UIEtips: Announcing our Favorite Articles of 2013

Over the past year we published more than 35 articles. Here are 6 of our favorites in no particular order:

What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative?

There are so many better things we could be doing with our time than standing in line. But if we step out of the line, we lose our opportunity to get the service we want. Who would’ve thought you could innovate around something as simple as waiting in line?

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Since customers think standing and waiting is a necessary evil without alternatives, they may not complain about it. Organizations that focus on the specific activities to resolve their perceived customer objective, may overlook the deep frustration from tool time that’s happening in the gaps between those activities.

Teams that study the entire experience look into those gaps to see from where the deep frustration emerges. Addressing that frustration, when no other product or service has done so, will look innovative to the customer.

Read the article What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative


Feedback Illuminates the Rules

In this article, Dan Saffer discusses how a good microinteraction immediately shares a result with a user. It lets them know the next steps to take or if they’re going in the right direction.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Let’s take a microinteraction appliance like a dishwasher as an example. The dishwasher process goes something like this: a user selects a setting, turns the dishwasher on, the dishwasher washes the dishes and stops. If someone opens the dishwasher midprocess, it complains. Now, if the dishwasher has a screen, each of these actions could be accompanied by a message on the screen (“Washing Dishes. 20 minutes until complete.”). If there is no screen, there might be only LEDs and sounds to convey these messages. One option might be that an LED blinks while the dishwasher is running, and a chime sounds when the washing cycle is completed.

Read the article Feedback Illuminates the Rules


Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies

In this article, Jared Spool discusses how it is common for companies to completely change their website design all at once versus gradually. But it often causes havoc for the user. There’s a strong case for making your redesign practically unnoticeable and slowly releasing small aspects of it.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It’s your most loyal customers who will hate your flip-the-switch redesign the most. Designers are quick to declare, “Users hate change.” But that’s not it at all.

Your loyal users have invested a lot over the years mastering your current design, to the point where they are fast and efficient with everything they need to do. When you change it, even with something you want to label “new and improved,” all of that investment is flushed down the drain.

Read the article Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies


Meetings: The Canary in the Culture Coal Mine

We all know that a company’s culture is a key factor to its success. Culture isn’t something you can whip up or easily change, but its presences will define what is and is not possible to accomplish. In this article, Kevin Hoffman talks about understanding the effects of an organization’s culture on its processes and outcome.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The culture of a group or a project team is like water to fish: it is invisible yet everywhere, and it defines what is and is not possible to accomplish. Understanding or changing any aspect of a culture requires immense focused effort and luck.

Read the article Meetings: The Canary in the Culture Coal Mine


A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

In this article, Leah Buley discusses the various ways one can spot a UX team-of-one situation. Few UX jobs are advertised as a team-of-one gig, but there are usually telltale signs that give them away.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

To get a sense of what your colleagues do and don’t know about user experience, take them out to lunch and have a casual conversation. Consider a “Bathroom UX” campaign to promote a broader understanding of the roles and functions of user experience. Employers expect UX practitioners to be able to back up their recommendations and show their work. Employers also might expect the user experience practitioner to challenge and persuade others in the organization to adopt new approaches. UX teams of one sometimes have to be diplomatic, informed, and well-meaning meddlers.

Read the article A Typical UX Team of One Job Description


Five Prevalent Pitfalls when Prototyping

There are five common traps teams fall into with their prototyping efforts. Using prototypes is key when designing, but are you falling into some of the frequent traps with your prototyping efforts? Learn about 5 typical traps and how to prevent them.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A great prototype can sell an idea better than a specification or other form of describing the design. Seeing the design in action and playing with it brings the underlying ideas to life.

It’s no wonder that we focus so much on what the prototype will look like and how it will work. We want to achieve that wow factor with the key decision makers and stakeholders on the project.

As important as the working prototype is, it’s not the most important outcome of a prototyping effort. What’s more important is what the team learns from the prototyping process.

Read the article Five Prevalent Pitfalls when Prototyping


Share Your Thoughts with Us

What was your biggest UX challenge in 2013? Tell us about it below.

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