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Hornsby, Peter

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Using patterns has become a well-known design practice and is also considered best practice in the software development community. While UX teams can and should constantly promote best practice, we can also approach tackling poor design practice from the other side: antipatterns. Antipatterns are approaches to common problems that might appear obvious, but are less than optimal in practice.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Web Design>User Interface


Augmented Cognition: A Future for UX?

Augmented cognition is about understanding the state of a user’s brain and using that understanding to manage the user’s interaction with a computer. For example, if a user were receiving too much information in image form to process it effectively, you might trigger an audio alert to ensure that he responds to another pressing matter. In this way, the user avoids becoming overloaded with information and is in a better position to act appropriately.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2013). Articles>User Experience>Mobile


Can UX Be Agile?

Traditional, heavyweight development methodologies can be very effective at solving well‑defined problems, where the person solving the problem has a clear understanding of the initial and goal states, the available options, and the constraints on the problem. At the opposite end of the spectrum are ill‑defined, so-called wicked problems. When it’s necessary to balance numerous, often‑conflicting factors, traditional development methodologies are much less effective.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Experience>Agile


Review: The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist

Fred Brooks is a computer scientist. He is perhaps best known for his seminal book The Mythical Man‑Month, which looked at how the human factor in software engineering affected nonlinear economies of scale in collaborative work—that is, how assigning additional engineers to a late software project usually makes it even later. The Mythical Man‑Month was first published in 1975, and its findings still hold true today. Now, in The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist, Brooks looks at the design process and what makes a design elegant. While Brooks himself is a computer scientist, the book contains lessons that are applicable to all domains of design—much as Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction looked at patterns in the architecture of physical environments, but ultimately led to the use of design patterns in other domains, including software engineering and UX design.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Reviews


Designing with Behavioral Economics

Much of economics theory is based on the premise that people are rational decision-makers. In recent years, behavioral economics—also known as behavioral finance—has emerged as a discipline, bringing together economics and psychology to understand how social, cognitive, and emotional factors influence how people make decisions, both as individuals and at the market level. Many of the findings of behavioral economics have a direct influence on how users interact with a product. In a worst‑case scenario, a product’s design may encourage user behaviors that are detrimental to users’ best interests.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Centered Design>Theory>Personas


Leveraging User Data by Embedding UX Design Knowledge in Products

The role of data in a UX design process usually goes something like this: User researchers or UX designers gather data about users and their needs, using a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches. They then analyze the data—often developing documentation that synthesizes the data, such as a task analysis or a set of personas. Finally, they use their analysis as a basis for making design decisions or influencing the strategy of the broader organization. Throughout this process, UX professionals mediate the relationships between the data that describes users and their requirements, design goals, and business objectives, seeking to align them as closely as possible. This article looks at how we can make this process of data analysis and design—or redesign—more effective by embedding UX design knowledge in computer systems.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Experience>Usability>Log Analysis


Refactoring the User Experience

Though the relationship between software engineering and user experience is not always an easy one, software engineers and UX professionals share some common goals. Both have a vested interest in producing systems that are useful and usable. This column will explore how we can apply software engineering concepts and practices in the context of user experience design and, hopefully, build greater understanding between the two disciplines.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Experience>Usability


Reinventing Banking: An Interview with Toby Sterrett of Simple

Every so often, different aspects of my life collide, with interesting results! I recently watched a presentation by Toby Sterrett, Director of UX at Simple, that really resonated with my work in financial services. Toby has graciously agreed to let me interview him for UXmatters.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2014). Articles>Interviews>Web Design>User Experience


Reusing the User Experience

As a rule of thumb, the earlier in the development process reuse can occur, the more efficient reuse becomes. Like software component reuse, the reuse of UX design elements can be a very efficient form of reuse—particularly because this form of reuse occurs very early in the product development cycle. The ability to reuse prior work effectively is one characteristic of a mature discipline.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Project Management>User Interface>Planning


Supporting User Experience Throughout the Product Development Process

For most of us, the ideal when working on a product-development project would be to work with a group of like-minded professionals, each with their own areas of responsibility, but sharing the same overarching goal. Yet all too often in User Experience, we encounter unwarranted resistance to our ideas, making the product-development process much less efficient and adding to a project’s costs. The apparent cost of involving User Experience early and throughout a product-development process becomes a series of hidden costs, resulting from project delays, incomplete requirements, and less than optimal products that result in higher error rates and reduced efficiency for users.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Experience>Project Management>Collaboration

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