Applying User Testing to Make UX Decisions in Real Time

On a recent project, we (the project team) were having difficulty deciding on a particular method of navigation for our new app. It was for an app that would replace one currently being used by millions of customers of a large Telecom company, and there was a wide variance of opinion on which method of navigation was best. And the stakes for decision were high: the app had been through numerous redesigns and had never really lived up to user expectations, largely due to confusing navigation. So how could we decide which method of navigation would be most understandable and…

Be The Interface

An experience, in the context of digital business, can be defined as the totality of visual, intellectual or other inputs that a user encounters through a digital platform or device, in relation to a product or service. Experience design, therefore, is the effort to create the optimal series of inputs and resulting user actions that achieve the desired result – an excellent user experience. In the best examples, this design effort encompasses both business and user goals in optimal balance. A good digital experience should be good business, as well.

Make Good Worlds

Just a quick thought here: remember that what we do is to create new spaces for people to explore, new digital worlds for people to exist in. Remember that these are imaginary spaces that we can shape in any way we choose, but that the decisions we make in this regard are not as casual as we may often think. Consider: if you design a form that requires a person to enter the sum total of their experience and human existence into three lines (“Name, Age, Gender”), what are you saying about humanity?┬áBy asking a person to reduce themselves to…

Lean UX – Why and How

“Phase 2 is the biggest lie in software development.” That’s opening line of Josh Seiden’s 2013 book Lean UX. And if you’ve spent more than ten minutes in the web and software business, you know the truth of that statement. So often, UX designers work hard to create a fully functional, achingly cool interaction design only to have the developer, or worse, the client come along and tell you that they aren’t going to build it or pay for it in “phase 1”. The thought is that we will come back and polish things up in phase 2, but phase…

iBooks and The Best User Interface Ever

I gave long maintained (with more than a slight hint of irony) that “The Best User Interface Ever Invented” is the book. That’s right, just the humble book. To be clear, I am not referring to The Book (or any Book that might be considered of religious significance). I just mean a plain old paperback novel, or a coffee table showpiece, or anything in between, regardless of content. I know – it’s not even on a computer, how can it be in the running for “The Best Interface Ever”. Simple – it’s tried and true, and it works so well…

Five Facets: A Proposed Methodology for Competitive Analysis

I was recently asked what five points (or facets) of comparable web sites I would use to create a competitive analysis as part of an IA project. To my horror, I wasn’t able to give a very satisfactory answer at the time, since I have never thought about competitive analysis in this way. I have completed dozens of these types of comparisons as part of the discovery phase of client IA projects, but never really took the time to step back and think about how I was doing it. So, after some thought, here is what I propose as a…

What IS an Information Architect, anyway?

Everyone’s been at a party (or the dentist, or the in-laws) and been asked “What do you do?”. Most people have a nice clean answer: accountant, fireman, lawyer, etc. If you answer that immortal question with “Information Architect” you can expect a quizzical expression rapidly followed by a polite smile. “Ohhhh,” they say, pausing for a moment. “So what IS that?”.