User Experience
274 views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Should designers trust their instincts — or the data?

Should designers trust their instincts — or the data? | User Experience | Scoop.it
This article originally appeared in Wired. For many tech companies, design is no longer subjective.  Instead, it’s all about data. Analytics click and hum behind the scenes, measuring the effectiveness of even the tiniest design decisions.…
Ehren Miller's insight:

One of the nice things about working in web technology, is that it's easy to get immediate feedback on whether a design is successful or not. A wealth of data is available to us and can be helpful in identifying design victories and setbacks. But how much should designers trust their gut? When should they go with the numbers instead? The answer (as is usually the case with these things) is that it depends.

 

My own experience is that data can help refine existing designs, but is often useless in the face of really large innovation. The iPhone is a good example of this--conventional wisdom said that mostly business users were interested in smartphones, and they wanted real keyboards and small screens. The number of people in both the industry and the press that ridiculed the iPhone is staggering--but completely understandable. Because people evaluate ideas based on how they fit into existing models, but these models can be broken when a new idea is big enough.

 

Google Ventures has an article today suggesting some guidelines to use when considering whether to design based on numbers or to design with your gut:

 

Curious about customer behavior? Use data. When it comes to digital products, web and mobile analytics tell us exactly what customers do. Even if customers say they would never, ever, ever buy rainbow suspenders for their avatar, we just never know what people will do when we’re not watching. Better to trust the data and see what people actually do rather than trust what they say they’ll do.

 

Decisions about product quality? Use instinct. To build quality into a product, you have to pay attention to hundreds of details like crafting clear help content or moving that button 3 pixels to the left. None of these small changes individually would prove worthwhile with data. But taken together, they create an overall impression of quality — a halo effect that improves a product in many ways. So when wondering how much time to spend on the details, designers should trust their instincts.

 

Deciding between a small set of options? Use data. There’s nothing like an A/B test for making an incremental, tactical improvement. When trying to pick the just-right words for a homepage header, there’s little to be gained in arguing over the right copy. It’s better to test a few versions and pick the right one based on data. The key is to measure the metrics that really matter to the business longer term (such as sign ups, purchases, or user retention) instead of just measuring clicks.

 

Concerned with long-term impact? Use instinct. A good reputation takes years to build, but just one bad experience can destroy it. So when balancing between tactical easily measurable goals like more clicks, and long term goals like trustworthiness, it’s essential to listen carefully to your instincts. And if your instincts need a little boost, get curious: go out in the world, talk to people, and gather data.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

2014: The year we all go 4K - daverupert.com

2014: The year we all go 4K - daverupert.com | User Experience | Scoop.it
Ehren Miller's insight:

For a while now, we've been beating the drum of responsive design: sites aren't just viewed on desktops anymore; they're accessed through laptops, tablets, phablets, and smartphones. So far, this has translated to looking at how to make designs look good on increasingly smaller screens. However, something has happened that will open up a new size to consider: 4K monitors are becoming affordable.

 

4K Monitors are twice the resolution of 1080, and while to date they've been mostly a luxury item, three manufacturers have so far announced that they will begin selling them this year for under $800. This means, as designers, that we're going to need to consider how sites are going to appear on both ultra large (28" and up) and ultra high resolution screens. While it will take a few years before we see a true market shift, there's no doubt that it's coming. We're going to need to be prepared.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Nifty Modal Window Effects

Nifty Modal Window Effects with CSS Transitions and Animations
Ehren Miller's insight:

I know we're looking to upgrade the UI of the Forms Library in our enhancements next year, so I've been looking around for some interesting examples. Here's a few that I've found that are pretty cool--they're entirely CSS, so only people with modern browsers will see these, but they aren't a bad place to start:

 

Progress Buttons:
http://tympanus.net/Development/ProgressButtonStyles/

 

Interesting Button Styles:
http://tympanus.net/Development/CreativeButtons/

 

Loading Effects:
http://tympanus.net/Development/CreativeLoadingEffects/

 

CSS Spinner Effects:

http://tobiasahlin.com/spinkit/

 

Modal Windows:
http://tympanus.net/Development/ModalWindowEffects/

 

Page Transitions:

http://tympanus.net/Development/PageTransitions/

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

A History of Usability - UXmas - Wishing you a great experience through the festive season!

