2013

November 19, 2013

Becoming A UX Designer: My Path And Observations

While a lot of schools are starting to turn out students with degrees in User Experience, many of us came to it though other (usually related) fields.

This was my path

I grew up in a house with a father who was both a scientist (chemical engineering, mining engineering, and lab research) and lover of the arts. His connection with the arts came in diverse areas: painting, music, and to a lesser extent, film. Every moment of his life was seen through the context of the scientific observation as well as aesthetic appreciation. I picked up on this and found it something to emulate. Even when I was very young, my father answered my questions as if I were an adult. If I didn’t understand, then he would simplify it. I even remember having a conversation with him about what makes a good scientist. His response included such things as the scientific method, that there were many unknowns, that a good scientist tries to prove theories wrong, not right. Never to assume that a fact can be applied to an example in a way that ‘fits really well’ but not exactly and then presume that the result is correct. Be honest but skeptical in practicing science. – Read More –

November 4, 2013

Try Flat Design – You Might Like It

The latest buzz around the design ecosphere lately has been this concept called flat design. If this term is new to your vocabulary, it is a newer concept that on the surface asks the designer to rely upon a very simplistic visual design to accomplish the user experience design. One of the latest examples of flat design is the release of iOS7. Have you played with flat design yet?

For me, flat design has a much deeper meaning (which is why I personally like it) for the design team. Here’s my critique on what flat design brings to the table. – Read More –

October 10, 2013

The Five-Second Test: A Wealth of UX Data

If you KNOW HOW AND WHAT TO ASK

The Five-Second test — also known as “timeout test,” “exposure test” and/or “memory test” — is one of the easiest and most convenient rapid testing methods available.  Displaying a visual or informational design for five seconds and asking what aspect(s) were recalled most easily or vividly can help pinpoint (a) what stands out most about a design or product, and (b) how the viewer’s perception of the overall design is impacted.

However, the method’s value can be compromised by ignoring its restrictions, and by designing the tests to encourage empty or unhelpful responses.  After participating in dozens of such tests using widely available unmoderated testing tools, I found myself giving far too many responses like “I have no way of knowing this” or “I cannot answer this after only 5 seconds of exposure” — and getting far too many similar responses to my own tests.

Convinced there was a better way, I set out to examine the method more closely — how it become an established UX method, how it has evolved in light of new technologies, and whether users are using the tools effectively. – Read More –

October 9, 2013

UX Design Volunteering

When was the last time you volunteered?  What did you do – prepare food for your local food kitchen?  Hammer nails at Habitat for Humanity?  What if you could make use of your design and/or technology skills to improve the lives of the poor? – Read More –

October 3, 2013

Finding UX Hope for Greener Lawns

My family and in-laws work for Montreal City Council. I like this city. It’s my city. Even if it hasn’t been at its best recently, I like working here and I take care of the area I live in.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with my in-laws, who had invited some colleagues around for a birthday celebration. Little by little, I took the opportunity to discuss their work processes and their decision-making strategies. All were extremely inspiring topics, enjoyed with an enormous cake and plenty of coffee.

As we discussed projects that had undergone a change in working methods, the author of this note, your user experience architect, was intrigued by a pretty captivating anecdote. Two of the civil servants in the room had been given the task of redeveloping the footpaths in a park, when the construction of a new administrative building meant they needed to be reconfigured. The concrete paths had been done away with, and they had to find a solution that would create a pleasant and efficient walking experience for park users. – Read More –

September 23, 2013

Lean UX: Why It Can Fail So Miserably

Lean UX has definitely been a fashionable word within the UX world in 2012 and 2013. But like anything that quickly becomes a buzzword, it can often become misunderstood and translated into something completely different. I am not claiming to be an expert of Lean UX, but have seen environments where these tools have thrived but have also seen them fail. – Read More –

September 23, 2013

A UX Design Process without Technology

One of the skills I’ve found to work well in the realm of user experience, is not using technology to help in the UX design process. It seems a little counter-intuitive, as at the heart of our trade is the use of technology. But if we reframe our design thinking without the constraints of our technology-based tools for design, we’ll end up focusing more on the real issues and pain points people have with the technology we end up making. I’ve distilled the essence of these thoughts below. – Read More –

September 19, 2013

The Mini-Cart: the First Step to Online Conversion

As online shoppers, we’re all guilty of the behavior that retailers dread: as we shop, we add items to our cart, and then remove anything we decide is unnecessary or less desirable at the last second before checkout (or worse, we’re comparison shopping in another browser tab, and abandon our session to complete our transaction elsewhere). Usually, this last-second down-sizing of our purchase is to keep our checkout total price within an amount we deemed acceptable prior to beginning our shopping session. The mini-cart has become the best practice in shopping to allow the user to keep track of what they’re buying, and how much they’re spending. – Read More –

September 18, 2013

Why Everyone Should Learn to Prototype

After watching the creative teams for my Agency Clients struggle with the conversion from print to digital, I think it’s time for some radical new rules for the entire creative and account teams.

Some agencies are still clinging to the print processes that made them lots of money in the past, but that print-based project work is going away, or at least it will never be the cash cow it once was. The entire workflow is still based on the familiar print process of high fidelity comps, giant printouts, and bloated job jackets migrating around the building. It would make Mad Men proud. – Read More –

September 11, 2013

How to motivate people to take action

The art and science of influencing buying decisions

How do we screw up website content so badly? What are we forgetting that causes websites to fail miserably as sales and marketing support tools?

The assumption in this post is that we are attempting to motivate people to take action – a particular action that we want them to take. It is just that simple. More specifically, we want them to buy something – from us. I am going to explore a few things that many sales people, marketers, and content providers fail to understand and fail to use to their advantage. – Read More –

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