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UX Magazine

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Abundance and User Experience

What happens when you look at the world through a lens of abundance? I propose that the best user experiences sit on top of an infrastructure layer of abundance. This generation of growth in the digital channel is directly attributable to abundance. Abundance means things get cheap because they are plentiful. Cheap servers, cheap software, cheap bandwidth all set the stage for great UX.

UX Magazine (2007). Articles>User Experience


Adapting UI to iOS 7: The Side Menu

One of the most common implementations of menu views has been the “side drawer,” “basement,” or “side menu” made popular in apps such as Facebook and Path. When a user taps the “Hamburger” icon to open a side menu, the main screen slides to the right (or left in some implementations) to reveal another screen below.

UX Magazine (2013). Articles>User Interface>Mobile>Usability


Apply Empathy Within Your Organization

Each organization exists for a purpose: to bring something to the world, make it available to people, and enable those people to capitalize upon it. Many organizations exist to also make
 a profit. Whether for profit or not, all organizations seek to sustain themselves, so they can continue bringing their things to the world. Within each organization, there is usually a healthy awareness of the purpose, as well as a focus on being sustainably successful.

Young, Indi. UX Magazine (2015). Careers>Workplace>Collaboration>Emotions


Are You Designing or Inspecting?

Guidelines are statements of direction. They’re about looking to the future and what you want to incorporate in the design. Guidelines are aspirational. Heuristics challenge a design with questions. The purpose of heuristics is to provide a way to “test” a design in the absence of data and primary observation by making an inspection. Heuristics are about enforcement. Both guidelines and heuristics are typically broad and interpretable. They’re built to apply to nearly any interface. But they come into play at different points in a design project.

Chisnell, Dana E. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>Assessment


Biological Motion and Happy Interfaces

If visual design speaks to the user's aesthetics, and interactive design to the user's cognition, then this seems to be something else. Aside from the notable exception of Don Norman's Emotional Design, this is an aspect of design that we don't often think about: playing to the user's awareness of emotion.

Faaborg, Alex. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>User Interface>Emotions


The Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Small, Cheap Devices Will Disrupt Our Old-School UX Assumptions

The commoditization of smartphone hardware is just the beginning. Plunging prices of integrated “system on a chip” devices, paired with free Linux clones like Android, have enabled not just cheap devices, but cheap cloud-based devices. This has applied to phone products like the Sony Ericsson LiveView, and also to home appliances like the Sonos home music system. These examples are just the initial, telltale signs of a huge new wave of cheap devices about to invade our lives—a zombie apocalypse of electronics, if you will.

Jenson, Scott. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>Ubiquitous Computing>Mobile


Content Strategy and UX: A Modern Love Story

Content strategy has been around for a long time. Large corporations such as Disney, Wells Fargo, and Mayo Clinic have had functional content strategy teams for years. The mega-agency Razorfish has had dedicated content strategists on staff since 1998. But it's really only been in the last two years that the larger UX community has started paying closer attention to content strategy. Why the gold rush? The answer is pretty simple: it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.

Halvorson, Kristina. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>User Experience>Content Strategy>Usability


Conversion Rate Optimization, Part 2

In part one of this two-part series we introduced and reviewed the basic concepts of conversion rate optimization and how Google’s Web Optimizer – a free tool from Google – can help improve your conversion rate, delivering fewer browsersmaking tire kickers drive off the lot and more buyers to the checkout. We also examined some of the tests that GWO performs to deliver useful conversion rate analytics. But there are additional benefits to using this performance assessment tool.

Townes, Frederick. UX Magazine (2007). Articles>Web Design>Marketing


Creativity 2.E

Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?

Armano, David. UX Magazine (2006). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Creativity-Based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users

Co-design is a method that can be used in all stages of the design process, but especially in the ideation or concepting phases. Partnering with users ensures their inclusion in knowledge development, idea generation, and concept development on products whose ultimate goal is to best serve these same users.In this article I will examine the different stages of a co-design research process, as well as the methods and practices that are commonly used in each phase. Furthermore, I’ll look at the new forms of co-designing that have emerged as a result of social technologies.

