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New on UXmatters

By Steven Hoober

Published: September 2, 2014

“Touch devices are still fairly new. We’re still developing patterns for interactions and are just now beginning to understand how users understand and employ their touchscreen devices.”

While I’ve discovered many things in the last few years about how users work with touchscreen devices, the one thing I’m really sure about is how much we do not understand. Touch devices are still fairly new. We’re still developing patterns for interactions and are just now beginning to understand how users understand and employ their touchscreen devices.

Since my first research into how users really hold and touch their phones came out over a year and a half ago, I’ve continued to build on my early research and explore the human side of mobile touch interactions. The next logical step was for me to attempt to actually understand users’ motivations and determine whether I can draw relationships between different types of actions or contexts and user interactions. Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: September 2, 2014

“So much of success derives from mindset rather than skillsets…. … Mindset is who you really are at your core. It’s your habitual way of thinking.”

This article was inspired by a discussion at last week’s Silicon Valley IxDA meeting, where Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong spoke on the topic “Sleepwalking + Designing for a Healthy Future,” which got me thinking about what qualities one must have to be an effective UX professional. So much of success derives from mindset rather than skillsets, and mindset takes a lifetime to develop—or, for those of us who believe in reincarnation, multiple lifetimes. Your mindset derives from your life experiences and the way you respond to them, as well as what you learn from those who influence you greatly—such as your parents, mentors, and spiritual teachers. Read moreRead More>

By Ronnie Battista

Published: September 2, 2014

“I was still struggling to get leadership to see my UX team as being responsible for more than user interface (UI) research and design.”

Last April, the UX leadership at my company, Slalom Consulting, gathered at an off-site meeting to get aligned on how best to brand and market our UX capabilities to our colleagues and clients. Slalom has a strong, seasoned UX team with people distributed across its local offices in the USA, as well as a national team that supports all of us. We excel at holistic, outside-in, omnichannel experience strategy work, which is an exponentially increasing growth area for us and an integral part of our business and technology services. It’s this type of UX strategy work that gets me pumped and makes me want to spring out of bed every morning. But as I discovered, some people at Slalom did not see this work as belonging to the User Experience practice. Read moreRead More>

By Jim Ross

Published: September 2, 2014

“When you’re suddenly faced with a large-scale research project, it can seem so intimidating or even overwhelming.”

What would you do if you were asked to do an extremely large-scale user research project? What do I mean by large? How about performing more than 150 contextual inquiries? How would you handle such a large amount of information from many different user groups, whose subject matter covers such a large scope? Doing unmoderated research such as online card sorting and unmoderated usability testing is an easy way to get a large number of participants, but what if you need to do moderated sessions?

Admittedly, needing to do such large-scale research is a rare situation. UX professionals usually face the opposite problem—not having enough participants. That’s why, when you’re suddenly faced with a large-scale research project, it can seem so intimidating or even overwhelming. Read moreRead More>

By Kay Corry Aubrey

Published: September 2, 2014

“Crafting a single statement that encapsulates your interview objectives will help you and your teammates to stay focused and make good decisions about which questions to cover.”

The simplest approach to learning about users’ needs and challenges is to talk with them. In this article, I’d like to share with you some of the approaches that I use that lead to successful interviews with users.

Planning and Preparing for Interviews

Some of the things that set you up for success happen before your interviews even begin.

1. Pinpoint the issues and topics that you need to explore.

Ask your team, your management, and other project stakeholders for their input on the types of people to whom you should be talking and the questions you should ask. Crafting a single statement that encapsulates your interview objectives will help you and your teammates to stay focused and make good decisions about which questions to cover. Read moreRead More>

By Peter Hornsby

Published: August 18, 2014

“These are my principles; if you don’t like them, I have others.”—Groucho Marx

“For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process.”

For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process.

Some Problems with Design Standards

First, standards can provide a false sense of expertise in design. Calling something a standard, by its very nature, seems to imply that a great deal of research, thought, and experimentation has gone into its creation. Read moreRead More>

By Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Published: August 18, 2014

“More and more leaders in the UX community have become convinced that it’s important to focus on UX strategy as a way to deliver greater business value to the organizations for which they work, advance the role of User Experience within their organizations, and get a seat at the C-level table.”

In recent years, more and more leaders in the UX community have become convinced that it’s important to focus on UX strategy as a way to deliver greater business value to the organizations for which they work, advance the role of User Experience within their organizations, and get a seat at the C-level table.

Paul Bryan, who is shown in Figure 1, has been instrumental in promoting the profession of UX strategy—through his UX Strategy column on UXmatters, by establishing the UX Strategy and Planning group on LinkedIn, and by organizing the UX STRAT conference—which covers the full spectrum of experience strategy, including UX strategy, customer experience (CX) strategy, and product and service design strategy—and his UX STRAT Masterclasses. Read moreRead More>

By Janet M. Six

Published: August 18, 2014

Send your questions to Ask UXmatters and get answers from some of the top professionals in UX.

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts discusses how they capture and categorize information that comes from many different sources for easy access later on.

The Internet provides so much information that we can drown in it! Professionals in cutting-edge fields like user experience must stay up to date with the most recent advances in their fields. While having easy access to all of this information on the Internet is great, it can also be overwhelming! How can we organize this large volume of information so it’s useful to us?

Each month in Ask UXmatters, our experts provide answers to our readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: ask.uxmatters@uxmatters.com. Read moreRead More>

By Ahava Leibtag

Published: August 18, 2014

This is a sample chapter from Ahava Leibtag’s new book, The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web. 2014 Morgan Kaufmann.

Chapter 2: Making the Case for Content

“You have to convince the right people that to move the business in the right direction, they need to invest in content: Content production, distribution, and management.”

Content drives the sales process. Even if your job title doesn’t include the word sales, you are still trying to achieve something. Content is responsible for getting you there. Think of it as the fuel in an engine. Now, consider what we’ve done in our society to ensure we have enough fuel to power our cars and homes. That’s how important content is to your business.

Not everyone understands this in your organization. But you do. That’s the first step. Now you have to convince the right people that to move the business in the right direction, they need to invest in content: Content production, distribution, and management. How do you do that? Read moreRead More>

By Yanfei Ma, Yunhui Lu, and Dinara Saparova

Published: August 18, 2014

“To better understand the role of iterative usability evaluation during agile development, we recently conducted a study whose focus was the usability evaluation of a personal health–management system.”

The agile approach to software development has significant impacts on the practice of user-centered design (UCD), including usability evaluation. To better understand the role of iterative usability evaluation during agile development, we recently conducted a study whose focus was the usability evaluation of a personal health–management system. The complexities of healthcare systems require thoughtful and well-structured usability evaluations—especially when the design process occurs within the context of an agile development process.

Our study identified three different stages of the usability-evaluation process. Usability experts, system developers, and users participated at different stages of this process, which occurred iteratively during each two-week sprint. Our research also offered insights into how usability experts perceive their roles during rapid, iterative collaboration with system developers and users. We learned that usability experts serve as an essential bridge connecting system developers and users. Read moreRead More>