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
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
Even though computers are controlling more and more of the world, they are not always getting smarter. Oh, they’re becoming more sophisticated, but humans must make computer code smart, and we don’t always get things right. It doesn’t help that we’re using old, ad hoc methods of planning, design, and analysis.
It’s scary that we sometimes don’t know why artificial intelligence (AI) systems work. But we should be even more worried that pretty much every system we use—every app, every device—is now so complex that we cannot possibly predict all system behaviors. Read More