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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Experience design'

1 September 2013

The web giants pumping us for data

Oil pumps

As society becomes more networked, the information available to the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of this world will increase exponentially.

“As society becomes more and more networked, and as the so-called “internet-of-things” evolves, the amounts of data available to be “mined” will increase exponentially. And, unlike fossil fuels, these data reserves are infinitely renewable. [...]

The key question about any major technological development is: who benefits? The answer in the case of big data is: huge corporations – the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of this world, which are the only outfits (outside of the US National Security Agency) with the computational resources to mine, analyse and process the data torrents unleashed by us as we go about our networked lives. The companies don’t talk about it this way, of course. [...]

Which brings us to another aspect of the subject: open data.”

29 August 2013

User-centred mobile app development in Kenya

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The success of a mobile app – its high adoption rate and actual use – largely depends on the degree of involvement of the end user during the development stage.

Mark Kamau, Kenyan web solution expert at the iHub UX Lab in Nairobi, believes a user-centric approach to mobile app development is critical to building a sustainable ICT-based solution.

“The failure rate of mobile apps is high and many development man-hours are wasted when user experiences are not taken into account right from the start of the development process. That is why people like Kamau and initiatives such as the UX Lab seek to convince developers to include the users in the earliest possible stage of the design process to better understand their needs and wants, and how, when and where they would use the new mobile app.”

23 August 2013

The UK’s Behavioural Design Lab

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The UK’s Behavioural Design Lab is a new collaboration between Warwick Business School and the Design Council, uniting behavioural science with design-thinking. They help organisations transform a better understanding of people into innovative solutions that improve society.

Our Belief
The biggest issues in society, from obesity to climate change, are due to behavioural and lifestyle factors people embrace on a daily basis.
Most attempts to change behaviour rely on the outdated assumption that people are governed by a rational self-interest. The result is a range of programmes with a firm rationale but minimal impact.
We believe the best way to solve these issues is to not only research how and why people actually make decisions, but use the design of products, services and places to help us all make better decisions.

Our Approach
Innovation requires two things. The ability to generate creative ideas and a way of testing them.
Our approach uses design-thinking and behavioural insights to reframe problems as an opportunity for enterprise, providing a platform for creative ideas.
We then use our network to bring teams together to tackle the briefs, supporting them through development. As ideas become real, they are tested and refined using experiments.

20 August 2013

IBM on user experience design

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IBM believes that all users have the right to an enjoyable experience when using a computer. They have therefore decided to share the knowledge they have acquired from their own practical experience to help others create hardware and software that is easy for everyone to use.

Design concepts
In this section IBM discusses the users’ bill of rights that it subscribes to, the principles that drive successful user interface design, and models that promote designing for ease of use.
- What is user experience design?
- What is a user interface?
- Design principles
- User rights
- The three models

Design patterns
Users employ software to achieve specific goals. Also, user interface designers have goals for the designs they create. Design Patterns provide established solutions based on sound design principles that enable these goals as they occur within specific task and environmental contexts.

Initial experience
The initial experience a user has in taking a new product out of the box and setting it up, in preparation for use, creates a lasting impression and constitutes an important aspect of the total user experience. We offer these guidelines and insights to help other software and hardware companies design initial experiences that are productive and satisfying for users. We also offer suggestions for effective evaluation and testing of the initial experience.

User-Centered Design
User-Centered Design is a well-established process that is used by IBM and many other organizations to deliver products that meet users’ expectations. This process has been supplemented by the Outside-In Design approach, which brings a focus on business value, and by the Agile approach to development, which is a set of best practices that can be used to support iterative development to improve time to market and stakeholder value.

An Agile approach to User Experience and Design
With more development moving to an Agile process, User Experience and Design (UXD) professionals are faced with the task of adapting their activities, deliverables, and even their own role to an Agile development process. Education on general Agile development principles and activities is readily available. While Agile development principles and best practices such as continuous user feedback and iterative development are familiar to UXD professionals, the focus on efficiency and time-boxed iterations can present a challenge. All these best practices are targeted at maintaining a focus on stakeholders and users while increasing productivity and efficiency.

