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Posts in category 'User experience'

12 January 2014

Solving the right problem and finding your own solution: an interview with Don Norman

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At the LAUX Meetup Group, Media Contour’s Luke Swenson was able to track down Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition and get his thoughts on problem solving, identifying the right problem, and why copying your competitors is unwise in a world where you should be focusing on your own strengths.

What about “featuritis.” Why is focusing on strengths so much more important than copying your competition?

You have to stand out. You have to look different from the others. Take the number of Android phones on the market today. They all look the same, right? Don’t feature match. Don’t design match. Make your phone stand out from the crowd. It’s about your company, not about your competitors. What are your strengths? What does your website design say about your company? What does your product design say about your company?

For instance, if your company is a fun, whimsical clothing company, your website needs to reflect that. You might not resonate with EVERY person who comes to the site, but you don’t WANT every person to buy your clothing. You want those who fit in with your company’s identity. That applies to every single business out there. You need to express what your business is like, what your image is, and then connect with people who share that. You need to show that you can solve their problem.”

12 January 2014

The UX of commercial drones

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In order for commercial drones like Amazon’s or Australian startup Flirtey’s to become a reality, the drone (or any future-world technology, really) can’t merely do its job—meaning, it can’t randomly drop off deliveries and simply fly away as the drone in the Amazon demo video does. There’s a lot more to it than that. To make this kind of service take off (literally), companies will have to consider the user experience, and especially the microinteractions, the drones will have with customers, writes Dan Saffer in UX Magazine.

There are quite a few issues to be resolved, clearly.

12 January 2014

150,000 job listings in the user experience field in the USA alone

 

Hiring managers know that design plays, and will continue to play, a critical role in the success of their companies because: What has been seen cannot be unseen., writes Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman of the Unicorn Institute.

And what has been seen is companies like Apple, which are investing a lot of resources in design. We can see how much design matters by looking at Apple’s profits in comparison with their competition.

This understanding is leading to an increased demand for designers, and even more specifically it’s leading to an increase in demand for user experience designers. In fact, in the United States alone, there are around 150,000 job listings in the user experience (UX) field.

12 January 2014

Discover the world’s best mobile UX

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To help you build better mobile experiences, UX Archive finds and presents mobile’s most interesting user flows so you can “compare them, build your point of view, and be inspired.”

“Documenting user flows is probably something many UX designers already do to some degree. Now a great collection is in one place, and wired to grow as new discoveries are added to the archive. Even more useful, the site is set up so you can easily filter user flows based on specific tasks, such as onboarding, purchasing and sharing, and compare just those.”

A side project of Feedly co-founder and designer [and former Experientia collaborator] Arthur Bodolec, and developers Chris Polk and Nathan Barraille, UX Archive is a lean, clean site that just does one thing and does it really well, writes Penina Finger.

31 December 2013

How do e-books change the reading experience?

 

Mohsin Hamid and Anna Holmes discuss in the New York Times Book Review how technology affects our reading habits.

Mohsin Hamid argues that in a world of intrusive technology, we must engage in a kind of struggle if we wish to sustain moments of solitude.

“As we enter the cyborg era, as we begin the physical shift to human-machine hybrid, there will be those who embrace this epochal change, happily swapping cranial space for built-in processors. There will be others who reject the new ways entirely, perhaps even waging holy war against them, with little chance — in the face of drones that operate autonomously while unconcerned shareholding populations post selfies and status updates — of success. And there will be people like me, with our powered exoskeletons left often in the closet, able to leap over buildings when the mood strikes us, but also prone to wandering naked and feeling the sand of a beach between our puny toes.”

Anna Holmes writes that who or what we choose to read can be as telling as the clothes we wear, and an e-book feels like a detail withheld, a secret kept.

“No matter how fancy the refinements made to, say, Apple’s much heralded Retina display or Amazon’s electronic ink, an e-book offers little promise of discovery or wonder. Browsers may be ubiquitous in our e-portal age, but an e-book doesn’t encourage actual browsing.”

17 December 2013

American-centric UI is leveling tech culture — and design diversity

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An article with a title like this cannot but intrigue me (being a non-American leading a non-USA company) – and even more so after I found out that it was written by an American working in an American company.

