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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.'



Supporting User Experience Throughout the Product Development Process

For most of us, the ideal when working on a product-development project would be to work with a group of like-minded professionals, each with their own areas of responsibility, but sharing the same overarching goal. Yet all too often in User Experience, we encounter unwarranted resistance to our ideas, making the product-development process much less efficient and adding to a project’s costs. The apparent cost of involving User Experience early and throughout a product-development process becomes a series of hidden costs, resulting from project delays, incomplete requirements, and less than optimal products that result in higher error rates and reduced efficiency for users.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Experience>Project Management>Collaboration


Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing

The current industry trend shows that hiring managers are looking for people who can fill more than one critical role. With many programmers, quality-assurance testers, analysts, and consultants taking on technical writing, it will eventually become impossible to sustain a career solely as a technical writer without any hands-on technical or analytical experience. To survive in the ever-changing IT industry, it is essential that technical writers keep honing their skills to avoid becoming dispensable. As the saying goes, it is never too late to learn something new. In this article, we’ll describe some of the proficiencies you should consider acquiring in addition to your technical writing skills.

Chaudhuri, Samiksha and Punam Saxena. UXmatters (2016). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing>User Experience


System Concepts

How valid is the assertion that 'attractive things work better'? This article explores the association, if any, between user's perceptions of usability and aesthetics for developed systems.

Chawda, Bejal. System Concepts (2005). Articles>Usability>User Experience>User Experience


Systems Thinking: A Product Is More Than the Product

A product is actually a service. Although the designer, manufacturer, distributer, and seller may think it is a product, to the buyer, it offers a valuable service. In reality a product is all about the experience.

Norman, Donald A. Interactions (2009). Articles>User Interface>User Experience>Usability


The T-Model and Strategies for Hiring IA Practitioners: Part 1

If we could define a set of high and low tiers of skills for each practice vertical in the Boersma T-model, we would have a better way of identifying the expected core competencies of both junior and senior UX professionals in all disciplines within user experience. With clear definitions of these practice verticals in place, UX managers could better plot a UX professional’s core competency, and UX professionals would have a useful tool for performing their own self-assessment of their readiness for professional advancement. It would be a win-win for everyone.

Davis, Nathaniel. UXmatters (2011). Careers>Information Design>User Experience>Interaction Design


Taking Aim: The Power of UX Goals

A user experience goal is a choice made by your product team about what kind of experience you want your users to have with your product or service. You use these choices to measure and direct the design of your product. Goals let us know when our tasks are complete, so that we can move on to something else. They stop us from obsessing over the wrong details and help us direct our energies to what is important. Goals tell us what to measure, and what can be ignored.

Schrag, John. Designing the User Experience at Autodesk (2008). Articles>User Experience


A Tale of Installation Frustration

The technology business is filled with frustration. Trying to hook something up, troubleshoot something, make it do something–on a deadline–is a weekly occurrence for me. But last week, I just about blew my stack.

Pogue, David. New York Times, The (2006). Articles>Technology>Usability>User Experience


The Tangible View Cube

As interaction designers at Autodesk, we sometimes engage in design and thought investigations that are not directly related to the task at hand. These investigations are ways to frame problems by venturing into related design disciplines. For example, in order to understand what might be an appropriate transition when changing views in a 3d model, we try to understand how a video artist would create a transition between two scenes in a video. To understand how to improve the graphic quality of elements drawn in a building information model, we look at lots of pencil sketches drawn by architects. We think, what would happen if an on-screen element was made from physical material?

Nikolovska, Lira. Designing the User Experience at Autodesk (2009). Articles>User Experience>Graphic Design


Technical Communication in Assembly Instructions: An Empirical Study to Bridge the Gap Between Theoretical Gender Differences and Their Practical Influence   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Women decide on about 80% of the goods that their household buys. But marketers often sell products, especially technical ones, that are designed by men and therefore are oriented largely toward their needs. Consequently, assembly instructions for these products are also oriented toward men’s needs. To illustrate the impact of gender orientation in assembly instructions, this study investigates whether theoretical cognitive or psychological gender differences have a practical influence on the usability of assembly instructions. This study has direct implications for technical writers who strive for a more universal design for such instructions.

Rohrer-Vanzo, Valentina, Tobias Stern, Elisabeth Ponocny-Seliger and Peter Schwarzbauer. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2016). Articles>Documentation>User Experience>Gender


Technical Support: (Yet Another) Holy Grail

His own vendor conspiracy theories aside, Lou Rosenfeld knows of three main reason why technical "support" is often not support at all.

Rosenfeld, Louis. CIO Magazine (2000). Articles>User Experience>Help


Ten Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design

The term “user experience” or UX has been getting a lot of play, but many businesses are confused about what it actually is and how crucial it is to their success. I asked some of the most influential and widely respected practitioners in UX what they consider to be the biggest misperceptions of what we do. The result is a top 10 list to debunk the myths.

Hess, Whitney. Mashable (2009). Articles>User Experience>User Centered Design


The Ten Principles of Interaction Design

Ten key rules that make good interaction designs and designers and that you need to understand before you can break them.

Vavra, Chad. .Net Magazine (2011). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>User Experience


Ten Unexpected Online User Behaviours To Look Out For

When designing a website, there are key user behaviours that should be taken into account. But in order to take them into account, it helps to know them. Below are 10 of the more interesting and less well-known user behaviours that regularly occur in user testing.

