10 observations

1. You can’t design the user experience
It’s well quoted but true. There is no such thing as THE user experience; every one and every context is different. But we can design for user experience.

2. The experience is defined by the user, not the designer
Enough said.

3. User Experience is not an optional extra
Your product, service or interface will have one whether you like it or not. The choice is whether it’s good or not.

4. Experience is not defined by the deliverables_
Just because the site map, flow and wireframes are done, doesn’t mean the experience design is done.

5. …or the process
Waterfall, agile, lean…each have their merits – and pitfalls. Some projects will suit one, others another.

6. Experience design isn’t just about designing things
Like a website, an app or social platform but the experiences that join them up.

7. Can’t do it in isolation
Experience design cannot simply be a stage in the process. We (agencies) can’t optimise the experience without detailed input and collaboration from the client. There’s also little to be gained from throwing designs and documents over the metaphorical wall to be built or implemented. Collaboration with product, tech and customer service teams is vital to realising the vision.

8. It is about the type of person
Stephen P Anderson makes a potent argument that User Experience is best described by the types and behaviours of people that are good at it.

9. It is all about the end-results
It’s a passion for creating the right product – no matter what. The right experience for the user. People like and interact with things that work – not just look beautiful.

10. Experience Design starts and stops with people.
Our job is to understand people; their attitudes and motivations towards a category, brand or product in context. Building an understanding of what influences our behaviour and decision making means we can apply all the disciplines to design experiences that work.


Project Management Triangle and Agile

For team members working in an agile software development environment (if you are not already, it is simply a matter of time), the principles of the old Project Management Triangle still apply. How the cost, scope, and schedule are balanced will always determine the quality (i.e. success) of the project, and this needs to be assessed with each project (i.e. the client requirements). Unfortunately, no one is immune to senior management and project managers trying to upset the balance of the PM Triangle by reducing costs, tightening deadlines, and adding features in the specification (most likely to try and make a sale).

UX and Agile: Tying the knot by Michael Lai

Museum’s audio guides

Found this review on tripadvisor:

“Be careful with the audio guide at Bowie exhibition.”

Reviewed 2 April 2013
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Bowie exhibit, but there’s one thing which spoils it. When the rooms are full, you can’t get close enough to the exhibits for the right audio to kick in, which means if you’re looking at Space Oddity, you’re still getting ‘Underneath the Arches’ from the Gilbert and George piece on the way in! It’s hugely annoying as you’re jostling for position, trying to get into the right catchment area for the right audio.

I appreciate that this probably works perfectly with a few people, but with a few hundred it doesn’t – and you start wondering whether what you’re hearing IS what you should be hearing! And you become aware of other people walking about moving their heads like Balinese dancers trying to get their heads into the right space, as it were.

I think a simple ‘Press 1’ might not be as sexy, but it works!

Four Ways to a Simpler You

  1. Start with your site traffic. A look at your site traffic is probably the best and fastest way to understand what your customers most value and what they can do without. Which of your content and features are getting the most attention? Which are being ignored? What are the top user paths? Which content is searched for the most? You’ll likely find that the 80/20 rule—where a small sub-section of your content sees the majority of activity—applies.
  2. Try mobile first. The emerging practice of “mobile-first,” whereby companies organize their business around mobile as their primary channel, is gaining in prominence (Google declared itself a mobile-first company in 2010). Whatever you think of mobile-first as a business practice, trying it out as an experiment can help you boil down your offerings to their most bare and useful essence.
  3. Get more objective. Designers, developers, and even executives can frequently get too close to their online initiatives; clinging tightly to pet features and the status quo. Install a decision-maker who knows your business and customers well, but who isn’t involved in the day-to-day of design and development. That person will have the objectivity to ask hard questions and, when necessary, slaughter the sacred cows.
  4. Test, test, and test. There’s nothing like the feedback of real users to break your internal logjams and provide clarity about what’s valuable to them. If budget or timeline are concerns, testing informally with friends and family can still produce valuable insights. And it’s better than no testing at all.

Scott McDonald: Four ways to a simpler you