Naranjo-Bock, Catalina. UX Magazine (2012). Design>User Centered Design>Collaboration


Crossing the Creative Divide: Three Intrinsic Attributes of Creativity

Students applying to design schools today have far fewer incoming skills, a smaller breadth of ideas, and they generate a fraction of (art) work than applicants did in previous years. In talking with students, parents and colleagues at other universities, kids just aren’t exposed to the variety of creative practices that were available years ago. While I hesitate calling this an epidemic, I will assert that this change makes design school recruiting more difficult, complicates teaching creative practices, and further enhances the creative divide between those who “are creative” and those who believe they are not.

Baskinger, Mark. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>Education>Graphic Design


Deconstructing Fidelity

Fidelity is the degree of exactness to which a model reproduces the real thing. How much fidelity is enough? The greater the fidelity, the more likely it is that someone will understand your design intent. The more real something looks and feels, the more likely it is that you’ll receive actionable feedback to validate your design or inform your next iteration. Theoretically, one could gradually increase the fidelity of a model until it’s indistinguishable from the actual product. However, that’s not a practical approach in most situations.

Soliva, Ken. UX Magazine (2015). Articles>User Experience>Prototyping


A Designer and a Marketer Walk Into a Bar...

When did marketing become the Evil Empire? Why is it that marketers are seen as crass manipulators, battling to the death with their pure-hearted UX counterparts? What if you're trying to do both, and doing it for the good of your users?

Grocki, Megan. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>Collaboration>Graphic Design>Marketing


Designing and Selecting Components for UIs

I have to think much harder when I design rich interfaces than when I work on standard Web applicaitons. With the increased flexibility and more components comes a higher risk of making silly mistakes. If I use a component inappropriately, users can't figure out what to do, even though the components may look cool.

Spencer, Donna. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Interface>Programming>User Experience


Designing Better Experiences Through Data

The key to creating great service experiences lies with uncovering data and using it in meaningful contexts that have real benefits to users. Recent advances in wearable tech, location-based data and sensors are driving greater interest by consumers in personalized data experiences. Google Glass and the Nike FuelBand are pushing boundaries on what users can expect inside the services of tomorrow. For designers, however, data presents a very interesting challenge: How can we better understand the value of data and leverage it to make digital experiences more meaningful?

Napolitano, Jason. UX Magazine (2013). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Log Analysis


Designing Exceptional Mobile Experiences

If you were to draft a profile for a UX thought leader, you'd likely come up with something that closely resembled Kim Lenox. Known for resetting the perimeters of everyday problem solving, Kim has devoted her career to making life—if not the world—better through user experience design.

Lenox, Kim and Timothy J. Wood. UX Magazine (2009). Articles>User Experience>Mobile


Designing for Mobile Superpower

Modern mobile experiences must answer to steep user expectations with rich and secure interactions regardless of context. As designers, we negotiate a razor-thin margin between too little (restricting features and content to fit small screens) and too much (complicating interactions with irrelevant web-legacy elements). Yet our users’ horizons are vast beyond a single screen. The experience we build has to inhabit the multiple touch points within their daily digital ecosystem. Content is the central component.

Proulx, Joanna. UX Magazine (2013). Articles>Content Management>User Experience>Mobile


Designing for Tomorrow

When designing a client’s next big website, we like to think ahead of the best-practice curve. Technology changes fast and there is always a risk that what is great today will be so-so six months later, and positively tired in two years. So how can you design something that maintains lasting relevance? Accurately predicting the future is very difficult, but there are some good ways to provide a chronological perspective that can inspire your designs. This article will introduce the basics of trend analysis and highlight some observed trends relevant to technology design:

Duhig, Jonathan. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>Web Design>User Experience


Desire Is A Universal Language

No matter how motivated we are or how much effort we invest in our work, it doesn't change the fact that we devote a sizable chunk of our careers to working on brands no one truly cares about. In the 25 years that I’ve worked as a designer, brand consultant, and creative director, I've experienced the good, the bad and, most often, the mediocre. There are myriad reasons for mediocrity, but unfortunately, the one that’s the most detrimental is also the most prevalent.