A History of Usability - UXmas - Wishing you a great experience through the festive season! | User Experience | Scoop.it
UXmas is a digital advent calendar for user experience designers. Every day throughout December in the lead-up to Christmas, a bauble is opened to reveal a new gift to the UX community.
Ehren Miller's insight:

It's interesting that even though it seems like Usability is a new career field, its principles and practices go back over 100 years. Certainly web and the fact that nearly every company is basically makes at least some product (even if it's just your company website) has helped bring the term to a greater audience, but at its heart, usability is a fairly established practice.

 

Here's a great timeline of the last 100 years or so of Usability.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

The Psychology Behind Information Dashboards | UX Magazine

The Psychology Behind Information Dashboards | UX Magazine | User Experience | Scoop.it

With data-driven decisions gradually becoming the norm in every industry, the information dashboard has an important role.

 

With its interactive and intuitive interface and its ability to visualize data in a single screen, it’s becoming a critical tool in the hands of the business user. Moreover, the information dashboard is also making its way into apps used by laypeople for managing day-to-day activities like budget tracking and fitness management.

Ehren Miller's insight:

The very nature of insurance means that much of our design work deals with large sets of numbers, trends and complex transactions. As a result, much of our essential function is to find ways to make that information easy to understand. The easiest way to do that is through a dashboard.

 

An article from UX Magazine outlines the core concepts behind effect dashboard design:

 

* Allow users to be in control. Make sure users have the information they need, show them what's important, and allow them to act on it.
* Avoid dependency on short-term memory. Use graphs and charts rather than many numbers and cut all unnecessary information.
* Let users drill-down to see more detail as desired
* Group related information together and split other information across tabs.
* Make it easy to use.

 

The article goes a bit deeper on each of these topics, and highly recommend giving it a read.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Let’s Do It! What Are We Doing?

Let’s Do It! What Are We Doing? | User Experience | Scoop.it
When you’re asked to give a quote on a project, you face a dilemma. Ballpark it and hope for the best, or spend unpaid time working up a proposal that may not lead to work after all? There’s a third way that’s better for you and the client.
Ehren Miller's insight:

A List Apart published an interesting article about an unorthodox method of securing clients: under-bid them. The example given is that when clients approach you with a $100,000 budget to build a new site, send back an RFP for a $20,000 project. This doesn't mean that you ask for less than you're worth, rather you approach it as step 1 in a multi-step project.

 

This approach has a number of values:

 

* It reduces the risk for clients--instead of being on the hook for a huge commitment of time and money, there's opportunity for them to evaluate as they go and increase funds and time as they become more comfortable.


* It makes your proposal more accurate. Any cost estimates you make at this point will be just that: estimates. It's better to guess with smaller chunks because when things don't go as planned, it's easier to recover. When work takes 15% longer than you estimated, it's easier to stomach pushing a release by a week instead of 8 months.

 

* It forces everyone to focus on what's really important. Focus is what makes projects and products great.

 

* You get something faster.


* Instead of a long, frustrating process, you get an on-going, scalable relationship. As phases are rolled out, clients can decide whether or not they want to do another round features.

 

Our process isn't exactly like an agency, but I think there are some tips that we could definitely use. I particularly like the idea of making clients pick "what's really important" and focusing on turning out smaller, better products.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

» Soldiers & Hessians, Ronin & Ninja

» Soldiers & Hessians, Ronin & Ninja | User Experience | Scoop.it
Boxes and Arrows is devoted to the practice, innovation, and discussion of design; including graphic design, interaction design, information architecture and the design of business.
Ehren Miller's insight:

We've started looking at reorganizing (and perhaps expanding) our team and while it's exciting, it's important to remember that there are still a lot of hurtles. While getting more people will allow us to do more and do better work, nothing is without weakness. I came across an article that discusses the different UX types in an organization and the typical strengths and weaknesses of each.

 

Ronin. A hired gun. On one hand, these types tend to be respected (hey, we're paying him/her all this money--we better listen!), on the other they often don't stay long enough to build the relationships or product understanding needed to really make big changes.

 

Ninja. An individual employee. Can have a strong influence on a single project, but can find themselves forced to compromise repeatedly (hey, you work for me. Just do what I tell you!) and lack the power to implement wide-spread change.

