We’ve heard it before: what users say about their digital experience with product and what they actually do with it are oftentimes very different things. That’s why the behavioral science and UX research are so critical: they uncover behavior patterns and pain points that the interface has to resolve.
In this newsletter, we look into them: the psychology of user behavior and a few resources for better UX research, product design methods, user interviews and a friendly design system ROI calculator.
If you’d love to dive deeper, we’ll be running online workshops with Brad Frost on Successful Design Systems and Designing for Complex UIs with yours truly early next year, with deep-dives into usability and design processes.
Also, don’t forget about the Smashing Hour with Dan Mall will be taking place this Wednesday, on Dec. 14 at 8–9 am PT (check your timezone) with everything on design systems. We hope you’ll join us there!
For now though, wishing you a calm and peaceful week ahead of upcoming holidays. And hopefully you’ll find time for yourself before the busyness begins!
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. Behavioral Science Nuggets
Scarcity, social proof, prospect theory. The Coglode Cookbook distills behavioral science theories like these down into small, practical nuggets that you can apply to your work right away.
For each nugget, you’ll find a concise explanation, insights into the study behind it, a summary of key takeaways, and connected theories. Twelve foundational nuggets are free to access for everyone. If you want to dive deeper, paid plans are available that let you explore more theories, cheatsheets, and case studies.
A fantastic compendium that gives you a robust foundation in behavioral science and encourages you to play and explore. (cm)
2. UX Research Library
Have you heard of Research Bookmark yet? Whenever you’re looking for anything UX-related, be it reading resources, courses, or tools, chances are high that Research Bookmark can help you find what you need.
Research Bookmark is a search engine for UX research. You want to know how to recruit participants? Or learn more about affinity mapping? Just enter the search term, and the search engine delivers results from across the web. The site also features curated reading lists and quicklink lists with everything from tools and communities to research vocabulary, books, podcasts, and courses. Worth bookmarking. (cm)
3. Service Design Tools
Complex design challenges ask for the right tools. But which tool is the right one for your purpose? Service Design Tools bridges academic research and professional practices to help you find the best resources and materials based on your project’s needs.
Answering four key questions brings you closer to the tools that best fit your design challenge: What stage of the process are you at? Who would you like to engage in the design process? What aspects of the service are you working on? And what types of representation would you like to use?
From card sorting and empathy map to enhanced tools like ecosystem loops and future backcasting, even experienced UX professionals will discover something new in the results. If you are looking for examples of how to use the tools in real-world projects, there is a small but fine selection of case studies that share valuable insights. (cm)
4. Product Design Methods Mind Map
As designers, we practice many methods and skills. But which are useful and which are not? A knowledge map helps you and your team figure out when to use what. It might take some time to create, but once you’ve connected the dots, it can serve as a framework to approach problems more effectively.
A great example of a knowledge map comes from Mei Zhang. Mei created a product design/UX mind map in which she maps methods, skills, and knowledge for the five phases in a design process — from the initial phase of understanding your users to validating the product.
5. Upcoming SmashingConfs And Workshops
Every year we bring bright and kind people who care about the web to share what they’ve learned. For 2023, we can’t wait to welcome you to SmashingConf Freiburg 2023 (Sep 4–6, 2023) with adventures into design systems, accessibility, CSS/JS and interface design patterns. Get your early-bird ticket!
And as always, here’s an overview of our upcoming online workshops:
- Successful Design Systems Workflow
with Brad Frost. Jan 10–24
- Designing For Complex UI Masterclass UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Jan 19 – Feb 2
- New Front-End Adventures, 2023 Edition DEV
with Vitaly Friedman. Feb 8–22
- Universal Principles of Typography Masterclass UX
with Elliot Jay Stocks. Mar 2–16
- Interface Design Patterns UX Training UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Mar 10 – Apr 7
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
9h-video + UX training on interface design with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
6. User Interview Cheatsheet
What to ask in a user interview? And how to ask it? Stéphanie Walter put together a cheatsheet that helps you write interview questions for user research and usability test protocols.
The questions are organized in categories covering everything from open discovery questions to discussing problems and pain points and asking about opinions. Stéphanie also shares tips for following up on something the interview participant mentioned — to dig further into a topic or come back to a specific topic at the end of the interview. What to consider when interviewing neurodivergent users is also covered. (cm)
7. Survey Best Practices
Surveys are a popular method to gather quick data at a fraction of the cost you’d need to run user interviews. However, as Jeff Humble warns, their results can be misleading and lead to costly decisions. In his post “Surveys Are the McDonald’s of UX Methods,” Jeff explains what’s wrong with surveys, how to prevent survey fatigue, and what role different kinds of bias play when creating surveys.
Rachell Lee also shares some valuable tips on how to craft clearer, more intentional, and constructive surveys. Sourced from User Interviews’ internal UX research playbook, she compiled a list of survey writing tips, QA checklist items, tools, comprehension questions, and more best practices to get better insights from your surveys.
Surveys might often be over- and misused, but when done right, they can still be a powerful tool for doing user research at scale. (cm)
8. Design System ROI Calculator
Your boss is hesitant that the work you’ll put into a design system will eventually pay off? The Design System ROI Calculator might be just what you need to convince them that the time and money invested in a design system is a good investment.
The ROI calculator helps you understand and project cost savings when implementing a design system. It calculates total employee savings from implementing a design system, as well as time saving and efficiency gain by component or UI element. To estimate total savings, you can select between different scenarios based on team size and product calculation. (cm)
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
- All Things UX
- Lovely Little Website Gems
- Inclusive Design and Accessibility
- UX Writing and Microcopy
- Inclusive Design
- Figma Tools and Workflow
- UX Workflow
- UX Animation and Motion
Looking for older issues? Drop us an email and we’ll happily share them with you. Would be quite a hassle searching and clicking through them here anyway.