I’ve been told 5 years marks an achievement in a career, and I want to share my everyday observations about how I’ve become a better designer by watching others around me and learning good behaviors from my peers. I’ve learned many of these from missteps in my career, and I’ve kept them short to show how I’ve came across these (please feel free to leave a comment if you would like me to elaborate more on some of these behaviors). – Read More –
Designing a website doesn’t mean putting up random images and texts all over a page. It must have key elements that guarantee a good user experience. Here are 5 essential tips that every designer should consider in making web pages. – Read More –
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 –
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 –
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 –
When we’re shopping online, selecting color is a user experience that most frequent online shoppers take for granted. That’s because selecting color has traditionally been presented to users on common commerce platforms, in a very straightforward manner. Color swatch, color name, and sample image all correlate, making adding the color of the product you want, a total no-brainer. However, these days as retailers struggle to set their online store experience apart from competitors, particularly in cases where a brand may also sell their line on stores like Saks.com or Shopbop.com, I’ve noticed that the basics of the product detail page user experience are muddled. Whenever redesigning a retail experience, it’s really important to make sure the user understands exactly what they’re adding to the cart. A high conversion rate isn’t as impressive if it’s accompanied by a high rate of online returns (unless Try & Buy is your commerce strategy and you’re OK with a lot of online returns, but that’s a topic for another blog post).
When we look at the basic nature of web design and the creation of a consistent, usable, organized site, often times our assignment can be a bit like cramming a lot into one little space. We’re not alone. Every industry is challenged to prioritize and simplify. I started to think of my favorite designers and companies that have done a great job of providing quality experiences to the masses, while also designing things with interesting form and function. While I’m sure this isn’t the most ground breaking of ideas, I think there is some merit as to what we give to a user and providing elegant design functions.
I have discovered that I may have lost work to more dazzling portfolios. This concerns me, but not at the potential loss of work. It concerns me because the people hiring UX designers are often looking for “rock-star” portfolios. I won’t even get into the fact that “rock-star” implies to me: ego that exceeds talent, focus on the irrelevant or unimportant areas of strength, and the idea that being great at one thing presumes that talent automatically spills into another area (particularly one that seems unrelated or tangential at best.) The focus has become more about visual, marketing and sales impact at the cost of a good user experience. – Read More –
Here is an issue that pokes at me on a daily basis. It is the philosophical aspects that describe, in a colloquial way, the reason that specific UX decisions are made. While we get our data from observation, testing and heuristic analysis, and add to that aesthetic elements that are hopefully appropriate to the user and not too biased towards the designer, we often are not given the proper opportunity to explain the philosophy behind those decisions. So, how do I go about including the philosophy of UX in my UX presentations, designs and strategies? – Read More –
An incredibly useful resource for both UX folks and clients. We need to remember to educate as well as design. UX Basis is way of combining the numerous tools available to us and forming a unified process that sits within a digital agency and it’s other important departments – creative, tech and client services. The beauty about the model is it is fully adaptive to any clients needs, can fit with tech’s agile process and incorporates creative and development at key stages in the creation process.
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Usability testing is not an easy thing to perfect. However, a good starting point is to identify where most mistakes are made throughout the process. And through this awareness, you should fine-tune your approaches to planning, moderation and analysis, in order to attain truly insightful findings. – Read More –