20 August 2013

eBook: Rethinking UX

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Rethinking UX
Formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle (DRM-free)
Pages: 62
Language: English
Released: August 2013
Publisher: Smashing Magazine GmbH

Abstract
In “Rethinking UX”, various UX professionals share their lessons learned and provide practical advice from their very own personal experience. The eBook is packed with interesting thoughts and concepts that let us reflect on our own practices. Every designer has their own user research techniques and strategies, but leaving the office and talking to people on the streets can foster innovation even more as any thought-out strategy ever could.

Is empathy possibly the best guarantor for great UX? Overcoming traditional patterns and designing with a new type of user in mind is among the many topics of this eBook.

Of course, you can also get your hands on some future scenarios. The Smashing authors dare to sneak a peak at some new challenges that we could face with the rise of innovative technologies such as Google Glass and Leap Motion, and explore how we can embrace entirely gesture-driven interfaces today. This eBook is a springboard for developing a new perspective and for creating future-proof user experiences.

17 August 2013

A manifesto to connect experience design with content thinking

 

Under the title “Content re-framing: A digital disruption survival kit“, Bas Evers and Peter Bogaards have launched a manifesto to connect experience design with content thinking.

New challenges are upon us content people. The era of digital disruption requires adaptation at many levels by anyone involved with content, whatever its form or shape. As content crusaders, we want to point the road to travel with 10 imperatives:

“Old School” and cutting-dege content organizations and professionals all face the same challenge of inventing and discovering mechanisms, rules and principles of unknown territories for content application.

With this manifesto, we intend to reduce the friction in our collective journey of credible, useful, and relevant content for the digital era.

The 10 imperatives:
1. Grok the nature of digital content
2. Think of content like finance, as oxygen
3. Shape content to fit everybody
4. Create content for customers, not for yourself
5. Empower others to (re)find your content
6. Determine content first, container next
7. Innovate in single content item delivery
8. Extend management dashboards with content controls
9. Materialize the added value of content
10. Act as a content entrepreneur

15 August 2013

Book: Lean UX

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Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
by Jeff Gothelf (Author) and Josh Seiden (Editor)
O’Reilly Media
February 2013
(Amazon link)

“The Lean UX approach to interaction design is tailor-made for today’s web-driven reality. In this insightful book, leading advocate Jeff Gothelf teaches you valuable Lean UX principles, tactics, and techniques from the ground up—how to rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your design based on what you learn.

Inspired by Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX lets you focus on the actual experience being designed, rather than deliverables. This book shows you how to collaborate closely with other members of the product team, and gather feedback early and often. You’ll learn how to drive the design in short, iterative cycles to assess what works best for the business and the user. Lean UX shows you how to make this change—for the better.

  • Frame a vision of the problem you’re solving and focus your team on the right outcomes
  • Bring the designers’ toolkit to the rest of your product team
  • Share your insights with your team much earlier in the process
  • Create Minimum Viable Products to determine which ideas are valid
  • Incorporate the voice of the customer throughout the project cycle
  • Make your team more productive: combine Lean UX with Agile’s Scrum framework
  • Understand the organizational shifts necessary to integrate Lean UX

Review by Ambroise Little:

The answer [to the pains associated with the staggered prints approach associated with the established Agile engineering process] situates itself within the Lean approach to product development. A lot of people seem to confuse Lean with Agile, and while they share some common characteristics, I would say that Lean is far more prescriptive. As Gothelf points out, Lean UX synthesizes the highly iterative structure of Agile with the creative and scientific methodologies of design thinking and Lean Startup (a set of concepts popularized by Eric Ries in his Lean Startup book), utilizing multiple frameworks to determine solutions.

Lean UX proposes a number of core principles and the ones that most directly address the key pain points mentioned above are:

  • Cross-functional teams – have UX folks integrated into the teams, not external consultant-type model
  • Minimize waste – few deliverables and handoffs

As Jeff relates in Chapter 4, the process is one that involves the whole team (as much as possible) in the user research and early design ideation. It goes further to have the team focused on the same problems at the same time. Together, this approach goes a long way towards eliminating the staggered sprint problems, and it also has other benefits around reduced waste and getting everyone on the same page more easily.”

15 August 2013

Why a new Golden Age for UI design is around the corner

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Cliff Kuang writes in Wired how designers are working on their most ambitious challenge yet: weaving the digital world into our everyday lives so seamlessly that we don’t even notice.