In a very frank and thoughtful article, Sean Madden, Executive Managing Director at Ziba, argues that the interactions designed into our devices overwhelmingly reflect a perspective native to modern, affluent, urban America.

“That our smartphones can be customized through the installation of apps assumes we want a device that is unique and personal. That our wearable devices track and analyze physical movement — as opposed to, say, proximity to friends or family — assumes that individual activity is the kind most worth monitoring. That our gaming consoles are designed primarily with a single, networked player in mind assumes we prefer remote interaction to the in-person kind; compare that to what Korean and Chinese gamers do, which is cluster in cafes.

This focus on individuality and personal mobility is deeply American, and it’s being taught to the rest of the world through the medium of American technology. And the age of invisible design, with its focus on experiences (as opposed to just products and interfaces) has made cultural influence the elephant in the room: obvious, ignored, and hugely powerful. Especially because technology platforms favor the culture that spawned them.”

Madden doesn’t stop at analysis, but sets out a vision for what the next challenge will be:

“Just as user-centered design transformed technology in the 1990s and early 2000s, cultural fluency needs to transform it today: user experience (UX) design that’s familiar enough with a user’s cultural background to meet him or her halfway.

Cultural fluency demands abandoning the idea that functionality is a universal language, and that “good UX” is culturally agnostic. […]

It requires tremendous discipline to overcome the cultural biases of American design and engineering, to avoid teams building their own cultural norms into how the systems facilitate human interactions. Cultural fluency will require another expansion in design, one that incorporates anthropological, psychological, and historical insights in addition to everything that’s come before. And it will require understanding the broader impact on culture and society when devices begin making decisions and transacting on their own, as promised by the Internet of Things.”

14 December 2013

UX review of Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

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Smartwatches are the future, but the Samsung Galaxy Gear is only partway there, writes Raluca Budiu, a senior researcher with Nielsen Norman Group, in her detailed and extensive UX review of the Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch.

“One big reason to believe in watches is that this form factor has already been victorious. Historically, before wristwatches were invented, many people carried pocket watches. But the time needed to fish a device out of your pocket was much more than the time needed to whip around your wrist to face your face. Wristwatches are a much faster way to check the time (and maybe date) than using a pocket watch. As a result, you hardly ever see a pocket watch these days.

In the case of computers, the wrist computer (smartwatch) will not eradicate the pocket computer (mobile phone) the way wristwatches eradicated pocket watches, because a phone-sized screen can do so much more than a watch-sized screen. Most likely people will carry both.

The key is simplicity (you can do it more easily on a watch) and spontaneity (you can do it right away). Phones already encourage spontaneous use; watches will be for those moments when phones are too big and too slow to access. We’ll need to learn ways to make the apps more direct and distill their essence, so that a quick glimpse on a tiny screen will be enough to get what we need.”

See also this article on the iWatch by her colleague Bruce ‘Tog’ Tognazzini

14 December 2013

The lack of closure experience in digital products and services

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There’s an ever-growing tide of inactive, dormant, or extinct customer accounts and other online personal data swallowing up the digital landscape, writes Joe Macleo in UX Magazine.

As designers, one of our objectives when creating digital services and products should be to incorporate a “closure experience” that allows customers to end their relationship with the service as easily as they started it. A good closure experience brings a satisfactory conclusion to a product or service relationship, with each party feeling satisfied with the completed transaction. It should be a fair and just conclusion without consequence.

Users will feel increasingly vulnerable as more and more services fail to deliver closure, leaving user data hopelessly exposed in endlessly open digital relationships. Increased consideration for closure experiences in our designs can help with this.

8 December 2013

Robert Fabricant on scaling your UX strategy

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Leading businesses like Google are exploring scalable strategies that make UX relevant to engineers and MBAs across their organizations.

Robert Fabricant has posted a quick look at some of the different strategies that they are deploying:
1. Lean UX
2. UX in R&D
3. Baby-Step UX
4. Six Sigma UX
5. Customer-Driven UX

6 December 2013

The psychology behind information dashboards

mint

With its interactive and intuitive interface and its ability to visualize data in a single screen, the information dashboard is becoming a critical tool in the hands of the business user. Moreover, it is also making its way into apps used by laypeople for managing day-to-day activities like budget tracking and fitness management.

