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August 2008 Issue

By Jonathan Follett

Published: August 18, 2008

“Today’s Internet-related technologies will give rise to massive changes that we can now only imagine.”

The common wisdom is that we now live in the age of information; the freedom and access we have to data is unprecedented in history; and the efficiency and convenience of online commerce, research, and communication has already transformed our lives for the better. While this is true, of course, our excitement should be tempered by these realizations:

  • We’re only just beginning to discover what possibilities the information age may bring.
  • We’re at the very beginning of a major transformation in the way we work, play, and live.

The technological tools and resources with which we’re now familiar—such as search engines, Web applications, and notebook computers—could well be the digital-age equivalents of the industrial age’s steam engine and cotton gin. And just as the steam engine helped launch an era that altered the face of our planet, so, too, will today’s Internet-related technologies give rise to massive changes that we can now only imagine.

The 18th-century weaver sitting at his loom at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution could not possibly have envisioned the inventions and events that would lead to millions of people working in factories, living in cities, and driving cars. He might have seen the immediate potential of new industrial machines to replace workers and, more specifically, put him out of a job. Similarly, we don’t have any idea how great the changes the information age has brought on will be. And, we also face the fear that our jobs as knowledge workers—no matter how secure they seem today—will somehow disappear tomorrow, because of greater competition or cheaper labor or perhaps both. Read moreRead More>

By Steve Baty

Published: August 18, 2008

“All across the business landscape, the ability of an organization to execute its strategy is one of the most critical elements of success.”

The number one enemy of any strategy is poor execution. All across the business landscape, the ability of an organization to execute its strategy is one of the most critical elements of success. And for an effective UX strategy, the broad range of elements requiring alignment and implementation make its successful execution all the more difficult.

What Is Strategy?

Before delving into the issues surrounding a strategy’s execution, I’d better clarify what I mean by strategy, because this word can mean so many things to different people. It’s common to confuse strategy with strategic planning, which is something else entirely than what I’ll discuss here.

A strategy is a long-term plan of action a company conceives to achieve a particular goal.

The two key elements of this definition are:

a) There’s a plan.

b) There’s a goal. Read moreRead More>

By Colleen Jones

Published: August 4, 2008

“User interface designers have more interactive options than ever for presenting content.”

User interface designers have more interactive options than ever for presenting content. So, we can make meaningful strides toward offering users the right content in the right place, at the right time, in the right amount. However, these rich options for interactively presenting content also come with a challenge.

Remember, years ago, when the new world of desktop publishing features opened up to us? People often succumbed to the temptation to use all of those features in one document, resulting in indulgences such as five clashing fonts on a single page. Such excessive formatting made the content harder to read, less usable, and potentially, less credible. Likewise, today, we need to think carefully about when and how we present content. This column offers my thoughts on some winning considerations for interactively presenting content—from both usability and persuasion perspectives.

Usability Considerations

With our expanding palette of options for interactively presenting content, ensuring people can use our content remains critical. When considering the overall usability of your content, think about the impact of hiding and displaying content as well as the content’s offline uses. In describing specific usability considerations, I’ll evaluate a few specific examples of interactivity in content presentation. Read moreRead More>

By Afshan Kirmani

Published: August 4, 2008

“Customer research is an important factor in generating business revenues, so it must be done right.”

With companies moving business online, the Internet has become a source of profit for them. We all know how this works. You establish an online presence, sell your brand well—and you make money. Let’s rewind. We are selling our brands online, but doing it well is the challenge. To do it well, keep the following in mind:

  • Customer research is an important factor in generating business revenues, so it must be done right—that is, at the right place and at the right time.
  • The online medium should not be the only way of gathering customer information.
  • Recognizing emerging trends—behavioral, demographic and emotional—helps companies move forward strategically.

What Should a Brand Do?

A brand should exude confidence; it should reflect what it’s selling; it should express the true essence of what it offers to its audience..

A brand is like a persona with a clear function to perform. You build a brand according to what is and what should be. People look to this persona—read brand—to identify and recognize its worth among many others. It is always focused, persistent, persevering toward an intention, and aims to win it all. Read moreRead More>