past decade to accommodate what seems like insatiable demand, as the world moves toward an increasingly digital existence.
As UX professionals, we often take technology for granted, accepting the massive complexity and rapid change in our field as the norm—and perhaps even something to embrace and enjoy. With this outlook and because we’re steeped in our daily professional activities, it becomes all too easy for us to forget that ours is not the usual point of view, and the technological change we expect, the expert jargon we speak, and the processes we use are foreign and confusing to other people. So, while we focus our attention on the users of digital products, we can sometimes be remiss in our treatment of another important audience—the stakeholders and clients with whom we collaborate to complete our assignments and projects. Read More
As a UX professional, whether you work for yourself, a small shop, or a large company, the chances are increasing that you’ll need to collaborate on a regular basis with a colleague or stakeholder at a distance. In addition to the cost-saving benefits of using distributed teams—especially during these difficult economic times—the availability of broadband and wireless Web connections is making virtual teamwork and collaboration both more desirable and more common. Employing virtual workers, be they freelance or full time, can save companies money on office space and the overhead that comes with it—including furniture, equipment, services, and utilities. And for the virtual worker, there is often no commute—or perhaps just a minimal one to a co-working space—resulting in savings from reduced consumption of gas and car maintenance or use of public transportation.
Increasingly, virtual teamwork means UX professionals must get things done in an environment devoid of the physical presence of colleagues and lacking the relative ease of on-site collaboration. Effectively completing UX tasks while at a distance from our clients, stakeholders, and team members can be challenging, from both technical and process perspectives. How can we, as UX professionals, enable the close collaboration with others we need and manage the process of creating engaging digital experiences when we’re so far apart from each other physically? Read More
Whether we’re designing the user experience for a digital product or a physical one, as UX professionals, we are uniquely positioned to influence the behavior of other people, for good or ill. Our employers or clients charge us with responsibility for not only defining a design problem from multiple perspectives, but also finding solutions that are better than the ones that came before.
Increased energy consumption, materials waste, and the resulting climate change are the chief difficulties our generation of designers and thinkers must address—or ignore at our own peril. But for most UX professionals, sustainability—unlike usability, technical feasibility, aesthetic appeal, and even business viability—is not yet a baseline factor that we take into account when designing a product or service.
In honor of Earth Day—which occurs this year on April 22, 2008—let’s explore some different ways we can think about, influence, and change the design of digital products in ways that will alter both our own behavior and that of others and foster respect for our planet and its resources. Read More