I’ve been reading through some of UX Mastery’s links on their twitter feed @uxmastery. I found this article delightful and present for your reading enjoyment, “10 Lessons The Blues Brothers Can Teach Us About UX” by Matthew Magain.
In particular I found number seven to be applicable to any situation. Be prepared for collateral damage. Not everyone is going to like what you do/design. The question remains, does it work? Can it be improved? Are the complaints reasonable? Don’t be afraid to reassess at any time. Designers aren’t gods, they can make errors in judgement. At the same time, don’t be afraid to stand your ground when it is merited. If it works, it works, regardless of how people feel about it. Like all things though, its all about balance. But remember, sometimes people complain just to complain or just because its something new. This is when you smile, nod your head and say you will take a look at their complaint. Take a look, nod your head if you’re right, shake your head if you’re wrong and fix it and move on. The world is full of opinions and yours, with your experience and skills, is one them.
The UX booth blog published an article recently discussing the Grammar of Interactivity. I highly recommend the read. It’s quick and informative.
In particular, I really liked the distinction they made between when to use “You or Your” versus “My or I” when designing an interaction between user and website. Use “you” or “your” when the website wants the user to do something. For example, “choose your state” or “write your comment here”. Use “My” or “I” when the user is telling the website what to do such as, “Save my work and quit” or “Search for my printer”.
Wilty-Wilt is a delightful phrase for testing what type of button you need and stands for “would you like to?/I would like to”. The acronym for their test (WYLTIWLT) reminds me of the WWJD question and even made me come up with an answer: What would Jesus do? Build a better experience!
It was very convenient of UsabilityGeek to post a blog discussing low cost user experience testing this week! If you haven’t read it, I suggest it. It is short and there are links to free tools for helping you to get real user experience testing. (Maybe kidnappings of participants will go down with an increase of use in these free tools)
Low Cost User Experience Testing
Since we have been exploring the types of tools UX designers use, I found this blog where a UX designer explains the tools she feels every good designer needs. She even explains the levels of tools you need to use and mentions that there is no definitive set of tools you must know, it entirely depends on you and what you need to do. And even with all the tools at our disposal she mentions, “…no software will ever replace the advantages provided by a willingness and ability to sketch.” (Leisa Reichelt)
While I was sorting through my reader I found this blog from the UX booth entitled, ” UX Unicorns and other fanciful creatures”. Naturally, I had to read such an interesting sounding title. It was a thoughtful post about what a user experience designer actually does.
The blog can be found here: UX Unicorns and Other Fanciful Creatures
I particularly liked where the authors points out that a user experience designer cannot design an experience, the best they can do is design for an experience. You cannot force someone to experience something in a particular way. You can try, but people are very different and the line “you can’t please everybody” is pertinent here. You cannot design for everyone, you just have to try and make certain its functional even if they don’t get a thrill from using the product.
He ends up concluding (in his own words, a gross oversimplification), that the following points are what a user experience designer actually needs to do.
- find out about the users (user research),
- make sure your content is relevant to them (Content Strategy),
- make sure they can find it easily (Information Architecture) and
- move around in your application easily (Interaction Design),
- make sure your application is aesthetically pleasing (Visual Design), and then finally
- make sure that it all hasn’t been foiled by something you’ve overlooked – or couldn’t anticipate at any other stage (Usability).
I recommend you read it!
This blog post discusses something called “The Personality Layer”. What essentially is referring to is those neat little quirks that brighten your day or make you smile when you visit a page or use an app. Its designed to help users enjoy using the product more so they come back more often! The blog introduces the concept of emotional design and explains what it is, what its components are, and more importantly, how you can utilize it! There are some great examples of using it too! (I love the sad derrick for groupon example)
The blog is called The Personality Layer and is written by Simon Schmid.
(If you haven’t subscribed to Smashing magazine’s blog, I highly recommend it!)
*edit* Just noticed Dr. V’s post about what to subscribe to. I second it for Smashing Magazine!
While looking for some interesting blog posts I stumbled across this delightful Dr. Seuss style poem. I found it on the following website. Dr. Seuss usability poem
“One link two link, red link blue link,
Oh my gosh here comes a new link.
This click that click, here click there click
Huh? click HELP! click Who knows where click?
New rules new day, how you must play.
Who say? You say! I squeal “Oy-vey!”
Shockwave, Flash until I drop
When all I want to do is shop,
And when I decide this is absurd
I stumble across help written by a nerd.
My brain must not be made like yours;
Perhaps I shop the wrong web stores.
Sorry guys, I did my best
To pass your little website test.
I sought to find a rocking horse
And wound up in an obstacle course.
I’m gibbly-eyed, my brain is fried
And heaven knows how hard I tried
But cannot find the thing I seek.
I could not find it in a week.
All I want to do is buy,
Yet the chaos only makes me cry,
“I do not like this mahoooky stuff
I think I’ve had more than enough.”
I do not like this Internet,
This Internet I do not get.
So to my real-world car I’m bound;
I’ll search on terra-firmer ground”.
(hat tip to The Grok)
I came across this site while we were working on our presentation. Jackie vouched for how awesome the site is (Which it is! Check out the whole site Smashing Magazine ) so I began to peruse the various offerings. The first article that caught my eye was entitled “The Myth of the Sophisticated User“. The article gives a great running explanation of the feelings and challenges of two users, a sophisticated one and a non sophisticated one. It identifies their respective problems and suggests that you must design with both in mind and if you ignore one type of user, your site will not be as successful as it could be.
I will leave you with one line from the article to ponder.
“…no line of instruction will compensate for a bad design.”