Links for 2012-08-24

Links for 2012-07-23

  • Just What is a UX Manager? [Adaptive Path - Jun 20, 2012] – Someone who manages user experience has stuck their neck out and said they’ll deliver business outcomes through improving the experience that customers have with a product or service. That doesn’t mean soft results like better user testing results, that means delivering the things businesses ultimately care about: adoption, growth, revenue, retention, and margins.

    That means you believe UX is a force that can not only improve people's experiences but that it can also drive business.

  • Why I’m leaving SEO [Jonathon Colman - Jul 09, 2012] – That’s why I entered the Information Management graduate program at the University of Washington’s Information School a year ago. I’m deeply interested in the connections between people, information, and technology and this program provides a world-class education that balances focus across all three of these components. Since then, I’ve learned about structuring information for findability and use, designing across channels, managing information organizations, conducting statistical analysis, information retrieval, the systems development lifecycle, and much more.
  • Multi-Device Layout Patterns [Functioning Form - Mar 14, 2012] – Through fluid grids and media query adjustments, responsive design enables Web page layouts to adapt to a variety of screen sizes. As more designers embrace this technique, we're not only seeing a lot of innovation but the emergence of clear patterns as well. I cataloged what seem to be the most popular of these patterns for adaptable multi-device layouts.
  • 5 Really Useful Responsive Web Design Patterns [Design Shack - Mar 27, 2012] – Responsive web design requires a very different way of thinking about layout that is both challenging and exciting. The art of layout was already complex enough for the centuries that it was defined by fixed elements, now things are becoming exponentially more complicated as layouts become increasingly adaptive.

    To help reprogram your brain to consider layouts in new ways, we’re going to take a look at some interesting responsive design patterns that are being implemented by talented designers all over the web.

Links for 2012-06-22

  • Design Patterns: When Breaking The Rules Is OK [Smashing UX Design - Jun 06, 2012] – I started wondering when breaking a pattern in favor of something different or better might actually be OK. We all recognize and are quick to call out when patterns are misused. But are there circumstances in which breaking the rules is OK? To answer this question properly, let’s go back to the beginning.
  • 20 lines of code that will beat A/B testing every time [Steve Hanov's Programming Blog - May 28, 2012] – In recent years, hundreds of the brightest minds of modern civilization have been hard at work not curing cancer. Instead, they have been refining techniques for getting you and me to click on banner ads. It has been working. Both Google and Microsoft are focusing on using more information about visitors to predict what to show them. Strangely, anything better than A/B testing is absent from mainstream tools, including Google Analytics, and Google Website optimizer. I hope to change that by raising awareness about better techniques.
  • Etsy’s Winning Secret: Don’t Play The Blame Game! [Business Insider - May 15, 2012] – 3 Tips from Etsy on adopting a blameless culture:

    -Assume good will. “Employees are making decisions based on what they think is right for the company,” said Allspaw.
    -Identify causes, not culprits. Accountability happens naturally as people learn the facts. Focus on exploring what happened – and recognize that in complex systems, there’s rarely one root cause.
    -Take your time. People used to blaming cultures may take time to come out of their shell and share mistakes and learnings freely.

Links for 2012-06-05

  • 5 Useful Lies to Tell User Research Participants [UX Booth - Jun 05, 2012] – If you’ve ever run a research or usability test, you’ll know they can be tricky to facilitate. After all, you’re dealing with people; and people come with a whole host of existing preconceptions, personalities, emotions, and experiences. One thing that can help you to gain more honest and thereby useful feedback from research participants is, in fact, to lie to them.
  • Uninspiring by design [Washington Post - May 23, 2012] – I think it’s time for this industry to wake up to design. To wake up to beauty in form and function. I think it’s time that technology companies started taking a long, hard look at what they’re putting out into the world. Hopefully, they’ll start to realize that competition takes more than “me too.”
  • Customer experience: The natural ally for UX in business [Informaat - May 02, 2012] – But being a successful company in customer experience is not easy. eConsultancy recently found two great barriers to deliver the required customer experience: the organisational structure (think silos, departments and business units) and the complexity of the phenomenon. User experience can help. The scope of customer experience is broader than the scope of user experience. It comprises all touchpoints between a company and its customers. The rise of customer experience and user experience has been concurrent, but user experience probably has more traction in terms of concrete roles within organizations.