“Over the past 30 years, as every facet of our lives, from our shopping to our schooling, has migrated onto computer screens, designers have focused on perfecting user interfaces—placing a button in just the right place for a camera trigger or collapsing the entire payment process into a series of swipes and taps. But in the coming era of ubiquitous sensors and miniaturized mobile computing, our digital interactions won’t take place simply on screens. As the new Disney World suggests, they will happen all around us, constantly, as we go about our day. Designers will be creating not products or interfaces but experiences, a million invisible transactions. [...]

But as designers move off of screens and into the larger world, they’ll need to consider every nuance of our everyday activity and understand human behavior every bit as well as novelists or filmmakers. [...]

Designers, who’ve always been adept at watching and responding to our needs, must bring to bear a better understanding of how people actually live. It’s up to them to make this new world feel like something we’ve always wanted and a natural extension of what we already have.”

13 August 2013

Adaptive Path’s guide to experience mapping

XMAP_Web

Customers are increasingly choosing products and services based on the quality of the experiences they have with them. These experiences often break down when they span multiple channels. As a result, organizations need a holistic, human-centered view of the experiences they create. In short, they need a map.

To help the community in creating such maps, Adaptive Path has released a free Guide to Experience Mapping, that provides a succinct overview and basic building blocks of the process of mapping experiences in collaboration with your organization.

“Organizations collectively spend billions of dollars each year on experiences intended to attract, serve, and retain customers. They build new stores and launch new websites; answer thousands of questions in call centers; market, advertise, and promote in multiple channels; experiment with trendy mobile apps; roll out new products; and re-engineer services. In short, organizations create and manage a myriad of touchpoints that they want to add up to a differentiated customer experience.

Of course, customers don’t care about these efforts. they care about meeting their needs across touchpoints and across the competitive landscape.

When done well, an experience map illuminates the holistic customer experience, demonstrating the highs and lows people feel while interacting with your product or service. the process of mapping uncovers the key customer moments that, once improved, will unlock a more compelling and more valuable overall experience. We’ve used experience mapping in our practice, among other methods, to generate insights, support new initiatives, and build stronger futures for the organizations we partner with.”

7 August 2013

To get users to make smarter choices now, show them their future

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Design can be used to introduce users to the future now, so they can act in ways that will benefit them in the future, writes Nikki Pfarr, researcher and strategist at Artefact.

“What [designers] don’t often do, is think of the future as a tool for persuasive design. But it is–and it can actually be quite powerful. When people get a peek at what’s in store for their health, their pocketbooks, and the environment, they tend to make better decisions–such as saving more money for retirement or going for a jog instead of watching television.

By making users’ futures–25, 35, or even 50 years from now–more salient in the products and services we design, we can nudge them toward future-oriented choices. A good place to start is by helping users feel more connected to their future selves.”

7 August 2013

Book: Why We Fail

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Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures
By Victor Lombardi
248 pages
Rosenfeld Media

Why did Twitter succeed while Pownce plotzed? Why has “to Plaxo” become a verb? And Zune: great product, but are you using one right now?

More and more, products succeed because not because they provide better designs or functionality, but because their overall experiences are superior to their competitors’. Victor Lombardi’s new book, Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures is your field guide to failure. It’s packed with case studies and lessons that will help you, as Don Norman suggests in his foreword, “embrace failure to learn from failure” and “learn from failure to avoid failure”.

Just as pilots and doctors improve by studying crash reports and postmortems, experience designers can improve by learning how customer experience failures cause products to fail in the marketplace. Rather than proselytizing a particular approach to design, Why We Fail holistically explores what teams actually built, why the products failed, and how we can learn from the past to avoid failure ourselves.

Why We Fail is available from Rosenfeld Media in paperback and three DRM-free digital formats (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB). It’s also available from Amazon and O’Reilly.

6 August 2013

User experience is not just design, it’s the key to innovation and growth

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Brian Solis met up with Jesse James Garrett (author of The Elements of User Experience and Co-Founder of Adaptive Path) to talk about the state of user experience (UX), its role in the future of business, and how UX deserves the attention of the c-suite.

In the discussion, Garret shares how research, psychology, behavior and design can open the doors to meaningful creativity for design and product experience strategies. But more importantly, he shares how executives across the organization can learn from the UX team to improve services, business models, and overall customer relationships.

