A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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.'



Philadelphia: User Experience Beyond The Web

Because many of the local Usability Professionals Association (UPA) members work in internet-related fields, Philadelphia's second Annual World Usability Day looked to broaden horizons by focusing on 'User Experience Beyond the Web.' The pervasive theme of the presentations by Hal Rosenbluth, James Mitchell, and Stephen Wilcox was that we actually have a lot in common.

Madaio, Mike. Usability Interface (2007). Articles>Usability>User Experience


Pioneering a User Experience (UX) Process

Creating a User Experience (UX) process can be a very rewarding journey; it can also be a nightmare if approached from the wrong angle. Initiating a culture-shift, overhauling existing processes, evangelizing, strategizing, and educating is an enormous undertaking. Often it's a lonely path the UX advocate walks, especially if you are the only one who is driving that change from within the company. But that path is ripe with opportunities to improve your company's product creation process, as well as the product itself.

Hillman, Amy. UXmatters (2007). Design>User Experience>Project Management


Portfolios for Independent UX Designers

As an independent UX designer, what should I have in my portfolio to gain the most consulting contracts?

Six, Janet M. UXmatters (2011). Careers>Portfolios>User Experience


Power of Comparison: How It Affects Decision Making

People do not make judgments and decisions in a vacuum. They make them against a backdrop of available options. And a choice set—what the options are and how they relate to each other—is an important aspect of the context in which they make decisions.

Roller, Colleen. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>E Commerce


Power or Collaboration—What’s Most Valuable to a UX Leader?

Do UX leaders need to acquire and wield power to ensure their organizations can produce game-changing design? If they don’t already have executive support, can they can collaborate their way to success?

Nieters, Jim. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Experience>Project Management


Powers of 10: Time Scales in User Experience

From 0.1 seconds to 10 years or more, user interface design has many different timeframes, and each has its own particular usability issues.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2009). Articles>Usability>User Experience>User Interface


Preferences Considered Harmful

Every programmer and user interface designer eventually comes to this point: You can’t decide how a specific part of your user interface should behave. It’s easy, of course. Just make it a preference, and everyone will be happy.

Mathis, Lukas. ignore the code (2008). Articles>User Interface>Usability>User Experience


Principle of Least Astonishment

These days I’ve stumbled upon something called Principle of least astonishment (surprise) and it caught my attention. I guess you can already derive some meaning from the name of the Principle of itself – but let’s see what PLA actually is.

UX Passion (2008). Articles>User Experience


The Prism of User Experience

Practitioners of User Centred Design method tend to focus only on immediate user goals and short focused usability. What is meant by long term usability and long term user experience? It needs due attention because only then the impact of products on our environment and health gains prominence! If we take a long term perspective then what we consider usable based on our immediate experience might turn out to be a disastrous product.

Katre, Dinesh S. Journal of HCI Vistas (2007). Articles>User Centered Design>User Experience


The Problem with Problems

User Experience and usability practitioners are on a continuous hunt for problems that plague our users. This seems straightforward – find problems from testing, user forums, observation, and other methods, prioritize the problems, and generate solutions that eliminate the complaint. However, some events that we call problems in one context may not be problems in another.

Wilson, Chauncey E. Designing the User Experience at Autodesk (2009). Articles>User Experience>Usability


The Public Library as a Meeting-Place in a Multicultural and Digital Context: The Necessity of Low-Intensive Meeting-Places   (peer-reviewed)

The purpose of the paper is to develop an improved conceptual framework for researching and discussing the public library's role as a meeting-place in a multicultural and digital society.

Audunson, Ragnar. Journal of Documentation (2005). Articles>Collaboration>User Experience


Putting a Paper Form Online: Avoiding Dropouts and False Information

My organization has a paper form that we want to put online. How should we go about doing that? Also, how do you decide what format to use—for example, HTML, Flash, PDF, or proprietary software?

Six, Janet M. UXmatters (2010). Articles>Web Design>Forms>User Experience


Putting Experience Design to Work Everywhere

Everyone wants a piece of us right now. Experience design has led to the creation of so many revolutionary products, services, and systems that businesses of every stripe are fully embracing the power of UX. While plenty of these organizations have design teams in place and have been implementing some measure or manner of UX for years, the next step is bringing an awareness of user-centric thinking to every corner and crevice inside the organization.

Tyson, Josh. UX Magazine (2015). Articles>User Experience>Workplace


Putting SEO in Its Place: An Information Architecture Strategy

In this month’s column, I’ll discuss how to put search engine optimization (SEO) in its proper place in the grand scheme of things, demonstrating its relationship to information architecture.

