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Articles & Interviews

When we choose the topics for our conference, we pick those areas that people tell us they want more in-depth information. As we prepare for the conference, it's helpful to get our thoughts into articles and interviews, so we can get our head around what's really happening in the world of interaction design. Take a look at our latest feature articles.

Usability Testing

Five Techniques for Getting Buy-In for Usability Testing
Christine Perfetti discusses the 5 best techniques for convincing management and key stakeholders of the benefits of incorporating usability testing into the formal design process.

Preventing Usability Problems from the Get-go
Jared M. Spool identifies where usability problems are first put into the design and explores ways to prevent the problems from the outset through field studies, personas, and usability testing.

Usability Testing: Oh, The Things You Can Learn
Jared M. Spool sheds light on the aspects of usability testing nobody ever talks about, and catalogues some of the things a team learns when they put together their own usability tests.

Streamlining Usability Testing by Avoiding the Lab
The usability lab is often considered a can't-do'without necessity for conducting serious usability tests. However, UIE's researchers have found that usability testing can often be more effective when the team eliminates the lab from the process.

CUE: A Usability Testing Bake-Off
In 1998, Rolf Molich held what we could call the first usability testing bake-off. He called it a Comparative Usability Evaluation or CUE. The CUE can help you improve your own usability practices by learning how others test their interfaces.

Usability Testing Best Practices: An Interview with Rolf Molich
UIE's Christine Perfetti asked Rolf Molich his thoughts on the best practices surrounding usability testing. Here's what they talked about.

Paper Prototypes: Still Our Favorite
UIE's researchers have been creating paper prototypes and teaching others to use them for almost two decades.

Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes
Design teams frequently make many of the same mistakes that lead to countless hours of frustration and redesign. Most of these mistakes are easy to prevent, especially when team members realize they are making them. Here are seven of the most common mistakes.

Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping
Jared M. Spool discusses the lessons we've learned from practicing paper prototyping for 16 years. He'll share what's new about this valuable technique and what's still the same.

5-Second Tests: Measuring Your Site's Content Pages
Christine Perfetti discusses how a simple usability testing technique can help design teams quickly measure how a content page performs with users.

5 Things to Know about Users
Jared M. Spool discusses 5 key user attributes that are critical to quality experience design.

Honing Your Usability Testing Skills: An Interview with Ginny Redish
Christine Perfetti asks Ginny Redish about her thoughts on the best practices surrounding usability testing.

Building and Managing a Successful User Experience Team: An Interview with Sarah Bloomer and Susan Wolfe
Christine Perfetti discusess with Sarah Bloomer and Susan Wolfe how organizations can make their user experience practices a success.

Information Architecture

The Problem of Dirty Data
Gerry McGovern details the critical role content management plays in allowing your customers to quickly and efficiently complete key tasks on your web site, and explores why many companies do such a poor job of managing their content.

The Importance of a Customer-Centric Design Approach: An Interview with Gerry McGovern
UIE's Christine Perfetti recently talked with Gerry about the importance of a customer-centric approach to design. Here is what Gerry had to say about his experiences.

Web Content Management is Not Data Management
Web content management and data/document management require very different approaches. Data management is about storage; web content management is about using content to make the sale, deliver the service, and build the brand.

Words Drive Action: An Interview with Gerry McGovern
UIE's Christine Perfetti and Joshua Porter recently talked with Gerry about the importance of an editorial perspective in a web development process.


Perfecting Your Personas
Kim Goodwin reveals her greatest tips for avoiding the most common pitfalls of persona creation.

Personas and Goal-Directed Design: An Interview with Kim Goodwin
Kim Goodwin discusses Cooper's design methodology, Goal-Directed Design, which emphisizes identifying goals of users before doing any formal design.

Three Important Benefits of Personas
Jared M. Spool points out 3 key benefits of personas that guide the belief that personas will be a trusted method that directs design for years to come.

Personas: Matching a Design to the Users' Goals
Christine Perfetti describes how personas can help designers tackle the challenge of designing products and web sites for a large number of different users, each with conflicting goals.

Getting from Research to Personas: Harnessing the Power of Data
Kim Goodwin explains the process of creating personas from research, and details what information actually comprises a persona.

Business Strategy

The 3 Steps for Creating an Experience Vision
How can design teams ensure they continue to focus on their users first? In our research, we've found that many successful teams are solving the problem by creating an experience vision.

Innovation is the New Black
Apple and Netflix gained insight by investing in understanding the current experience of their potentional customers. Those insights led to industry-changing innovations that have made an indelible impression on businesses everywhere.

Identifying the Business Value of What We Do
Resources in our organization are usually tightly constrained -- not enough time, money, or people to accomplish everything we want to improve. Knowing how to identify and communicate the business value of a project will substantially help it get approved and supported by the organization. Jared talks about the key five business value areas and how to relate design improvements into the overall success of the organization.

Design Strategies

Why Invest in Social Features for Your Web Site?
Joshua Porter investigates the trend to design socially-enabled web applications, and examines the core benefits of investing in social features that apply broadly across many areas on your web site.

Agile Development Processes: An Interview with Jeff Patton
Jared M. Spool and Joshua Porter discuss with Jeff Patton how agile development processes can work with and ehance user experience design through shorter development lifecycles and greater collaboration.

Where Visual Design Meets Usability: An Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Part I
UIE's Joshua Porter catches up with Luke Wroblewski about the intersection between visual design and web site usability.

Where Visual Design Meets Usability: An Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Part II
UIE's Joshua Porter catches up with Luke Wroblewski about a strong page hierarchy, what effect technology has on design, and the role of visual designers.

Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype
Jared M. Spool challenges the myth of Web 2.0, uncovering APIs, RSS, Folksonomies, and Social Networking, which suddenly give application developers a new way to approach hard problems with surprisingly effective results.

The Elements of a Design Pattern
Jared Spool discusses how design teams are discovering that a well-built design pattern library makes the user interface development process substantially easier.

The Road to Recommendation
Before design teams can get recommendations for design changes, they need to slow down and consider the principles of observation, inference, and opinion.