Favorite UX & Technology Blogs | Learning About New Web & Mobile Applications

Ask UXmatters

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A column by Janet M. Six
June 21, 2010

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts discuss the following topics:

  • favorite UX and technology blogs
  • how to learn about new Web and mobile applications

Each month in Ask UXmatters, our panel of experts answers our readers’ questions about 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 , please send your questions to us at [email protected].

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The following experts have contributed answers to this column:

  • Peter Bogaards—Community Builder and Coach at Informaat; Owner of BogieLand
  • Jessica Enders—Principal at Formulate Information Design
  • Pabini Gabriel-Petit—Publisher and Editor in Chief, UXmatters; Principal User Experience Architect at Spirit Softworks; Founding Director of Interaction Design Association (IxDA); UXmatters columnist
  • Peter Hornsby—Senior Information Architect at Friends Provident; UXmatters columnist
  • Caroline Jarrett—Owner and Director at Effortmark Limited; UXmatters columnist
  • Jim Nieters—Director of User Experience at Yahoo!; UXmatters columnist
  • Whitney Quesenbery—Principal Consultant at Whitney Interactive Design; Past-President, Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA); Fellow, Society for Technical Communications (STC); and UXmatters columnist
  • Robert Reimann—Senior Interaction Designer at Sonos; Past-President, Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
  • Paul Sherman—Principal at Sherman Group User Experience; Vice President of Usability Professionals’ Association; UXmatters columnist
  • Janet Six—Principal at Lone Star Interaction Design; UXmatters Managing Editor and columnist
  • Daniel Szuc—Principal Usability Consultant at Apogee Usability Asia; Founding Member and President of UPA China Hong Kong Branch
  • Russell Wilson—Vice President of Product Design at NetQos

Favorite UX and Technology Blogs

Q: What are your favorite UX and technology blogs?—from a UXmatters reader

When I presented this question to the Ask UXmatters panel of experts, I had expected to have much overlap among their responses. However, as you can see, our experts’ favorites include a great variety of blogs and other news sources. Please post your favorite UX and technology blogs—with their Web addresses—in a comment. We are very interested in knowing about your favorites!

“When reading on the Web, I don’t tend to read any blogs consistently,” says Caroline. “But I dip in and out of a range, according to the subjects I’m currently researching.” The same is true for Whitney: “I don’t follow blogs as much as dipping into specific articles via Twitter and RSS.” While Pabini has a few favorites, she and I both “tend to find interesting stuff when searching for specific topics on Google.”

Here are our experts’ favorite UX and technology blogs and technology news sites and who contributed them:

  • 52 Weeks of UX—blog about the “process of designing for real people,” by Joshua Porter and Joshua Brewer—Daniel
  • A List Apart—Web magazine published by Happy Cog that “explores the design, development, and meaning of Web content, with a special focus on Web standards and best practices”—Jessica, Pabini, and Whitney

    A List Apart is a superior Web magazine that encompasses both design and development for the Web.”—Pabini
  • All Things Digital—Dow Jones publication providing “news, analysis, and opinion on technology, the Internet, and media”—Jim
  • AP (Associated Press)—global news network that is accessible via their AP Mobile app for the iPhone/iPad, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Palm Pre, Nokia devices, and Android—Robert
  • Ars Technica—Condé Nast publication offering technology news and analysis—Paul
  • Ask TOG—Nielsen Norman Group blog about “interaction design solutions for the real world,” by Bruce Tognazzini—Janet and Robert
  • BBC News iPhone AppNew window—news on the iPhone—Robert
  • BBC TechnologyNew window—Technology news on the Web—Daniel
  • BoingBoing—blog covering technology, culture, and the arts—Jim
  • bokardo—blog about social Web design, by Joshua Porter—Peter Hornsby
  • Boxes and Arrows—Christina Wodtke’s Web magazine, whose initial focus was on information architecture—Paul and Whitney
  • BrainSparks—UIE’s blog—Daniel, Pabini, and Russell

    “Jared Spool holds forth on this excellent blog from User Interface Engineering.”—Pabini
  • Business Exchange—a section on BusinessWeek—Pabini

