For those wishing to learn more about UX, I've gathered some resources and listed them on this web page. You'll find information on many UX disciplines including; IxD, Design, Psychology, IA, Social, Branding, and Development. I hope you find you this page useful!
Listen, Filter, Synthesize
Great user experiences are seldom realized by just asking user what they want and building it for them. More often, the best user experiences are derived from a profound understanding of a fundamental desire. One of the best ways to better understand these desires is by asking your audience lots of questions and then to analyze their responses.
When talking with your audience, it is much more valuable to focus the conversation around the challenges of the what and whys, and less about hows. Understanding their needs takes active listening and the ability to read between the lines.
Once the feedback has been collected, it needs to be broken down into logical groupings of detail and filtered through current customer needs, business objectives, and feasibility checks. What should be left standing are the synthesized building blocks for awesomeness.
A New Prototyping Tool
If interactive prototypes such as Keynote prototypes are part of your workflow, you may be interested in the newly released prototyping software called "Antetype" by Ergosign. I recently spent some time exploring the trial version and I found it had some decent features. It has a nice project based set of IxD design tools with shared widget libraries. It also has a nice presentation mode feature that allows the you to add interactions to a layout and export them off to a interactive web prototype. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it'a worth a look.
Thank you Steve
I knew this day would come, but I was not prepared for how bad it would feel.
The way I see it, Steve Jobs has been the single most influential force on my generation of designers. From co-inventing the mac platform, to reinventing apple computer. Steve not only enabled the design industry with new ways to create, but he inspired us by periodically reinventing the standards for great product design and user experience.
Steve transformed the design dialog from "form follows function" to "form is function." Throughout his career, Steve showed us the magic that can be achieved when a brand built around elegant simplicity and consistency, is then applied to something very useful and traditionally complex.
As he steps down as CEO he will be missed, but his legacy will live on through all those designers that he enabled and inspired.
When social features meet business apps, give users options to express themselves.
During a recent UX design project for a business related content sharing site, I was able to apply several lessons I learned from working at other social sites. One easily implemented enhancement was the addition of a whimsical set of avatars icons. This might seem to be a subtle and unnecessary addition, but it gave the users the opportunity to infuse a little of their own personality. This sort of controlled self-expression can act as a subtle icebreaker helping the users see them selves in the application. Once a user see them self as a meaningful part of an application, it becomes a great way to start building connections between that user and the brand.
To succeed, small details such as these need to be enabled and connected by other social features such as: sharing, commenting, liking. Including small embellishments can take your business app from a cold task-oriented user experience to an engaging and brand building user experience.
Way to go Apple
For some Apple fanboys, this week seemed like a let down. No new magical shiny devices announced at the Apple Developers Keynote. But, in my view this has been a game changing couple of days that will ripple across the industry for years. At the end of the day it all came down to improving the user experience.
So what exactly happened:
- Apple announced iCloud and the end of the PC era
For the user this means that there content will be more readily available, DRM free, and potentially higher quality. You will be able to download content on any of your Apple devices and access that from any other of your Apple devices. They also removed the requirement for connecting your device to a computer to initialize and sync. That's a huge win for the UX and a very gutsy business decision. Kudos Apple.
- Announced iMessages.
This seems like a small thing that might even go unnoticed by many, but this is a shot across the bow at mobile carriers who continue to charge for TXT and MMS message services. In the era YouTube, Neftflix, Hulu and iTunes. it makes no sense to charge extra for these somewhat low-bandwidth services especially when customers are already paying such high monthly rates.
- Fixed there poor iOS notifications UX and added some Twitter integration
Better notifications were long over due but great news just the same. And a great symbiotic partnership with Twitter to enable photo uploads right from an iOS camera (No Facebook though...maybe it was due to the snub from Facebook on the whole Ping thing.)
- OS X Lion which will open the door for bringing gestures and other content-as-ui experiences to desktop, laptop, and other larger screen devices
What's all the Hype?
User Experience Includes a Broad Set of Disciplines
Every member of a company that influences a product, service, or brand has an effect on the User Experience. User Experience Designers needs to apply a holistic design approach requiring a fluency in many different disciplines.
Information Architecture (IA)
The categorization of information into intuitive, audience centric information models.
The planning process for content creation, content distribution, and the governance over an applications content.
Interaction Design (IxD)
Defines how people interact with an application by offering both channels of stimulus and response.
Applying a broad set of web-based computer science principals, technologies, and standards to create the desired interactive product or service.
Designing the visual presentation of an application or service.
Creating, developing, or reenforcing the perceived identity of a business, product, or service through every channel of public contact.
Social Web & Physiology
In the era of the social web, their are a several fundamental physiological principles
The mesurable assesment of how easy a product is to use based on five main principles: efficient, effective, engaging, error tolerant, easy to learn