UX in the physical world: 6 tips for conducting research beyond the screen

Over the past few months, I’ve been conducting research for Bristol City Council (BCC), but rather than a solely digital endeavour, this research has been carried out in physical spaces. It took place in the various BCC customer service points throughout Bristol. The aim was to discover users’ needs, how they use the service points, and their opinions on how the council could improve other areas such as online, phones and letters (to reduce the need for them to visit the service points). Our findings will inform the design of a new service point that will open towards the end of the year. During the process, I learnt 6 key things: 1. Visit on different days and at different times. This way you’ll get a more comprehensive picture. For our first visit, we arrived at the service point before it opened on a Monday morning,  and the queue outside told a story of its own. However, when we paid our second visit on a Wednesday afternoon, the service point was quiet and fairly orderly. 2. Play dumb. People will open up to you more if you give the impression that you’re not a ‘specialist’ or particularly knowledgeable about the area you’re researching. We referred to ourselves simply as ‘researchers’ and didn’t mention UX, and, as a result, the people we spoke to didn’t ask many questions about what we were doing. This allowed us to focus on them and hear their stories, which after all, was what we were there to do. 3. Bring a clipboard to write on. It may sound obvious, but it’s easily overlooked. When talking...

Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and the Internet of Things

The internet has become an integrated, seamless, and often invisible part of our everyday lives. Some see this connection as a way to a brighter future, while others have trepidations. The only thing that seems certain is that the Internet is changing rapidly, the laws surrounding the Internet are changing even faster, and it’s all we can do to try and keep up. Changes in style, design, and interactions across the web have big implications for users, but even bigger implications for us as creators. While we often highlight the importance of connecting our design to the big picture goal, it’s less often that we consider the much bigger picture: the World Wide Web. Knowing where web technology is now and where it might be going informs the quality of our daily work. How can we create optimal user experiences if we don’t at least have a basic knowledge of what the technology is capable of? It’s akin to trying to build a house without knowing what houses looked like in the past, or what materials might exist on a future project. So let’s explore the web—from the 1990s to today, and onward into the future. The world of the web The web was originally a tool used for military, scientific, and academic purposes, but since the early 1990s, it has become a huge part of our everyday lives. As technology has progressed and as more people have begun using the Internet, the web has has gone through (and continues to go through) dominant shifts, specifically Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and the Internet of Things. As the Cretaceous, Jurassic,...

Whitney Quesenbery and Joe O’Connor – Accessible WordPress

[ Transcript Available ] WordPress powers over 25 million sites with more than 14 billion pages viewed each month, making it one of the most popular web publishing platforms. Imagine if every one of those sites was accessible. Joe O’Connor has been a leader in making that happen, through the WordPress accessibility team which works from the inside to make WordPress into a web publishing platform for everyone. Joe joins Whitney Quesenbery for this episode of A Podcast for Everyone to talk about what it takes to make an open source platform that can help authors make their sites accessible. They talked about: How can you make your WordPress accessible? What are the best accessible-ready WordPress themes? What tools can help you keep your content accessible for everyone? Joseph Karr O’Connor lives in Santa Monica, California. When Section 508 came into effect in 1999 he began leading Accessible UX teams creating accessible web environments. Joe has been using WordPress in support of non-profits, research, and university news since 2005. Now leading Cities, a world-wide effort to build free accessible WordPress themes, Joe also contributes to Make WordPress Accessible and asks you to get involved. He’s known on Twitter as AccessibleJoe. Resources mentioned in this podcast WordPress Guidelines: Accessibility Accessibility-Ready WordPress Themes Making WordPress Accessible WP Accessibility plugin by Joe Dolson The Cities project Accessibility checking tools Accessible WordPress themes that Joe recommends: Blaskan Simone WordPress Twenty Fourteen WordPress Twenty Thirteen Recorded: July, 2014 [ Subscribe to our podcast via ?This link will launch the iTunes application.] [ Subscribe with other podcast applications.] Full Transcript. Whitney Quesenbery: Hi, I’m Whitney...

Why Even Print Projects Need UX

October 7, 2014For a long time it seems like we’ve argued that the old art-and-copy agency teams of the past need an injection of UX. We've seen UX become recognized and valued across digital projects, but the inclination is to dismiss experience design considerations when it comes to more traditional things like print projects and packaging. The case for UX in print and packaging may seem like a stretch when considered without context, but I think a couple of anecdotal stories will illustrate the need.Irrelevance Can Be CostlyI sat in on a recent call that went over a brochure design with a few international clients. While the clients on the call commended the prose and art presented in the brochure piece, a larger more fundamental criticism threatened to derail a good bit of work that had already been done—pointing to the need for UX representation on the project. The...read more By Tom Schneider...

Toronto UX Designers – Hear about UX Journey Stories from Local UX Talent

Mark your calendar and join us November 20 in Toronto for UX Thursday. This one day event focuses on some very cool UX work that’s happening right in Toronto. Six top local speakers share their UX journey’s on real-world UX projects. You’ll also hear keynotes from Jared Spool talking about Building a Winning UX Strategy Using the Kano Model and Derek Featherstone of Simply Accessible covering accessibility. The whole day takes place at the YMCA of Greater Toronto on Grosvenor Street. Stay tuned for more information on the amazing speakers and presentations we’ve got in store for you. But you’ll want to save you seat early because at $99/seat, this conference will sell out. You can also check out this video of a past UX Thursday...

Quickpanel: UX Futures

October 2, 2014UX Futures is a one-day virtual conference that will take place November 5. Hosted by Rosenfeld Media and Environments for Humans, the event features six inspiring speakers—Steve Krug, Jesse James Garrett, Margot Bloomstein, Andy Polaine, Nathan Shedroff and Abby Covert—all focusing on what’s next for...read more By Mary Jean Babic...