Quality articles on usability, information architecture, interaction design and other user experience (UX) related topics – for digital (Web, mobile, applications, software) and physical products. Through these articles, experts and professionals share with you their valuable ideas, practical tips, useful guidelines, recommended best practices and great case studies. Curated by Chui Chui Tan. Subscribe to the RSS-Feed.
Facilitation in the broadest sense means helping or enabling people to achieve a positive outcome. It's an important and often under-appreciated skill for designers and other UX professionals to gain. It's especially important as more teams embrace lean UX practices, which shift emphasis away from big deliverables toward facilitating outcomes such as continuous discovery and shared understanding.
Any kind of working session or meeting in which design decisions are being shaped needs a facilitator. The authors of Sprint, the popular book about running five-day design sprints, compare the facilitator's role to Brad Pitt's character in Ocean's Eleven: The facilitator "keeps the heist running." But you don't need to run a week-long workshop to benefit from facilitation skills.
I've been following the idea of algorithm-driven design for several years now and have collected some practical examples. The tools of the approach can help us to construct a UI, prepare assets and content, and personalize the user experience. The information, though, has always been scarce and hasn't been systematic.
However, in 2016, the technological foundations of these tools became easily accessible, and the design community got interested in algorithms, neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI). Now is the time to rethink the modern role of the designer.
Earlier this year, I redesigned my portfolio website. During this process, I decided to add a feature that educated visitors on how to say my name. One day, I opened the "Voice Memos" app on my iPhone, tapped "Record", and asked my wife to say my first name. Then, I embedded a small button onto the landing page after my first name. Clicking on that button would play the audio file of my name.
When designing a landing page to promote a product or service online, you're ultimately pointing users toward one goal. That goal most often relates to generating business via sales or leads. You may want users to purchase a product immediately, or you may simply want them to sign up for a mailing list. Whatever the goal, you want to ensure that every piece of the user experience works toward fulfilling that goal.
If you don't yet have goals in mind, start by defining goals. Are you seeking to generate a 10% increase in qualified leads? Are you looking to build sales by 20%? Establishing clear key performance indicators based on what will benefit your business will ultimately help you understand how to properly approach a landing page.
Human interactions are incredibly fascinating if you take a close look at them — the social awkwardness, the communication styles, the way knowledge is transferred, the way stories are told and trust is built. But what happens when a machine evokes the same response?
Conversational interfaces have become the new hotness in UX design. Google is about to release a new virtual assistant chatbot; Facebook has already launched the updated Messenger platform with chatbots; and Microsoft went as far as to claim that the operating system of the future isn't Windows, but "conversation as a platform."
Around a year ago, while working at a digital agency, I was given the objective of streamlining our UX design process. Twelve months later, this article shares my thoughts and experiences on how lean thinking helped to instill efficiencies within our UX design process.
When I arrived at the agency, wireframes were already being created and utilized across a variety of projects. Winning advocates for the production of wireframes was not the issue. All stakeholders (both internally and externally) understood the purpose of wireframes and appreciated their value in shaping and modeling digital experiences.
Visibility of system status is one of the most important principles in user interface design. Users want to feel in control of the system they’re using, which means they want to know and understand their current context at any given time, and especially when a system is busy doing work. A wait-animation progress indicator is the most common form of providing a system status for users when something is happening or loading.
While an instant response from an app is the best, there are times when your app won’t be able to comply with the guidelines for speed. A slow response could be caused by a bad internet connection, or an operation itself can take a long time (e.g. install an update for OS). For such cases, in order to minimize user tension, you must reassure users that the app is working on their request and that actual progress is being made. Thus, you should provide feedback to the user about what is happening with the app within a reasonable amount of time.
Chatbot fever has infected Silicon Valley. The leaders of virtually every tech giant — including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple — proclaim chatbots as the new websites, and messaging platforms as the new browsers.
"You should message a business just the way you would message a friend," declared Mark Zuckerberg when he launched the Facebook Messenger Platform for bots. He and the rest of the tech world are convinced that conversation is the future of business.
When I was a developer, I often had a hundred questions when building websites from wireframes that I had received. Some of those questions were, "How will this design scale when I shrink the browser window?" and, "What happens when this shape is filled out incorrectly?" and even, "What are the options in this sorting filter, and what do they do?"
These types of questions led me to miss numerous deadlines, and I wasted time and energy in back-and-forth communication. Sadly, this situation could have been avoided if the wireframes had provided enough detail.