April 11, 2023 Smashing Newsletter: Issue #400
This newsletter issue was sent out to 213,686 subscribers on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
You don’t have to start from scratch every time you need to run a good round of usability testing or present your UX research findings to a larger group. In this newsletter, we’ve put together a few useful starter kits, folder templates, and research templates that you can use to get off the ground faster.
Ah, and if you are looking for more useful UX resources (and love a good little surprise!), we have just put together a little new blog all around UX and design as a companion for Smart Interface Design Patterns, our growing video library and a live UX training. Happy browsing, everyone!
It’s just a few weeks until our good ol’ SmashingConf SF kicks off in late May! With talks and workshops all around front-end, from accessibility to web performance (in-person & remote).
And, of course, you could dive into some of our friendly online workshops, with new workshops with topics ranging from data visualization and accessibility testing to Figma workflow and React performance. Happy learning, everyone!
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. Tools For Better Thinking
Are you solving the right problem? Which option is the best one? What will be the long-term consequences of your design decisions? Thinking tools can help designers find answers to the questions they ask themselves on a day-to-day basis. A wonderful overview of such tools comes from Adam Amran.
Untools is a collection of thinking tools and frameworks to help you solve problems, make decisions, and understand systems. From the Minto Pyramid to the Hard Choice Model, the tools cover systems thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication. A guide helps you choose the right tool for your needs. (cm)
2. Organizing Design Projects
Keeping design documents well-organized and labeled throughout the complete design process saves you time and makes collaboration with team members and clients a lot smoother. Courtney Pester shares a framework for project file management that is perfect for designers working in a Sprint format. Of course, you can customize it to your team’s needs.
Courtney’s framework introduces a hierarchy of seven folders to keep design projects organized from the get-go. Folder 1 is for client resources, folder 2 contains different types of research, folder 3 includes initial concepts and sketches, and folder 4 is for wireframes and prototypes. The fifth folder houses meeting artifacts like presentation decks, meeting notes, and workshop activities. Folder 6 has the final deliverables. UI and development handoffs go into folder 7. Sub-folders add an additional layer of organization. Clever! (cm)
3. Usability Testing Templates
You want to test your design prototype or digital product with users but aren’t sure how? Slava Shestopalov created a set of templates that helps newbies master moderated qualitative testing sessions with ease.
The templates for the Usability Testing Script and the Usability Testing Report are available on Notion in English, Ukrainian, and German. To help you lead a testing session with confidence, the fully-written Testing Script structures in detail what you should say and do during the session — from explaining the session’s goal to letting the interviewee perform tasks. Once you have gathered the data, the Testing Report Template makes it easy to structure your most important findings and create a to-do list to address discovered issues. A precious little helper, particularly for “UX teams of one.” (cm)
4. UX Research Templates
User research helps us better understand the needs of our users and avoid assumptions and biases that could negatively impact design decisions. To give you an overview of different UX research methods and how to implement them into your workflow, Odette Jansen shares a set of 24 useful UX research templates.
The templates can be used for workshops, research plans, methods, and outcomes. From card sorting to competitive analysis and stakeholder walkthrough, each template comes with a description of what it can be used for, tips for preparing the session and who to invite, and room to document your results and takeaways. Before you jump right in, remember to make a copy of the Notion page to not override the original templates. (cm)
5. Upcoming Workshops and Conferences
That’s right! We run online workshops on front-end and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
As always, here’s a quick overview:
- UX/UI Design & Figma Introduction UX
with Christine Vallaure. Apr 20–28
- New Front-End Adventures, 2023 Edition Dev
with Vitaly Friedman. Apr 25 – May 9
- Architecting Design Systems Workflow
with Nathan Curtis. May 11–19
- Data Visualization Masterclass Dev
with Amelia Wattenberger. May 4–18
- SmashingConf SF — May 23–26
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzović. June 12–26
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
9h-video + Live UX Training with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
6. Maze Question Bank
Do you have any other thoughts or feedback on the feature? What is the hardest part about using it? What could be improved? Asking the right questions at the right time is key to getting effective user research results. If you are preparing for a user research session, the Maze Question Bank helps you get the most out of it.
The Question Bank is an open-source Notion database with almost 400 ready-to-use questions for rapid research and testing. It’s browsable by tags and scenarios, and, of course, you can replicate the template and add it to your Notion space to modify it. By the way, the Maze team also compiled a handy checklist with tips for asking great questions. (cm)
7. Tips For Writing UX Research Reports
You’ve recruited participants, conducted user interviews, and analyzed lots of data. Now, how to present your findings to stakeholders, clients, and designers in a way that your research makes a real impact? The folks at Talebook published a helpful guide to writing UX research reports.
The guide takes you step-by-step through the process of structuring your report and making the presentation more engaging. You’ll learn how to organize your data, how to build a narrative around your findings, and how to include recommendations for the key insights you define. Valuable tips for turning raw data into actionable insights. (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).
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- Design Systems
- Web Typography
- State Of The Web 2023
- UX and Interface Design
- Front-End Tooling
- CSS in 2023
- Useful Figma Plugins and Tools
- Web Performance
- Useful UX Templates
- Web Accessibility
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