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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'User experience'

24 July 2013

User-centred design on Gov.uk

govuk

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

samyen

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

frog-family

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

rewire

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

ericssonreview

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

academia

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

20 May 2013

Ericsson studies on people’s behaviors and values

ericsson

Ericsson’s ConsumerLab studies people’s behaviors and values, including the way they act and think about ICT products and services. Here are some of their recent publications:

How young professionals see the perfect company
April 2013
A new study from Ericsson ConsumerLab called “Young professionals at work” looks at the latest generation to enter the workforce: the Millennials.

Mixing schoolwork and leisure
March 2013
According to a ConsumerLab study, almost half of Estonian pupils use school computers for leisure activities. Many pupils also bring their own mobile phones and tablets to school to use for study purposes. This bring-your-own-device behavior blurs the boundary between leisure and school work.
> Video

Consumers’ TV and video behaviors (video)
March 2013
Niklas Heyman Rönnblom, Senior Advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, shares insights about consumer’s TV and video behaviors and priorities. The consumer insights highlighted in the video include the importance of HD quality, super simplicity and allowing consumers to personalize their own TV-packages.

Keys for success in the Personal information Economy
February 2013
A new report from Ericsson ConsumerLab shows that consumer awareness of how their information is being shared is still low and anonymous big data is rarely perceived as a big issue.

Network quality and smartphone usage experience
January 2013
New findings from Ericsson ConsumerLab have underlined the crucial role of good connectivity and network quality in smartphone user experience and operator loyalty.

On the same level as the ConsumerLab, sits Ericsson’s Networked Society Lab, which researches ICT-driven transformation in society, industry and service provider business.

They recently published a report on the future of learning:

As technology continues to transform our society, those responsible for our current systems of learning and education are facing overwhelming pressure to adapt.

Education technology, connected learning and the rise of the Networked Society are transforming the established concept of learning, teachers’ roles and even the nature of knowledge itself.

In an associated video (YouTube | Vimeo), Ericsson asked experts and educators to explain how learning and education are shifting away from a model based on memorization and repetition toward one that focuses on individual needs and self-expression. Obviously based on very friendly Silicon Valley-inspired technology that supports it all.

18 May 2013

Industrial designers in the 21st Century: masters of the experience

Angry-Siri

Fernd Van Engelen of Artefact writes about how adding hardware design to a UX practice can create opportunities for a more holistic user experience.

“We shared the belief that we could no longer separate what a product looks like physically from the way it behaves and how we interact with it. Where traditionally UI had been confined to a small portion of the real estate on a smart, beautiful object, increasingly the UI was becoming the hero experience of the product while the hardware simply provided a stage for that magic. Neither extreme felt right us and we set out to forge a much more integrated approach.

This approach has proven very successful, as clients have embraced the integrated design thinking we deliver. But as technology and our way we interact with it evolves, we are starting to see some shifts that demand a new set of skills on the part of the designers”

16 May 2013

SAP’s UX strategy

sap_ux_strategy

SAP customers are increasingly telling the company that user experience (UX) is the differentiator, not features and functions, starts the introduction to SAP’s new UX strategy.

“With [its] large product portfolio, any SAP UX strategy cannot be a “boil the ocean” approach; it has to target the areas that will have the biggest impact. So, instead of closing themselves off in a meeting room with like-minded colleagues, SAP user experience and product leads invited customers to tackle the challenge together as one team.

Driven by SAP’s Sam Yen, Andreas Hauser, Gerrit Kotze, Nis Boy Naeve, Jörg Rosbach, and Volker Zimmermann, these were not high-level-sit-around-a-long-table-sipping-mineral-water meetings. Instead, all participants rolled up their shirtsleeves, got out markers and post-its, brainstormed, exchanged, debated, and analyzed. The workshops and iterations started in the spring of 2012 and concluded several months ago in Walldorf.”

Based on [this] feedback from customers and trends in the IT industry, SAP defined a clear user experience strategy that incorporates [their] aspiration, vision, and mission for user experience.

