April 24, 2017 Edition

Books That Have Influenced Our UX Careers, Part 3: Books on Topics Other Than UX

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
April 24, 2017

In Part 3 of our special Ask UXmatters series about books that have influenced our UX careers, we consider books that, while not about User Experience, have greatly influenced members of our expert panel. For our discussion of influential design books, see Part 1. We covered books on UX research and usability testing in Part 2. You may also find the references in the Ask UXmatters column “Inspiration for UX Design from the Arts and Sciences” of interest.

AnnouncementUXmatters is now an Amazon Associate, so you can support UXmatters by initiating a shopping trip on Amazon by clicking a book link in this column, then buying the book or any other products on Amazon. Thus, by making purchases on Amazon, you can—at no additional cost to you—help UXmatters cover its operating expenses, fund our ongoing Web-development efforts, and defray the recent $90,000.00 cost of completely rebuilding our site to implement our responsive design. Please show us that you value UXmatters and want us to continue delivering high-quality, free content to you every month. Thank you! UXmatters plans to launch a new Books section on our Web site, recommending additional helpful books to our readers on User Experience and other topics of interest to UX professionals. Read More

Sponsor Advertisement
Continue Reading…

Increasing Your Research Velocity with Visual Data Collection

April 24, 2017

Have you ever found yourself collecting much more data than you need during a usability study? I think we are all likely familiar with the concept of scope creep as it applies to building products. Research scope creep occurs when you collect too much data during usability testing.

The Scope/Time Tradeoff

One of the biggest challenges I have encountered in my nine years as a UX researcher, conducting usability tests on prototypes, is handling the tradeoff between

  • scope—Trying to figure out the breadth of the data you’ll focus on collecting is challenging.
  • time—Collecting and analyzing large volumes of data from research sessions can be time consuming. Read More

Riding the UX Horse to Create Empowered, Successful, Loyal Users

Dramatic Impact

Theater and the creative process of design

A column by Traci Lepore
April 24, 2017

In an ever-changing field such as User Experience, it is sometimes good to step back from the whirlwind for a moment and get back to the basics. This is especially true today, when design trends are leaning more and more toward service design rather than product design. Often, users no longer want just a product. They want an entire ecosystem that supports and enhances their experience. Thus, they’ve raised the bar. Today, for companies to achieve their business goals, we need to meet users’ high expectations, which are higher than ever before. We need to deliver an ideal user experience.

In this column, I’ll discuss how User Experience and Product Management (PM) can work together to deliver ideal experiences and create empowered, successful, loyal users. Read More

UX Strategy and Planning: An Interview with Peter Morville

April 24, 2017

Peter Morville, shown in Figure 1, is one of the founding fathers of information architecture. But, lately, he has been writing and teaching workshops on the topic of UX strategy and planning. He took some time to talk with me about his recent work, as well as his upcoming workshop, “Planning for Strategic Design,” which will take place May 24–25, 2017, as part of XD Silicon Valley, UX STRAT’s new training event for experienced UX professionals.

During this interview, we touched a bit on Peter’s history, then discussed the evolution of information architecture, how the ascendancy of user experience has impacted information architecture, Peter’s shift toward planning for strategic design, and the impact of current technology trends—the Internet of Things, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence—on the future of information architecture. I hope you enjoy this chat with Peter as much as I did. Read More

Review: UX and Digital Design Week 2016

April 24, 2017

Future London Academy’s UX and Digital Design Week took place on August, 15–19, 2016, in London. Throughout the week, we visited a variety of design studios and companies and learned a lot about the way they work, including their projects, products, processes, management, and culture—and all the things that shape it. This August, FLA elevated the course program to a whole new level, with a truly stellar lineup, including ustwo, Unit9, DesignStudio, Facebook, Fjord, Foolproof, cxpartners, AKQA, Skyscanner, Telegraph Media Group, Barclays, and Badoo.

In this review, I’ll provide an overview of the course, describing its

  • organization
  • venue
  • hospitality
  • content
  • presenters
  • proceedings
  • community Read More

April 10, 2017 Edition

Collaboration Versus Compromise

Leadership Matters

Leading User Experience teams

A column by Jim Nieters
April 10, 2017

Recently, I met with another UX leader who asked me what my priorities are as a UX leader. I answered that I’ve reached a point in my career where I choose to work only with companies that are committed to doing what it takes to produce great experiences and disrupt their market. I’m no longer willing to create mediocre experiences—because, as Jim Collins points out in his book Good to Great, “Good is the enemy of great.” For me, the key question is: how do we create experiences that inspire users and disrupt markets?