So what makes information dashboards so appealing to the human mind? What is it that the human mind seeks that is so nicely provided by information dashboards? Shilpi Choudhury explores.

In synthesis: Any product that has an information dashboard as one of its key offerings should keep the psychological needs of its end users in mind. Users like being in control, they have a limited short-term memory, and they love things that are simple. These three factors should form the foundation of all dashboard designs. Understand your user’s requirements and add in your design best practices and you have the ingredients for creating the perfect information dashboard.

6 December 2013

The UX explorers at Ford: an interview with Parrish Hanna and Chris Thibodeau

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In response to the recent explosion in UX, Ford Motor Company has hired folks like Parrish Hanna and Chris Thibodeau — Global Director of Human-Machine Interface and Executive Manager of Global Product Planning for User Interface, Connectivity, and Infotainment respectively — to react and reshape Ford’s user experience.

Hanna’s past was non-automotive having spent years in the connected world with Motorola. “I came from consumer electronics and telecommunications, where you are always looking for a captive space in which to work, like a kitchen or living room. Automotive has that captive space, which makes a big difference. The challenge is to help the user with other elements such as dealing with comfort, efficiency, interactions like navigation, making a call, listening to music, etc. layered in a single space and controlled in multiple dimensions, not to mention adjusting things like momentum and braking. A great blend of physical and digital design challenges.”

Thibodeau, on the other hand, comes from a long history of automotive product development (Visteon, GM) with teams including user experience designers and researchers. “It takes a two-prong approach to plan and design effectively. Silo engineering is not the way to get great user experiences. Parrish and I help and strive to bring a cross-functional mindset.”

Steve Tengler recently had an opportunity to sit down with both of them and inquire about Ford’s new direction for user experience and the next generation of human-machine interfaces.

21 November 2013

The intersection of UX, CX & corporate strategy: The holy grail for 21st century business?

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Chris Allen (CUA – HFI US Sales Director Eastern Region; Global Accounts Director) went to the UX STRAT Conference in Atlanta and came back with one big question: How do we as business leaders leverage the best techniques and outcomes of various research and design methodologies to create more rewarding, fun & useful interactions with our current and potential customers so they become loyal, repeat customers and advocates?

This question, he says, “really transcends whether or not we are advocates of Customer Experience (CX), User Experience (UX), Agile, Lean, or any SDLC methodology in play today. The point is, how can we bring these different perspectives/approaches together for a common purpose, instead of building more Chinese walls or reasons why someone cannot play in someone else’s sandbox?”

19 November 2013

Talks and presentations from UX Australia

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UX Australia 2013, a 4-day user experience design conference that took place in Melbourne at the end of August, has posted a lot of presentation slides and audio recordings on its site.

Here a (small personal) selection:

Agile ethnography in New York’s secret public spaces
by Chris Holmes, AnswerLab (AUS/USA)
A unique user research project which sought to explore the user experience of ‘privately-owned public space’ (or POPS)

Design at the edges: Mobile UX in the developing world
by Gabriel White, Small Surfaces (AUS)
Examples of how organisations working in developing countries are using mobile technology in novel ways to solve real problems.

Design research for emerging markets: Making relevant and successful products
by Andrew Harder (AUS)
A deep-dive into developing customised products for emerging market users and the unique challenges that Westerners face when we try to understand and design in this domain

Two models of design-led innovation
by Steve Baty (AUS)
An introduction to two dominant models of design-driven innovation: hypothesis-led and insight-led

19 November 2013

UX and the civilizing process

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Kevin Simler is clearly a highly informed and engaging writer. In this essay, he argues that “UX is etiquette for computers“.

“A focus on appearance is just one of the ways UX is like etiquette. Both are the study and practice of optimal interactions. In etiquette we study the interactions among humans; in UX, between humans and computers. (HHI and HCI.) In both domains we pursue physical grace — ”smooth,” “frictionless” interactions — and try to avoid embarrassment. In both domains there’s a focus on anticipating others’ needs, putting them at ease, not getting in the way, etc.