 

Hessians. External Agency. Has the influence to implement large changes, but is often gone by the time the project launches. The short relationship also means they might not have a deep understanding of the business.

 

Soldiers. In-house Agency. Can get large-scale changes in culture and practices done. Deep understanding of the business. The biggest vulnerability is in turn-over and knowledge loss.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Smart Transitions In User Experience Design | Smashing UX Design

Smart Transitions In User Experience Design | Smashing UX Design | User Experience | Scoop.it
This article looks at some examples of interaction design in which smart interaction, defined by subtle animation, gently improves the user experience.
Ehren Miller's insight:

Hi,

 

Smashing Magazine had an excellent article yesterday discussing the power of transitions in user experience. We've already discussed how some animations can make an application appear faster and more responsive, but transitions can also improve usability.

For example, consider a page that scrolls users to a portion of the page, rather than just jumping there. 

 

 

The first one provides the user with way more context about where they are. It's far less disorienting.


The whole article is useful and worth a read. I was particularly fond of the last concept that dealt with "Focus Transition." I could see us getting a lot of use out that.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Amazon aims for first-time tablet buyers with free Mayday tech support

Amazon aims for first-time tablet buyers with free Mayday tech support | User Experience | Scoop.it
Don’t know how to use your new tablet? No problem. Live video help is just a tap away on the new Kindle Fire HDX via the Mayday button.
Ehren Miller's insight:

Amazon has announced a refresh of their Tablet line, complete with faster processors, better resolution and thinner casing, but perhaps the most interesting addition is a feature called "Mayday." At the press of a button, users can enter a live video chat with a customer service rep in just 15 seconds. The rep will answer any questions you have about the device, and can even control your tablet to show you how to perform any tasks. The service is available every day, at any hour and it's completely free.

 

Amazon is clearly targeting an audience that's less tech-savvy than the typical tablet buyer through its low prices and instant, anytime customer service. I think it's an amazing idea, one that makes the internet company more human, however I wonder how big a selling point it will be to potential customers. My own opinion is that the best customer service is the one you never have to use, but then again, I'm clearly not the intended audience.

 

I know that last year there was a considerable amount of conversation around the idea of live chat for the VSC. I wonder if video chat might be something New York Life could offer. We already have a large group of highly-trained service people answering calls. Seems like adding cameras wouldn't require much of a leap and allow us to offer service over the internet.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Serving Experience As The Product | Adaptive Path

Serving Experience As The Product | Adaptive Path | User Experience | Scoop.it
Ehren Miller's insight:

Hi,

One of the challenges we've encountered and attempted to over-come is the perception that User Experience is something that can be added at the end of a project; something that's done after everything else has been put in motion and is fine as long as it doesn't interfere with any of the other decisions. The User Experience, as a result, is often unintended and uneven. Like an elaborate sweater, it's been designed to look great on one side, but full of seams and inconsistencies on the other--and in this case, the customers only encounter the ugly side, since UX wasn't considered until the end.

 

The problem is that to customers, the experience is the product. The way a brand is perceived, how loyal a customer is, how likely they are to buy anything else from you is based completely on the experience, since that's the only aspect that they encounter and care about.

 

Take for example a restaurant: regardless of how cleanly and efficiently one runs the kitchen, the customers won't care if the wait staff is forgetful, the tables are dirty and the food arrives cold. Granted, a good restaurant can't exist without that talented and well-run kitchen, but the customer experience is equally essential.

 

The VSC comes to mind when considering this issue. New York Life prides itself on providing personal and exceptional customer-care. However, the VSC does little to support that goal.

 

Adaptive Path has an excellent article that discusses this concept. The whole thing is worth a read, but my favorite quote is:

 

"To make the experience the product, it must be envisioned, planned, and coordinated. If in a product-based world form followed function, then form should follow flow in a service-centric world. Operations, IT, and other business functions are still just as crucial, it’s just that the frame of reference for planning and coordinating them must be from the customer’s perspective looking in."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

The Redesign: Questions To Ask Before You Start

The Redesign: Questions To Ask Before You Start | User Experience | Scoop.it

The Redesign: Questions To Ask Before You Start

Doing a redesign right means putting pieces in place to make sure you can change culture. Doing it wrong can get you fired or kill a company. You aren’t just redesigning an application; you’re hopefully redesigning a culture that has higher expectations. Change like this is tremendous, and affects every department in the company...

