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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.
May 28th, 2014
In my previous blog, Three Myths of Usability Testing, I mentioned that one common myth is that usability takes a lot of time, resources and effort. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, as I tend to use low fidelity techniques in my job all the time. Here I’ve outlined a few ways that only require, pen, paper, and maybe some scissors. And those of you who are all digital, all the time, I’ve also offered some suggestions on programs to use that mimic the analog versions.
May 15th, 2014
I had the pleasure of speaking as a panelist at a UXPA Event on April 30th focused on developing successful UX portfolios. During the event, we fielded a variety of good questions that I think speak to what a lot of us struggle with when putting together our own Portfolios.
May 13th, 2014
Amazon.com is responsible not only for making digital personalization a mainstream concept, but for doing it so well that it is no longer a privilege, but an expectation. As such a widely used eCommerce giant, their “People also purchased…” capability is coveted by everyone from start-ups to market leaders.
Amazon’s approach to personalization started simple– they made it easy to understand, and to the user it didn’t seem to overly intrusive or “creepy”. That traditional presentation of recommendations still exists, however it’s quite clear that the model has evolved and the logic has been refined over the years. Amazon has an incredible amount of data in years of purchase history, and they’ve made no secret of putting that data to work. They have been the golden example of how to do personalization for as long as I can remember.
April 15th, 2014
I recently downloaded the financial application called Mint, as a way to keep track of how I spend my money. “What does it do?” my friends asked me. “Not that much,” I responded, “just simply tells me how much money I have and what I’ve spent it on.”
March 27th, 2014
The rapid adoption of tablet and similar touch screen devices means that we can no longer merely focus on desktop monitors as the sole means for website display. Towards this end, I suggest taking a “tablet first” approach to website design. This is the idea that websites should function and display accurately on a tablet device as well as on a traditional desktop monitor. This approach includes the following:
March 11th, 2014
Far too often, we see good projects fail because a business demands feature-rich perfection out of their initial product launches, and at the same time demands the product be released on some arbitrary launch date. More often than we would like, the features required by users do not align to what the business perceives as features users actually want. If the customer doesn’t want it, then why build it? To support a marketing manager’s notion that they intrinsically know what their customers want? Organizations manifest this type of behavior quite often, if only subconsciously.
March 4th, 2014
Technological shifts causing massive disruption in enterprise software have dominated the press. Much like the VHS cassette, the PC is fading into history. Cloud storage has put unlimited computing power in the hands of everyone at very low costs with software-as-a-service now a reliable alternative to on-premises software. And the proliferation of mobile devices is leading the business users to supplement enterprise software with their own cloud-based services.