user experience archives
Just took an interesting survey by Nielsen / Norman on my career in User Experience. Results will be used to help others entering the field know how to prepare and what to expect. Report will be free to all.
“Putting the product in the customer’s hand. Demos. Knowledgeable staff that can compare across brands, give context on the product class, and show how the thing works. Why not a cooking demo, right there in the store? Not once a week: immediately, on the spot. Show customers why this is the best choice.”
Mark Hurst, in a great article on what brick-and-mortars must do to compete with online retailers like Amazon— not by trying to replicate Amazon in the store, but by providing what an online retailer CAN’T.
“When you are designing, how much time do you spend in your own head, applying your own perspective, and how much time do you spend in someone else’s mindset? Next time you’re designing, try to spend more of the time outside of your own perspective. Make this into a practice.”
Jeff Moyes shared this post with the UX group at FamilySearch today and what Indie Young wrote at the end really helped refresh how we should approach user experience in our work. Enjoy™
Mental Models: How to Wield Empathy Posted by Indi Young on Rosenfeld.
“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.
My favorite (and also alliterative) quote from Mark Hurst
in his most recent Good Experience newsletter, outlining
three overlooked lessons about the iPad.
(He and Rob Foster appear to be very much on the same page…)
“I have to admit something strange: I’m amused by poorly designed websites. The worse the better. Much like some people “love to hate” movie villains, I get a peculiar satisfaction from finding myself completely lost in an ill-conceived, over-designed, steaming pile of a website. ... I think I have to enjoy it on some level, given my role as a customer experience consultant; otherwise work would be pretty difficult (see also: doctors who can’t stand the sight of blood).”
Mark Hurst, noting accurately that customer experience is harder than it looks.
“The world needs more UX. Without the knitting that UX performs for organizations and their customers, we’ll likely end up with continued wanton proliferation of technology rather than the thoughtful, iterative progress and leaps of innovation that good UX practice nurtures.”
This one hits home for me today. From Chris Baum in the latest Boxes and Arrows email newsletter. (I looked for a specific link on their site for a specific web page to cite, but couldn’t find one.)
Interfaces are one of the principal sources from which a person learns about his or her work. That understanding gets turned into diagrams, charts, and maps that, whether accurate or not, come to define the work that person does each day.
“I used to think that, as a designer and a somewhat creative person, it was my calling to bring form to things I saw in my mind. In the creative act of making things, people would understand my thoughts and feelings through the work, in perfect translation. We would shape things with our hands based on notions of utility and delight, and provide them to others for repeated physical (and mental) consumption and use. If well-crafted, it would fulfill a clear human need.
From The Blind Man and the Cheeseburger, by David Sherwin
“Now, I feel quite different. The act of form-giving is not a means to a clear end. Our senses continually map and remap in reaction to the elements that order our physical world, harmonizing those perceptions with the world we construct in our minds. Neither is more precise than the other, or ‘real’ in any standard sense of the word. Physical form and thought of form, messy, human interplay: yin and yang.”
“New technology + same old thinking = same old outcome with a buggy
Mark Hurst, in his latest Good Experience newsletter. Some important thoughts here about how a change in technology without a change in commitment to customers simply results in more efficient ways to annoy, frustrate, and exploit people.
“Designers need to stop thinking that they’re creating experiences. They’re allowing them to unfold with sound design decisions.”
Bryan Zmijewski on why user experience design does not exist. I think he is spot on. We do not create experience, we design applications that allow experiences to happen. We are interaction designers. Just semantics? I don’t think so. It’s important to remember that the user isn’t a marionette.
“It takes a strong
UX practitioner to stand up to an ill-informed team who think that Agile is about
speed rather than about better project control, and who subsequently think that user
experience work is a waste of time.”
Looking forward to reading the rest of Nielsen/Norman’s Best Practices for User Experience on Agile Development Projects
A good diagram explaining the different areas in user experience design and how they are affected by content. Several more models and theories can be found at Challis Hodge’s UX blog.
Think for a moment about your daily routine. You probably wake up to an alarm clock of some sort. You may or may not eat breakfast. You get ready and dressed for work and commute using either public transportation or your own vehicle. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones whose commute is to the home office. You sit at a desk and work on a computer. Perhaps you work outdoors or down in a hole. You go out to lunch or bring your own. You travel home at the end of the day and spend time with family, go out with friends, or watch TV alone.
Whatever your routine, you live in a world filled with user experiences. From the toaster that makes your bread golden brown to the wireless mouse that selects text or graphics on the screen, you have the opportunity to appreciate (or hate) design every day. How does this affect you? Are the majority of your experiences transparent, or do you have several daily complaints? Have you ever made an effort to change a painful experience or publicly applauded a fantastic one?
What I’d like to know from our readers is what you feel makes a truly great user experience—the defining factors that create happiness, efficiency, ease, and simplicity.
While Apple has a healthy amount of attention on profit, product features, and competition, they seemed to pause this week to make a clear statement about their company. Steve Jobs passed around a Macbook chassis in their media event and Jony Ive, SVP of Design, emphasized careful craftsmanship in their product showcase. Apple has communicated what drives their company. They, the CEO and his fellow business-minded executives, respect the balance of form and function and embrace beauty and innovation. They notice nuances and foster a culture of design excellence. Leaders that love design are the foundation of an experience-driven organization.