Ehren Miller's insight:

Just read a good article that talks about some of the key questions to ask before starting a redesign project. The focus of the piece is less on how to design something and more about being aware of the company culture that often surrounds a project. It's interesting to see it laid out and got me thinking about the conversations we've had about expanding our role in the company.

 

It would be great to have internal clients to perform a "ready to redesign" type of audit with some of the questions in this article before we accepted their project. Often we're so focused on what the best is to design something that we lose sight of "is this thing ever going to be built?"

more...
Esta Lessing, CBAP®'s curator insight, January 8, 2014 2:42 PM

This article is describing some good questions to ask which will reveal important company culture related facts that you may not be aware of prior to starting a new project. Although this article is focussed on design aspects, it is very closely aligned to effective requirements questions. Have a look, it is a fresh view on requirements questions to ask...

Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

The slippery slope | 90 Percent Of Everything

The slippery slope | 90 Percent Of Everything | User Experience | Scoop.it

Let’s start with a little game. In iOS, there’s an ad tracking feature that allows advertisers to identify you (albeit anonymously). It’s turned on by default. Let’s see if we can work out how to turn it off together. Go into your settings and scroll down...

Ehren Miller's insight:

I came across an article that discusses "Dark UI Patterns" at length, and I thought it was important to share. "Dark UI" is when design is used to purposely confuse users into doing something which they don't want to do--it's usually done either for profit or to game an inaccurate metric that the business has decided is important. An example is a site that automatically signs you up for a mailing list when you open an account. Sure, you get more subscribers--but are they going to people who are actually going to read it? Or will they be angry, bash you on twitter and cancel their accounts?

 

The article gives a bunch of examples, showing violators from Apple, the Ladders and others--showing that now and then everyone is tempted by the dark side. Even the British hospital system is guilty of it with the invention of the "Hello Nurse.":

 

In the 90s, the hospital board decided that patients were waiting too long to be seen to. So they issued a mandate that all patients must be greeted within 5 minutes--now greeted, is not the same as treated, so the reaction of the supervisors was to hire new nurses whose only job was to walk around and say hello to patients. They met their quota, everybody wins, right? Of course not. The treatment didn't actually get any better or faster. It was a trick used to hit a metric that showed a lack of understanding about what was actually important.

 

The point of all this is not to say that we should look out for these practices in our designs: I don't think that we're guilty of this. It's to 1) be vigilant about what metrics we consider to be important and makes sure that they actually describe reality and 2) be vigilant of pushing project and business leaders to be more concerned about hitting their actual goals rather than an easy-to-measure goal.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

How to Create an Enterprise UI Toolkit | UX Magazine

How to Create an Enterprise UI Toolkit | UX Magazine | User Experience | Scoop.it

The benefits of a UI toolkit are numerous, and they are created in a number of different ways, but there are no ultimate rules stating what they should include, which can be somewhat confusing...

Ehren Miller's insight:

One of the things I've been mulling over for a while now is how to improve the speed and quality of our hand-offs. Specifically, the style guide.

 

So far, I've found myself cutting and pasting elements from various sources: the Sapient-Nitro guide, pieces of past products that I've written down, etc. However, the problem is not only is it a time-consuming task, but we still only hand-over a detailed description of how elements should look--there's still room for interpretation by the people developing the product.

 

We could probably save some time if we started using a CSS page for each project. In fact, even just sitting down and creating a CSS version of the Sapient-Nitro style guide would be hugely useful to every group at NYL that works with the web--there'd be a page they could simply plug into their HTML prototypes/mock-ups that would handle the bulk of the styling.