Of course not all concerns are utilitarian. Both etiquette and UX are part function, part fashion. As a practitioner you need to be perceptive and helpful, yes, but to really distinguish yourself, you also need great taste and a good pulse on the zeitgeist. A designer should know if ‘we’ are doing flat or skeuomorphic design ‘these days,’ just as a diner should know if he should be tucking his napkin into his shirt or holding it on his lap. And in both domains, it’s often better to follow an arbitrary convention than to try something new and different, however improved it might be.”

19 November 2013

What human experiences are we missing by adopting new technologies?

drink

The more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity, writes Bronwen Clune. Are we willing to make this concession in the name of progress?

“Tracking, data mining and collaborative filtering are now the way things are done. There is little room left for the art of finding something good by accident, or stumbling upon something useful while not searching for it. We shouldn’t underplay this, as luck and serendipity have long played a role in science when it’s come to discoveries; penicillin, radioactivity and gravity to name a few. What role could technology play in reducing these accidents from our lives? If we’re only ever exposed to what has been determined to appeal to us, we reduce the chances of these accidental discoveries. This can be from the personal to things of larger consequence. Put simply, the more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity.”

5 November 2013

Tesla’s groundbreaking UX: interview with UI manager Brennan Boblett

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“Dashboards of the past are littered with physical buttons that can never change, forever ingrained into them. The [Tesla] Model S, by contrast, has a fully upgradeable dash that’s software driven. We started with a blank slate—17” of glass, which is the centerpiece of the interior. That inspired an all-digital touchscreen automotive UI platform built from the ground up—one that could be updated over the air to provide new functionality as the years go on,” says Telsa’s User Interface Manager, Brennan Boblett.

Steve Tengler recently had the opportunity to sit down with Boblett, and the resulting interview published in UX Magazine provides a window into the customer-centric enthusiasm and passion that’s at the core of Telsa’s UX philosophy.

4 November 2013

Experientia presents “BancoSmart”, the innovative ATM interface designed for UniCredit Bank

 

The user-centred approach is moving into finance, as banks increasingly connect to their customers’ needs and wants. As part of this trend, global banking and financial services company UniCredit Bank collaborated with user experience consultancy Experientia to create a user-friendly, people-centred ATM – the BancoSmart.

A customer trials the new BancoSmart interface, with personalised home page.
Click on image to view slideshow

The user-centred approach is moving into finance, as banks increasingly connect to their customers’ needs and wants. As part of this trend, global banking and financial services company UniCredit Bank collaborated with user experience consultancy Experientia to create a user-friendly, people-centred ATM – the BancoSmart.

Experientia has reinvented the ATM interface for UniCredit – making it easier to use, faster, and with more services, all offered through full touchscreen interaction. The new ATM is already in use in selected locations, and will finish its roll out across Italy in 2014.

The first reactions to the BancoSmart interface have been extremely positive, with people commenting on the increased speed, legibility, appealing graphics, and the improvement in features and functions. The highly intuitive ATM interaction allows clients to easily navigate, locate and use functions, from simple features like cash withdrawals to more complicated functions like deposits, information retrieval, bill payments and mobile phone top-ups. The interface is visually attractive and easy to read, with large fonts and clear banking function categories.

Experientia carried out in-depth user experience research as a foundation for the information architecture and service design of the ATM.  Multiple cycles of design, prototyping and user acceptance testing ensured that the final interface is strongly based on people’s banking behaviours and exceeds their expectations and needs for ATM use.

Experientia’s design is a responsive solution that runs on various ATMs including legacy terminals of different providers with various screen sizes and tech specifications. Usability and technical tests were performed across this device range.

BancoSmart offers a full touchscreen interaction, thanks to the extended network of touchscreen ATMs available in Italy (over 6,000 UniCredit touch ATMs, equal to 85% of machines).

The ATM offers several original features, conceived especially for UniCredit Bank, based on the research findings. These include:

  • Speedy withdrawal, with 3 predefined options on the Home Page based on the most frequent behaviours of the user, which the system learns over time. This cuts the time for common task completion by 30%.
  • Georeferenced payment service, which organises bill payment options and filters them based on what is available in the user’s location.
  • Adaptive interface, with a home page that offers personalised content based on the user’s banking profile.
  • Tone of voice, with the creation of a coherent language in all situations, which is more friendly and direct, and provides the correct support during operations.
  • Contextual support and feedback Contextual messages and continuous feedback keep people informed during interaction, particularly in case of data entry errors or other problems, using a clear language and coherent visual support.

UniCredit SpA is an Italian global banking and financial services company. It has approximately 40 million customers and operates in 22 countries.

Experientia® is a global experience design consultancy that practices user research-based and people-centred design. They help companies and organisations conceive and innovate products, services and processes, through a qualitative understanding of people, their mental models and their behaviours.

Experientia won the 2011 Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services, for a low carbon service platform to be implemented in an eco-friendly residential area under construction in Helsinki, “using innovative methodologies devised in Italy.” They have conducted research and design projects in every continent, for industries ranging from mobile telecommunications to sustainability, from automotive to architecture, and much more. Their portfolio includes a range of financial products, aimed at bank and customer use, developed for some of the biggest banks in Italy and Europe.

Experientia’s client roster features Italian and international clients, such as Alcatel Lucent, ASUS, Banca Fideuram, Banca Carige, Condé Nast, CVS Pharmacy, Expedia, Fidelity International, Haier, Intel, Max Mara, Microsoft, Motorola, Mozilla Corporation, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, SAP, Sky,  Trenitalia, Toncelli, UniCredit Bank, United Nations and Vodafone.

 

Contact

Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687,
[mark dot vanderbeeken at experientia dot com]

4 November 2013

Experientia rivoluziona la user experience degli ATM con “BancoSmart”, l’innovativa interfaccia degli ATM UniCredit

 

Le banche stanno cercando sempre più di entrare in sintonia con le esigenze ed i desideri dei propri clienti, innovando i propri prodotti e servizi secondo una approccio centrato sull’utente. Per dare concretezza a questo principio, UniCredit ha deciso di collaborare con Experientia con l’obiettivo di rinnovare a fondo la user experience del proprio canale ATM.

Un cliente prova la nuova interfaccia di BancoSmart e la home page personalizzata.
Click on image to view slideshow

Le banche stanno cercando sempre più di entrare in sintonia con le esigenze ed i desideri dei propri clienti, innovando i propri prodotti e servizi secondo una approccio centrato sull’utente. Per dare concretezza a questo principio, UniCredit ha deciso di collaborare con Experientia con l’obiettivo di rinnovare a fondo la user experience del proprio canale ATM.

Experientia ha di fatto reinventato l’interfaccia degli ATM UniCredit, rendendola più facile da utilizzare, più veloce e più ricca di servizi, il tutto attraverso un’interazione full touch.

Il nuovo ATM (denominato “BancoSmart”) è già attivo in agenzie selezionate e terminerà il roll out sul territorio italiano nel 2014.

Le prime reazioni al lancio della nuova interfaccia sono state molto positive, in modo particolar riferite alla maggiore velocità, alla grafica più moderna e di facile lettura, al fatto di far emergere con più chiarezza la ricchezza dei servizi offerti. L’interazione intuitiva del nuovo ATM consente ai clienti di navigare, individuare e utilizzare agevolmente tutte le funzioni, da quelle più semplici come il prelievo di contanti a quelle più complesse come il versamento di assegni.

Experientia, prima di procedere con la progettazione, ha condotto una ricerca dettagliata sulla user experience, i cui risultati sono stati alla base dell’architettura dell’informazione e del service design di BancoSmart. Molteplici cicli di design, prototipazione e test con utenti, hanno permesso all’interfaccia di rispondere ai bisogni espressi dalle persone.

BancoSmart funziona su sportelli di fornitori diversi, con schermi di varie dimensioni e specifiche tecniche dissimili fra loro. I test tecnici e i test di usabilità sono stati condotti sull’intera gamma di dispositivi in modo da mantenere inalterata la user experience.

