I have a very expansive view of the role of User Experience in developing products. While I’m deeply of the opinion that designers should not code, that’s mostly because there are very few people who can code on many platforms and at many levels. I used to be a Web developer, database administrator (DBA), and system administrator. But I was never great at fulfilling all of these roles—much less all of them at once—while also being a Web designer.
As new technologies arrived, I had to stop and learn them—or learn to collaborate with others who knew them. So, instead of learning more and more technologies, I decided to focus on design and usability.
As UX designers, we should avoid becoming too deeply engaged in any one technology, but we do need to know a little about most technologies. This lets us consider the entire scope of users’ needs and suggest solutions that leverage the whole range of technology options—choosing whatever platforms, technologies, and methods best meet both users’ needs and organizational capabilities. Read More
While many people still talk about the constraints of mobile devices—how they have small screens and are hard to type on—I focus on the value they bring by not making users type and by doing things that no other devices can do.
Sensors are the real key to the magical appeal of mobile devices—and location is one of the first and best of these sensing technologies. Knowing where a mobile device is works very well as a proxy for knowing the location of the user—and very often, what someone needs or wants to do next.
Therefore, knowing users’ location is an excellent way to tie their reality to the digital experience you’re designing. Read More
This week, while traveling, I noticed my smartwatch wasn’t working right. So I launched the app to get it to reconnect, but it insisted on checking for updates. At a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, there wasn’t a strong enough Internet connection, so I got stuck without its working for a few hours. I couldn’t read news while I was waiting for the bill because my favorite news app doesn’t load stories until I launch it.
Later, I went for a trail run at a little park. The main screen of my fitness tracker is largely a map, but in this case. it was totally blank. It hadn’t synced or saved a map while it still had coverage, so when I needed the app, it just complained about there being no coverage at that time. Read More