Highlighting a great user experience for a change

I want to take a moment on this first day of the New Year and publicly recognise a great user experience for a change because we, in general, don't do that enough.

It isn’t that good designs are or should be invisible, as Dan Saffer recently broke down that myth.

More simply, I think it's easier to identify the discrete experiences that annoy us because there's something tangible we can point to and go, "See here? This irritates me! Let's not do this." Inversely, a design that allows us to successfully accomplish our goals without too much friction isn't as easy to explain how we feel with a single screenshot like, "Wow. Everything about this task flow was fantastic. We should try to follow this in our own designs.”

For me today, it all started with buying movie tickets…

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To "Cancel" in the parlance of our times

How awkward would face-to-face interactions be if you could no longer answer questions with a simple "Yes" or "No", but instead had to speak using the same button terminology commonly seen on your phone or computer?

”Are you ready to pay for these clothes?” CANCEL!

Imagine the weird looks you're going to get as they slowly back away from you...

Yet, if a pop-up window appeared on your screen right now with any of those words on a button or two, you probably wouldn't bat an eye. After all, you've seen these labels being used to describe actions day-in and day-out…

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Is there no room for art in UX and Interaction Design?

What is "art" to you?

I asked this question to a few people today after seeing Mr. Alan Cooper's brief thoughts on art's role in design, or the lack thereof. The answers I received aligned with his definition of art being personal expression. 

But what of art's relation to design? Is there a place for art in terms of software, web, or end-to-end experience design or, as Mr. Cooper states, does this idea essentially differ and distract from the true needs of design work?

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10 quick and dirty steps for understanding the progression of user research before design

Today I chimed in on a UX introductory group's discussion on Facebook regarding where to start for personas and where to go from there. I was first trying to provide advice on how to help pull out a research participant's current journey as a method to see what their goals are, their problems, their motivations, their behaviours, etc. However, someone asked me if I use a different process than getting a persona written and going off into design. 

The following was my in-haste attempt to reply and explain how there is so, so much more that should be done before actually trying to design anything on paper, least of all digitally.

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Where I fall on the user research vs. UI design line

I just finished listening to the March 31 podcast of Human Tech with their guest Nick Fine (@doctorfine) who was brought on to introduce an idea that shouldn't be radical. He reiterated for all of us that a user experience (UX) is a thing that we all have, it's definitely not something you "do", and above all, research is your ultimate key to success.

One of the main misconceptions companies, stakeholders, and even some self-proclaimed "UX Designers" have when they consider "designing a user experience" is that designing a UI based on all of the best principles and practices will give them what they think they need. But as we know and try to teach, no amount of superb UI design will ever be a catch-all replacement for the need to perform in-depth user research to validate the core ideas being investigated and developed.

As with any good educational podcast, it leaves me wondering, "So where am I fitting in? Am I on the path I want to be on for the sake of us all?" ...

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"Please do not leave this page or go back"

UX design leader and instructor, Jared Spool, recently tweeted a common, seemingly-critical warning that we still see too often on eCommerce and bill-payment sites, "Your purchase is in progress. Please do not leave this page or go back." But this got me wondering, what catastrophic effects would there be if we were given these process-interruption warning in other moments of our lives and those systems failed to consider our needs?

"Your elevator is descending. Please do not press another floor button or the elevator cables will snap."  Hmmm...

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#DailyUX Challenge 1 - The Perfect Wallet

Whenever I'm told, "Make this thing", my first reaction is always, "Why?" In this first #DailyUX challenge, we were given the task of designing the perfect wallet for a friend. However, in order to satisfy that nagging "Why?" question, I knew that we'd all be better served by understanding my friend's current problems rather than jumping straight into the design phase of a releasable product, so that's what I set out to do...

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