Voice: one of the oldest and newest forms of communication.

VoiceUsing our voices to communicate with each other is one of the oldest and most most powerful forms of connection.  While using voice to communicate with machines is not something new, it’s only in recent years that  it has become common place to control a machine by talking to it.  We now regularly use voice to undertake tasks such as perform searches via OK Google, control apps via Alexa or send texts via Siri.

While voice control will not be able to take over every interaction we have with machines,  it does seem its popularity is set to continue as we see companies scramble to capitalise on this new (ish) medium.   And as voice user interfaces (VUIs) replace some of our more typical screen based interfaces,  it raises some interesting considerations for us UX’ers when thinking about designing these new experiences.

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7 (updated) principles for interaction design

picture of ideaAlthough first published almost 20 years ago  Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design are still incredibly useful and relevant in the field of interaction design.  For example, in his principles, he talks about “Consistency and Standards” which is of course, still a core principle of good design and comes up regularly when we are discussing the creation of design guidelines or pattern libraries.

Coming up to almost 10 years working in usability and user experience myself has made me reflect on what I have learned during that time.  And specifically, when thinking about good practice in design, what principles I keep coming back to. Building on Nielsen’s (and others) principles my seven key (updated) principles for interaction are.  Continue reading

Designing for Emotion in User Experience

smiley faceTo be human is to be emotional.  Emotions are an important part of our genetic makeup. They allow us to form social bonds and help us engage with and navigate the world around us.  Engaging with technology is a big part of that world.

As UX’ers we look to remove friction and make products and services easy to use.  But usability alone will not make our customers value or continue to use our products. In order to engage with our users at a deeper level, we need to look to design experiences that connect with them on a more emotional level.   We need to design emotional experiences.  Continue reading

Focus and Healthy Mindsets

Teaching old dogs new tricks 

brain
from Liz Henry Flickr

How did we evolve to be in charge of this planet? By having the largest brain relative to body size of all mammals, that’s how.

The brain is an important organ. Though it takes up only 2% of our body mass, all that thinking, learning and interpreting consumes 20% of our energy.   How we experience the world depends on what is going on inside of our brain.

And what is really interesting is,  no matter what age we are,  we can change the make-up of our brains depending on what we are engaged in –  a process known as neuroplasticity.  This is good news if we are striving to continually learn and improve.  We do, however, need to exercise our brains in order to build this muscle.  Continue reading

Hey, i’m over here! Designing for user focus

image of a target
Image: Flickr and AJC1

In today’s  media-rich society we are constantly exposed to 100’s of things clamouring for attention and demanding our focus.  A study showed that people are bombarded by the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data a day.   These days, we are constantly on the alert, waiting for the next social network update, message or notification.    And it can be mentally exhausting.

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Why I like Meetup

Making it easier for people to connect

meetup-logo-biggerLast year, someone asked me what my favourite app was and I said Meetup.
I wasn’t talking about the aesthetics or features of this product, though I found the App easy enough to use, but more about the concept and philosophy of Meetup and what it does.  The clue is in the name; Meetup makes it easier for people to meet each other and in doing so; supports one of the most basic but important human needs we have; that is the need to form social relationships with other people.

As many of good ideas are, Meetup is a simple enough concept and is based on location and user interests.   Continue reading

Keeping the customer at the core; setting up regular iterative user testing processes

If your organisation truly wants to move away from being ‘organisation’ centric towards becoming more customer centric, it needs to ensure that mechanisms and processes are put in place to ensure the team has regular access to customer intelligence and feedback.

Agile development is a popular development process these days. As we know, Agile puts the emphasis on creating  a ‘minimum’ product which then can be tested and iterated more quickly than traditional software development processes.

qutoe from edison about learning

In order to support these quicker lighter development sprints,  UX  practices have also  evolved and approaches and philosophies such as Lean UX have emerged.   In Lean UX there is a move away from the ‘document heavy’ more formal UX research deliverables towards providing  quicker and less formal feedback that can be quickly and continuously assimilated into the process.

Benefits of regular testing and customer insights. Continue reading

Creating user experiences of the future

 

2017 image
http://www.freepik.com

The end of one year and the start of another is always a good time to pause and reflect on what is going on in the world of UX and to think about what will happen next.
As we know there is a lot happening in areas such as Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality but two other areas that will, I think, have a significant impact in how we think about future experiences are:

 

  • The evolution of Conversational Interfaces
  • The battle between companies to control more of their customers end-to-end journeys

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Running productive UX Workshops

image of people at workship

We do love to run Workshops in UX and why not?

Whether it is a feedback or co-creation session with customers or a strategy or product development meeting with internal teams; workshops are a creative, fun and efficient way to gain insights and generate new ideas.  And they have the added benefit of keeping key groups of people at the centre of the design process.   However, unfortunately workshops also have the potential to descend into frustrating unproductive talking shops. Especially if they have been poorly thought-out or lack structure.

Having been part of, and run a number of UX workshops over the years, some more successful than others, here are my top takeaways or tactics we can employ to run more effective UX Workshops.  Continue reading