 

I think it could save us a lot of duplicate work in the future--especially if we wind up moving over to Muse or Edge for our visual design process.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

15 Tech Trends That Will Define 2014, Selected By Frog

15 Tech Trends That Will Define 2014, Selected By Frog | User Experience | Scoop.it
Drones driverless cars and the digital dragon of China are just some of the things that will change our economy and our lives this year.
Ehren Miller's insight:

It's January and that means prognostication time for writers. I'm always wary of these lists, because I find my definition of a defining trend and that of journalists seem to vary widely. For example, 2013 was supposed to be the year of wearables--but I'd argue that they really had little effect on the marketplace. Sure we saw more fitness trackers and a couple badly-designed smart watches, but did they really "define" the tech marketplace in 2013? Google glass wasn't even available to buy for anyone who didn't win a contest! Based on hard sales, I'd call wearables a flop in 2013, though there's certainly plenty of intriguing possibilities for the technology going forward. The fact is, few things are truly revolutionary to have an overnight impact--it's going to take a couple years for most products to build momentum.

 

With that in mind, I thought I'd pass along Frog Design's 15 picks for Tech That Will Define 2014:

 

Anonymity Will Go Mainstream. I'm assuming this is partly based on revelations about how much of everyone's information the NSA has access to. Everyone seems to be outraged--my question: is the privacy concern enough to really change people's behavior? Have they stopped using gmail, yahoo, their phones or text messages?

 

Drones. Everywhere. Good--I've been meaning to get a friend for my Rumba.

 

Disconnecting in the Modern, Digital World. I have my doubts about this one--I think consumers suffer less digital fatigue than people who create and write about tech all day. I've yet to see any evidence that everyday people are fed-up with the amount of information available to them.

 

Rise of Chinese Internet Giants. The article points specifically to WeChat, a mobile messaging client that already has a user base of 300 million. Wait, I thought this was the year we were all going to become more anonymous? China, in case you haven't heard, doesn't really do "anonymous." Or "free speech." or "Free Competition." 300 million is impressive, but less so when you consider the restrictions the company puts on foreign companies who want to compete there. Color me skeptical on this one, too.

 

Mind Control. Finally. No, the article refers to objects controlled by brain waves, not (regrettably) other people.

 

Augmented Reality, Google Glass is the big item here. Sure, it's interesting--but some big questions remain even after the limited release to Explorers: Is it useful? Does anyone really want to buy this thing? Does anyone want to wear this thing in public? What's the "Killer Feature" that makes it something people can't live without? I think they're going to sell a fair amount, but I question whether people who buy them will be getting good usage out of them, or simply wearing them as a status symbol.

 

Self-Driving Cars, Awesome. Seriously revolutionary. All that's standing in their way is legislation, insurance companies, consumer trust, availability, and a 15 year purchase cycle. Other than those small hiccups, it looks like smooth sailing.

 

Internet of Things Goes to Art School. I assume this means my toaster is going to start living in a loft and wearing a beret. Humor aside, I agree that connected devices are going to become way more mainstream this year--the challenge is that we still haven't seen anything that ties all these devices together in a meaningful way. Every device is controlled by a separate app, none of which play well with the other. Is it really convenient to control your living room from your smartphone when you have to open 30 different apps to do it? Integration is the missing piece here, and that's what makes the service If This Than That (IFTTT) so interesting. If you haven't tried it out, I recommend it.

 

Data, Rich and Full of Value. This will have an impact on designers, but consumers already have more data than they know what to do with. What we need is the ability to start translating that data in insightful ways and presenting it at the moment when it's most needed. We don't need more information--we need more important information at the right time.

 

The Re-Interpretation of Craft. This one is already well underway. From furniture, to clothing, to whiskey, the craft revival is already in full swing. The question is: can huge companies find a way to cash in and will they do so in a way that crushes all the little guys?

 

Bucking the Price Norms. Beats headphones by Dr. Dre are mentioned in the article as a successful product launched at a price above what companies believed the market would bear. I think this means we can all expect to get poorer in 2014.

 

The Uber-Fication of Services. This is referring to the car-on-demand service Uber. I've used the app and it's pretty great (though a little pricey)--simply order a car on your phone--then you can check how far away your ride is and get a text when they arrive.

 

Consumers Will Own Data. The (internet) age-old quote is: "If you're not paying for it, you're the product." Frankly, I'll believe this when I see it. It's one thing for consumers to be upset over Google and Facebook selling their information to advertisers--it's another thing for them to actually cancel their accounts and stop using the services. Until they do (and do it in droves), there's no incentives for companies to change their practices.

