User experience design is a subset of the field of experience design which pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models which impact a user's perception of a device or system. The scope of the field is directed at affecting 'all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.'
To improve your product’s out-of-the-box experience, you must first define the experience that you want your users to have. The next challenge is to design the specific elements that will achieve that experience. These elements must be designed harmoniously with each other and with the functional improvements planned for the product. By enhancing those improvements, the overall experience will draw the customer into the product. If designed appropriately, these elements can improve not only the out-of-the-box experience but also the marketability of the product.
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.
Designing the User Experience at Autodesk provides a venue for the individuals across our global user experience teams-including user researchers, designers, and user assistance professionals-to share insights on methods & practices, innovation, leadership, design’s connection to achieving business objectives, and reflections on topical interests in the design community.
The relatively recent adoption of user-focused design practices by the Web design and development community--including personas, participatory design, paper prototyping, and the like--highlights important distinctions between the user experiences of desktop applications and those of information spaces. With the growing desire for usable Web applications, these distinctions become more topical and important to understand. Though the process of designing and creating application and information space user experiences for the Web is virtually the same--even if the deliverable design documents may differ--their user experiences are fundamentally and profoundly different. For designers, business analysts, marketing consultants, and others who are sincerely interested in delivering the best user experiences online, understanding these distinctions can reduce the cost of design and improve the likelihood of user acceptance.
While earning points or miles has been a staple of loyalty programs for the last 30 years, few outfits make it easy to redeem the points. ThinkGeek not only makes it easy, but also uses the opportunity to highlight some of their lesser-known products.
No matter how motivated we are or how much effort we invest in our work, it doesn't change the fact that we devote a sizable chunk of our careers to working on brands no one truly cares about. In the 25 years that I’ve worked as a designer, brand consultant, and creative director, I've experienced the good, the bad and, most often, the mediocre. There are myriad reasons for mediocrity, but unfortunately, the one that’s the most detrimental is also the most prevalent.
For plenty of experience design practitioners, looking for ways to make products and services more usable and rewarding is infectious. We’ve got utterly engaging business at hand, and it’s hard to understand why those on the outside don’t see that. To that end, the increasing prominence and popularity of user-centered design practices is our good fortune. But magical tho it be, UX doesn’t always sell itself to newbies, so it’s often up to design teams, and the organizations they work within, to make sure everyone understand its nature and importance.
We go from one moment being very proficient with our current tool or technology to being pretty stupid with a new one. So the basic question every user ends up answering is Was the improvement labeled "B" worth the pain and humiliation labeled "A?"
Site visitors come to find some sort of content, whether that is persuasive, instructional, or entertainment content. That is the treasure they’re hunting down. The process of finding the content influences the user experience. But, to be clear, ask anyone who has gone on a hunt – from the six-year-old at a birthday party to a site visitor looking for content – and can’t find what they’re looking for: the dissatisfaction becomes palpable.
From ATMs to Siri to the button text in an application user interface, we “talk” to our tech—and our tech talks back. Often this exchange is purely transactional, but newer technologies have renegotiated this relationship. Joscelin Cooper reflects on how we can design successful human-machine conversations that are neither cloying nor overly mechanical.
Focus groups have gotten a bad rap over the years as UX research has shifted away from this very traditional method of market research. But focus groups can be quite useful for UX research if we approach them properly. This month, we’ll talk about ways you can get the most out of focus groups and apply the method properly to avoid the pitfalls that many people commonly encounter.
Document engineering is a methodology for specifying, designing, and deploying the information models and repositories that enable document-centric applications, and a synthesis of information and systems analysis, business process modeling, electronic publishing, and service-oriented architecture.
Here is a nice use of flash cards as a way of providing user documentation. Traditionally, these type of documents have looked great but taken a lot of time and effort to produce. However, with more and more technical documentation content stored as re-usable chunks of information in XML-based Content Management Systems, it’s a lot easier to do.
Despite usability questionnaires providing only a partial picture of usability, they are nonetheless important. In fact, you could argue a user's perception of an application's usability is more important than actual task performance—a sort of gateway measure of usability.
People often use professional talent to record the script for a demo video. These voiceovers can add credibility and using the right voice can even increase attention and engagement with the demo. Does the accent of the voiceover matter? Would a British accent or American accent improve or hinder the conversion rate?
The ability to explain complex academic theories in palatable layman’s’ terms is the mark of a good teacher—and Don Norman is certainly that. “Don,” Adaptive Path founder Peter Merholz warned us, “likes to take people to school.”
Educators should include new dimensions of visual literacy in academic curricula. Today’s students are actively involved in interactive experiences. They are contributing content to websites as well as designing websites and other types of online experiences for the public. Students need to understand the semiotics of interactive computing and how the integration of diverse sensory data with social interaction impacts the way we interpret online information.
As user experience designers in an enterprise, we find ourselves knee deep in pixels. Should we use a dropdown element or a set of radio buttons? 10pt or 12pt size font? A broad-and-shallow or narrow-and-deep information architecture? While such design considerations are necessary and important, we miss huge user experience opportunities outside the webpage, outside the website, outside the browser. By tackling inter-application usability opportunities, user experience (UX) professionals can make things easier in a big way.
Our latest ecommerce research revealed user-experience improvements to shopping sites such as large product images, robust reviews, and easy discounts. New designs suffer from hidden product information, poor site feedback, and crowded customer-service areas.
I dedicated my last Designing for Children column to exploring the effective use of color and graphics in interactive applications for toddlers and preschoolers. In this installment, I’ll continue my exploration of the use of color and graphics, but this time, in applications directed toward older children.
To foster discussion about the issues companies face in trying to effectively integrate user experience into their current organizations and processes, we surveyed our panel of Ask UXmatters experts, asking them to give us their thoughts on these important issues.
In this column, which is the second of two parts, we’ll continue discussing how companies can ensure the effectiveness of User Experience within their organizations and current product development processes.
Product experience is influenced by information from all the senses. Our experiments provide insight into how sounds contribute to the overall experience of a product's expression. We manipulated the sounds of dust busters and juicers so that they either did or did not fit the expressions of the products' appearances. In some, but not all cases, we found an inverse relationship between the degree-of-fit of a sound and the degree of surprise evoked. Furthermore, we found in some cases that the expression of a product's sound influenced the overall expression of that product.