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August 5th, 2015
There are plenty of Agile websites that will describe what and how to write user stories so I’m not going to repeat that here. Instead what I’ll be going over is how I construct user stories in JIRA for my projects. A user story is essentially a sentence written to succinctly tell what a user specifically wants to do. An example:
“As runner I want to run in the best pair of running shoes that fit me.”
July 30th, 2015
Faceted search as a technique for organizing content is still a tried and true method used in modern web design. Implementing faceted search allows companies to fully expose their offerings and website content. Due to advances in front-end technologies, there are some new techniques and experiences that have taken faceted search to the next level.
This is an updated version of a previous blog we posted on faceted search a little while back; if you’re interested in viewing those examples you can find them here.
July 28th, 2015
The digital era has forced financial services to focus on customer relationships and personalized service more than ever before. The modern financial services consumer expects to interact with a brand that is personal, approachable, and useful. Today clients are far more likely to interact with a financial service provider through its online services rather than in person; as a result, financial services must better their digital presence and provide clients with all of the information and tools that they need. We’ve compiled a list of the strategies and best practices that many financial services are implementing to increase their brand equity and better their relations with customers.
July 22nd, 2015
As regulations continue to tighten on the industry and margins remain slim, the financial sector’s saving grace comes in the form of digital innovation. Like most other sectors, financial services is experiencing the user-led revolution of brand interaction and companies that are embracing innovation are experiencing success. Those that are slow to the game, however, will shortly be left behind.
Below are 4 companies who are taking the lead in digital innovation and succeeding:
June 25th, 2015
Most large-scale businesses have implemented or plan to implement complex Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that run their operations from major software vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft. These systems provide the business with capabilities in financial, supply-chain management, procurement, and processes to run the day-to-day operations. However, most users of these systems only access a fraction of these capabilities; as a result, any functionality that is not used becomes a distraction from their duties.
May 21st, 2015
This past week a few members of our team made it out to LA for Drupalcon 2015. I wanted to share a few sessions I attended on interesting subjects and some of the new features being introduced in Drupal 8. Here you’ll find information on each session and a link to the recorded video and slides.
April 24th, 2015
The reality is that “Mobile First” is yet another .COM bubble waiting to burst. Mobile first is a gateway drug for ignoring the business reality: your consumer wants information and needs a consumer experience that allows them to interact in an intuitive way with your web presence. Designing for mobile before understanding what the consumer needs or how they want it is akin to designing a very small chair for a child, who will one day grow into a teenager. Just because you know they need a chair right now doesn’t mean that the one you are building is the right one in the long run. So, what’s the solution?
March 5th, 2015
A recent study asked participants to look at a symbol and try to avoid thinking of both the word associated with that image, as well as how many letters that word had (for example, a subject is told to look at a frog and not think “frog” or think “4,” the number of letters in the word). Nearly 80% of people could not stop themselves from “sub-speaking” the word in their head and only 50% could stop themselves from saying the number of letters in the word. Stopping the brain from making associations in the subconscious is nearly impossible, which makes it extremely important to ensure that visual icons and representations are completely recognizable and aren’t easily confused by the user to have another meaning.
January 13th, 2015
Let’s just say it. User experience is a subjective enterprise. At least, that’s a common perception among those who are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of UX design and development. However, data crunching and statistical analysis play an important role in the discovery process and serve as a major advantage when data is available. If you know what data you want to collect before the user testing starts, you will have an easier time processing that data into actionable pieces of information.
Though the data gleaned through these processes can be invaluable, clients too often dismiss the time and costs associated with collecting this data as an unnecessary “extra.” What they sometimes lack is the long term vision that will accommodate for a changing media landscape in the future.
January 8th, 2015
My eyes glaze over behind the computer screen as my shopping cart piles and piles. Even though I feel like I’m spending my life’s earnings, the best deals are going down, and I’m not about to get left behind.
It’s not surprising that online shopping is now a norm for the average American shopper. The best-known sites (Amazon, eBay) have become gigantic e-commerce dynasties that allow a shopper seemingly limitless opportunities to spend, whether it’s on new shoes, designer furniture, or all-inclusive vacations.
October 16th, 2014
When planning a user experience improvement project, most companies adapt well to looking at their product or service from their user’s perspective, which of course drives and motivates the approach needed for success. Once the interviews, insights, data, etc. are uncovered, again most companies are able to understand the problems their users endure and are on board with improving their digital assets to meet these needs.
However, problems often arise once the improvement train leaves the station. That’s when “user-perspective” is thrown from the platform—people forget how important it is to the final product.
October 1st, 2014
Lean UX breeds an environment of team collaboration where designers should constantly iterate their work, externalize it, fail and go back to the drawing board. With this sort of group centric approach, ux-ers have to be able to talk about their own work and about others in a way that leads to the best possible solution. It may sound easy, but egos, personal politics and frustrations can lead a team down an unruly path if opinions aren’t shared in a constructive way. One person ends up getting railroaded by someone who makes arbitrary, micro-managed decisions and ultimately does nothing for their personal growth as a designer.
Here are a few ways to go about critiquing others’ work.
September 23rd, 2014
UX can do a lot of good for the world.
Unlike User Interface (UI), which emphasizes efficient and streamlined human-machine interactions, User Experience (UX) considers emotions and perceptions when a user comes across a site. Behaviors, attitudes, and affective manners are important considerations in studying a site’s user experience; efficient user interface is only one dimension of the whole. Context rests at the core of UX and informs how we might design a site according to particular user knowledge, capabilities, behaviors, and even psychological responses.
June 10th, 2014
Competitive Analysis, comparing a company or product to other similar companies within an industry, is a standard practice during a Discovery phase. It’s important to understand what the business and user landscapes look like, any existing user expectations, and to benefit from the success and failure of existing solutions.
June 3rd, 2014
One session in particular at this year’s MoDev conference in McLean, Virginia stood out to me: the mini workshop “Turn Ideas to Artifacts with Paper Prototyping,” led by Behnaz Babazadeh.
Paper prototyping, or sketching rather, is nothing ground breaking or new, but I for one feel like I’ve lost the art of pencil and paper in my current visual design and UX work, so this session really appealed to me.