 

the Quantified Self at the Office. The article mentions the rise in health monitoring hardware and services to predict that something similar will happen at the office--companies will begin monitoring exactly how much time everyone is working on what. This is great news for PPM. If accurate, this will result in some really interesting lawsuits over employee privacy.

 

Reinvention of the PC as a Productivity Tool. I think this is just a fancy way of promoting the continued decline in sales of conventional Desktops and Laptops. If so, this strikes me as more a marketing change than a design change. Maybe we'll see ads for computers again (get ready for that phone to ring, "Dude, you're getting a Dell" Guy!) or more pre-installed productivity software.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

» Building the In-house Design Agency

» Building the In-house Design Agency | User Experience | Scoop.it
Boxes and Arrows is devoted to the practice, innovation, and discussion of design; including graphic design, interaction design, information architecture and the design of business.
Ehren Miller's insight:

There's a really great article today on Boxes and Arrows, discussing the nitty-gritty of running an in-house UX Agency. It goes in-depth to talk about everything from selling the idea to management, allocating costs, keeping team members motivated, to getting buy-in across the company. It's a really good read and very relevant.

 

Some of the high points:

 

* Take time to understand which solutions UX can solve are most important to your audience--upper management cares more about vision and strategy, project teams care more about execution and efficiency. Tailor your pitch to your audience.


* Sell your team by offering small UX Favors--run a sketch-session, a heuristic review, a survey, etc.


* Prevent burn-out within the team by rotating projects and responsibilities.


* Arrange the team in a way that promotes creativity--good coffee, nice workspaces and a 10% allocation of "Creative Time" to work on things that aren't immediately applicable are all helpful.


* Try to have the team funded through a hybrid approach: centrally funded for a percentage, but also funded by the teams who request UX services. When people have to pay for your service, they respect your time and opinion more than if it's just "free."


* Run periodic "Innovation Projects." Get some business people together, design a project and then pitch it to management rather than waiting for work to come to you. It establishes you as an innovation service.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Why Companies Are Terrible At Spotting Creative Ideas

Why Companies Are Terrible At Spotting Creative Ideas | User Experience | Scoop.it
Cognitive biases can keep us from assessing creativity with a clear mind. Here's how to get around them.
Ehren Miller's insight:

An interesting thing happens within companies when it comes to creativity and innovation: some organizations, even those built on those principles, wind up inadvertently stomping it out. Xerox for example, repeatedly tried to discourage their own employee from finishing the first laser printer. Why does this happen? The answer may lie in the way in which people at the company frame their thinking.

 

In a study, two groups of participants were asked to evaluate some creative ideas. The first was told that they would see a few of the many possible solutions to the problem they were trying to solve. The second was told that the problem they were trying to solve needed a definitive answer. The first group was significantly more responsive to the creative ideas than the second. The second group, in fact, was not only less receptive, they rated the ideas as less creative than the first.

 

The importance here, is to realize that tiny cues significantly alter our ability to accept new ideas and evaluate them, and there's a way we can help swing the pendulum in our favor:

 

* When presenting a creative idea, focus on the "Why" not the "How"

 

* This can be accomplished by asking your audience to consider why certain behaviors occurred, rather than simply presenting the findings and then asking them to consider your idea of how to fix them.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

iBeacon goes mainstream with Macy's roll-out, likely before it hits Apple Stores

iBeacon goes mainstream with Macy's roll-out, likely before it hits Apple Stores | User Experience | Scoop.it
Apple's iBeacon system is to get its first retail launch in Macy's branches in Union Square, San Francisco and Herald Square, NYC, within the next few weeks, reports TechCrunch. Apple will of cours...
Ehren Miller's insight:

One of the features that Apple snuck into iOS 7 is a feature called "iBeacon" that allows very precise location-based tracking and offers. We're already beginning to see retailers take advantage of this feature:

 

* A London Bar provides patrons with access to a digital magazines while they are there. When they leave, users are given the option to purchase a subscription.


* Macy's and Apple are both planning significant roll-outs, where iOS users will receive offers and updates on their loyalty points as they enter the store.

 

The technology needed for these Beacons is really small--they're about the size of a quarter, so I started thinking about the possibilities of giving one to an Agent to slip into his or her briefcase. Any client with an iOS device could automatically receive your contact information, agree to send their information directly into PCS, receive marketing information, and even receive application forms.

