January 14, 2014

Five Second Tests: Avoiding the Non-Response when Using Online Tools

The main selling point of the five second test method, and of using online tools such as fivesecondtest.com, is that you can get specific feedback about a design quickly and fairly effortlessly. It is therefore very dispiriting to receive the results of a test and see multiple instances of empty or “I don’t know” responses. (Indeed, experience has shown that in crowdsourced tests, respondents are more than willing to communicate the “I don’t know” response in more creative ways.) Design and user experience research can be difficult to justify from a time and resource standpoint – results like this undercut the research effort and make the job that much more difficult. It is therefore critical that precautionary actions be taken to minimize the likelihood of “empty data,” so that the researcher has not wasted his/her time. – Read More –

October 10, 2013

The Five-Second Test: A Wealth of UX Data


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 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 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 10, 2013

Learn jQuery and bring your UX to life

Most of web technologies are full of buzzwords which are not always properly defined.  This also applies to user interaction, user experience (UI/UX) design.  I would think it is clear and common sense, however it is not to many people.  One shocking moment I remember at a hackathon was meeting graphic designers that say they do UI/UX.  When I asked them about that, they didn’t even know the differences between CSS and JavaScript.  You really should know the basics such as HTML and CSS so you can at least communicate your ideas.  To briefly explain: HTML represents the content, CSS represents the styles, and JavaScript the actions/behaviors.  Furthermore if you are all about “interaction”, you need to know JavaScript.  Should you want to transition from web design into development so you can make your graphics interactive, this becomes a challenging task. – Read More –

September 3, 2013

Treat your UX like water

A short while ago, I found myself in a familiar situation – a big solution decision in a big company has to be made; technology sets the tone and UX (coming in second…) has to provide a sound reasoning that people understand and relate to.

We’ve all been there before, right?! Development teams are mostly very accurate and quantitative while UX is mostly on the higher planes of essence and seem to require the persuasive skills of a good lawyer to convince the crowd.

The question was – “With our first iPhone mobile application – should we go native or HTML5?”

– Read More –

September 3, 2013

Manufacturing UX: Eames + Ikea = The Ikeames Philosophy

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.

– Read More –

August 27, 2013

Why a dazzling User Interface can cause failure

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 –

August 19, 2013

Including the philosophy of UX design

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 –

January 6, 2010

The Reservoir of Patience

The longer I’ve been a UX professional, the more aware I’ve become of usability issues and poor experiences around me. And consequently, the more annoyed I have become. Then again, it might also be a product of living in Los Angeles and fighting freeway congestion everyday.  Add to the mix, a crying newborn – and you can imagine why my fuse is pretty short, both online and offline. – Read More –

September 12, 2009

Best of the Web Weekly Roundup: September 5–11

UX Basis: A UX Process and Toolbox

An incredibly useful resource for both UX folks and clients. We need to remember to educate as well as design. You can use web design services from 7Elements to help you with your site. 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.
– Read More –

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