If you haven’t already incorporated usability into your product design process, you might wonder why it is necessary. After all, it’s certainly possible to release a working, bug-free product without performing any usability work at all. But incorporating user-centered design principles can lead to a much-improved product in several areas.
Now that Cooper has an office in New York, we find ourselves using video conferencing much more than previously. I attend three recurring video conference meetings every week, plus several ad hoc ones. Just about every meeting involves technical difficulties, delay, confusion, and dissatisfaction for all the parties participating.
One of the best books I’ve ever read on User Experiences is titled “The Elements of User Experience” written by Jesse James Garrett. In the book, he begins by telling the story of a man who wakes up and wonders why his alarm clock never went off. He goes to make coffee, but struggles with the coffeemaker. On his way to work, he stops for gas, but can’t get his credit card to work and has to stand in a long line to pay. When he is finally on his way, he is detoured due to an accident and arrives far later than he ever anticipated. He ends up irritated, sweaty, and lacking a much needed cup of coffee.
User experience (UX) design focuses on enhancing user satisfaction by improving how we interact with the websites, applications and devices in our lives. In other words, UX makes complex things easy to use.
While the term “UX” is relatively new, the concept of user-friendly design has been around for generations. “Good design is good business,” the second president of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, famously told Wharton students in 1973. “We are convinced,” he said, “that good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential.”
“So, Megan, what do you do?”
What a loaded question, geeze. I do lots of things. I run. I eat. I hang out with my 5 rabbits (yeah, they’re awesome). Everyone asks me this question at every networking event, and I still don’t have a succinct, articulate answer. I usually reply with something along the lines of,
“I do user research and product strategy consulting for early stage startups.”
Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft’s most intriguing product in years
We just finished a heavily scripted, carefully managed, and completely amazing demonstration of Microsoft’s HoloLens technology. Four demos, actually, each designed to show off a different use case for a headset that projects holograms into real space. We played Minecraft on a coffee table. We had somebody chart out how to fix a light switch right on top of the very thing we were fixing.
Summary: Feeling that there is only one chance can convince people to take action sooner, sometimes without careful consideration of consequences or alternative options.
The scarcity principle is a well-documented social-psychology phenomenon that causes people to assign high value to things they perceive as being less available.
Summary: Moving elements are a powerful tool to attract users’ attention. When designing an animation consider its goal, its frequency of occurrence, and its mechanics.
Thanks to the rise of HTML5 and CSS3 transforms and transitions, animations and movement are becoming increasingly commonplace in modern web design.
Summary: UX teams are responsible for creating desirable experiences for users. Yet many organizations fail to include users in the development process. Without customer input, organizations risk creating interfaces that fail.
A website’s (or product’s) success depends on how users perceive it. Users assess the usefulness and ease of use of websites as they interact with them, forming their conclusions in seconds—sometimes milliseconds.
Forget voice commands and touch gestures: A London firm has developed a way for Google Glass users to control their devices just by thinking.
This Place, an agency that specializes in creating user interfaces and experiences for programs used in the medical industry, developed a software called MindRDR that allows Google Glass to connect with the Neurosky MindWave Mobile EEG biosensor, a head-mounted device that can detect a person’s brain waves.