 

The possibilities are pretty wide-open. It's worth thinking about--and it would make for an absolutely bonkers demo an Agency meeting/conference.

 

http://9to5mac.com/2013/12/04/imaginative-use-of-ibeacon-gives-bar-patrons-free-access-to-newsstand-magazines/
http://9to5mac.com/2013/11/21/ibeacon-goes-mainstream-with-macys-roll-out-likely-before-it-hits-apple-stores/

http://9to5mac.com/2013/12/06/apple-rolling-out-ibeacons-into-apple-stores-silent-app-update-enables-in-store-notifications/

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

The Lazy Information Architect’s Guide to Organising Content - UXmas - Wishing you a great experience through the festive season!

The Lazy Information Architect’s Guide to Organising Content - UXmas - Wishing you a great experience through the festive season! | User Experience | Scoop.it
UXmas is a digital advent calendar for user experience designers. Every day throughout December in the lead-up to Christmas, a bauble is opened to reveal a new gift to the UX community.
Ehren Miller's insight:

I just read a good article on "Lazy Information Architecture" and thought I'd pass it along. The practice hinges on the acronym "LATCH":

 

Location: organize information by proximity. Yelp on your phone does this.

Alphabetic: exactly what you'd think. Your contact list, for instance.
Time: like your calendar.
Category: Amazon's shop.
Hierarchy: Ordered by price, size, or popularity.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Making Yourself Redundant | Smashing Magazine

Making Yourself Redundant | Smashing Magazine | User Experience | Scoop.it
Whether part of an internal Web team or an external developer, our eventual aim should be to make our role redundant, once digital is a part of daily working life.
Ehren Miller's insight:

One of the issues that we've encountered is that the owner of a project has a vested interest in making it fail. That is, they worry that a successful project will make their services irrelevant. There will probably always be people like this and it can cause frustration when we encounter it. But are we doing the same thing?

 

An article in Smashing Magazine argues that many web professionals view themselves as owners of digital content, when in fact they should view themselves as transfers of knowledge. We're not there yet, but eventually the word "digital" will be implied when companies consider business, marketing or support strategy. Just as companies no longer need a strategist to tell them how to use electricity effectively, it will simply be how it's done. Our role then, is not to jealously guard the information and skills that we have, but to dispense it.

 

"By facilitating others and focusing on knowledge transfer you will become the go-to person for innovation and the next big thing. Become so concerned with your own job and you will be the roadblock everybody has to work around to get things done.

 

"Even after 20 years of the Web, we are still at the beginning of a transformation from an industrial to digital economy. Adapting to this change is a huge undertaking for most organizations and we can either be facilitators of that change or we can isolate ourselves as some kind of digital elite."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Five Principles of Writing for Users | UX Magazine

Five Principles of Writing for Users | UX Magazine | User Experience | Scoop.it

Digital writing encompasses elements of content strategy: building information architectures, determining content requirements, and finding ways to solve UX problems with things like videos and tools. Our job is to model, structure, and create information.

 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some principles that underpin and define how we should write for users.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

How Google Taught Itself Good Design

How Google Taught Itself Good Design | User Experience | Scoop.it
Long dominant in online search advertising and maps Google has shifted gears from utility to beauty--and is now more fearsome than ever.
Ehren Miller's insight:

Many of you might have noticed that Google has undergone something or a radical shift in its design over the last two years. As recently as 2011, the company, though thriving, was known for providing utilitarian, if ugly, products. Even their signature homepage was ugly.

 

Lately, however, the company has been releasing products that aren't just smart and innovative, but beautiful. Their mobile apps in particular have an esthetic that puts many native Apple apps to shame (Google Now and Google Drive immediately spring to mind). This is far from accidental. When new CEO Larry Page took over in 2011, he mandated a new policy and structure that put design and user experience first.

 

He brought the many different designers at the company together and asked them to decide how Google should look. The team not only overhauled Google's design, but set-up a loose governance committee (called the User Experience Alliance) that takes a unique approach: rather than simply handing down style decrees, view it as a general set of guides that can evolve when better ideas are found.

