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June 17, 2019 Edition

Driving Telehealth Success by Creating Trust and Meaningful Interactions

Service Design

Orchestrating experiences in context

A column by Laura Keller
June 17, 2019

Most people are aware of the evolving state of healthcare today—whether they’ve personally experienced the plethora of issues that healthcare presents or have read the many news reports covering the industry. As a service designer who is constantly identifying and solving problems, I have always been fascinated with the truly wicked problem that healthcare presents. Considering the broad scope of healthcare and its many stakeholders—including the government, healthcare providers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacies—the problem seems almost impossible to address.

But patient demand is driving big changes. People’s experiences across industries are elevating their expectations of the healthcare industry. As a consequence, companies are reinventing themselves through acquisitions and partnerships to address the healthcare system’s legacy issues. Examples include CVS’s acquisition of Aetna and JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway partnering to create Haven. Plus, people are taking more ownership of their health and are adopting digital health technology such as wearables and remote tracking to support their expectations and behaviors. Read More

Book Review: A Designer’s Research Manual

June 17, 2019

Cover: A Designer's Research ManualAs a design discipline, User Experience frequently gets lumped together with visual or graphic design—often to the chagrin of UX professionals. Of course, this tendency reinforces and is reinforced by the common belief that design is defined by its deliverables. Further, the plethora of books, periodicals, annuals, and Web sites that worship the unique style and fashion of graphic design rather than process and outcomes encourages the description of design in terms of its deliverables.

The high-water mark—or maybe low-water mark—for this philosophy was probably the late 1990s, when graphic designers pushed the limits of legibility in pursuit of distinctive style. An exemplar of that trend might be the celebrity graphic designer David Carson, who described the “intuitiveness” of his visual design work, while pushing the limits of legibility. As an author and speaker, he’s made a number of statements discussing his design philosophy. Read More


Integrating UX Design into a Continuous-Delivery Environment

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
June 17, 2019

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts discuss how to integrate UX practices with a continuous-delivery approach. First, our expert panel considers the company’s goal: continuous delivery or delivering meaningful outcomes? They then discuss how advances in DesignOps can help in this situation. Finally, our experts provide several tips on working within a continuous-delivery pipeline.

Every month in Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts answers our readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: [email protected]om. Read More


Practicing What You Preach: Experimenting and Iterating in UX Research

June 17, 2019

In the field of User Experience, design thinking, failing fast, and iterating are popular concepts. When developing new products and features, we need to learn continuously by ideating, experimenting, and refining.

Since joining Factual—a medium-sized startup—as their first UX researcher, I’ve faced a new challenge: building a brand-new research practice. I’ve relied on my core UX principles to help me succeed. I’m constantly trying things out, reflecting on how they’re working, then revising my approach as necessary. During my first ten months at Factual, I’ve experimented with new ideas and approaches, learned from my mistakes, and adjusted my processes as necessary. I’ve pivoted everything from my research projects to my recruiting efforts to my reporting techniques, depending on what is or isn’t working. Read More


Choosing the Right UX Process for Your Software-Development Model

June 17, 2019

“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.”—Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

Deciding on the right product-development process for your team can often be a paradox. Maintaining balance amidst a proliferation of inconsistencies in product requirements and development outcomes is challenging for both large and mid-sized organizations —especially when teams lack any metrics to measure their impact on a release.

Friction arises when there is a mismatch between the user’s mental model and product features. When a development team finds itself in an untenable situation, the blame game begins. But as Mad Men’s Don Draper often said, “Move forward.” Read More

June 03, 2019 Edition

Telling a Story Through Your Portfolio Presentation

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

A column by Jonathan Walter
June 3, 2019

Human beings are drawn to stories, which help us make sense of our world by letting us share others’ experiences as though they were our own. We feel characters’ struggles as they navigate difficult challenges and rejoice with them when they finally achieve their goals or share their sorrows if they do not. Stories help us learn to feel empathy—a critical trait for any UX professional.

Most importantly, stories are memorable. According to Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, using a story to convey information is up to “22 times more memorable than facts alone.”

Telling a story can help influence the opinions of others in ways that few other modes of communication can. The value of storytelling extends to how we present ourselves and our abilities professionally. Having participated in dozens of on-site portfolio reviews over the years—sitting on both sides of the review table—I’ve found that the most effective UX-portfolio presentations have one thing in common: the candidate told a story. Read More


Project Estimation, Part 3: Estimating Services Within a Design-Thinking Model

June 3, 2019

Imagine you’re responsible for providing services to a stakeholder—whether you’re working for an agency or within an inside group. To win the stakeholder’s business, your value proposition must make your services more attractive than those your competition provides. This is a pretty typical situation for those of us who are responsible for business development—whether external or in house.

In Part 2 of this series, I presented a tutorial for creating a spreadsheet that helps you transparently scope, estimate, and reconcile services in a way that puts your customers in control of the scope of effort. In doing so, I defined the five basic steps that are necessary to build this tool:

  1. Identify the services you’ll provide.
  2. Perform a time-and-motion study for delivering each of these services.
  3. Quantize and assign a price to each of your deliverables.
  4. Build a spreadsheet that includes each quantized element.
  5. Refine the spreadsheet as necessary. Read More


Empathy Is the Key to Innovation

Selling UX

A unique perspective on service UX

A column by Baruch Sachs
June 3, 2019

Much has been written on the difference between innovation and invention. This makes some sense because it seems every company in the world, big or small, is striving for an innovative approach to solving existing problems. However, there is mass confusion about what innovation actually is—especially in the enterprise-software space.

It seems that every consultancy is frothing at the mouth to win the very lucrative opportunities to help organizations solve their digital-transformation problems. And they’re employing our experience-design playbook to do this.

How? In a word: empathy. Hearing and reading about all the latest approaches in technology and sales, empathy is the best new thing—the secret skill that can enable us to reach dizzying, new heights. Empathy could solve world hunger and make us all better people. But the fact that empathy does actually make us better people is lost on most. Empathy can help us innovate more quickly and, ultimately, sell more products, satisfy more customers, and generate greater revenues. Read More


Progressing from One-Way Notifications to Two-Way Conversations

June 3, 2019

According to Cisco’s report “Customer Experience in 2020,” the average person could have more conversations with bots than with people next year. This is just one of a growing number of studies suggesting that retailers are finally grasping the significance of automated customer-service platforms and are ready to unleash them on the world.

For years, the hype around chatbots as a potentially revolutionary means of customer engagement has largely outpaced technological advances. Until recently, consumer experiences with artificial intelligence–powered assistants have been frustrating, hilariously ineffective, or maybe somewhere in between. Almost everyone has experienced the sort of automated engagements that seem to end as soon as they begin: email messages from no-reply senders, text messages from numbers you can’t text back, or promising automated Web chats that quickly lead you to a generic FAQ page. Read More


Understanding Body Language in UX Research

June 3, 2019

As a UX researcher, have you ever found yourself in the middle of a user-research or usability-testing session with research participants who struggle to articulate their thoughts and feelings clearly?

In such situations, focusing your attention on participants’ nonverbal behaviors such as their posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions could give you a lot more information. Of course, in these situations, it’s still very important to remain vigilant in listening to participants. In combination, verbal communication and body language can help you better understand a person’s true feelings throughout a UX-research session.

How exactly does keeping an eye on body language aid UX research? Read More