Articles & research papers

UX Strategy

UX Strategy is different than UI strategy- Part I

Here is some big news: UX strategy is not UI strategy. This must be big news since the two seem identical in how they are practiced. There seems to be a fundamental flaw in our ability to make a difference between UX practice and UI practice.

However, there does not seem to be a shortage of differences between defining the two that is covered and almost written to death (so I won’t cover it here if you are interested in that wikipedia is a fun to place to start). Yet when the rubber meets the road, most strategists, designers, usability engineers and other nefarious UX practitioners like me, explain a process that looks awfully similar to UI design best practices anno 1989.

UX Strategy is different than UI strategy Part I

Can You Avoid Political Fallout From Your Standards Effort?

Every once in a while, the author reads a journal article that represents a lot of research effort, and wonder, how did they reach that conclusion from the evidence? For example, Kristin Eschenfelder explored how web standardization projects contribute to conflict in web design.

After 20 years experience helping organizations create effective application and web standards, the author read this with some puzzlement. After all, doesn’t a design standard settle conflicts by saying “this is the best answer to the conflicting demands on navigation, layout, vocabulary, and branding”?

Can You Avoid Political Fallout From Your Standards Effort?

The Mobile Playbook from Google

Mobile is more central to business success than ever before. Most executives know this, but they get hung up on exactly what to do and how to do it.

Google’s now second edition of The Mobile Playbook offers the latest best practices and strategies for winning in mobile, like how to address the price transparency challenge and face showrooming head on, the age-old question of when to build a mobile website and when to build a mobile app, and what it really means to build multi-screen marketing campaigns.

The Mobile Playbook

Lean Startup Is Great UX Packaging

The lean startup movement talks about the same things that UX people have talked about for decades. The difference is that people are now listening. Lean UX is an approach that quickly followed the lean startup movement. It is not a new thing. It’s just a new name for things that were always around. The difference is in the packaging of these ideas.

This article takes the principles of the lean startup and suggests their UX research equivalents. Hopefully, it sheds some light on why the lean startup concept is so very well accepted in the entrepreneurial world and why startups suddenly want to do UX research and design.

Lean Startup Is Great UX Packaging

The Anatomy of a Design Decision

Webstock ’12: Jared Spool – The Anatomy of a Design Decision from Webstock on Vimeo.

What are the habits of highly effective design teams? The best designs come from not one, but hundreds of well-made decisions. The worst designs arise out of hundreds of poorly-made decisions. All that stands between you and a great design is the qualify of your decisions. Where do they come from?

For the last five years, UIE has been studying how designers make their decisions. When do they use outside information, such as research about their users? When do they go with their gut instinct? When do the designers look to past decisions and the lessons they’ve learned?

What they found is interesting. In this presentation, Jared does an entertaining deep dive into the gut instinct of the best designers (without looking at all the gooey parts). You’ll learn five styles of decision making, from Self Design to Experience-focused Design, and which style produces quality results.

Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going ‘Digital First’

With consecutive quarterly growth in both print and digital advertising sales, The Atlantic has emerged as a vanguard in an industry harassed by declining ad revenues and falling circulations. And the credit, its executives say, belongs to the ‘digital first’ strategy it embraced four years ago.

Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going ‘Digital First’

What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming technique?

Deep-Dive™ is the name of a technique used to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem solving or idea creation. This approach is often used for brainstorming product or process development.

Originally developed by the IDEO group (a learning design company) for rapid product development, the Deep-Dive technique is now widely and increasingly used for innovation not only in product development, but process improvement and customer service strategies. The method used by IDEO was documented by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer (of International Institute of Management Development (IMD) business school), who latterly further enhanced the process and sold the rights to Deloitte Consulting in 2006.

What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming technique?

The life cycle of a technology: Why it is so difficult for large companies to innovate

As Don Norman wrote “The Invisible Computer,” he was struck by a paradox. On the one hand, there is very substantial agreement that ease of use and understandability are important. Similarly, good industrial design, simple, short documentation, and convenient, pleasing products are superior. While ease of use and understandability seems to be important, on the other hand, much of the computer technology today violates all these things, and yet the companies prosper. In fact, Apple Computer, the one company that tried hardest to make products that were easy to use, understandable, with sophisticated aesthetics driving both graphical design on the screen and industrial design of the products, failed.

So why is it that good products can fail and inferior products can succeed? The story is complex: it takes a book to explain. But there are three themes.

One: A successful product must be balanced: marketing, technology, and user experience all play critical roles, but one cannot dominate the others.

Two: There is a big difference between infrastructure products, which he calls non-substitutable goods, and traditional products, substitutable goods. With traditional goods, a company can survive with a stable, but non-dominant market share. Coke and Pepsi both survive. Cereals and soaps have multiple brands. With infrastructure goods, there can be just one. MS-DOS won over the Macintosh OS, and that was that. MS-DOS transitioned to Windows, and the dominance continued. VHS tape triumphed over Beta. Most infrastructures are dictated by the government, which assures agreement to a single standard. When there is no standard, as in AM stereo or digital cellular options in the US, there is chaos.

Three: Different factors are important at different stages in the development of a technology. In the early days, technology dominates. Who cares if it is easy to use? All that matters is better, faster, cheaper, more powerful technology. In the middle stages, marketing dominates. And in the end, mature stages — where the technology is a commodity. User experience can dominate, user experience and marketing. As in soap and cereal. As in watches. Swatch sells its watches for their emotional appeal, not their accuracy: accuracy is taken for granted.

The life cycle of a technology: Why it is so difficult for large companies to innovate

How to hire a UX Team & incorporate UCD methods into your SDLC

This document has been created as a reference for senior management in product groups who wish to learn more about incorporating user centered design practices into product ideation, design, and development processes. The terms ‘user experience’ and ‘user-centered design’ are used interchangeably in this document.

The four main sections of this document provide the following information:

  • An overview of user centered design methods and techniques, and how they are incorporated into UX teams’ processes
  • A description of how the team fits into the development lifecycle
  • A detailed breakdown of what it costs to implement and UX/UCD team in a single product organization
  • The UX team engagement mode – that is, what services the team provides, to whom, and when
  • Descriptions of the difficulties typically encountered when a product organization decides to build a UX team.
  • A reference section that provides descriptions of and access to user centered design tools and templates, deliverable samples, and recommended readings.

The User Experience Team Kit: How to Hire a UX Team and Incorporate User-Centered Design Methods into Your Software Development Lifecycle Process (PDF, 390 kb)

User Experience Metric and Index of Integration: Measuring Impact of HCI Activities on User Experience

The authors propose two metrics to demonstrate the impact integrating human-computer interaction (HCI) activities in software engineering (SE) processes. User experience metric (UXM) is a product metric that measures the subjective and ephemeral notion of the user’s experience with a product. Index of integration (IoI) is a process metric that measures how integrated the HCI activities were with the SE process.

Both metrics have an organizational perspective and can be applied to a wide range of products and projects. Attempt was made to keep the metrics light-weight. While the main motivation behind proposing the two metrics was to establish a correlation between them and thereby demonstrate the effectiveness of the process, several other applications are emerging.

The two metrics were evaluated with three industry projects and reviewed by four faculty members from a university and modified based on the feedback.

User Experience Metric and Index of Integration: Measuring Impact of HCI Activities on User Experience (PDF, 163 kb)