 

It was the design team, not the developers as was traditional at Google, who were charged with creating Google now. It shows. Google Now is a product that harnesses the power of Google in their search capabilities, user data, and geographic data into an interface that is easy, predictive and beautiful.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

Data-Driven Design In The Real World | Smashing UX Design

Data-Driven Design In The Real World | Smashing UX Design | User Experience | Scoop.it
In this article, Ashley Moreno shares some of the lessons she's learned from five years of helping content and design teams capture, measure and understand website performance data and connecting the dots between data and design improvements.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

How Oyster, The New E-Library, Solves Major Mobile Reading Problems

How Oyster, The New E-Library, Solves Major Mobile Reading Problems | User Experience | Scoop.it
The latest e-reader wants to reinvent the bookstore on a four-inch screen--by making good on design gaffs.
Ehren Miller's insight:

I came across an article that analyzes some of the design solutions that the App "Oyster" proposes to resolve mobile reading issues. While I disagree that any of them are major, there is certainly some interesting stuff, for example:

 

* Showing read progress in a vertical progress bar (not really sure why this is preferable to a horizontal bar--I associate left to right with progress much more than top to bottom. Also, seems like it could be tricky to grab the tiny scroll handle).
* Breaking pages into chunks of text and replacing page turns with continuously scrolling chunks.
* Additional fonts and styles to accommodate reading under different use-cases (low light, etc.).
* Subscription ebook service.

 

Unfortunately, our users and user needs are much different from theirs, so it's unlikely that many of their solutions would work for our Bookshelf app. But it's always interesting seeing how other people approach projects and it's certainly a good looking product.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

How Deceptive Is Your Persuasive Design? | UX Magazine

How Deceptive Is Your Persuasive Design? | UX Magazine | User Experience | Scoop.it

We are brought up to be honest. Lying is seen as a bad thing to do. Yet, often, in real life, deception is used to make life better for someone, not worse...

Ehren Miller's insight:

A few weeks ago I sent out a link to an article that focused on so-called "Dark UX" patterns--sites designed to deceive users into making a decision that 1) they probably don't want, 2) benefits the company more than them and 3) is often purposely deceitful or deceptive. However, a new book, Evil By Design, argues that we should have a broader view of what constitutes Dark UX. Essentially, the author claims that intention counts.

 

He notes that often people lie not for personal gain, but to make people feel better. For example, a lavender-scented air-spray that parents can buy called "Monster Go Away" to ease night terrors. So it is with Dark UX, the book argues. As long as you are deceiving users to an end that will ultimately benefit them (or society) more, it's ok.

 

Ultimately, I'm not sure I disagree with the premise, but the problem (as always) is who decides what's beneficial or not? There's a lot of room for interpretation in the argument of what's beneficial, because often companies think their products and services are more valuable than customers do.

 

Either way, it's worth a read.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ehren Miller
Scoop.it!

LukeW | Mobile Design Details: Performing Actions Optimistically

LukeW | Mobile Design Details: Performing Actions Optimistically | User Experience | Scoop.it

The situation on mobile is dire. People expect a faster experience on mobile then they get on the desktop but the networks connecting them to your service are naturally slower. As a result, your Web site or native app ends up fighting performance on both sides. In these situations it really pays to be an optimist...

Ehren Miller's insight:

I've been thinking a lot about the behavior of the Bookshelf app recently, in particular two functions: the document loading and performing a search. In a lot of what we're doing, we're using iBooks as the benchmark for speed. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, though it's probably safe to say that Apple's apps are allowed much freer access to system resources than we are, so we might not be able to get there.

 

What I think is important isn't necessarily that we're as fast as iBooks, but that we at least give the illusion of it through what Luke Wroblewski calls "Functional Optimism."

 

The basis of this principle is that the app assumes that the user's function will be successfully performed and responds immediately with an animation.

 

On loading, iBooks has a slower opening animation (the book comes forward and then flips open)--I'm assuming that the document is loading in the background during this--then allows users to immediately begin reading pages as they load. The app assumes that it will all load eventually, and doesn't bother users with the details.

 

When searching, iBooks provides an animation of the results window pulling down, even before any results have actually been loaded. Because it's so responsive, the animation gives the illusion that the search is faster than it actually is.

 

Incorporating one or both of these techniques would similarly help our own app feel faster.

more...
No comment yet.