Links for 2012-05-01

Links for 2012-04-17

  • In Silicon Valley, Designers Emerge As Rock Stars [Business Insider - Apr 13, 2012] – The new breed of “user experience” designers – part sketch artist, part programmer, with a dash of behavioral scientist thrown in – are some of the most sought-after employees in technology.
  • More potent experiences come from ‘reductive’ design [Cisco Web Experience - Feb 19, 2012] – Sometimes, to create a high-quality experience, a product just needs some time to simmer.

    Soups, sauces, and consommé are the result of boiling down to an intensely flavorful product and technology can benefit from a similar process of distillation.

    The reductive process in cooking derives a more concentrated mixture with less volume than before the boiling but with a much greater quality. With frequent stirring, the impurities are brought to the surface and removed, leaving a more concentrated, and potent, product.

Links for 2012-03-08

Links for 2012-02-13

  • Out of the box [Vitamins - Sep, 2011] – Most phones come with flimsy manuals with complicated language and jargon. These books, which can live on a bookshelf actually contain the phone. Each page reveals the elements of the phone in the right order, helping the user to set up the sim card, the battery and even slide the case onto the phone. The second book is the main manual – the phone actually slots into this and becomes the center of attention. Arrows point to the exact locations the user should press, avoiding confusion and eliminating the feeling of being lost in a menu.
  • Integrating UX into the Product Backlog [Boxes and Arrows - Feb 03, 2012] – Teams moving to agile often struggle to integrate agile with best practices in user-centered design (UCD) and user experience (UX) in general. Fortunately, using a UX Integration Matrix helps integrate UX and agile by including UX information and requirements right in the product backlog.

Links for 2012-01-31

  • How to Approach a Responsive Design [Upstatement - Jan 26, 2012] – Here at Upstatement, we experimented with how to solve design and layout problems within a responsive framework. We learned a helluva lot as we went, like how to choose the right design software, strategies for thinking through breakpoints, and some best practices for designing in the browser.
  • The Eye of the Brainstorm [Cooper Journal - Jan 31, 2012] – While people think and behave differently when they are in large groups versus when they are alone, I also believe that people behave still differently when they are in the presence of only one other person. This is often overlooked, yet I believe that creative people can be at their most effective when they work in pairs.
  • The Shift From Watching TV to Experiencing TV [ReadWriteWeb - Jan 25, 2012] – As more and more devices in your home get connected to the Internet, the user experience becomes increasingly important. It’s hard enough to use your PC sometimes, let alone fiddle with the remote on your Internet connected TV! So over the coming months we’ll be exploring the world of User Experience design (a.k.a. UX design). We’ll be interviewing UX experts and reviewing products that get it right – and some that get it wrong. We’ll start by looking at how the user experience of televisions is becoming more interactive and what this will mean to your TV consumption habits.

Links for 2012-01-04

  • Why Best Buy is Going out of Business…Gradually [Forbes - Jan 01, 2012] – I’m not shilling for Amazon or any other successful online retailer here. My point is much more basic. Amazon neither invented nor appropriated its basic strategies from Best Buy or anyone else. It simply does what consumers want. Best Buy does what would be most convenient for the company for consumers to want but don’t, then crosses its fingers and prays. That’s not a strategy – or not a winning strategy, in any case, now that retail consumers aren’t stuck with the store closest to home.
  • A Journey Across the Main Stream: Games for My Mother-in-Law [Gamasutra - Sep 01, 2010] – Veteran LucasArts and Telltale Games designer Dave Grossman says gaming’s limited appeal could come down to “some very basic assumptions we make about the audience versus the actual thought processes of that audience.” So he tested Telltale’s Sam & Max adventure game series on his mother-in-law.
  • The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012 [Inc. - Dec 19, 2011] – After engineers, the biggest challenge for companies is finding high-quality creative design and user-experience talent. Since almost every company is trying to create a highly compelling user experience that keeps people engaged with their product, it is tough to find people who have this type of experience (especially with mobile devices including tablets) and a demonstrated track record of success.