Gray, Alistair. Webcredible (2010). Articles>Web Design>Usability>User Experience


Testing the User Experience: Consumer Emotions and Brand Success

The key to creating brand loyalty is developing a consistent and salient brand perception through the association of specific emotional experiences with a product or service. A classic example of this is the emotion of wonder and happiness people associate with The Walt Disney Company’s films and theme parks. By crafting amazing experiences for the people who enjoy their products, Disney has created such a favorable association, leading consumers to feel they can trust the brand and know what kind of experience to expect from a visit to a park, hotel, or movie theater. People can appreciate their intense focus on the user experience, whether watching Mary Poppins, meeting characters like Goofy and Minnie Mouse for the first time as a child, shown in Figure 1, or watching Toy Story characters leap to life in the amazing and spellbinding zoetrope at the California Adventure theme park.

Madrigal, Demetrius and Bryan McClain. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Experience>Assessment>Emotions


The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging: Sin #3, Being Boring

Being boring is sin #3 in my list of the seven deadly sins (which include being fake, irrelevant, boring, unreadable, irresponsible, inaccessible, and inattentive). Perhaps a more tactful way of saying something is boring is to say the writer neglects to “keep the audience’s attention.”

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Writing>Blogging>User Experience


The User Experience of Enterprise Software Matters, Part 2: Strategic User Experience

In this column, I’ll provide a technology selection framework that can help enterprises better assess the usability and appropriateness of enterprise applications they’re considering purchasing, with the goal of ensuring their IT (Information Technology) investments deliver fully on their value propositions.

Sherman, Paul J. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Web Design>Content Management>User Experience


The User Experience of Enterprise Software Matters: Part 1

There’s one area that I believe user experience has lagged behind: the enterprise software space. I can’t tell you how many frustratingly unusable enterprise Web applications I’ve encountered during my 12 plus years in corporate America. As important as the user experience of enterprise software is to a business’s success, why isn’t its assessment usually a factor in technology selection?

Sherman, Paul J. UXmatters (2008). Articles>Web Design>Content Management>User Experience


Theoretical Approaches to Designing Experiences with Technology   (PDF)

This paper examines various theoretical approaches on designing the user experience with technology and argues that a humanistic, conceptual framework augment current design industry practice. Taking into account psychological approaches and traditional narrative theory, this paper presents a theory for the human experience and applies this theory to "experience design," or the design of the human experience with technology. Guiding principles for the experience designer based on the paper's theoretical underpinnings are proposed.

Fukumoto, Dane K.T. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Technology>User Experience>Theory


Thin Slicing: Inside or Outside the World of User Experience?

People make decisions based on extremely small amounts of information, and very quickly. They call this "thin slicing". A significant amount of information is building in research journals such as the Journal of Consumer Psychology about what thin slicing is, how it takes place, and when it is active.

Weinschenk, Susan. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>User Experience


Think Outside the Box, but Don't Forget the Box Exists

Imagine if every time you walked into a McDonald’s the menu was different, the food was different, or the prices were different. If you had to relearn McDonald’s every time you walked in, it would be less attractive as a fast food restaurant. People rely on consistency and past experience for fast decision making. Inconsistencies cause delayed responses and, in some cases, unwanted errors.

Guy, Tammy. UX Magazine (2011). Academic>User Experience


Review: This Is Service Design Thinking: Deconstructing a Textbook

Through the lens of This Is Service Design Thinking, I’ve taken the opportunity to dive deeper into service design as a field. This book will likely become the go-to resource for educators, students, and professionals. Although I hope I’ve done its content justice, I’ve not yet spoken about the book itself as a manifestation of a service. The authors followed a co-creation process involving contributors, teachers, students, designers, and readers in its design. From evaluating good and bad textbook designs to crowdsourcing content to soliciting in-progress feedback on the book’s design, the meaning of This Is Service Design Thinking extends beyond its covers and the ideas of its co-authors.

Keller, Laura. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Reviews>User Experience


Thoughts on Interaction Design

It is the primary goal of this text to better define Interaction Design: to provide a definition that encompasses the intellectual facets of the field, the conceptual underpinnings of Interaction Design as a legitimate human-centered field, and the particular methods used by practitioners in their day to day experiences.

Thoughts on Interaction Design (2007). Books>User Experience>Interaction Design


Thoughts on Managing a UX Team

One year later, my initial team of three is approaching a dozen designers and researchers distributed across three locations. Along the way, I’ve relied on mentors, training, and experience to help me with this job. I’m starting this series of posts to share some of that learning with other current or prospective UX managers. Still being relatively new to this game, I’m also hoping that I will also learn from the comments and dialogue that these posts will hopefully precipitate.

Tullio, Joe. Medium (2015). Careers>Management>User Experience


Three Decades of Research and Professional Practice on Printed Software Tutorials for Novices   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Provides a historic overview of research on printed software tutorials. Describes developments in design approaches, refinements in design, and user experience.

van der Meij, Hans, Joyce Karreman and Michaël Steehouder. Technical Communication Online (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>User Experience


Three Mistakes Experts Make

As user experience professionals, we deal with experts a lot in the form of Subject Matter Experts. And in doing so, we become experts. Plus we deal with experts and expertise in a dozen different forms in our routine lives every day, so it is good to stop and talk about the three big mistakes experts make.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>SMEs



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