UXmatters has published 15 editions of the column Research That Works.
A number of my previous Research That Works columns on UXmatters have focused on semi-structured user research techniques. My interest in these techniques stems from my desire to get the most out of my time with research participants and to leverage foundational work from other disciplines to gain unique insights for user experience design. With this in mind, a colleague of mine recommended that I try the laddering method of interviewing, which is a technique that is particularly helpful in eliciting goals and underlying values, and therefore, possibly helpful during early stages of user experience research, as I learned after a brief review of the literature on this topic. This column introduces the laddering technique and describes my first experience trying it for myself. Read More
In the design process we follow at my company, Mad*Pow Media Solutions, once we have defined the conceptual direction and content strategy for a given design and refined our design approach through user research and iterative usability testing, we start applying visual design. Generally, we take a key screen whose structure and functionality we have finalized—for example, a layout for a home page or a dashboard page—and explore three alternatives for visual style. These three alternative visual designs, or comps, include the same content, but reflect different choices for color palette and imagery.
The idea is to present business owners and stakeholders with different visual design options from which they can choose. Sometimes there is a clear favorite among stakeholders or an option that makes the most sense from a brand perspective. However, there can often be disagreements among the members of a project team on which design direction we should choose. If we’ve done our job right, there are rationales for our various design decisions in the different comps, but even so, there may be disagreement about which rationale is most appropriate for the situation. Read More
There is a trend among some in the UX community to take the U out of UX and refer to our discipline simply as experience design. One reason for this change in terminology is that it lets us talk about a specific target audience in terms that resonate with business stakeholders more than the generic term user—for example, customer experience, patient experience, or member experience. The other reason for using the term experience design rather than user experience design is that it recognizes the fact that most customer interactions are multifaceted and complex and include all aspects of a customer’s interaction with a company or other organizational entity, including its people, services, and products. Customer interactions encompass much more than the usability of a particular user interface. They include all of the social and emotional consequences of a customer’s interaction with an organization or brand, including trust, motivation, relationships, and value.
But if the name of the discipline is evolving and the focus of design is expanding, does that mean the design methods are different? Are traditional usability and user-centered design activities useful for gaining insight into the broader implications of the emotional impacts of a design? Or do we need different approaches? To explore these questions, it is helpful to look at the strengths and weaknesses of two existing alternative design approaches: