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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'User experience'

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.”

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.”

6 August 2013

Putting the customer at the centre of your retail business

Female shop assistant

Oracle recently conducted some research into the shopping needs and expectations of shoppers in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US – in an effort to better understand the role and importance of service to the retail experience.

Here are some of the things they found shoppers value most.

31 July 2013

Usman Haque: ‘Messiness will inevitably arise in spite of smart cities’

Smart-City-10-1

No matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise, argues Usman Haque.

“Grub City citizens recognise it’s through the activity of measurement, not passive interpreting of data, that we understand our environment; that we build up intuitions about how we affect it; and through which we develop our own standards of evidence. It’s the ensuing heterogeneity of understandings, explanations and attempts to control (as well as the heterogeneity of goals implied) that is essential for any sustainable model of city-making. New technologies help us do this not “better” but “differently”. We will see contradictions, for even collaboration does not need consensus. But no matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise.”

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.

4 July 2013

UX and The Museum: Converging perspectives on experience design

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Museums visitors are no longer as satisfied with rows of objects on display. They want the objects to tell a story. They want to understand the main message of the exhibit without reading a single block of text.

Mary Oakland, User Experience Designer at The Nerdery, and Shana West, Exhibit Developer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, provide more insight.

4 July 2013

Intel on wearable tech: we need to focus on how we use it

Running in the early-morning sunshine

Intel and its team of futurologists and anthropologists have a vision of a world where the technology is not an adjunct (as the mobile phone or the tablet is now) but embedded in our lives, generating and mining data in a way that’s functional and useful to us.

“Viewed through Intel’s crystal ball, in the future we’ll have devices that second-guess us, or make intelligent connections on our behalf.

At the moment, the benefit from the data we create every day flows largely in favour of the companies who use it to serve us adverts based on the demographic profile we give them. But Steve Brown, Intel’s futurist, says it’s “the individual [who] should benefit – it’s your data”.

24 June 2013

Advice from a former Apple director who coined the term ‘user experience’

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Having worked on Apple’s User Interface Technologies and introducing the term “user experience” to company execs in the early 90s, Mitch Stein knows a thing or two about how humans interact with computers.

“The term ‘user experience’ is more than just aesthetics to me,” Stein said. “We have relationships with our technology. User experience is not just eye candy — it promotes a positive relationship between humans and technology.”

Stein spoke earlier this week at the Hacker News Meetup in Seattle, and provided some tips to GeekWire.

4 June 2013

Without opt in, Google Glass will generate hostility

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Google and friends should not be trying to make these things acceptable in polite society,” writes Roger Kay in Forbes. “If they persist, they can expect a wave of hostility the likes of which they have perhaps only begun to imagine.”

“People can’t opt in to public surveillance, and we live in a more dangerous world now, where surveillance mostly works in our favor. But even in public places, Google Glass wearers with the ability to do tactical research on others, using facial recognition technology, Google Search, social media, and other tools, will create a creepoid ethos and generate a tremendous amount of hostility.

Silicon Valley may not see things this way, but the Valley is a bubble all to itself. In the wider world, people want the right to opt in to something as invasive as surveillance by Glass.”

4 June 2013

The case for preserving the pleasure of deep reading

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The deep reading of books and the information-driven reading we do on the web are very different, both in the experience they produce and in the capacities they develop, writes Annie Murphy Paul on MindShift. Recent research has demonstrated that deep reading—slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity—is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words.

“Recent research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that deep reading—slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity—is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words. Although deep reading does not, strictly speaking, require a conventional book, the built-in limits of the printed page are uniquely conducive to the deep reading experience. A book’s lack of hyperlinks, for example, frees the reader from making decisions—Should I click on this link or not?—allowing her to remain fully immersed in the narrative.

That immersion is supported by the way the brain handles language rich in detail, allusion and metaphor: by creating a mental representation that draws on the same brain regions that would be active if the scene were unfolding in real life. The emotional situations and moral dilemmas that are the stuff of literature are also vigorous exercise for the brain, propelling us inside the heads of fictional characters and even, studies suggest, increasing our real-life capacity for empathy.”

4 June 2013

Book: Rewire – Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

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Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection
by Ethan Zuckerman
W. W. Norton & Company, June 2013
288 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

We live in an age of connection, one that is accelerated by the Internet. This increasingly ubiquitous, immensely powerful technology often leads us to assume that as the number of people online grows, it inevitably leads to a smaller, more cosmopolitan world. We’ll understand more, we think. We’ll know more. We’ll engage more and share more with people from other cultures. In reality, it is easier to ship bottles of water from Fiji to Atlanta than it is to get news from Tokyo to New York.
In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider technology’s role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world.

For those who seek a wider picture — a picture now critical for survival in an age of global economic crises and pandemics — Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, in truly connecting people across cultures. From voracious xenophiles eager to explore other countries to bridge figures who are able to connect one culture to another, people are at the center of his vision for a true kind of cosmopolitanism. And it is people who will shape a new approach to existing technologies, and perhaps invent some new ones, that embrace translation, cross-cultural inspiration, and the search for new, serendipitous experiences.

Rich with Zuckerman’s personal experience and wisdom, Rewire offers a map of the social, technical, and policy innovations needed to more tightly connect the world.