Davis, Nathaniel. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Search Engine Optimization


Quickness and Usability Keys to Successful Web Sites

Three clicks and that's it. Most Web site users allow only three clicks to be impressed with your product. Most people don't surf the Web; they have an agenda. In specialized fields such as banking, users will stay with sites that give them information quickly and pleasantly. The challenge is to produce a positive Web site experience the first time around. It boils down to one word: usability. Is your Web site user friendly? With 80% of current Web sites falling by the wayside, your home page must be easily accessible as well as eye-catching and informative. The imperatives are point, click and find the right department.

Schaffer, Eric M. TechWeb (2001). Design>Web Design>User Experience>Usability


Rapid Prototyping with Sinatra

If you’re a web designer or developer, you’re well acquainted with prototyping. From raw wireframing to creating interfaces in Photoshop, designers map out how sites will work before they create them. Over the past few years, the protoyping process has changed significantly. With browser makers generally agreeing on web standards and the rise of tools such as Firebug and WebKit’s web inspector, we can sometimes skip Photoshop and go straight to the browser. Plus, JavaScript frameworks like jQuery let us play with browser events with only a few lines of code. But what if we need to do even more? As websites increasingly become web apps, we now need to prototype backend functionality, too. Learn how Sinatra, a so-called “micro” web framework, helps you create real (albeit simple) web apps extremely fast, letting you prototype flows and behavior you may want to integrate into a final product.

Shaw, Al. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>Web Design>Programming>User Experience


Re-thinking the Medicine Cabinet

A recent story, that’s quickly becoming a classic, is the origin and design of the Target pill bottle and the surrounding ClearRX system. It’s an inspiring and instructive story about the power of design to impact business and to change people’s lives.

Schauer, Brandon. UX Magazine (2007). Articles>Interviews>User Experience


Reaching Outside the UX Tribe at STC’s Technical Communications Summit

The field of technical communication is at a pivotal moment, not unlike to what user experience is currently facing. I was amazed at the parallels between the two communities, their organizations and conferences, growing pains and factions. The reality is that our work is so interconnected, it’s a wonder we aren’t better integrated under a single heading.

Hess, Whitney. Pleasure and Pain (2010). Articles>TC>User Experience>Blogs


Really Ugly Résumés

Sometimes, just for fun I walk over to HR and have a peek at the résumés people send in. Let me tell you it ain’t pretty. There’s a huge shift in advertising today. Smart brands know that they have to sell you much more than benefits, they have to sell you an experience. And why shouldn’t your job pitch do the same?

Dee, Jesse. SlideShare (2011). Careers>Resumes>Online>User Experience


Recycle These Pixels: Sustainability and the User Experience

Whether we’re designing the user experience for a digital product or a physical one, as UX professionals, we are uniquely positioned to influence the behavior of other people, for good or ill. Our employers or clients charge us with responsibility for not only defining a design problem from multiple perspectives, but also finding solutions that are better than the ones that came before. Increased energy consumption, materials waste, and the resulting climate change are the chief difficulties our generation of designers and thinkers must address—or ignore at our own peril. But for most UX professionals, sustainability—unlike usability, technical feasibility, aesthetic appeal, and even business viability—is not yet a baseline factor that we take into account when designing a product or service.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2008). Articles>User Experience>Environmental


Redesigning Ourselves: How We Made Our Agency More User Friendly

We have a group of users. We want to understand what’s important to them. We want to make their lives a bit easier. We know this stuff! This is just a design problem! So we decided to use some of our research and design techniques on ourselves.

Campbell, Ollie. UXmatters (2011). Careers>Consulting>User Experience


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


Requirements vs. Constraints

The more feature-rich a particular design approach is, the more it delights product management. Of course, that starts to overload available engineering resources which drives their delight down. Being a UX designer puts one in this position a lot. So you look for that acceptable area of compromise, somewhere close to the intersection of the two lines.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>Collaboration>Project Management


Research Is Communication

In our column, Insights from Research, we’ll explore user research and the communication that drives it. We’ll talk about the need for innovating research methodologies, as well as the need to learn to listen and communicate effectively. We’ll describe some of the challenging situations that can arise while performing research and ways to resolve them. For example, we often get questions about how to handle participants who won’t open up and talk about their experience—or the complete opposite, participants who talk a great deal, but stray off topic. Finally, we’ll discuss ways to use communication to better connect with customers and gain an understanding of their experience.

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



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