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.'
Increasingly, virtual teamwork means UX professionals must get things done in an environment devoid of the physical presence of colleagues and lacking the relative ease of on-site collaboration. Effectively completing UX tasks while at a distance from our clients, stakeholders, and team members can be challenging, from both technical and process perspectives. How can we, as UX professionals, enable the close collaboration with others we need and manage the process of creating engaging digital experiences when we’re so far apart from each other physically?
The role of the interaction designer is to specify the interface’s behaviors and elements, so that engineers know what to build and how the product should operate. This documentation is commonly known as a UI specification or UI spec. There are several applications for authoring a UI spec, with wikis being a relatively new tool. However, designers should be aware of a wiki’s benefits and drawbacks for documentation, since UI specs uniquely reflect a project and its context. The documentation needs are often based on the size of the project, launch date, team dynamics, audience, technology, and the product development process. The development process usually plays a major role in how teams interact and how work is completed or delivered, thus, there is a direct relationship between the UI spec and the process the team is using.
One of the most important things to know right from the beginning are the metrics you will be using to judge your redesign over its predecessor. Redesigns need to be measurable in success or failure. Metrics are important as these give a clear indication if what you have now is better than what you had previously. These measures can be the amount of time spent on the site, page hits per visit or even turnover. Although other factors could come into affect (such as increased advertising, new content strategy, new pricing policy, etc), the design itself will be an integral part of this.
Customers should have the freedom to engage with any brand via any channel—whether that be in the store, phone or online—and receive a consistent experience. The channels should also interact with each other, and that is why UX and CX work together.
At the heart of UX analytics is business impact. My stakeholders have rarely denied the importance or even criticality of the obstacles and inconveniences that our Web sites present to our customers. But, as UX professionals, our recommendations for usability improvements must compete with other projects that have revenue projections tied to them. My call to the UX community is that we must compete on the same playing field with other projects by aligning our arguments with the same business logic.
Consider what is the most critical action you want your customers to accomplish on your site—what is your primary conversion? For an ecommerce site, the purchase that a thank-you confirmation represents is commonly the key conversion. From there, work backward to determine the key steps a user takes to get to that conversion point.
A UX (User Experience) Book Club is a get-together in which people interested in the area of user experience come to discuss a book relevant to the discipline. In keeping with the book-club theme the location would be somewhere like a wine bar or a bookstore. The important thing is that the noise level has to be low, and be able to accommodate a group of 15-30 people.
To all of the bloggers who have written about UXmatters and people who have sent email messages and comments, thank you for warmly welcoming UXmatters to the UX community. We've been gratified by the high level of interest in and enthusiastic response to this Web magazine. There seems to have been some pent up demand for a publication that covers the breadth of user experience for digital products!
Effective communication with stakeholders and clients is critical to the design process itself, but this is not a topic we often address, because, at first glance, it doesn’t appear to contribute directly to our primary goals, which are to create, build, and ship digital products. Certainly, as an industry, we are attuned to client service in a general sense, but there’s no doubt that methods of UX customer communication, education, and collaboration are sometimes overlooked and underutilized aspects of the design process. We can and should treat the elements of stakeholder and client communication as a kind of user experience. And we should design this experience for our UX customers so far as it’s possible to do so.
One of the more interesting tensions I have observed—since getting into user experience design about five years ago—is the almost sibling-rivalry tension between UX Designers and User Interface (UI) Developers. At the heart of the tension between them is the fact that most UI Developers consider themselves—and sometimes rightfully so—to be UI Designers. The coding part is like Picasso’s having to understand how to mix paint. It’s not the value they add, just the mechanics of delivering the creative concepts.
One of the more interesting tensions I have observed since getting into User Experience (UX) design about five years ago is the almost sibling-rivalry-like tension between UX designers and User Interface (UI) developers. At the heart of the tension is that most UI developers consider themselves (rightfully so) to be UI designers. The coding part is like Picasso having to understand how to mix paint; it's not the value-add, just the mechanics of delivering the creative concepts.
Suppliers sell. Customers buy. Various people discuss UX, but don’t really identify what it is. Agencies search for ways to offer this line of work to clients and seek best practises to develop UX. Holger Maassen posits his ideas about the process of planning and designing for User Experience Design-Planning (UXD-P) as Expectation Design.
What does directing have to do with creating a user interface design? Well, we know a director is responsible for the strategic vision of creative work. That’s a given. But, did you know he is also responsible for ensuring a successful outcome that both meets his vision and is in line with the producer’s desires and budget? To make that happen, a director works with the cast, crew, costume and set designers, and everyone else who contributes to a successful theatrical production to pull together a cohesive product, without losing site of his vision. It’s a complicated job.
Remember when hit counters were all the rage? I do. I remember putting them at the bottom of my web pages to see how many people were reading and then reloading them incessantly to watch the number go up. Time was when hits and page views were the king of web metrics. But now we have a new metric to focus our energy on: engagement. How engaged are our users, we ask? How often do they visit? Are they really involved in our design, or did they give up on it? Here follows a list of engagement metrics that have been used over the years. As you go down the list the metrics go from almost meaningless (hits) to very meaningful (daily active users). This is a spectrum of engagement metrics that you can use for your own projects.
Imagine this scenario. You’re hired to design a product that has a guaranteed audience of 50,000 users, right out of the gate. Your clients have a dedicated support staff with a completely predictable technology stack. Best of all, your work directly improves the quality of your users’ lives. That’s enterprise UX.
Often I return to my library of UX books and tools, but in particular, I like to return to my collection of UX card sets. By "UX card sets" I mean a collection of ideas, concepts, or approaches assembled into a card deck. My collection of card sets includes ones that are, for me, relevant to UX work. Like playing cards, cards are generally printed on heavy paper, board, or plastic, and are usually palm size, which makes them easy to handle and share.
This column is the second in our series that highlights our insights on what it would take for companies to go from producing dreary, overly complex user experiences to producing truly great user experiences that differentiate their products from those of competitors in their marketplace.
This article will focus on a core aspect of cloud computing, the storage of a users' data outside of their personal devices. This is a very disruptive shift that enables user experiences that would be impossible with only local storage, and creates a new facet of design: the UX of data.
Think of the last time you ordered a book, booked a flight, or bought a car. How did you choose which book to read, where to go for vacation, or which car was best for you? You may have searched online, read reviews, or asked others for advice to help you make an informed decision. In a word, you learned. Learning is a complex process with distinct stages, each with corresponding tasks and emotions. Understanding how users learn can help us design experiences that support the user throughout the entire process. To design better learning experiences online, start by learning a thing or two about learning itself.
As businesses strive to reach the elusive brass ring of the ultimate ecommerce experience—replicating the success of the customer-centric shopping experiences of the bricks-and mortar-world—Nudelman’s book can definitely help them to get closer to their business goals. I recently caught up with Greg to discuss his book, which covers ecommerce site search across desktop and mobile platforms.
A comprehensive collection of techniques available for use on UX projects. Mix and match to create a UX process best suited to the project at hand. We'll be updating this page regularly with additional content, links and tutorials about how to apply these techniques.