Review by Astra Taylor

“Zuckerman comes across as a kind and generous person who wants to make space for everyone, including, it seems, the global financial elite. While I respect his openness, I’m less forgiving. If cosmopolitanism is to be a force for desirable change in this world, it has to have a purpose more profound than the vision Zuckerman describes in his final chapter. The ease of digital connection may not bring about world peace, but that doesn’t mean we have to disavow all idealism and big dreams. If we’re going to rewire, let’s try to go further.”

3 June 2013

Crafting UX – designing the user experience beyond the interface

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In large technologically-driven organizations with a broad and complex product range, establishing a user-centric approach to product design can be very challenging. The shift towards designing products and services for compelling experiences for users requires (among other things) changes in planning, resources and processes.

This article – by Didier Chincholle, Sylvie Lachize, Marcus Nyberg, Cecilia Eriksson, Claes Bäckström and Fredrik Magnusson and just published in the Ericsson Review – presents how the recognition of UX as an important part of Ericsson’s business and strategy has manifested itself in a (evolving) framework including roles, responsibilities and guidelines to better understand and meet users’ needs.

1 June 2013

Papers about sense-making and ethnotelling

 

From the Journal of Information Architecture:

Sense-making in Cross-channel Design
Jon Fisher (Nomensa), Simon Norris (Nomensa), and Elizabeth Buie (Luminanze Consulting)
Successful cross-channel user experiences rely upon a strong informational layer that creates understanding amongst users of a service. This pervasive information layer helps users form conceptual models about how the overall experience works (irrespective of the channel in which they reside). This paper explores the early development of a practical framework for the creation of meaningful cross-channel information architectures or “architectures of meaning“. We explore the strategic roles that individual channels can play as well as the different factors that can degrade a user‘s understanding within a cross-channel user experience.

Ethnotelling for User-generated Experiences
Raffaele Boiano, Fondazione Enasarco
This paper focuses on storytelling as a research tool for the social sciences, especially for cultural anthropology. After a short review of the main methodological tools traditionally used in ethnography, with particular regard to observation and interview, we focus on collecting and crafting stories (ethnotelling) as suitable tools for conveying the relational nature of fieldwork. Drawing on the works of Orr, Chipchase, Marradi and Adwan/Bar-on, we show how stories — collected, mediated or made up — are valuable tools for representing experiences and identities. As a result, we suggest a different approach to user-experience design, based on the creation of “thick” environments enabling a whole range of possibilities, where users can imagine or live their own user-generated experiences.

31 May 2013

The art of staying focused in a distracting world

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James Fallows of The Atlantic interviewed tech-industry veteran Linda Stone, coiner of the term “continuous partial attention,” on how to maintain sanity and focus in an insane, unfocused, always-on, hyperconnected world.

“We all have a capacity for relaxed presence, empathy, and luck. We stress about being distracted, needing to focus, and needing to disconnect. What if, instead, we cultivated our capacity for relaxed presence and actually, really connected, to each moment and to each other?”

27 May 2013

A selection from academia.edu

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Academia.edu, the platform for academics to share research papers, contains quite a few documents from fields such as design research, experience design and interaction design.

Below a selection of the last few months, sorted by upload date (most recently uploaded papers come first):

Designer Storytelling
David Parkinson and Erik Bohemia, Northumbria University
This paper aims to explore the approaches that designers take when storytelling. Design artefacts, such as sketches, models, storyboards and multimedia presentations, are often described in terms of stories.

Innovation in the Wild: Ethnography, Rurality and Communities of Participation
Alan Chamberlain and Andy Crabtree, University of Nottingham, UK
This paper presents a series of insights, discussions and methodologies relating to our experiences gained while carrying out research ‘in the wild’ in order to drive IT-based innovation within a rural context.

Ethnographic approach to design knowledge: Dialogue and participation as discovery tools within complex knowledge contexts
Francesca Valsecchi, Paolo Ciuccarelli, INDACO Department, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
This paper explores two main concepts: a) the ethnography as a thick andqualitative observation method, which refers to an active interpretation of the traditional ethnography by the communication design research mindset; b) the definition of design knowledge space, as extended boundaries for the physical place of design activities.

Interaction design and service design: Expanding a comparison of design disciplines
Stefan Holmlid, Human-Centered Systems, Linköpings Universitet, Sweden
In this paper we seek to identify common ground and differentiation in order to create supportive structures between interaction design and service design.

Prototyping and enacting services: Lessons learned from human-centered methods
Stefan Holmlid, Linköpings universitet, Sweden, and Shelley Evenson, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
In service development, finding new ways to prototype the service experience could potentially contribute to higher quality services, more well-directed service engineering processes, and more. In this paper, we draw on experience from the field of interaction design, which has a rich tradition of practice with the methods over the last two decades.

Connected Communities Of Makers
Marzia Mortati and Beatrice Villari, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
The paper analyses the idea of crowd to understand how design is being influenced by the practices of mass participation both in the idea generation and innovation processes. Focusing on crowdfunding as a specific kind of crowdsourcing, we have analysed the case of Kickstarter using the filter of Communities of Practice. Two main reflections have emerged: the idea of a Temporary Community of Makers (TCoM), and connectivity as one of the elements to be designed in such environments.

Ethnographic Stories for Market Learning
Julien Cayla and Eric Arnould, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Drawing from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, the authors describe how ethnographic stories give corporate executives a unique means of understanding market realities. B