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Column: Envision the Future

UXmatters has published 12 editions of the column Envision the Future.

Top 3 Trending Envision the Future Columns

  1. Aligning UX Issues’ Levels of Severity with Business Objectives

    Envision the Future

    The role UX professionals play

    A column by Paul J. Sherman
    October 4, 2010

    Many of us in the field people now generally refer to as user experience have long used levels of severity as a means of indicating the criticality of a product’s or service’s usability issues to clients.

    Over the past several years, I’ve grown increasingly dissatisfied with the vague and somewhat solipsistic nature of the gradations UX professionals typically use to describe the severity of usability issues. High, medium, and low don’t begin to sufficiently explain the potential brand and business impacts usability issues can have.

    After incrementally iterating on several existing classifications of severity, I finally decided in late 2008 to simply create some new ones, which I’ll present in this column. For lack of a better term, I call them business-aligned usability ratings. Read More

  2. Where’s My Stuff? Beyond the Nested Folder Metaphor

    Envision the Future

    The role UX professionals play

    A column by Paul J. Sherman
    March 12, 2008

    By Paul J. Sherman

    Published: March 12, 2008

    As I mentioned in my inaugural column, “Envisioning the Future of User Experience,” I often have difficulty remembering where I put my digital documents and files. It takes considerable cognitive effort to maintain a mental map of my computer’s nested folder structure, and inconsistencies creep into my folder structure as a result of the on-the-fly taxonomic decisions I make when filing things away.

    There’s got to be a better way of keeping track of our digital stuff than this decades-old organization scheme.

    Google, with the laudable mission of organizing the world’s information, has created desktop tools for content retrieval. Microsoft and Apple, too, have added desktop search capabilities to their latest operating systems. But let’s face it: Keyword search happens after the fact. Search tools help us to find our stuff after we’ve already lost it. They don’t help us organize our stuff.

    And with some of us dragging around twenty or more years of digital stuff from one personal computer to another—documents, pictures, what have you—only the most determined and organized of us have their digital files organized in a way that facilitates rapid findability—in a file structure that is easily remembered and traversed.

    I blame the file/folder metaphor for this rampant problem. It’s no longer up to the tasks we’re attempting to accomplish using it. I think there are better ways for us to organize our digital stuff. Read More

  3. Testing Your Own Designs: Bad Idea?

    Envision the Future

    The role UX professionals play

    A column by Paul J. Sherman
    September 21, 2009

    This column was spurred by a simple question I posted to Twitter in mid-August: Can designers effectively usability test their own designs?

    This isn’t just an academic question. With the current state of the economy and many UX teams downsizing, it’s entirely probable that your company will call upon you to both create a UX design and do usability testing to validate it. In the future, as the field of user experience progresses, agile UX becomes more common, and functional disciplines become more blended, I think this will occur more and more.

    People have often likened doing both design and usability testing on the same project to defendants serving as their own counsel in a court of law. How does that saying go? Something like this: A lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. Is testing one’s own design a similarly bad idea? What are the pitfalls? Are there any advantages? And most important, if you must do it, what pitfalls should you beware of? Read More

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