Sadly, that design leader was so afraid of alienating Product Management within her company that she took my comment to mean that I do not understand the importance of compromise. But I actually recognized something very different—and somewhat insidious—in her assumption: She did not understand that, in the best companies, Product Management, User Experience, and Engineering work collaboratively, from the inception of every project, to define an ideal experience outcome. Each discipline knows that they need one another’s perspectives, and they integrate each other’s insights into their own thinking. Such early collaboration precludes the need for the kind of compromise this UX leader was concerned about. Her comment suggested a much more troubling assumption that represents a deeper challenge: that UX professionals must compromise to keep their jobs, because it is Product Management that defines features and even experiences, and User Experience must not rock the boat. Read More

When the Experience Is the Business Strategy, Everyone Wins

Selling UX

A unique perspective on service UX

A column by Baruch Sachs
April 10, 2017

There are few hard and fast rules in consulting. Variances in our customers, projects, engagement models, and other factors all contribute to there being a significant amount of breadth and depth in what we do. This, in turn, requires us to be flexible in our methods and the deliverables we produce. But one hard and fast rule that does exist—at least in my world of consulting—is this: It does not matter if you are right. It matters that you are helpful.

As a consultant, when you ensure that everything your do for and with your clients aids them in achieving their business strategy, you also enable their providing a world-class user experience and, thus, ensure your own success. Luckily for all UX professionals and our profession, more organizations than ever are rapidly embracing the concept that the experience is the business strategy. This change is occurring because these companies are recognizing that they need to flawlessly conceive and execute their product and service experiences to solidify their place in the marketplace—whether to sustain a leadership position or move into a leadership spot. Read More

Applied UX Strategy, Part 5.1: Outcome-Driven Design

April 10, 2017

In the first part of my series on applied UX strategy, I outlined a UX maturity framework. Parts 2–4 of this series provided in-depth coverage of some operational and tactical aspects of implementing UX strategy, including requirements for product designers, employing platform thinking to ship quality products, setting up a design team, and creating a design culture. Now, in Part 5.1, I’ll begin my discussion of how to solve business problems through design.

In Part 5.1, I’ll discuss the use of a shared language between business and design, then solving business problems through design. Finally, I’ll consider the transformation of the product designer’s role in depth, which progresses through three stages:

  1. Helping product teams identify and solve user problems, which I’ll cover in Part 5.1
  2. Evaluating maximal outcomes for problem solutions, which I’ll cover in Part 5.2
  3. Moving from problem solving to innovation, which I’ll also cover in Part 5.2 Read More

Book Review: User Story Mapping

April 10, 2017

User Story Mapping CoverAuthor: Jeff Patton, with Peter Economy

Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Publication date: September 2014

Formats: Paperback, ebook, and Safari Books Online. 324 pages in print.

Print ISBN: 978-1-4919-0490-9 and 10:1-4919-0490-9

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4919-0485-5 and 10:1-4919-0485-2

List Price: Paperback, $34.99; ebook, $29.99


If you are or soon will be working in an agile development environment, User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product, by Jeff Patton is a must read for you. This book details story-mapping techniques and explains why they are important for teams that create products to meet user needs. According to Patton, user story mapping is not about creating set of written requirements, but a way of thinking. Telling stories through words and pictures builds understanding and helps solve problems for organizations, customers, and users.

The most important job we have is to focus on the outcome and the impact of the products we are creating. Taking a slightly philosophical view of the importance of project outcomes, Patton writes, “The truth is, your job is to change the world.” Read More

Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population

April 10, 2017

This is an excerpt of a sample chapter from Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn’s new book Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population. 2017 Morgan Kaufmann.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population CoverTechnology is making the world ever smaller: communications are more frequent, transactions are more instantaneous, and reporting is more direct and unfiltered. If you aren’t connected, you can be at a real disadvantage. Another disadvantage is being unable to easily and effectively use digital devices and online resources. As designers, developers, and advocates of digital technology, we should be doing our best to make it useful and usable for everyone, so no one will be at a disadvantage.

We know the benefits of staying mentally, socially, and physically active as we age. Digital technology can help with that. So it seems paradoxical that older adults can be particularly susceptible to the ill effects of poorly designed digital devices and user interfaces. Read More