Dennis Wixon, my first “UX Boss” at Microsoft and co-chair of my masters thesis committee, will be speaking at UPA 2012. Looking forward to hearing him speak!
I liked this article on Breaking the UX Status Quo. Some good thoughts on enlivening various design deliverables by integrating personas and related information throughout.
I like the subtle design changes to the banner area on LDS.org that have gone out over the last few months. This week’s Easter messages have been a good example. (I also appreciate that they got the title and alt attributes fixed, so the thumbnails on the right are more accessible to blind readers—and others who want some text to describe what they’ll get.)
“Subjecting all designs to usability studies before shipping is prudent risk-management.From a good article by Jakob Nielsen on
Radical innovation is extremely risky. Yes, you might invent the next iPhone. But you’re more likely to invent the next Newton.”
A/B Testing, Usability Engineering, Radical Innovation: What Pays Best?
The contrasts between A/B testing, usability activities, and just turning a genius loose to invent the next Big Thing are clearly drawn. I would temper Nielsen’s position a bit by emphasizing his final point—that there’s no reason you have to pick just one. If you have a genius on staff, subjecting his ideas to A/B testing and usability testing will only polish his or her brilliance to an even greater sheen…
“We’ve found the most successful teams are those that spend as much time in each iteration measuring their designs as they do implementing it.”Jared Spool, in an interesting article on making agile iterations… agile! I have found the situation he describes over and over again—agile teams organizing a series of sprints, but never really iterating. They are basically doing waterfall planning, just on very short timescales. This article gives direction on how to get out of that rut. And no surprise, it relies on robust design and user research processes.
Here’s a great article by Christian Holst on an frequent need: designing country selectors. What I love most is that he’s gone beyond describing the challenges, to designing a working solution—which he then makes open source! You can try out his redesigned country selector and download the jQuery plugin.
“The problem with business today isn’t a lack of innovation; it’s a lack of empathy.”Great quote by Dev Patnaik, cited in a UX Booth article called
Invisible Armor: Protecting Your Empathy at Work.
I enjoyed this (sometimes corny) article and related to a lot of the points.
“Speed and agility are the most important attributes any design team can have, even beating out creativity and innovation.Jared Spool, in
This is because a fast–moving process that iterates frequently gets to take advantage of the natural evolution of the design, whereas a slow moving process needs to discover innovation out of the gate, which is much more difficult.”
Prototyping’s Resurgence: Communicating the Designer’s Intent
“The web is an ever-changing beast, full of flaws and imperfection and experimentation. And that’s why we love it.”Dan Cederholm in What I learned about the Web in 2011
I’m excited to be registered for UPA 2012. Lots of great user research presentations, but also more on UX and Design in general than I’ve seen in the past. (It’s been a while…) Curious who else is going… Let me know: borenmt at ldschurch org !
BBQ, plaid shirts, and midnight networking at The Belmont. Yep, it’s that time of year again and we’re hosting our annual meetup at SXSW on Sunday, March 11th from 6-8 PM. If you’ll be in Austin, we’d love to meet you. We’ll be offering a behind-the-scenes look at several applications supporting the LDS Church’s global operations and over 13 million members. The event is invite-only, so please contact us for more information or find one of us for an invitation.
I love these new commercials for the 2012 Kia Optima with Blake Griffen. I can’t remember the last time I saw an NBA player do so well in a commercial. Somehow Blake Griffen is able to give a performance that fits the overall mood of the commercial perfectly. So if Fantasticnous is tied up in someone’s basement I’m pretty sure Kia came and kidnapped it from that basement and has unleashed it in this fantasticly brilliant campaign. Enjoy™
SOURCE: 2012 Kia Optima Blake Griffin Commercial “Easy to Fold” (by KiaMotorsAmerica)
“We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.”Betsy Sparrow, quoted by Tim Minor in an interesting article on
memory and design on UX Booth.
“A king brings six men into a dark building. They cannot see anything. The king says to them, “I have bought this animal from the wild lands to the East. It is called an elephant.” “What is an elephant?” the men ask. The king says, “Feel the elephant and describe it to me.” The man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar, the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope, the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch, the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan, the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall, and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. “You are all correct”, says the king, “You are each feeling just a part of the elephant.”“The story of the elephant reminds me of the different view of design that people of different backgrounds, education, and experience have. A visual designer approaches UX design from one point of view, the interaction designer from another, and the programmer from yet another. It can be helpful to understand and even experience the part of the elephant that others are experiencing.” Enjoy™ The Psychologist’s View of UX Design by Susan Weinschenk on UX Magazine.
“Usability problems usually fall into two categories; either it’s not clear how to do something, or something is too cumbersome to do. The latter is fixed by a better understanding of what the key tasks are, and the former is usually resolved by adding clarity. Often the best way to do this is through the writing of the interface.”Des Traynor: “Writing an Interface” a post about a presentation he gave at Content Strategy in London (Sep. 5, 2011). If you have 25 minutes I highly recommend watching the presentation. Enjoy™
Colleague Carrie Fox called this a “wordle on steroids.” Interesting interactive word cloud from CNNMoney on the best places to work and why employees think so. Make sure to click around a bit… I like both the presentation and the data…
“The most profound thing is that when something crazy happened, they paid attention. They didn’t throw the idea away as most of us would.”Scott Berkun on the “accidental invention” of Post-it Notes, Nutrisweet, and other cool stuff, in a really good post on the importance of working hard and paying attention.
Innovation is not Luck, even when it seems like it.
“Any reference to constraints that limit creativity is just another way of equating creativity with self-expression, an erroneous and irresponsible idea. Except for personal projects, self-expression has no place in design, but constraint is vital to design. No component fuels creativity more than constraint. Indeed, without constraint, creativity (and design) is irrelevant. The discovery process is mostly about finding constraints, which is why we must do such a thorough job of it. Constraints are a designer’s best friend. They’re signposts, not shackles. In a sense, constraints amount to the solution half-built. It is merely up to us to then realize the other half according to what these signposts indicate is appropriate. Nowhere in this concept does self-expression find any valid foothold.”Taken from an article written by Andy Rutledge on March 4, 2008 titled, “On Creativity” on A List Apart. As I read this article I didn’t realize that it was written almost 4 years ago, yet I found it completely relevant to today. Enjoy™