Articles & research papers

User Research

Design at Facebook

Facebook’s design team walks the author through their philosophy and approach to designing for a quarter billion users. In particular, they emphasized the importance of writing code, sharing designs early and often, being involved with a project from start to finish, and not falling in love with your work. Making sure designers are technical enough to write code came up a lot.

This is an article from 2009.

Design at Facebook

5 Questions To Answer Before Measuring Anything

We measure more than just usability. We work with clients to measure everything from delight, loyalty, brand affinity, luxury, quality and even love.

While all of these concepts are related, they each measure slightly different aspects of the customer experience. Before measuring anything, especially a construct that's not well defined or used in practice, we answer these five questions:

  1. How is this being measured already?
  2. What will we compare this to?
  3. How reliable and valid are the measures?
  4. How precise do we need to be?
  5. What will we do with the results?

5 Questions To Answer Before Measuring Anything

Education in HCI

The HCI Education page is a collection of resources for students and educators interested in Human-Computer Interaction. The following are key resources for HCI Education:

  1. Curriculum: The SIGCHI Curriculum Development Group report Curricula in Human-Computer Interaction.
  2. Affordable Textbook: Clayton Lewis and John Rieman's shareware book Task-Centered User Interface Development.
  3. Readings: Gary Perlman's Suggested Readings in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), User Interface (UI) Development & Human Factors (HF).
  4. Educator's Mailing List: The SIGCHI Mailing List: CHI-Educators (chi-educators-request@acm.org) CHI-Educators is archived on the Web
  5. Student's Mailing List: The SIGCHI Mailing List: CHI-Students (chi-students-request@acm.org) CHI-Students is archived on the Web
  6. Program Ratings: Because it is so often asked, I have created: Gary Perlman's Ratings of HCI Education Programs

Education in HCI

Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members

A persona is a fictional, yet realistic, description of a typical or target user of the product. A persona is an archetype instead of an actual living human, but personas should be described as if they were real people.

When based on user research, personas support user-centered design throughout a project’s life cycle by making characteristics of key user segments more salient.

Personas work because designers and developers have the same tendency as all other people to be captivated more by concrete instances than by abstractions and generalizations. We need all product-team members to empathize with users and be willing to go the extra step to develop something that will work for the actual users. But if users are described in statistical terms and as broad profiles, that information will simply not lodge itself as deeply in team members’ brains as a distinct persona will.

Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

On the trail of exploring our next career move, it’s likely we’ll need to show the path we’ve been on. As part of a design team, that usually means displaying our work.

However, if we didn’t make proper arrangements before we took the job, it’s very likely we can’t show much of our work to anyone. Consultants, contractors, and full-time employees are usually covered (in the US at least, but most other places as well) by a "work for hire" agreement, which means that the people we work for own all the work product we produce.

Wireframes, sketches, and other deliverables are not ours to show. If the final design isn’t publicly visible, such as internal application, there might not be any evidence of what we’ve done.

This puts us in an uncomfortable position when it comes time to show our work to a prospective employer. How do we show what we’re capable of when we don’t have access to our work? What can you put into your portfolio when your work is all locked up? The simple answer: Fill your portfolio with stories.

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

Customer Journey Maps- A Quick And Dirty Technique To Create Them

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a very helpful tool that represents the whole interaction with a product or service in a transparent manner. It clearly points out the strengths and weaknesses of each stage of the interaction – particularly those that affect the user experience. In addition to this, Customer Journey Maps also show the possibilities for improvement. However, creating a Customer Journey Map is a very resource-consuming process. In this article the author introduces to you the approach they took for one of their clients. The technique that we applied allowed them to quickly create a Customer Journey Map in a quick and cost-effective manner.

Customer Journey Maps – A ‘Quick And Dirty’ Technique To Create Them

How Pocket Built a Research Lab for Mobile App Testing in Just a Few Hours

You’re ready to run a user study for your product. You’ve learned how to recruit participants, write an interview guide, interview people, and summarize results. But there’s just one problem: you don’t have access to a research lab. Learn how Pocket built a lightweight research lab for mobile app testing in their office.

How Pocket Built a Research Lab for Mobile App Testing in Just a Few Hours

Top 5 posts at The UX Bookmark in 2012

I wish you, all my readers, a wonderful 2013. These are the five posts which people read the most in 2012.

  1. A huge list of Style Guides and UI Guidelines
  2. Free User Experience books (Interaction design, HCI, web accessibility & Information Architecture)
  3. Download IDEO’s Human Centered Design Toolkit
  4. Ergonomics for Interaction Designers
  5. Mobile Prototyping Essentials

Download the Collective Action Toolkit by frog- Design Thinking in Simple Language

The Collective Action Toolkit (CAT) is a package of resources and activities that enable groups of people anywhere to organize, build trust, and collaboratively create solutions for problems impacting their community. The toolkit provides a dynamic framework that integrates knowledge and action to solve challenges. Designed to harness the benefits of group action and the power of open sharing, the activities draw on each participant’s strengths and perspectives as the group works to accomplish a common goal.

The toolkit emerged from frog’s collaboration with Nike Foundation/Girl Effect on a project where we explored the nature and value of connections for adolescent girls living in extreme poverty in the developing world. Pairing design research and skills development, frog worked with girls around the world to examine their communities and collectively devise solutions for the problems they faced. Inspired by the Girl Effect project, frog went on to create the Collective Action Toolkit to empower groups of change-makers everywhere.

The CAT isn’t a rigid template for problem solving. It's designed to be flexible and accessible, with an action map and activities arranged into six categories, from building a group, to imagining new ideas, to planning change. The toolkit challenges groups to move beyond discussion to action, continually clarifying their shared goals based on what they learn through the problem-solving process. The result is a holistic approach to help groups tackle issues in their communities.

Collective Action Toolkit

Expressing UX Concepts Visually

Our perception of the world is primarily visual. In fact, according to the article "Seeing Clearly: The Story of the Human Eye," by Bradford G. Schleifer, we receive 80 percent of the information that enters our brain through our eyes. Thus, it is no surprise that visual communication lets people perceive concepts and ideas most easily.

When we present personas, sitemaps, user flows, wireframes, and other design deliverables to our clients and stakeholders, it is our duty and responsibility to create well-designed deliverables.

Expressing UX Concepts Visually