    BusinessWeek publishes content about customer experience, user engagement, user experience, and interaction design for business professionals.”—Pabini
  • BusinessWeek—Bloomberg publication covering news about technology, innovation, management, and more—Jim and Pabini
  • “This magazine is my favorite source for business news.”—Pabini
  • CNN Tech—Technology news from CNN—Janet
  • Coding Horror—blog about programming and human factors,

    by Jeff Atwood—Peter Hornsby
  • Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Newsletter—Robert
  • Cooper Journal—Cooper’s blog—Robert
  •—humor and video—Jim
  • Dan Brown’s—blog from the author of Communicating Design—Pabini
  • “Dan publishes some very thoughtful posts on UX design.”—Pabini
  • Design Management Institute—an organization that promotes “design as a strategic business resource”—Jim
  • design mindfrog design’s blog on business, technology, and design—Robert
  • Design Thinking: Thoughts by Tim Brown—blog from the CEO of IDEO—Russell
  • Engadget—Web magazine covering news about gadgets and consumer electronics—Daniel, Paul, and Robert
  • Fast Company—magazine featuring technology, design, and leadership news—Jim
  • Gizmodo—Web magazine providing technology news—Paul and Robert
  • Harvard Business Review—Harvard University’s business magazine—Jim
  • HFI Connect—Blog by Eric Schaffer of Human Factors Engineering

  • I’d Rather Be Writing, Tom Johnson’s blog about “the latest trends in technical communication”—Whitney
  • InfoDesign—the best of UX on the Web since 1997—Pabini

    “I highly recommend Peter Bogaards’s blog, on which he aggregates content from many excellent UX magazines and blogs.”—Pabini
  • inspireUX—Catriona Cornett’s blog—Pabini
  • “This blog presents inspiring quotations from prominent UX professionals.”—Pabini
  •—Nielsen Norman Group blog by Don Norman—Janet, Robert, and Russell

  • Johnny Holland—Daniel, Pabini, Paul, and Whitney

    “A fine Web magazine covering UX topics and created by Jeroen van Geel, Steve Baty—formerly a columnist on UXmatters—and Vicky Teinaki.”—Pabini
  • Looks Good Works Well—Bill Scott’s blog—Pabini

    “Excellent blog on rich Web design and user interface engineering.”

  • LukeW Ideation + Design—Luke Wroblewski’s blog—Pabini, Peter Hornsby, and Russell

    “Luke Wroblewski’s great blog on user experience design.”—Pabini
  • NPR—news from National Public Radio via an iPhone/iPad app—Robert
  • Optimal Usability Blog—blog about “putting people before technology”

  • Patch Monday—technology blog from ZDNet Australia—Jessica
  • Plain Language Matters—blog from the Center for Plain Language

  • Putting People First—Experientia’s blog providing insights on user experience, experience design, and people-centered innovation—Daniel, Russell, and Whitney
  • ReadWriteWeb—Richard MacManus’s technology news blog—Pabini
  • “ReadWriteWeb is a good source for technology news.”—Pabini
  • Reuters—global news service on the Web and via their iPhone/iPad app—Robert
  • SimpleBits—Dan Cederholm’s Web design blog—Russell
  • Sliced—blog by Robert Hoeckman Jr.—Russell
  • Smashing Magazine—Web magazine focusing of Web design and development—Jessica, Pabini, and Russell
  • “Smashing Magazine publishes some very good content.”—Pabini
  • Snook—Jonathan Snook’s blog on Web development—Russell
  • Stopdesign—Douglas Bowman’s Web design blog—Russell
  • SUCCESS Magazine—Janet
  • TechCrunch—Michael Arrington’s technology news blog—Jim, Pabini, Paul, and Peter Hornsby
  • “TechCrunch is my favorite technology news blog.”—Pabini
  • TechDirt—Mike Masnick’s technology news blog—Paul
  • The Economist Technology Monitor—magazine providing technology news—Jim
  • The Guardian’s Tech Weekly—technology news from The Guardian

  • The New York Times—the foremost newspaper in the US, on the Web and via an iPhone/iPad app—Robert
  • The Personal Disquiet of Mark Boulton—Web design blog—Russell
  • Theresa Neil—UX design blog—Jessica
  • Touch Usability—Kevin Arthur’s blog featuring news and research on touch user interfaces—Pabini
  • Touch Usability provides a great collection of information about touch user interfaces.”—Pabini
  •, Nielsen Norman Group blog by Jakob Nielsen—Pabini, Robert, and Russell

    “One of the first and best blogs on user experience.”—Pabini
  • UserFocus—articles and resources from UserFocus—Jessica
  • UX Booth—user experience blog—Pabini

    UX Booth is a very good source for information about user experience.”

