What affects decision outcomes most is the actual context in which people make decisions. All kinds of things affect decision making—the type of decision someone is making, the decision maker’s level of expertise, the number of options available, the way and order in which options are presented, and many others. This column examines how the number of available options affects the decision-making process.
Kathy Sierra is the author of many successful books, including the award winning Head First series with Bert Bates. She’s an in-demand conference speaker, trainer, programmer, and the founder of the online community JavaRanch. In this interview, she and Nicky Bleiel discuss her new book, Badass: Making Users Awesome.
This paper describes how our experience in striving to hire Information Designers led us to identify the very basic cognitive and humanistic traits that make up a successful technical communicator. It also shows how, once identified, such traits can be used to unveil hidden potentialities which can help turn a non expert candidate into a successful and gratified Information Designer and communicator. This paper focuses mainly on psychological traits, not on technical skills, that have been extensively discussed in a series of other papers.
We can't force people to look at the work we do, but if we want to make them happy, we need to provide them with the information they need in a manner that makes it easy for the top-down mechanisms to work efficiently. It's our job to help them observe, rather than just see.
The article presents a point of view about analyzing and designing the user experience within pervasive networks made of distributed services and applications, where the user is the primary actor who freely and opportunistically connects and activates the system components following an activity-driven process. A digital content case study is used to outline the main characteristics of this scenario and to introduce a tool for user experience modelling and designing. From the application of this model are proposed some considerations about how the design process could change to support this vision.
The common wisdom is that we now live in the age of information; the freedom and access we have to data is unprecedented in history; and the efficiency and convenience of online commerce, research, and communication has already transformed our lives for the better. While this is true, of course, our excitement should be tempered by a few realizations.
For the most part, we create Web sites to get users to do something—for example, to make a purchase, donate to a cause, or sign up for our service. It is our expectation that users will make decisions about how to proceed. But are we designing for optimal decision making by users?
The role of the information architect (IA), interaction designer, or user experience (UX) designer is to help create architecture and interactions which will impact the user in constructive, meaningful ways. Sometimes the design choices are strategic and affect a broad interaction environment; other times they may be tactical and detailed, affecting few. But sometimes the design choices we make are not good enough for the users we’re trying to reach. Often a sense of democratic responsibility is missing in the artifacts and experiences which result from our designs and decisions.
Information design has traditionally focused on usability as measured by functionality and efficiency in the execution of user tasks. Newer approaches to experience design and new communication technologies such as the so-called Web 2.0 platform and its Ajax engine emphasize total user engagement with the technology and richer collaborations among users. These developments complicate traditional notions of agency by highlighting the role of technology as mediator between and among users. A project in Tech-Mediated Communication at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, funded by the Society for Technical Communication, illustrates how these developments impact the development of novel and creative information resources, with several experiments in cross-cultural, community-oriented, and educational systems design. This work also emphasizes the need to develop research agendas and programmatic initiatives that support interdisciplinary collaborative design activities and thus help technical communicators to meet their collective responsibility to influence and shape the mediating technologies of the future by creating more engaging and more collaborative total user experiences.
The Web was originally conceived as a hypertextual information space; but the development of increasingly sophisticated front- and back-end technologies has fostered its use as a remote software interface.
Jesse James Garrett’s 'The Elements of User Experience' diagram has become rightly famous as a clear and simple model for the sorts of things that user experience professionals do. But as a model of user experience it presents an incomplete picture with some serious omissions—omissions I’ll try address with a more holistic model.
While ubiquitous computing remains an unpleasant mouthful of techno-babble to most people who know the term, and everyware is still an essentially unknown idea, the visibility of augmented reality has surged in the last twelve months.
This month, we’ll explore the simple, but very powerful design pattern called More Like This, which provides the information scent and motivation necessary to make customers navigational decisions quick, easy, and intuitive. Unfortunately, most sites do not make sufficient use of this pattern and some that do use it design and implement it incorrectly.
The people who own the creation, collection, and distribution of content may not be the same people in the very near future. I also believe technical communication is part of information architecture and user experience design. While the technical communication community, specifically many STC members, also work in usability or information design, the culture of the user has changed faster than the culture within the tech comm community.