“Reflecting IT trends and user expectations, we have distilled our strategy into the following design directions:
• Solve the right problem the right way
• Design for the mobile mind-set
• Give the user one entry point
• Provide coherence for common activities
• Know and show the user context
• Provide brand coherence
• Integrate data meaningfully
• Enable adaptation and personalization
• Deploy to users in one day

By 2015, SAP will make superior user experience and design an integral part of the SAP brand experience – just as the SAP HANA® platform has reconfirmed SAP’s reputation for innovation.

A key consideration in improving the user experience of SAP applications was how to include existing applications, which already
deliver consumer-grade experience, while embracing such new technologies as mobile and cloud. SAP decided to focus on three areas for applications:

  • Provide consumer-grade UX for new applications
  • Renew existing applications by improving the UX of software supporting the most commonly-used business scenarios
  • Enable customers to improve the UX of the SAP software they use to perform their own mission-critical business scenarios

Over time, the percentage of new and renewed applications representing SAP software will increase to significantly augment the overall usability of SAP business solutions.”

Also check out SAP Fiori, a collection of apps with a simple and easy to use experience for broadly and frequently used SAP software functions that work seamlessly across devices – desktop, tablet, or smartphone, and according to SAP “a major step forward in executing on the “renew” pillar of the strategy.”

11 May 2013

Mozilla’s new UX Quarterly

mozillauxquarterly

Mozilla’s user experience research and design team has just published the first Mozilla UX Quarterly.

Crystal Beasley, Editor and Product Design Strategist, writes:

“My hope is that this will be a tool to spread throughout the community of Mozillians the empathy for our users we’ve gained through our research studies and interviews.

All of this is to serve the broader goal of more deeply integrating design into the weft and weave of all that Mozilla does. Design gives us great tools to deal with uncertainty, enabling a culture with richer innovation. It also provides methods for breaking our own known and unknow- able biases so that we might more clearly see and appreciate the people who use the products we build.”

Here is the table of contents of the 16 page launch edition:
– Four things you need to know about mobile usage in Brazil (Cori Schauer)
– Introducing Feura Sans, a more legible font for mobile (Patryk Adamczyk)
– Firefox Design Values (Madhava Enros)
– A New Face for Firefox (Stephen Horlander)
– Project Meta: desktop Firefox user typologies (Bill Selman)
– Firefox Sentiment Report v19 (Matthew Grimes)
– Micropilot Measures What Users Actually Do (Gregg Lind)
– Designing Meaningful Security and Privacy Experiences (Larissa Co)
– Exploring the Emotions of Security, Privacy and Identity (Lindsay Kenzig)
– The Mozilla Manifesto

10 May 2013

UXPA’s latest User Experience Magazine is freely available online

13-1-newsstand

User Experience is the quarterly magazine of the UXPA, the User Experience Professional Association. From now on, each new issue is available online, in a responsive design so that you can read it on the desktop, tablet or handheld device with equal facility.

Although a members-only magazine, UX PA has made the latest issue (13.1 – “UX Careers”) freely available, along with each of the four issues from 2012.

New issues will be “members-only” for an initial period, and then will become open-access as the next issue is published. The archives are being brought into the new format and will also be open-access.

10 May 2013

Libraries: a canvas for creating meaningful UX

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Amanda L. Goodman is the User Experience Librarian at Darien Library in Connecticut. In this article for UX Magazine, she writes about her experience as a librarian in the USA:

“Across the country, libraries are providing services and crafting experiences that make patrons’ visits meaningful and pleasurable. The focus has changed from providing books and reference services to user experience—a change that has been partially facilitated in recent years by the economic downturn.

User experience is an important tool for libraries to employ against a number of competitors like bookstores and at-home Internet access. Libraries have taken this as an opportunity to provide services that are not available elsewhere. The strategy to focus on users and their needs has earned libraries strong support from the public as demonstrated by a recent Pew Internet study: an overwhelming 91% of Americans “say public libraries are important to their communities.”

2 May 2013

Designing for the multi-user: missed by Apple, Google and others

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The iPad is a multi-user device according to industry reports, writes Frank Spillers. But you wouldn’t know it from picking up even the latest generation iPad, especially if you are a physician or business user handling sensitive data. The design approach of designing for lone users misses out on a fundamental nature of mobile devices: they are social. To design for the multi-user is to recognize this need for delivering a rich social user experience.