  • WebAIM—content about Web accessibility—Jessica
  • Wired—Condé Nast Web magazine—Jim
  • Writing for the Web—Dey Alexander’s blog about Web content—Whitney

Peter Bogaards has posted his “Top 100 User-Centered Blogs on InfoDesign. Pabini recommends that you have a look at the “Technorati Top 100.” The Technorati Authority updates its top-100 list of blogs daily.

I recommend that you check out the blogs of some of our UXmatters columnists and authors who cover user experience and other topics relevant to UX professionals:

Learning About New Web and Mobile Applications

Q: What’s the best way to learn about new Web and mobile applications?

—from a UXmatters reader

Visit Web Sites and Blogs

“In my opinion, the best way to learn about new Web and mobile applications is to pay attention to these sites and blogs,” recommends Jim.

“For anything about mobile, Oliver Weidlich and Rod Farmer of Mobile Experience are the ones I turn to,” says Jessica. “O’Reilly has a Web site titled Best iPhone Apps. CNET has a Webware section titled Cool Web Apps for Everyone. There are also Web application indexing sites—for example, Go 2 Web 2.0—and Web awards that include application categories—for example, the Webbys.”

“In addition to the Web application directories that Jessica mentioned, is a good site to visit if you want to find out about the leading Web sites in various categories,” suggests Pabini. “They also post a list of the top 100 Web sites. But for what’s new, I rely primarily on TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb.

Take a Trip to an App Store

“Beyond reading the technology blogs every few weeks,” says Robert, “I look over what’s new in the iPhone / iPad App Store. I also run a Google Web search for top new apps. Really, the best way to keep abreast of mobile apps is to own some mobile devices onto which you can download apps to try out. Android and iOS will likely be the dominant platforms looking forward, so it behooves anyone serious about designing for mobile to get themselves one of each.”

“To explore the full spectrum of mobile applications for all mobile devices, see what’s available on GetJar,” suggests Pabini.

Use Social Networking Sites

“Follow ten people on Twitter who you feel are on the cutting edge of Web and mobile apps—such as @jimnieters,” says Jim with a wink.

“I think Twitter can be a great source of information and inspiration about things that come out,” responds Jessica, “and you can always ask the Twittersphere if you’re looking for something in particular.”

“I generally get first sight of new applications through blogs or via friends on networking sites such as LinkedIn,” replies Peter Hornsby. “Then I use the applications and speak with others who have used them—either directly or via the various forums available online. I think everyone has their own personal information filters. I tend to use external information sources much more these days, because of time pressures, and I read reviews of applications much more critically than I might have done a few years ago.”

Observe Non-UX People

“As user experience people, I think many of us are far more immersed in our technologies and far more willing to try new Web and mobile applications than an ordinary member of the general public might be,” observes Caroline. “It’s fun to snap up the latest and greatest thing and experiment with it, and why not? But also, I think it’s important to temper that by observing what your non-UX friends and family are using, how they think about technology, and whether they’re also jumping on a particular trend.”

Personally, I find the most useful information by watching people work with their Web and mobile applications and hearing them discuss their likes, frustrations, and wants. These discussions are especially fruitful in a nontechnical setting such as a restaurant or park. I also like to read news stories, Twitter, and Facebook to see what people are discussing and what they wish they could do with their applications.

Please tell us about your favorite UX and technology blogs! 

Product Manager at Tom Sawyer Software

Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Janet M. SixDr. Janet M. Six helps companies design easier-to-use products within their financial, time, and technical constraints. For her research in information visualization, Janet was awarded the University of Texas at Dallas Jonsson School of Engineering Computer Science Dissertation of the Year Award. She was also awarded the prestigious IEEE Dallas Section 2003 Outstanding Young Engineer Award. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications and the Kluwer International Series in Engineering and Computer Science. The proceedings of conferences on Graph Drawing, Information Visualization, and Algorithm Engineering and Experiments have also included the results of her research.  Read More

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