How can I be more strategic at work?

When designing, start with a concept.
Concepts are simple metaphors we can use to help people understand how a system will work, before getting too attached to the details.

Prototype the most radical idea first.
As Jason Fried said: “When prototyping, always try wackier/quirkier stuff first. The deeper you get into a project, the more conservative it tends to get. Stranger ideas are more at home earlier in the process.”

Advocate for less. Or as Julie Zhuo states: prioritize and cut.
“When the discussion becomes ‘should we ship this mediocre thing, or should we spend additional time that we don’t have to make it better?’ the battle has already been lost. The thing we failed to do weeks or months ago was cutting aggressively enough. Either this thing matters, in which case make it great — don’t make it mediocre. Or it doesn’t, in which case, don’t work on it in the first place.”

Practice zooming in and zooming out of your designs
Force your brain to be idle; test your design in a different screen (print them out!); share your design earlier and often, talk aloud about it; write a summary of your idea; write the case study while you work on it. It’s all about creating the habit.

Be patient.
We like intensity. We love things that are fixed in time and easily measured. But only by staying with it for the long-run will the vision be delivered. Consistency, patience, and hard work are the keys to good design (and any other work, really).

From UX trends

Design for slow and fast journeys

Which sites should be slow? If the site is delivering content for the good of the general public, the presentation should enable slow, careful reading. If it’s designed to promote our business or help a customer get an answer to her question, it must be designed for speed of relevancy.

Luke Wrobleswski’s notes about Jeffrey Zelfman;s talk An Event Apart: Content Performance Quotient

Mobile first

Losing 80% of your screen space forces you to focus. You need to make sure that what stays on the screen is the most important set of features for your customers and your business. There simply isn’t room for any interface debris or content of questionable value. You need to know what matters most.

Luke Wroblewski: Mobile First

Manicuring the right rag

Manicuring the right rag — the vertical line of words on ranged-left text. Maximising the space available, but ensuring there are no line breaks or orphaned words that disrupt the flow of reading.

  • VIOLATION 1. NEVER BREAK A LINE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A PREPOSITION
  • VIOLATION 2. NEVER BREAK A LINE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A DASH
  • VIOLATION 3. NO SMALL WORDS AT THE END OF A LINE
  • VIOLATION 4. HYPHENATION
  • VIOLATION 5. DON’T BREAK EMPHASISED PHRASES OF THREE OR FEWER WORDS

Mark Boulton: Run Ragged

Lessons learned …

… from participants in a user experience study about airline websites;

  • Openness
    Give honest and open information, especially with prices
  • Clarity
    Important information, like alerts, should be clearly visible
  • Relevance
    Ensure content is relevant to most users; don’t crowd the page
  • Priority
    Prioritise the page; common elements should be high on the page

Usabilla Report: The UX of 18 leading travel websites

Strategic UX design

  • Business strategy: value proposition/experience strategy, product description, target audience, business model
  • Customer experience strategy: experience map & touchpoints, personas, design principles, KPIs & metrics
  • Tactical execution: prioritization, strategy led design, design evaluation, methodology

Leisa Reichelt at UXLX11 – summarised here

Content strategy

“[A bunch of] tactics, when combined, do not make up a strategy.”

“Content strategy is the practice of planing for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable [online] content.”

  • Creation: What contnt will be created and why? How will that content be structured and found? Where will the content come from? Who will be in charge of creating it?
  • Delivery: How will content get online? Who will review it, edit it, approve it, load it? What goes into phase one, phase two, and so on? How and where will you deliver content to users? Which tools and data will ensure your users will find it?
  • Governance: Who cares for he content after it goes live? What’s the plan for adding, updating, and archiving content? What are the policies, standards, and guidelines by which content will be evaluated?

Halvarson (2010), p.32