Articles & research papers

User Experience

People & participation- a participatory methods website

'People & participation' is based on Involve's successful book by the same name which was launched in 2005. The book provides a useful summary of participatory methods and practice but given the number of methods and speed of the development of new methods, it is impossible for a printed publication to stay accurate for long.

The reason for transferring 'People & participation' to the web is to allow the creators to maintain more, and more up to date information about participation. It also allows use the site user to add their knowledge and experience making the site a truly collaborative experience, something that a book simply cannot do.

People & participation

5 simple steps towards a UX portfolio

The author shares some nice points on how to work towards creating a good UX portfolio, based on what he learned by attending a meetup at London IA that was focused on the theme, 'What makes a great UX portfolio'.

5 simple steps towards a UX portfolio

The Sketchnotes Channel at Core77

The Sketchnotes channel allows one to learn more about sketchnotes, including a great overview of a new kind of visual thinking and some basics to get started off.

The Core77 Sketchnotes channel

Will Ford learn that software isn't manufactured?

A recent article in the New York Times discusses Ford’s plummeting fall in user rankings this year, focusing the blame on their new touch screen interface. According to the article, J.D.Power, the auto industry arbiter, dropped Ford’s ranking from 5th to 23rd, and subsidiary Lincoln’s ranking from 8th to 17th place.

J.D.Power acknowledges that both Ford and Lincoln’s fit and finish are excellent. It was the “annoying” behavior of their driver-facing interactive systems that caused their ratings to plummet. Other reviewers concur, as Consumer Reports yanked their “Recommended” rating from Ford’s new 2011 Edge model.

... Digital solutions are so much cheaper and more flexible than mechanical ones that they will eventually come to dominate the entire company. Companies who can master the challenge of software’s unique nature, and particularly of how humans interact with it, will thrive. Ford is learning the opposite lesson.

Will Ford learn that software isn't manufactured?

High Paying Jobs in User Experience Design (2011)

Here are top paying jobs for Information Architecture, Usability, and UX practitioners plus reasons to explore each for your user experience design career - and bank your account. (Salary figures based on Indeed.com and GlassDoor.com data)

  • User experience strategist: $67,000 to $135,000
  • Usability analyst: $81,000 on an average
  • User interface designer: $84,000 to $155,000
  • Interaction designer: $91,000 on an average
  • Interaction designer: $91,000 on an average
  • Information architect: $104,000 on an average

High paying jobs in User Experience design

Response times- the 3 important limits

The basic advice regarding response times has been about the same for thirty years [Miller 1968; Card et al. 1991]:

  1. 0.1 second is about the limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously, meaning that no special feedback is necessary except to display the result.
  2. 1.0 second is about the limit for the user's flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay. Normally, no special feedback is necessary during delays of more than 0.1 but less than 1.0 second, but the user does lose the feeling of operating directly on the data.
  3. 10 seconds is about the limit for keeping the user's attention focused on the dialogue. For longer delays, users will want to perform other tasks while waiting for the computer to finish, so they should be given feedback indicating when the computer expects to be done. Feedback during the delay is especially important if the response time is likely to be highly variable, since users will then not know what to expect.

Response times- the 3 important limits

The Nokia User Experience & Design Resource

The Nokia User Experience resource focuses on the mobile user experience and consists of the following three sections:

Design process
Tips and tools that will help you apply user centered design to your mobile service.
User Experience
Learn what makes good mobile user experience with real-life examples.
Design Library
If you know exactly what platform you're developing for and want to leap into the details of UI creation, then use this online library to access style guides, regional design guides and other guidelines.

The Nokia User Experience & Design Resource

Understanding the Experience of Social Network Sites

Social media in 2009, and social network sites in particular, reached new heights of popularity and adoption. It was no longer unusual for clients to request that designers 'add Facebook' to their respective sites, mainly for the purpose of increased engagement and community building for their brand as a part of a greater social marketing strategy. Although social networking sites have become commonplace, designers had not yet explored two important notions:

  1. What kind of social experience do social networking sites foster?
  2. Do social networking sites encourage community?

Understanding the Experience of Social Network Sites

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

ROIs on PhDs. How much are trailing letters worth to you?

Have you wondered whether earning a PhD would improve your lot? Mid-to Advanced career professionals often ask me if i think a PhD would be worth it for them. When they say "worth it," they typically have two specific questions in mind:

  • Will having a PhD confer me more credibility and ability to move up in the workplace?
  • Will having trailing letters will result in a bigger salary?

The literal, simplistic answer is, "Yes, more credibility and 17K/year according to Sauro's analysis of the recent UPA Salary Survey." But, the real answer is probably no. Earning a PhD requires two things:

  1. The keen desire to spend roughly a decade thinking about ONE well-defined problem
  2. An enthusiasm to spend roughly a decade poor

ROIs on PhDs. How much are trailing letters worth to you?