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August 7th, 2014
Usability testing is one of the most important tools we have for validating our approach to the user experience for any given project. It can also be an exercise in extreme frustration.
Usability testing generally relies on 3 components: A prototype, a test script and a participant. The prototype might be as simple as an unadorned wireframe or as complex as a fully interactive website. The test script will have been written and prepared in accordance with the client’s needs and the moderator’s intent. These components should both be known or controllable elements. The participants, on the other hand, can be unpredictable. They come from a variety of technology and user backgrounds which can make gathering information difficult and even frustrating. What the tester might believe to be common knowledge may be new information to the participant. Profiled here are four common participant types along with advice as to best usability testing approaches.
August 5th, 2014
You might not know it, but you have likely observed hashjacking on the internet. Also known as “newsjacking” or “trendjacking,” it has been aparrent on Twitter and other social media sites since the advent of the hashtag. If you’re not familiar with the term, “hashjacking” refers to when a brand uses the popularity of a seemingly unrelated topic to promote itself. It relies upon leveraging trending hashtags to increase the popularity and visibility of one’s own content, even when that content might not be directly or even vaguely related. When used appropriately, hashjacking can be a smart, creative way to expand your digital impression; however, it is important to be aware of the potential security threats that the practice might pose for your business or personal accounts.
July 31st, 2014
Turns out not all computer geeks are nerdy. Meet Brent Pinkstaff, one of our Sitecore Leads. When Brent isn’t cruising on one of his vintage motorcycles, he’s tinkering with them in his garage. When he’s not restoring fifty-year-old engines and exhaust pipes, he’s participating in regional auto shows where he can show off his incredible work. And when he’s not doing any of these things, you can find him donning a Triumph t-shirt here in the office.
July 29th, 2014
In a web development project environment, at some point, you will need to present or communicate the status, goals or intent of your project to your client. Usually, the meeting goes somewhat like this: You deliver your in-depth expertise on the subject matter, a seemingly amused audience stares and nods, and a series of related (as well as unrelated) questions follows. You are talking in your own UX or web language that is completely familiar to you, but might be completely lost on your client, who happens to be the most valuable instrument in the project process. Therefore, it is important to think about how we communicate our vision across these knowledge barriers so that the client has a firm grasp on the project in its entirety.
July 24th, 2014
Nothing says summer like barbeque, dogs, cold drinks and facepaint. The theme for this year’s summer party was “Camp NavArts.” We were so lucky to have all of our Navartians together with their lovely families (and pets)!
July 23rd, 2014
The need for system integrations on the web is continually expanding among organizations. Whether it is customer relationship management, email campaign management, or social media, organizations are integrating various data sources with their internet and intranet applications to form enterprise systems.
These integrations are typically coupled using an Application Programming Interface or API. An API, which is often programmed using web services for these types of integrations, allows indirect access to the desired system by exposing specific data required by the calling application. Some third party systems come pre-installed with web services while others might have database queries to support web service operations and require the web services themselves to be custom made by the user.
July 17th, 2014
Throwback Thursday much? Today we feature Matt White, one of our Senior Information Architects who happens to have a long-standing rockstar career outside of the office. We were able to dig up some old photographs- one from his first band’s album cover in 1992, the other from a popular gig that involved robin-egg-blue suits from crooner Bobby Darin’s band- for your enjoyment.
July 16th, 2014
Are your servers cattle or pets? Two years ago Randy Bias used the metaphor in a presentation entitled “Architecture for Open and Scalable Clouds.” In the not too distant past, people set up server farms with names of characters from various pop culture favorites, like The Simpons, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. If one of these servers- say, Joffrey- gets sick, the IT team rushes to his aid and tries to save him. They put cold towels on his head to lower the temperature of his CPU which has been pegged at 100 percent. The server is considered to be a “pet;” therefore, you do your best to try to fix and save it.
July 10th, 2014
The age-old question- who are Navartians? (Read: NavArt-ians). We come together from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds to form an exceptional crew of talented, nerdy game-changers. Navartians’ resumes reveal why we constantly shatter convention: we are anything but normal (in a good way). Meet Katiri, our comic-book-loving, world-conquering, ping-pong-dominating visionary.
July 8th, 2014
Selfish. Entitled. Lazy. That’s how many employers understand the career-entering generation, otherwise known as “millennials.” They’re the young adults ready to disrupt the workplace with their idealism and thwart productivity with their “generation me” attitude. The New York Times recently reflected on the entering workforce, citing many of the concerns that older generations hold against their younger counterparts:
July 1st, 2014
As user experience designers, we bridge the gap between technical platforms and human interaction. Oftentimes, we are at the mercy of the systems we design for. This is why tight collaboration with developers is so important, as it helps us understand both the data that the API is expecting as well as the data that it returns. We can often help shape those back-end interactions for a better user experience.
June 26th, 2014
Why should web designers bother with code? Many designers are content with staying within their conceptual comfort zone without much regard for the design once it’s handed off to a developer. They might think, “There is someone else who knows how to code, so why do I need to do it?” But just as a print designer needs to be familiar with paper types, pantone coverage and large format printing, a web designer should know the basic building blocks of a website—like HTML and CSS—in order to understand how their creations will come to life.
June 24th, 2014
The internet is full of unlimited information, data, and entertainment, which is why we love it so much. But what happens when all of this open data becomes a little too open?
We have all heard it before, the more places, systems and people we are connected with, the more chances there are to be hacked or to have your information taken. As an organization, here are some practices we’ve put in place to make sure that we are not prey to potential vulnerabilities.
June 17th, 2014
As technology change accelerates and user adoption rates soar, there’s enormous pressure to rethink content and the teams who create it.
June 12th, 2014
Luckily for us (Architects of the User Experience), the concept of UX has become increasingly well understood and valued over the last decade or so. Personally, I always have PLENTY to say when a User Experience does not meet expectations. But I don’t often have the chance to put pen to paper and create a concept completely from scratch.