BancoSmart offre un’interazione full touchscreen grazie alla più estesa rete di ATM touch presente in Italia (oltre 6.000 ATM touch UniCredit pari all’85% dell’intero parco posseduto) e presenta funzionalità, alcune del tutto inedite, concepite appositamente per UniCredit e ispirate ai finding emersi dalla ricerca. Tra le principali novità citiamo:

  • Prelievo veloce, con 3 importi immediatamente disponibili sin dalla home page e definiti sulla base dei comportamenti d’uso del cliente, riducendo del 30% il tempo impiegato per il prelievo.
  • Servizi di pagamento georeferenziati, con le opzioni di pagamento organizzate e filtrate per aree geografiche.
  • Interfaccia adattiva, con una home page che offre contenuti personalizzati, adattandosi al profilo dell’utente.
  • Tone of voice unico, con la creazione di un linguaggio coerente in tutte le situazioni, più amichevole, diretto e in grado di fornire il corretto supporto durante le operazioni.
  • Supporto e feedback contestuali fornendo all’utente un aiuto costante durante l’interazione, con messaggi e feedback contestuali, anche in caso di errori o problemi, utilizzando un linguaggio chiaro ed elementi grafici a supporto.

UniCredit S.p.A. è tra i primi gruppi di credito europei e mondiali. Conta oltre 40 milioni di clienti e opera in 22 paesi.

Experientia® è una società internazionale di experience design, il cui obiettivo è supportare società ed organizzazioni a concepire e innovare i propri prodotti, servizi e processi, grazie a una comprensione qualitativa delle persone, dei loro modelli cognitivi e dei loro comportamenti.

Experientia ha vinto il Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione nei servizi, nel 2011, per un progetto di change behaviour destinato a ridurre le emissioni di carbonio da parte della comunità di residenti di un nuovo complesso residenziale eco sostenibile in costruzione nella città di Helsinki,”utilizzando metodologie innovative concepite in Italia”. Experientia ha condotto ricerca e progetti di design in ogni continente, per settori che spaziano dalle telecomunicazioni mobili alla sostenibilità, dall’automotive all’architettura dall’healthcare all’entertainment e molti altri.

In ambito Finance & Banking Experientia vanta numerose collaborazioni su tutti i principali temi di innovazione, con progetti di ricerca e design sviluppati per alcune fra le maggiori banche italiane ed europee.

La lista di clienti di Experientia annovera aziende e multinazionali italiane e straniere quali:

Alcatel Lucent, ASUS, Banca Fideuram, Banca Carige, Condé Nast, CVS Pharmacy, Expedia, Fidelity International, Haier, Intel, Max Mara, Microsoft, Motorola, Mozilla Corporation, le Nazioni Unite, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, SAP, Sky,  Trenitalia, Toncelli, UniCredit Bank e Vodafone.

 

Contatto

Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687,
[mark dot vanderbeeken at experientia dot com]

24 October 2013

Is UX design the next big thing?

ux-venn-diagram

UX design explained for advertisers:

“Here is where the world of communication and the world of computing starts to merge in intent. Systems are to be used. Products are to be experienced. Users and consumers are the rulers. Technology, if it has to gain acceptance and become successful, needs to provide a great user experience. No longer is it sufficient to be effective, it must be proved first as a delightful, worthwhile experience that will turn users into proponents. Remember how Mac users praise their possession as if they hold stock in the company! Lovemarks that the Saatchi’s often speak of cannot be created solely by the proclamation of the advertiser’s intent, but gets translated into experiences at the user/consumer level. User Experience (UX) goes much beyond creating aesthetically pleasing User Interfaces (UI). To give an advertising parallel, UI is the layout of the ad or the edit of the commercial, whereas UX Design is the intent, the greater scheme of things, the advertising strategy that ensures desired response.”

(via InfoDesign)

24 October 2013

Four myths about UX and how to bust them

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Brian Pagán describes four common UX myths and how to “bust” them:

  • UX is too soft; it’s not based on anything
  • Anyone can do UX
  • UX is too expensive
  • UX is just interaction design

In synthesis: “UX knowledge and methods come from centuries of academic study, practice, and applied research. UX requires a healthy balance and some creative tension in teams to work, so there shouldn’t be other stakeholders trying to “do UX.” Taking advantage of UX is only as expensive as you make it; consider applying it surgically to one or several aspects of your project. But don’t forget that the real benefit of UX knowledge comes from using it to design empathy into every aspect of your organization.”