The field of user experience is rife with terms that lack a mutually agreed-upon meaning. Even the name of the field itself can vary depending on the communicator and the audience. Are we User Experience (UX)? Design Research? Human-Centered Design? Are all of these the same thing?
Often, this lack of clarity on terms leads to debates even among UX professionals about the meanings of certain terms and their appropriate use. Is user experience still the right term if it doesn’t involve a digital component? Where do you stand on the term design thinking? Which term is preferable: human-centered design or user-centered design? Does it matter?
As User Experience develops and gains industry awareness and acceptance across domains, we’ll inevitably engage in more terminology debates. Read More
One of my favorite things to do is to take photos of bad user experiences. I usually do this when I’m traveling or shopping—maybe because my senses are heightened when I’m trying to find my way around unfamiliar places or seeking out some new item to purchase. I would guess that many of you do similar things. I suppose this points to a paradox of experience design: it’s easier to identify examples of bad experiences than good ones. Good experiences just work without effort, so we don’t notice them as readily. When things are going well, they don’t make the news.
There are lots of examples of good user experience. A casual search online finds a variety of impassioned articles on the value of User Experience and how it contributes to an organization’s bottom line and ultimate success. We see many examples of how User Experience is good and how we can add value. Read More
Testing social media is difficult. We are not testing micro interactions, but macro, or global, behaviors. These can be extremely hard to observe—either by using qualitative methods to assess the commentary of individuals or groups or by tracking clicks. When testing social media, we are assessing social influence and motivation, which are much more elusive.
Understanding these types of behaviors won’t let you determine things like the perfect placement of your shopping basket icon. However, it can be invaluable when determining the right timing for providing choices such as content or action buttons. The monitoring of macro behaviors is quantitative in nature, and the data represents broad trends—what people do en masse, not individually. Nevertheless, it is the sum of many people’s behavior that is important rather than the behavior of individuals. Studying societal behaviors requires a different way of thinking—macro thinking—rather than the micro thinking that is characteristic of studying the behaviors of individuals. Read More