6 August 2013

User experience is more than design – it’s strategy

 

t’s time that we expand the role of User Experience beyond execution, beyond output, and yes, even beyond design, writes Christopher Grant Ward, Director of Product Strategy and User Experience at SUBTXT.

“The most important thing I’ve learned in my career is that User Experience is not simply about designing for customers, but thinking strategically about customer behaviors, passions, and desires. User Experience provides an intellectual entry point, a framework that can give corporate leaders another perspective for making decisions and solving problems for customers. The UX skillset encompasses more than just design skills. It provides the foundation of a company’s customer strategy. [...]

User Experience is not just about design. It is about the strategic understanding of users and their behavior. If we are to contribute strategically, UX professionals must be willing and able to take responsibility for their final decisions and accept the corporate accountability that comes with making critical decisions about customers. We must be willing to go outside our design skillset and embrace all corporate functions, including finance, technology, marketing, and sales.”

5 August 2013

Smart cities workshop with the Design Center Busan

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A few days ago Experientia’s latest collaboration with Korea’s Design Center Busan wrapped up, as 21 South Korean students completed a summer study program in Turin.

Experientia ran a creative workshop for the students, titled “Barely legal, but very nice! Smart interventions in public spaces, offices and services“. The diverse curricula of the program included architecture, industrial design, visual design, fine arts and more, and was selected by the Design Center Busan (DCB), in collaboration with Gwangju Design Center (GDC) and the Daegu Gyeongbuk Design Center (DGDC). Experientia’s faculty were Design Director Jan-Christoph Zoels, and interaction designers Renzo Giusti and Seungjun Jeong.

Experientia’s workshop tackled contemporary issues in the design discourse about Smart Cities and smart citizenship, raising awareness of public interventions, grassroots initiatives, and the formal and informal best practices that cities around the world are rolling out to meet the challenges of civic development.

The workshop explored the use of participatory design techniques aimed at urban scale issues. The students were exposed to a diverse palette of solutions for issues of civic consent creation and management, creative problem solving, citizen engagement and public sphere re-appropriation.

Students were also challenged to come up with creative solutions to address real issues they identified, from their fresh perspective, during their stay in Turin. To face the challenge of designing in an unknown territory, they were invited to take a bold yet borderline stance. To conceive design intervention capable of bringing citizens together, students could design light and pop-up solutions that would achieve the goals expected, even eschewing full compliance with official regulations.

The workshop ended on Tuesday July 30th with a final exhibition of a set of posters showcasing the design interventions conceived by the 4 groups of young Korean designers. A final keynote speech by world-famous futurist and science fiction author Bruce Sterling officially concluded the proceedings.

The workshop benefitted from the contributions of many practitioners in Turin and Milan. Experientia wants to thank: Matteo Robiglio (Tra), Simone Carena and Marco Bruno (Motoelastico), Paolo Maldotti (Archilandstudio), Isabella Steffan (studiosteffan), Carlotta Bonvicini and Francesco Cerroni (MiC, mobility in chain), Stefano Recalcati (ARUP), Giovanna Castiglioni (Fondazione Achille Castiglioni), and Luca Troisi (Enhancers).

Finally, special thanks go to SeungJun Jeong (Experientia) for managing the workshop preparation and facilitating the relationship with Design Centre Busan, and to Federico De Giuli for hosting us at the wonderful Cluster Learning Communities space.

25 July 2013

Evgeny Morozov, solutionism and the politics of usability

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Luke Fernandez, Manager of Program and Technology Development at Weber State University, has published a review of Evgeny Morozov’s To Save Everything Click Here that explores the intersection between UX and political theory.

“As a political theorist and software developer I particularly appreciate Morozov’s attempt to battle solutionism by injecting politics back into tool building. However, I’m also cognizant of its limitations. Pace Morozov and and others who hold up the civic republican tradition, I’m less inclined to think of politics and morality as concerns that confer the deepest meaning on human life. And since I work in the company of other developers I know that they display similar dispositions. Call me a philistine, but most of the time I’d rather be doing something else than being a political being. Morozov, in his erudition, summons media theorist Michael Schudson to describe this sensibility as the plight of the “political backpacker.” Backpackers like to go into the wilderness and spend some time cooking and camping for themselves. But soon enough most backpackers emerge from the wildernesss and are happy to relegate cooking and sheltering to other entities than themselves. Political backpackers feel analogous sentiments. Occasional forays into politics make us feel good because they help us to grow as political beings. But most of us would consider it a curse to spend all or even the majority of our lives in that realm. (Even Steve Jobs, who obviously got a jag from his very public Apple presentations reported that he was happiest when he wandered into Jonathan Ive’s private workshop and spent time handling Apple product prototypes.)

