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User Experience

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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.'



Barriers to Adoption and How to Uncover Them

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. When clients come to us to evaluate a concept, prototype, or completed product, the evaluation really boils down to one fundamental question: Will people use it? We think of adoption as continuous use throughout a product’s expected lifecycle. Thus, adoption is different from purchase behavior, which does not take a product’s actual usage into account. In evaluating products, we emphasize adoption over purchase behavior because adoption tends to lead to other important user behaviors such as customer loyalty, future purchases, and customers’ becoming brand advocates. In our experience, there are four factors that directly affect adoption: perceived value, confidence, accessibility, and trust. By understanding and assessing each of these factors, you can gain insight into how to maximize adoption.

Madrigal, Demetrius and Bryan McClain. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Experience


Barriers to Holistic Design Solutions

What keeps us, as UX professionals, from really solving problems holistically and designing total-system solutions that deeply meet our target users’ needs? At least three barriers to this holy grail of UX design endeavors seem pervasive in corporate environments: 1. We are rarely asked to provide holistic solutions. 2. We don’t understand the big picture. 3. Companies just are not set up to deliver holistic solutions.

Rohrer, Christian. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Workplace


Being Human is Good Business

Your customers are the reason your company exists: serving and retaining them is essential. Results from a recent JD Power retail banking satisfaction study show that poor customer service is the most common reason why customers switched banks in 2010. Of respondents, 37% who changed their primary bank did so because of poor customer service at their previous bank. If you don’t recognize the value of your customers, they leave. If you treat them with compassion and respect, you can inspire their loyalty.

Smaby, Kristin. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>User Centered Design>User Experience>E Commerce


Ben Shneiderman

Dr. Shneiderman muses on mulidisciplinarianism and reminds us that no computer is smarter than a wooden pencil.

Adlin, Tamara and Ben Shneiderman. UX Pioneers (2007). Articles>Interviews>User Experience


Better User Experience With Storytelling, Part 2

We hear from creative professionals who are leading the way in this relatively new world of combining the craft of storytelling with user experience. We’ll also see how storytelling can be applied to more than just interactive experiences: we find it in everything from packaging to architecture.

Inchauste, Francisco. Smashing (2010). Articles>User Experience


Beyond Staggered Sprints: How TheLadders.com Integrated UX into Agile

Agile has a relatively short history in the broader view of software development. Integration of User Experience into Agile has an even shorter history with relatively few stories of overwhelming success. Over the last eighteen months, we at TheLadders have had some successes—and some failures—in our foray into a post-waterfall way of developing elegant, efficient and sophisticated consumer-facing software. This is our story.

Gothelf, Jeff. Johnny Holland (2010). Articles>User Experience>Agile>Case Studies


Beyond User-Centered Design and User Experience: Designing for User Performance   (PDF)

The shortcomings and limitations of user-centered and user experience design are considered and contrasted with usage-centered design. The iterative, trial-and-error approach of traditional user-centered approaches is argued to lead to excessive dependence on user testing and user approval, leading to overly conservative designs. By contrast, model-driven approaches based on fine-grained task models have a proven record of leading to dramatic improvements in user performance through innovative designs.

Constantine, Larry L. Constantine and Lockwood (2006). Articles>User Centered Design>User Experience>EPSS


The Big Cocktail: Cognitive and Humanistic Traits of an Information Designer   (PDF)

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.

Zace, Sokol. STC Proceedings (2001). Articles>Information Design>User Experience>Cognitive Psychology


Biological Motion and Happy Interfaces

If visual design speaks to the user's aesthetics, and interactive design to the user's cognition, then this seems to be something else. Aside from the notable exception of Don Norman's Emotional Design, this is an aspect of design that we don't often think about: playing to the user's awareness of emotion.

Faaborg, Alex. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>User Interface>Emotions


Bite-Sized UX Research

Regardless of the cause for your company’s resource crunch, focus on getting small wins as often as possible throughout your involvement in a project. This is a fairly common piece of advice that crops up time and time again, but it’s very much worth repeating. And it applies just as readily to both situations where time is short and those when there’s just not enough of you to go around.

Baty, Steve. UXmatters (2008). Articles>User Experience>Research>Methods


Boxes and Arrows: Jobs List

Listings about open positions for user experience designers, web designers, information architects, user-centered design and similar positions.

