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
Ever since I figured out that the design work that I do is really rooted in psychology and physiology, I’ve been fascinated by human behavior. A key facet of human behavior is the influence the environment has on people. While the term context is a good shorthand way of referring to this, it’s too often confused with a user’s physical location and activities. And way too often, people assume that a user’s context is simply sitting at a desk, looking at a computer.
Naturally, I disagree with that perspective on context. You might expect that’s because my work focuses on design for mobile devices, but there’s more to it than that. It’s not just because mobile phones open the whole world to computing, but because context—or environment—is a much broader thing. So imagine my excitement on reading this:
“The history of technology is part and parcel of social history in general. Technology cannot be studied in isolation.”—John Ellis Read More