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.'
In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review that focused on branding, David Edelman articulates how consumers’ engagement with brands is evolving through the proliferation of social media and other digital channels. In his article “Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places,” he proposes a model for consumer and brand engagement titled the “Customer Decision Journey.” This model recognizes that customer experiences increasingly include online components, where their experience of considering and evaluating choices is constantly shifting and, after making purchases, their engagement with brands continues through social media channels. Edelman’s article goes on to discuss how marketing teams should shift their focus to researching and supporting the advocacy and bonding portion of the consumer engagement lifecycle. Although Edelman wrote his article with marketing professionals as the intended audience, I was struck by how similar the marketing perspective is to the goals of User Experience (UX) groups.
Users’ “enjoyment” of a site is tied closely to how easily they can find the information they want and stay oriented at the same time. I think this is a given for technical communicators; we know that users want to get answers as fast as possible, and documentation must be navigable.
UX teams in small organizations face some unique challenges, so industry-standard solutions for large organizations are not always a good fit. Often those solutions are too large scale, costly, scary, and overwhelming for a small organization’s management team. Plus, management may be skeptical about the return on investment (ROI) making a high level of investment in user experience would bring. This poses some interesting challenges for a UX team in a small organization.
The invention of the printing press transformed the physical object that is a book from the output of human transcription to that of mass production, ushering in the era of information as a physical object. More recently, mass adoption of the World Wide Web and a plethora of Internet-connected devices has brought us into the digital era of information. But we are on the cusp of yet another technological sea change. The pendulum that swung from physical to digital is now swinging back to the real world. However, this time information has become formless, contextual, and ubiquitous. In the words of Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati, “[Information] is bleeding out of the Internet and out of personal computers, and it is being embedded into the real world.”  Welcome to the new cross-channel, multiplatform, transmedia information age.
From my discussions with fellow UX and CX professionals, it’s clear that we share a sense of pressure and frustration when it comes to big data. Regardless of the organization or industry, we encounter similar challenges around grappling with, understanding, and leveraging big data in our efforts to realize exceptional customer experiences.
I'm working these days on trying to design a report format around a particular data security standard. I've spent a lot of time trying to understand the standard and what it requires of users and what it would require of our product. I suddenly realized that my analysis was feeling like the kind of research I did on Roberts Rules. I don't think I could have critically analyzed the standard nearly as effectively had I not had the experience of trying to critically understand Roberts Rules so I could use them effectively to move my agenda forward.
How can design managers use valuation methodology to better increase their visibility and position themselves as a strategic corporate resource? Here are five steps that will help.
What place am I in? By giving us the ability to link to anything at any time, the web complicated this question and changed our concept of context. In this excerpt from Chapter 2 of his new book, Understanding Context, Andrew Hinton explores why that happened, and how our resulting “place confusion” affects the way we perceive and use the web.
After working on five books as an editor or co-author, Lou Rosenfeld became disenchanted with the traditional book publishing model. So, in late 2005, he founded Rosenfeld Media, a new publishing house that develops short, practical, useful books on user experience design. Rosenfeld Media published their first book, Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, in early 2008. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lou—along with Liz Danzico, Senior Development Editor at Rosenfeld Media—about starting a new publishing house and “eating their own dog food.”
When product teams ask technical writers to document software products, writers usually start their projects by analyzing the tasks users will perform when working with them. A task analysis generates a list of procedures—plus the supporting information users need to follow them—and eventually results in a document in which sequentially numbered instructions are the dominant type of information—neatly organized under user-centered task headings and preceded by enabling knowledge. It sounds ideal, classical even. The problem? Users don’t read procedures.
We asked respondents to state their total annual compensation from salary and bonuses; we did not include stock options and other benefits. Given that most stock options have been under water recently, cash compensation may be the most important number anyway.
A survey of 1,078 user experience professionals finds that usability specialists make more money than designers and writers in the same field. In all three areas, salaries are highest in the U.S., lower in Canada and Asia, and much lower in Europe and Australia.
What do you do when you realize that an entire generation’s behavior is utterly baffling? When do you say, “my instincts about this group are probably way off?” How do you address a growing gap that will only widen over time?
Your seemingly elegant design begins to bloat with features, tear under the pressure of localization, and nearly keel over under the weight of new content that pushes it to its breaking point. Before long you give up. It's time to redesign--again. Could you have avoided this all too common cycle? Was there anything you might have done to anticipate these changes? One potential answer lies in scalable design considerations. Screen frameworks, user interface structures, and components that enable your product design to gracefully accommodate new features, new markets, and dynamic content--that can shrink or grow--are the cornerstones of a scalable design.
When I joined the company, they were making the transition from being an online servicing group, where people could access their accounts and check their balances, to one where they could start a relationship with their customers, through selling anything from checking accounts to brokerage accounts to services on those accounts.
I’ve been talking about mental models (and their counterparts, conceptual models, which we’ll get to shortly) since the 1980s. I’ve been designing interfaces for software, websites, medical devices, and even microwave ovens for (way too many) years. I always enjoy the challenge of matching what is going on in the users’ brains with the constraints and opportunities of the technology of the day (or year, or decade). Interface environments come and go (e.g., the “green screen” of character based systems, or the blue screen of early graphical user interfaces), but people change more slowly. I find that some of the age-old user interface design concepts are still extremely relevant and important. Mental models and conceptual models are some of my favorite interface design concepts that I believe have passed the test of time.
This article examines what works and what does not work well when selling UX within an organization, identifies barriers you might encounter to the adoption of UX methods in your organization, and discusses how to package and present UX to stakeholders. In this article, we’ll try to avoid just being prescriptive. Rather, we’ll pose questions along the way, regarding what has worked well for you.
At some point in your career, you’ll be called upon to sell UX to someone in your organization. You’ve probably already done it. Perhaps you’ll need to justify what you do in an organization or industry that’s just beginning to adopt UX methods or sell UX to secure your position within an organization or get future projects. So, what do you need to know to help you sell UX? What challenges might you face? This article examines what works and what does not work well when selling UX within an organization, identifies barriers you might encounter to the adoption of UX methods in your organization, and discusses how to package and present UX to stakeholders.
UX strategy is about building a rationale that guides user experience design efforts for the foreseeable future. This article provides an overview of the ingredients I consider essential for developing a successful UX strategy. If you want to enter the growing field of UX strategy or learn more about it, this overview points you in the right direction.