Boxes and Arrows. Careers>Job Listings>User Experience>User Experience


Brand Experience in User Experience Design

As user experience professionals, we have the opportunity to work more closely with brand and marketing specialists to clearly articulate the brand perception we want to elicit from our customers. Brand perception is, in part, an expectation on the part of a customer regarding future interactions with a company and its products and services. To achieve our desired brand perception, we must consistently represent and deliver the brand values we have led customers to expect.

Baty, Steve. UXmatters (2006). Design>Web Design>User Experience>Marketing


Brenda Laurel

Want to see what passionate thinking looks like? Peek inside a brain filled with theatre, invention, games for girls, and design-as-activism.

Adlin, Tamara and Brenda Laurel. UX Pioneers (2007). Articles>Interviews>User Experience


Bringing Holistic Awareness to Your Design

All of the members of the best teams could tell us, with relative ease, the top five business goals of their application, the top five user types the application was to serve, and the top five platform capabilities and limitations they had to work within. And, when questioned more deeply, each team member revealed an appreciation and understanding of the challenges and goals of their teammates almost as well as their own.

Selbie, Joseph. Boxes and Arrows (2009). Design>User Experience>Usability>User Centered Design


Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience

The most effective companies realize that they can't succeed on advertising alone; the customer matters.

Hurst, Mark. uiGarden (2007). Articles>Web Design>Usability>User Experience


Building Ease of Use Into the IBM User Experience   (PDF)

This paper provides an overview of the process and organizational transformation that IBM has gone through in improving the user experience with our offerings.

Vredenburg, K. IBM (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Case Studies


Building the UX Dreamteam

Finding the right person to complement your User Experience team is part art and part luck. Though good interviewing can limit the risk of a bad hire, you need to carefully analyze your current organizational context, before you can know what you need. Herein lies the art. Since you can't truly know a candidate from an interview, you gamble that their personality and skills are what they seem. Aimed at managers and those involved in the hiring decision process, this article looks at the facets of UX staff and offers ways to identify the skills and influence that will tune your team to deliver winning results.

Colfelt, Anthony. Boxes and Arrows (2007). Design>User Experience


Building the UX Dreamteam - Part 2

Skills in research, information architecture, interaction design, graphic design and writing define the recognized areas of User Experience design. However, there still remains much to discuss about what makes a UX team dreamy. Each UX Dreamteam has a finely tuned mix of skills and qualities, as varied as the environments in which they operate. Part two will address whether a person has the right ‘hard’ skills and ‘soft’ qualities like communication style, creativity and leadership ability to fit your particular organizational context. We’ll also touch on the quality of an individual’s personality that may or may not complement the others on your team.

Colfelt, Anthony. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Careers>Management>User Experience>Collaboration


Building Trust on Ecommerce Home Pages

While the presence of many trust elements, aids, and cues throughout an ecommerce site contributes to customers’ perception of its trustworthiness, as UX designers, we can build greater trust by including and appropriately placing these identified trust elements on a site’s home page, as this article describes.

Kirmani, Shazeeye. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>E Commerce


Can the Experience of Paper Be Replicated on a Screen?

A number of organisations are experimenting with how the experience of reading a paper book or a magazine can be replicated when they are displayed on a screen. Underlying all of these, is an assumption that people can and want to read content online (or on screen) in the same way as they read paper books and magazines.

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2010). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Publishing


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


Can You Say That in English? Explaining UX Research to Clients

It's hard for clients to understand the true value of user experience research. As much as you'd like to tell your clients to go read The Elements of User Experience and call you back when they’re done, that won’t cut it in a professional services environment. David Sherwin creates a cheat sheet to help you pitch UX research using plain, client-friendly language that focuses on the business value of each exercise.

Sherwin, David. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Consulting>User Experience>Research


Career Advice for User Researchers

Recently, I celebrated my 11-year anniversary in user experience. Ten years is supposedly the time it takes to become an expert. Though I don’t necessarily feel like an expert, because I like to think that I’m still learning and gaining experience. Nevertheless, 11 years seems like a good point at which to reflect back on the things I’ve learned over my career and pass on some advice to those who are just getting started in the field of user research.

Ross, Jim. UXmatters (2011). Careers>Research>User Experience


Career Alternatives to Management | Best Design Practices for Blogs

What are the different career paths for senior UX roles other than management? Please share some best design practices for blogs.

Six, Janet M. UXmatters (2010). Careers>User Experience>Advice


Change Blindness: "You See, But You Do Not Observe"

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.

Rockley Group, The (2008). Articles>Information Design>User Experience>Cognitive Psychology



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