Hendricks, Nathan. UX Magazine (2012). Articles>User Centered Design>User Experience>Emotions


Developing a Thirst for UX: How to Promote Empathy for Users at an Organizational Level

For plenty of experience design practitioners, looking for ways to make products and services more usable and rewarding is infectious. We’ve got utterly engaging business at hand, and it’s hard to understand why those on the outside don’t see that. To that end, the increasing prominence and popularity of user-centered design practices is our good fortune. But magical tho it be, UX doesn’t always sell itself to newbies, so it’s often up to design teams, and the organizations they work within, to make sure everyone understand its nature and importance.

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


Eight Lessons in Mobile Usability Testing

If you’re new to mobile usability testing, fear not. It is not as hard as you might think but there are some key differences from testing a traditional website in a lab that you need to be aware of. Over the past year I have done everything from testing a quit-smoking app with a woman whilst she breastfed her five-week-old on her sofa to testing a mobile car insurance website in a lab. I’ve conducted mobile usability testing with no recording technology out in the field as well as testing using a mobile sled system with webcams that feed into Morae usability test software. In the hopes that I can save other UX professionals time and effort, here are eight things that I have learned from all of this mobile usability testing.

Lang, Tania. UX Magazine (2013). Articles>Usability>Testing>Mobile


Explaining UX Design to High Schoolers

How do UX designers tell their story in a relevant, meaningful way, to audiences who have no exposure to UX? UX practitioners are keenly aware that everything we use in our lives was designed by someone. But outside of our industry (and related ones), most people aren't aware of the many decisions that were made (or not made) on their behalf when a product or service was designed. So I approached my friend Ben Chun about doing a presentation to his Introduction to Programming class at Galileo High School in San Francisco. He thought this would be a great start to a project they'd embark upon this year: designing an educational computer game for 5th graders.

Brazen, Teresa. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>Education>User Experience>User Centered Design


Failing Fast: Getting Projects Out of the Lab

“Failing fast” means getting putting applications out in the wild as soon as possible to learn whether they will succeed. This gives you access to early user feedback to quickly weed out ideas and methods that don’t work. Failing fast is a good thing—or, at least, it's preferable to failing slowly and spending too much time, effort and money developing a product that should have been put to rest earlier. Money and time you save by cutting off unsuccessful projects quickly will mean you have more money and time for the successful ones. The concept of failing fast can help businesspeople and stakeholders reduce the riskiness of launching products by letting real users and the marketplace dictate their product choices.

Hillerson, Tony, Alan Lewis, Scott Green, Ryan Stewart and Randy Rieland. UX Magazine (2009). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Agile


Five Popular Web Strategies That Don't Work

At your next moment of change and opportunity, what kind of leader will you be? This question arose again recently as we kicked off a major web project with a client. The goals of the project were typical enough: improve usability, differentiate the firm, and close the gap with competitors.

McDonald, Scott. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>Web Design


Five Ways to Create Better iPad Applications

We've just passed the two-year mark of the iPad being on the market. And with a second milestone of 200,000 iPad applications on the App Store nearing, there's no better time than now to reassess how to approach the UX of iPad applications.Some of the ideas in this article are relevant to all tablets, not just the iPad. But in consideration of the tremendous success of the iPad (73% of all tablet sales last year), it does warrant specific attention and focus. So, without further ado, here are five interface guidelines to (re)consider when approaching the UX and design of iPad applications.

Yarmoush, Ken. UX Magazine (2012). Design>User Interface>User Experience>Mobile



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