Links for 2011-12-14

Links for 2011-12-01

  • The Anatomy of an Experience Map [Adaptive Path - Nov 30, 2011] – Experience maps have become more prominent over the past few years, largely because companies are realizing the interconnectedness of the cross-channel experience. It’s becoming increasingly useful to gain insight in order to orchestrate service touchpoints over time and space.
  • Using Storyboards and Sentiment Charts to Quantify Customer Experience [UXmatters - Nov 07, 2011] – In the fields of user experience and service design, we use storyboards to illustrate our solutions, so clients can walk in the shoes of their customers, staff, or community and see our solutions as we see them. Storyboards are appealing at an aesthetic level, but are trickier to use in persuading clients who are more used to cold, hard numbers, charts, and tables. Offering more tangible measures of customer sentiment helps clients make connections between the experiences we depict and the sorts of technology, financial, and resource decisions that are necessary to make those experiences happen.
  • Team WhiteBoarding with Twiddla – Painless Team Collaboration for the Web – Mark up websites, graphics, and photos, or start brainstorming on a blank canvas. Browse the web with your friends or make that conference call more productive than ever. No plug-ins, downloads, or firewall voodoo – it’s all here, ready to go when you are. Browser-agnostic, user-friendly.

Links for 2011-11-03

  • How our social circles influence what we do, where we go, and how we decide (Video) [Adaptive Path UX Week 2011 - Aug 25, 2011] – In this talk, you will hear stories that illustrate the social patterns in our lives, and how businesses can use that knowledge to build new products, market themselves in more relevant ways, and create experiences that people value. Paul will share stories about how people we are close to, and people we’ve never met, may or may not influence us, and explain how norms learned from people’s local culture impact how much they can be influenced. His goal is for you to walk away with concrete ideas about building great products built around social behavior.
  • UX, It’s Time to Define CXO [UX Magazine - Oct 28, 2011] – But now that the CXO title has been around for a few years, I ask you: what does the CXO really do and how have things changed for us? How have we, as a profession, taken ownership of this role? What are you doing differently now that you have a CXO in your organization, and does that CXO even have a UX background? Furthermore, how do we ensure the CXO seat is filled by UX, and what skills does someone need to fill it?
  • An Event Apart: Design Principles [Functioning Form - Oct 24, 2011] – In his Design Principles presentation at An Event Apart in Washington DC 2011 Jeremy Keith outlined the design principles behind the World Wide Web and how they continue to shape its future. Here are my notes from his talk:

Links for 2011-10-20

  • Getting the first click right [Measuring Usability - Oct 19, 2011] – Few things affect task success more than the navigation of website. If users can’t find what they’re looking for, not much else matters. If it were easy to get the navigation right, there wouldn’t be books and a profession dedicated to it.

    First impressions matter in life and that’s also the case with website navigation. Research has shown that when users first click is down the right path, 87% eventually succeed. When they click down an incorrect path, only 46% eventually succeed.

  • The 10 principles of interaction design [.Net - Oct 19, 2011] – I got my start as an interaction designer during the first internet bubble. Since then I’ve worked on interactive marketing and products for everything including finance, automotive, electronics, packaged consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. In that time and experience I have come to know that there are a few key things that make good interaction designs and designers. Here are 10 of them.
  • Storyboarding & UX – part 2: creating your own [Johnny Holland - Oct 17, 2011] – When thinking about storyboarding, most people fixate on their ability – or perceived inability — to draw. What is far more important is working out the point you wish to make with your storyboard, and the actual story that will carry that point from your storyboard across the room and into the hearts and minds of your audience. In this article explores the value of establishing a reason for the storyboard first, and then how you can create a storyboard using the thinking you’re already using and the skills you already have.

