Archive for 2011

UIEtips: The Flexibility of the Four Stages of Competence

Because my son is a professional magician, I’ve picked up a bit of magician’s lore over the years. Amongst the pros, they have a saying: “If you want to learn a new trick, read an old book.” Turns out, there’s a lot of excellent illusions which have been lost for years that, when you bring […]

The Value of Apple’s Knowledge Navigator: Gruber Has It Partially Right

John Gruber has it partially right: When companies release these futuristic videos (like Microsoft and RIM), they are doing it for PR. And I agree with Gruber that if those companies don’t have a current experience that matches the awesomeness of the videos, then they are sending mixed messages. However, where I think Mr. Gruber […]

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

On the trail of exploring our next career move, it’s likely we’ll need to show the path we’ve been on. As part of a design team, that usually means displaying our work. However, if we didn’t make proper arrangements before we took the job, it’s very likely we can’t show much of our work to […]

Clutter

“The problem with this is there’s too much clutter.” That’s what the legal secretary told me when we were studying her firm’s intranet home page. In fact, the page was pretty sparse in layout. The text was nicely laid out in a readable font, with different weights given to headings and body text. Overall, it […]

UIEtips: Riding the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge

Getting your head around a complex design is, dare I say, a complex process. It’s difficult to understand why your users are struggling with all the features and concepts they want and need in your design. One cause is that we tend to think of complexity as a holistic effect. We try to decide if […]

The New Amex Biz Travel Site Thinks I’m An Idiot

American Express is rolling out a new travel service for its business customers. As is customary for today’s web services, there’s are terms and conditions that the new user needs to agree to when they sign up. Now, these are often implemented with a checkbox that says something like “I have read and agree to […]

Lou Rosenfeld – Beyond User Research Live!

UX professionals have made a lot of progress in large organizations. Companies realize the importance of connecting with their users more and more. User research is becoming firmly rooted in many organizations as companies try to produce better products and services for their users. But user research itself can be narrow in focus and full of biases. Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media, suggests that by breaking down the silos that exist between other research practices, we can create a complementary research experience. This will produce even better analysis and therefore, better products as a whole.

The Dog and Hummer Trap

A while back, a client handed me some persona descriptions they’d written for their project. Immediately, I saw several red flags. See, these personas descriptions had something that always put me on alert: they described the character’s car and pet. Now, if we’re building enterprise accounting software, why do we need to know whether Mary […]

Moving from Critical Review to Critique

We’re really good at criticizing things. We can spot the flaws instantly. But that’s different than a critical exploration of what we’re trying to do. Where we learn what it takes to make a great design. Where we explore both the problem space and the possible design solutions. I ask teams whether they do critiques. […]

UIEtips: On UX Leadership

The field of user experience has grown incredibly over the past decade. It is really quite refreshing to see the number of companies who are starting to view user experience as an essential part of their business strategy. Design skills are in high demand. It is a great time to be a UX professional. But […]