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.'
Creating products or services that customers call simple is often the Holy Grail for designers. As Duncan Stephen once quipped, “our goal as designers is to make things as easy as possible for the user”. It’s no surprise then that Apple and Google have been hailed as revolutionary, with many of us celebrating their simple aesthetic across user experience-related publications. And yet, while we can collectively recognize certain interfaces as simple, we still see many examples of products or services that are not necessarily oozing with such simplicity. What’s the deal?
Modern day user experience research methods can now answer a wide range of questions. Knowing when to use each method can be understood by mapping them in 3 key dimensions and across typical product development phases.
Puzzled why your site is not living up to your expectations? The problem may not lie with your content or products, but rather in your site's user experience. Find out what common pitfalls to avoid by following a few simple guidelines to improve the user experience and transform surfers into customers.
Customer Engagement Management is about creating and managing content that may appear on Web sites, forums, social media sites and similar places. Some of this content may not have been originally posted onto your company’s Web site. It’s sometimes described as Web Engagement Management as well.
Experience designers need to transition from designing for a single, static space--the desktop--to imagining the broad possibilities of the geospatial Web. For digital products and services, the next dimension of user experience we should consider during design is location.
While there remain certain specific contexts where it is advisable to craft and present wireframe layouts for client evaluation and approval, this practice is often a really bad move and one made at the wrong moment in the design process, and for the wrong reasons. Wireframes can be useful, valuable artifacts for informing the designer's process. But they often fail miserably as a first-step deliverable for clients.
Our most memorable experiences are those we can not only see and hear, but also feel. Building such experiences on the Web requires an understanding of how the design of your Web site creates a personality that interacts with and speaks to your audience. A Web site needs to be both effective and affective: not only usable but likable as well. Therefore, designing an appropriate and engaging personality for your site is not the icing on the cake (as visual design is sometimes called): It is the recipe that determines your final result and whether or not it will appeal to your audience.
The watchclock is another kind of interaction design, one whose function corrals the user into a single, linear, constrained sort of behavior. The night watchman has a fundamental social constraint — the desire to not get fired from their job. This constraint allows the watchclock patrol system to work so effectively (some would say insidiously) as an interaction design instrument of control.
Explains how HFI's evolving set of user experience metrics can help you: quantify best practices in design at a site, sub-site or page level; prioritize your usability resources across a range of projects; get valuable feedback quickly, in 'design time'; track and benchmark user experience over time; learn how you score against your competitors; and synthesize your various user data streams into an integrated UX dashboard.
Physical products, from consumer electronics to cars, are needlessly complex because they're developed by insular companies that continue to ignore the growing usability trend.
How can a designer increase the degree to which people bond with a product? This is the question researcher Ruth Mugge tackled, who has recently received her PhD degree on this topic at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.
Documentation and information organization are an integral part of video game construction. The video game industry may be one of the directions technical communicators will move toward in the near future.
I hate user manuals that are distributed as PDFs. They are mainly used online so why the artificial page constraints? I'm in the middle of a topic and all of a sudden there is a page break--not because of a topical shift but because had it been printed on 8.5 x 11 we would have run out of paper. News flash: I didn't print it and I was not running out of paper.
It’s a common misconception that UX for mobile is all about creating something for users on-the-go—users with little time, checking in on their mobile on the train or at the bus stop waiting for a bus. But today’s mobile user is so much more than that, with the rise in tablet usage further contributing to the growth and variety of their needs. No longer can UX practitioners expect to satisfy the mobile user with added pinch-and-zoom functionality or bigger call-to-action buttons; these things are expected, and don’t improve UX.
I view a user experience as a conversation between people separated over the distance of time. At one end of that conversation are those who create the product; at the other, the people who use it. In between is the product itself--with a design that either helps or hinders; creates a barrier-free interaction or shouts in an unfamiliar language. Because this conversation does not happen in real time, we are not there to smooth over the rough spots and make sure that we have spoken clearly. Instead, we have to build our understanding of those users into every aspect of the design, by putting people--users--at the center of the design process.
A huge problem for projects is the lack of a common language between the developers and the users. When my colleague and I were preparing a presentation for an internal conference on this subject, he said something that has stuck with me. He said, “The goal of the project is to make the user successful.” I added to that: It’s not to write code or validate code. It’s not even to ship a product or make money (of course, this last one is especially true in a non-profit organization). At least, it shouldn’t be these things.
Because service design is the effective orchestration of the various elements of a service, it’s critical to have an understanding of what those elements are, including those that are not readily apparent.
A good--even great--user experience is an essential component of a quality software product and provides a sustainable strategic advantage that differentiates a product from those of a company's competitors. Thus, user experience is a core competency within today's software companies, and an expert in UX strategy and design is an indispensable part of a software product team--just as the product manager and software architect are--particularly if a team is working on a new product.
To bring UX to the heart of the business, you must persuade colleagues to trust your opinion and expertise. Handling critique well is an important way to earn trust. It's easy to undo your hard work with rash disagreement. Never dismiss stakeholder feedback out of hand. Every designer makes mistakes, and there will always be approaches to a problem that you've not considered. The worst UX designers are those who succumb to the arrogant conceit that stakeholders are design-illiterate fools. It's true that your business colleagues may not be able to express ideas in the same visual way you do, but smart stakeholders are always an advantage for a UX designer.
Games are fun, addictive, beautiful, and immersive. Websites, for the most part, are not. Take a moment and think about what video games look like, what they sound like, the way you can move on the screen, what “you” can be. Think of how you feel when you play and who you play with. Consider the launch of Halo 3 on Xbox 360, with unprecedented graphics, sound, and interactivity that Time.com called “refined to the point where it delivers only pure unadulterated gaming bliss.”
Design is about finding a connection between people and a product or service that empowers them in accomplishing a task or satisfying a need through a personal touch. My personal belief when designing for very specific users is to get in the shoes and try to comprehend their situation. This is easier said than done in most cases; to achieve this we have to be vulnerable and look at the world through their lenses.
While the mobile opportunity has been clear for some time, how to best tackle it remains a subject of debate. In particular, when building software for mobile should we invest in Web-based solutions or a native apps? Yes.