Links for 2011-10-06

  • Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite! [TED - Mar, 2011] – Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension — and our creative thinking. So why do we still feel embarrassed when we’re caught doodling in a meeting? Sunni Brown says: Doodlers, unite! She makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen.
  • Conversation Techniques For Designers [Smashing UX Design - Sep 29, 2011] – In this article, we’ll examine the role of conversation in the design process, and how the words we use shape the products we ship. We’ll outline nine ways by which designers can maintain a consistent design conversation during a project, helping to create a better product.
  • Organize anything, together. | Trello – Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.

Links for 2011-10-04

  • Shelf Life of Social Media Links Only 3 Hours [Hubspot - Sep 08, 2011] – When it comes to link sharing in social media, it turns out it’s not about where you share it — it’s about what you share. New research from URL shortening service bitly focuses on how long a link is “alive” before people stop engaging with it and whether it matters what kind of content it is or where it was shared. Winners are using direct links (instead of shorteners) and Youtube.
  • Design Research: Why You Need it [Cooper Journal - Mar 03, 2003] – A design research phase consists of three main activities: stakeholder interviews, domain research, and user interviews. Some combination of all three makes for a successful phase. The length of each activity depends on the complexity of the product. More is always better, but effective design research can be gathered in a relatively short amount of time. Typically, one to three weeks is sufficient for most business and domain products, while complex enterprise systems with multiple interfaces require a longer research period.
  • How Good Designers Think [Harvard Business Review - Apr 26, 2011] – Firstly, good designers don’t tend to think about consumers; they think about people and what they want and need. Secondly, good designers like observing — really looking at what people do rather than simply relying on what they say they do. Thirdly, they bring expertise in other categories and industries to bear on problems in others. Fourthly, good designers look at what might all change in the short, medium and long-term, by engaging with the best trends and forecasting intelligence. And lastly, good designers pressure test their conclusions by consulting with other cultural interpreters from a broad range of other disciplines.

Links for 2011-08-19

  • Social Design [Facebook Developers] – Social Design is a way of thinking about product design that puts social experiences at the core. Create these social experiences with the features available on Facebook Platform.
  • Google Web Fonts – Hundreds of free, open-source fonts optimized for the web.

Links for 2011-08-05

  • Observing Customers Drives Innovation [ZURB - Aug 02, 2011] – Innovation comes from observing customers. That’s all. You’ll find tons of product opportunities to capitalize on by observing how people are accomplishing everyday tasks. OXO comes to mind as a company that drives innovation from observing their customers. 
  • The Eight Pillars of Innovation [Think Quarterly by Google - Q3, 2011] – Our growing Google workforce comes to us from all over the world, bringing with them vastly different experiences and backgrounds. A set of strong common principles for a company makes it possible for all its employees to work as one and move forward together. We just need to continue to say “yes”and resist a culture of “no”, accept the inevitability of failures, and continue iterating until we get things right.
  • An Empirical Evaluation of the System Usability Scale [International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction (Volume 24, Issue 6) - Jul 30, 2008] – This article presents nearly 10 year’s worth of System Usability Scale (SUS) data collected on numerous products in all phases of the development lifecycle. The SUS, developed by Brooke (1996), reflected a strong need in the usability community for a tool that could quickly and easily collect a user’s subjective rating of a product’s usability. The data in this study indicate that the SUS fulfills that need. Results from the analysis of this large number of SUS scores show that the SUS is a highly robust and versatile tool for usability professionals. The article presents these results and discusses their implications, describes nontraditional uses of the SUS, explains a proposed modification to the SUS to provide an adjective rating that correlates with a given score, and provides details of what constitutes an acceptable SUS score.
  • A CRAP way to improve usability [Userfocus - Aug 01, 2011] – Visual design is often dismissed as eye candy. In fact, we can use four key principles of visual design to create more usable interfaces. These principles are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity.

Links for 2011-06-22

  • Usability Testing with 5 Users [Alertbox - Mar 19, 2000] – Some people think that usability is very costly and complex and that user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.

Links for 2011-06-09