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November 11th, 2014
As user experience designers, we do our work for a distinct group of people: users. But how do we come to understand who they are? Google Analytics will tell you their average age, where they live and what they click on, but it won’t tell you who they are as people or what drives their actions. A persona is a tool you can use to find out more about your audience, why they think the way they do, what they like and what they don’t, so you can predict and anticipate their needs more intimately on your site. So, how exactly do you successfully construct accurate personas?
November 6th, 2014
Inevitably, website redesigns often initiate significant rework of internal IT systems. This is a common pattern I’ve noticed throughout 15 years of working on website redesigns across many platforms. New website features, new integrations, and enhanced business processes all come into play with a large-scale redesign. But what I’ve seen in recent years is that internal systems that deliver capabilities to and from a website can remain unchanged during a significant web redesign—but only when architected “correctly.” In order to figure out which systems those are, and what exactly “correctly” means, I have to go back a few years….
November 4th, 2014
Remember the voice in the movie Field of Dreams, urging Kevin Costner’s character to plow under his cornfield to build a baseball diamond? “If you build it, they will come.” It seems an entire digital industry is working on that same faith these days, especially in Wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Many folks (myself included) have claimed Wearables + IoT to be the technology wave of the future. I believe it will disrupt many existing technologies, devices, and learned behaviors. In actuality, no one knows how long will it take the planet to adopt Google glass, talking wrist watches, and arm-band motion sensors– if ever. Information overload seems to be biggest problem we face these days with all the new stuff being introduced.
October 31st, 2014
Our 2014 Halloween Showcase was an immense success! Check out some photos from our day of costumes, presentations, and sangria.
October 29th, 2014
These days there is virtually no excuse for failing to stay on top of current events, emails or texts. While this interconnectedness allows us to keep in touch with one another, it has encouraged an addiction to instant technological gratification. We feel as though we are entitled to unlimited information as we please, and this notion is seeping into our everyday social interactions.
October 23rd, 2014
Project managers work with a variety of clients on a broad range of projects – as a result, a PM needs to wear a lot of hats. In the UX and web development arena, this can mean working with subject matter experts of all kinds: information architects, designers, developers and other technical gurus. As a PM, it’s important to understand what these individuals are responsible for, but you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in any of these disciplines – your primary responsibility is to manage scope, schedule and budget, and the relationship with your client, of course. That is your area of expertise, and it requires its own unique skill set.
October 21st, 2014
Effective network design and implementation sometimes demands that you think outside of the box. This is especially true when designing in virtual hosting environments such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is easy to get overwhelmed by the capabilities at one’s disposal, as well as the complications of tying the various components together through synergy.
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 14th, 2014
When you are preparing to go away for a business trip or a vacation, how do you pack? Do you take the whole house with you, or do you just pick a handful of things and shove them into a bag? Personally, I am a meticulous packer: I start with a large pile of everything I want to bring and carefully whittle it down to what I actually need. Regardless of your packing style, the act of packing forces you to determine what items are essential and what items are superfluous in a prioritized manner.
The same is true when you build a new website or install a new CMS. You shouldn’t bring everything with you, but you do need to prioritize and determine what’s most important. Not everything needs to happen right away, since you can augment the site as time goes by. It’s important to ask “What do we need our new site to do and what do we need to get it there?”
October 10th, 2014
October 8th, 2014
The purpose of Keep Alive is to maintain the ASP.NET worker process as active by regularly requesting an ASP.NET page.
There are usually many scheduled tasks and agents running in Sitecore. Sometimes you might see your logs writing:
Shutdown message: HostingEnvironment initiated shutdown
with no logs following the message.
October 2nd, 2014
Hand gestures have become a vital form of communication in our daily lives with the emergence of the digital touch interface. The traditional model of influence—in which buttons are physical inputs, operated by the hand to maneuver a digital object—imposes analog controls with limited capabilities.
These days, digital objects are influencing our analog controls. Skeuomorphic digital objects found commonly on smartphones and tablets interfaces are now operated by taps, pinches and swipes.
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 25th, 2014
When it comes to spending, millennials want to have their cake and eat it too. We want the penthouse apartment for a fraction of the actual rent; we want entry-level jobs that allow us 30 days of paid vacation; we want box seats at an NFL game at the price of a regular ticket. Of course, it rarely works out that way and entry-level salaries hardly allow us to splurge on the fancy trappings of yuppie-dom. Therefore, marketing to millennials can be tricky. In just 5 years, millennials will account for over a third of retail spending—so how do you build a relationship with the market’s most fickle consumers?
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.