We want our technologies to do the same for us as well. For a better and richer life we want–and have a duty– to confront our relationship to our technology and consider how it constructs our relationship with others and the world around us. So our technologies shouldn’t be frictionless all the time. They shouldn’t permanently shield us from politics. But most of the time we just want our technologies to exhibit the same behaviors that Job’s and Ive’s have glowingly attributed to Apple’s products: “it just works!” This then is the design dilemma we face in a nation that wants to be faithful to both its Liberal and Civic Republican traditions: How do we develop technologies that enlarge our capacity to be political beings while at the same time catering to our more pedestrian and commercially oriented selves?”

24 July 2013

User-centred design on Gov.uk

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The Design Manual of Gov.uk, the UK Government services and information portal, has a section on user-centred design, whereas the service manual home page describes in more detail how designers can build a gov.uk service: from discovery, to alpha, beta, live and retirement.

“People come to GOV.UK with specific needs. Anything that gets between our users and meeting those needs should be stripped away. The design of GOV.UK reflects this, existing primarily as a way of delivering the right content and services to our users. Find out here how we approach this challenge.”

23 July 2013

SAP reaching out through user experience and design thinking

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Recent SAP application forays include everything from a My Runway fashion shopping application to wellness applications that involve wearable sensors to Big Data analytic applications for the National Basketball Association (NBA).

According to Sam Yen, global head of design and user experience at SAP, the end goal is to expose as many end users as possible to SAP software in the expectation that it will increase demand for more traditional SAP enterprise application software.

Yen says that SAP will leverage HTML5 and Design Thinking principles to transform every SAP application regardless of whether it runs on premise or in the cloud.

What’s driving all of these efforts is a concerted SAP effort to step out of the back office. As the line between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) applications continues to blur, the quality of the user experience has become paramount. In addition, the mobile and cloud computing era more business executives are playing a bigger role in deciding which application vendors to go with. Given SAP’s historic challenges with user interfaces, the embracing of Design Thinking principles represents an effort to make SAP software more appealing at all levels.

See also this video interview with Sam Yen and an earlier post on SAP’s new UX strategy.

19 July 2013

The implications of Agile for UX

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Anthropologist Natalie Hanson has written a series of blog posts regarding Agile methods and the implications for user experience work.

Recognizing Agile
List of the top ways to know you’re working in an Agile environment

A brief overview of Agile
Background on what Agile is and the conditions under which it emerged

Principles and practices of Agile
The basics of Agile.

Implications for Researchers
Specific examples about ways that researchers can engage at each of the major stages in the development lifecycle of a software product.

19 July 2013

Human-centered design for new models of wellness and innovation

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A year ago, in July 2012, Business Innovation Factory (BIF) began a partnership with Children’s Medical Center in Dallas to find “new models of care”, and better serve five counties of children and their families in North Texas.

In this community, families struggle to make a living, and suffer from many chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity. To create transformative, sustainable models of care, Children’s Medical Center needed to move away from “sick care” to a broader focus on “well care”.

By focusing on patient experience through the principles of human-centered design, BIF provided insights shared in their foundational research, “Laying the Foundation”.

You can read more about it here.

11 July 2013

How is ‘experience’ valued in the sharing economy?

 

How do you buy or sell something so abstract as an “experience”? And what is it worth?

That’s not an idle question for companies in the sharing economy. The experience of staying in an Airbnb apartment–with all its quirks, blemishes and unique qualities–is the differentiator from the equivalent traditional hotel.

For most sharing economy companies, they aren’t selling a product. They’re providing a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to rent a product from another person or get a service from a person. Instead of buying something they get the access to that product or service. But how is this experience valued? And how does that compare to an equivalent service or product in a traditional company? How does an Airbnb home get valued and how does it compare to a hotel room?