I have encountered several people over the last year who were not familiar with responsive design. This doesn’t shock me as much when these people have roles that are not within the technology bucket. However, many of these people have been those is the development world.
Now let me just take a minute to explain that I am not bashing developers. I truly think you all are a fascinating bunch of Mountain-Dew lovers. I have a secret love for learning how to code and all the problem solving skills that come with it. So know that you know that I am not knocking you… Please read on.
I have heard many people, developers specifically, talk about the responsiveness of the website as how well the system can converse with the user. For example, a search field that dynamically surfaces relevant terms as you type. This would have to have the appropriate speed of return on the terms being dynamically populated otherwise is would lack ‘responsiveness’.
Now to a designer… This is interesting to hear. When we hear ‘responsive design’, we get a great big stupid looking grin on our face and want to start playing with all the windows on our screens making them bigger and smaller. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I have spent reading about responsive design and playing with the sites, just to check them out. (I personally think that responsive design = good design and should not be a question for a site today.)
My point here is that we are using this terminology in different ways. I think there is a hudge opportunity to make sure designers and developers are all on the same page. But my real question is… have you all encountered this? What has been your experience?
In the past year, I have had the opportunity to identifying and/or influencing the names of a few product/service. I was certainly a challenge that I had not tackled before. I reached out to colleagues and read book/articles/blogs in regard to solid UX renaming or naming methods, but didn’t find what I was looking for. So, I decided to use my knowledge & experience to mold my own methodology – which I have changed many times. Here is what I have devised (in a step-by-step fashion) and some tips I learned along the way:
- Meet with project team to define goals: This one is a normal step to any user research method. But, the important thing is to understand why the project team feels there needs to be a renaming OR why there needs to be a name at all. I have found that we get carried away in the design phase and can sometimes name features or functionality of a tool that simply do not need naming. My main questions for the group are: What is the current name? What does the tool do? Are there any plans to enhance the tool in the future? If so, how? What are your concerns with the tool today? TIP: Make sure your initial group is diverse and includes all key stakeholders for the product. This will help not only with the end result of the project, but will also foster buy-in for the new name.
If you know me, you probably know my love for Marketing/Branding. I simple enjoy watching companies grow and evolve their brands’ over time. I watch TV for the commercials and I LOVE reading billboards. (Yes, I understand this is weird! )
A few weeks ago, Andrew Heaton wrote an article for JohnnyHolland called ‘UX: The New Brand Leader‘. One of the things he said really hit home for me. He says ‘If trust is a series of good experiences over time and positive brand sentiment is guided by trust, it’s a magnificent truth that we propel the brand.’ He is exactly right. UX and Branding are two elements of business that go hand in hand.
What I am proposing is that we as UXers should be testing the brand elements. We should be looking at them to provide guidance. Our guidance can be as small as suggesting a higher color contrast on a logo or advertisement. But, it can also be as robust as driving/influencing the direction of branding elements such as the brand voice (the way a company speak with clients/customers).
Our toolkits give us everything to get the data needed to understand all the touchy-feely things that branding is all about. A great brand makes people feel or even re-experience something when they see a brand element such as a logo. We all have some sort of reaction to Coca-cola or Pepsi, Nike or ADIDAS, etc. Our user-centered design can inform marketers of the experiences people are having with the brand!
So, I encourage you all to meet with branding and marketing to enhance that experience or at least interview and test to better understand what the user is thinking about your brand.
Kaycee A. Collins
I have been hearing a lot of talk about UX and Education. Many people are asking:
- Is it important?
- Where can I go to school?
- Will it increase my compensation?
- Will it help me get ahead?
I have heard people say they are dropping out of school because they don’t need the degree and those that say their degree has hurt them in the past because it wasn’t what the company was looking for. Here are my thoughts:
It seems this has been a popular topic in the UX world. I wanted to share my thoughts through working with visual designers, developers, UX designers, and the like.
But my questions is, do I really need to actively code? I’m suggesting no.
I was at a conference a few months ago when I heard a quote from a speaker who was unsure who he originally heard it from. It has recently became one of my favorite quotes.
“If you watch two people trip over a rug, you will fix the rug – not wait for statistical significance before fixing it.”
I thought this was a great way to start the discuss of how we, as UXers, make decisions of when to fix usability issues. When does it become a problem? When does it become a priority to fix the problem? Does it make business sense? We tend to get these questions a lot. Here is an approach to addressing these issues I have found to be successful.
“How can you make these recommendations based only on 8 people?”
This is the question we are asked so often. I generally start with providing data from Nielsen Norman Group in regard to the number of participants needed to identify 80% of the usability issues with a product (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/number-of-test-users.html). However, not all people are numbers and graphs people. So, I like to tell the story based on the quote above. This really helps people get why we only need 5-8 users (per user group) to successfully identify usability issues.
In a previous post, I discussed my remote control I loath. I have had the remote for about 6 or 7 months now and still find myself referring to the manual for new commands or to remember how rarely used commands work. Many of the commonly used buttons are not ergonomically positioned in a way that is easy to click. I find myself looking like someone who has never typed on a computer before – typing one letter at a time.
Many of you may have read/heard about this in the news. Coke came out with it’s Christmas cans as usual this year. However, the cans looked very similar to that of a diet coke can. The poor design of this coke can cost them a large sum of money that could have been easily saved. More importantly, they had many consumers think that Coke had changed the recipe again. Not another ‘New Coke’ fiasco!!!
In my academic career, professors drilled into our heads the difference between a symptom and the problem. The differences between these two will never leave my mind. Understanding the difference between a symptom and a problem can be a vital skill when it comes to UX. I will first explain what each are, and then talk to these from a UX standpoint.
What’s the difference?
Symptoms: These are what happen when there is a problem. For example, users can not find X, users are using other services, users are inputting the data wrong, ect. Often, you will be able to answer the question ‘Why?’ to get at the problem. You may have to ask this question several times before finding the problem.
Problems: These are what cause the symptoms. When asking the questions ‘Why?’ you often cannot find an answer (this is my rule of thumb). This is the underlying issue that causes all the negative (and occasionally some unexpected positive) to happen with a product or services.
’tis the season for online shopping.
I don’t know if you are like me, but I like to browse for gifts online and to purchase in the store., if possible. I don’t really know why, but I like to make sure that what I am purchasing is exactly what I thought I was purchasing. And, sometime I am a last minute shopper and need to pick up the gift just hours before I plan to give the gift. This year, I found this much more difficult to do. Many online eCommerce site do not do a great job of identifying what they have in their stores and the items that are only available online. The exception was Walmart.
Walmart not only allowed me to search for in-store items, but they also allowed me to search by store in my area. This was perfect! I needed a starter kit for knitting as a gag gift for my Secret Santa gift at work, but I also needed to go to a Walmart that was on my way home (I wanted to make it to the Blues game by 7).
I am not sure how often people browse for items before going into the store to shop, but I am glad Walmart explored this user story and provided a perfect experience for me – the Procrastinating Holiday Shopper.
Shout out to my Secret Santa for a great gift: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging! Thank you, Emily!