The User Experience Blog
Dialogue around issues and ideas that impact user experience

Blogging for Thought Leadership: Part 2: Learning’s and Next Steps

It has been over six months since we started the Evantage User Experience Blog, and as Mary mentioned in the earlier post, it’s time for us to pa

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use, reflect and evaluate how we have been doing. In this article, I will discuss the challenges we have faced so far and what we learned from them in our efforts to keep the blog going. I will also share the metrics we collected and analyzed to answer the question we started with – Is a User Experience blog an effective medium to promote Thought Leadership?

The User Experience Team at Evantage hopes that our learnings will help other teams think about similar endeavors and that the combined efforts will foster thought leadership in the User Experience domain.

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Blogging for Thought Leadership – Part 1: Why & How

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One of our company’s business goals in 2008 was to promote thought leadership occurring within our organization. To meet this goal, we decided to try it out with one practice area. The User Experience group took on the challenge and decided to launch a blog. This article is the first of two in which we’ll discuss why we chose to publish a blog generic

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and how we went about it.

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Playfulness, Usability, &amp;amp;amp;amp; Context: The Three Pillars of a Delightful User Experience

When I bought my first iPhone almost three months ago, I also acquired a new obsession with the role of playfulness in user experience design. Recently, a fortunate coincidence occurred that has allowed me to explore this new obsession deeply. Tw

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o iPhone developers each released new measurement unit conversion apps within a week of each other and also documented their design processes on the Web. As if that weren’t enough, both of these applications, taptaptap’s Convert and Tapbots’ Convertbot, were designed with the idea of delightful experience in mind. The two apps are very different despite all these similarities, and those differences got me thinking about the relationship between playfulness and usability in creating delightful interactions. I succumbed fully to my obsession and roped in some iPhone-using coworkers to participate in an informal comparative usability test. What I learned, led me to compelling insights about the relationship between usability and playfulness.
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A Few of My Favorite Things About Axure

Working on a clickable prototype in the last couple of weeks I am reminded again of how much I can do in Axure that I couldn’t do in Visio. User Experience Design is all about context and while I know I got a lot of great information using pap

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er prototypes, there is another layer of learning I’ve achieved by allowing these users to personalize their experience using a clickable prototype based on where they navigate and what they enter and displaying that information back to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Six Data Points for User Research Documentation

As a user experience consultant, I spend a fair amount of time at the beginning of a project reading existing user research reports. These reports help me understand the user research done in the past, the outcome and what, if anything was iden

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tified for further exploration. For small and relatively simple projects these reports are fairly easy to thread together. But for large and more complex projects that involve multiple user experience professionals conducting user experience activities in parallel, tracing the user research history just six months after the project is complicated and can sometimes be challenging.

Here are the six data points that I think every user research report must include.

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New Article Written For Johnny Holland

Last week I published an article on Johnny Holland, an excellent online magazine about interaction design & research. I talk about how

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the iPhone’s user experience generic levitra no prescription uk design illuminate the problems that user experience designers buy cheap viagra will be grappling with

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in the immediate future, and I provide some methods to explore in order to address these problems. So far, the article has generated a lot of discussion. People have reacted strongly against and strongly for some of the points I make in the article. Read it over lunch (it’s viagra fast no prescription long) and throw in your two cents!

The iPhone is Not Easy to Use: A New Direction for UX Design

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What tools are people using to view your web site?

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When designing a site, it is important to remember that not all of your users will be accessing your web site using a computer screen, keyboard, or standard computer mouse. People with disabilities use a variety of adaptive technologies to access web sites.
Read the rest of this entry »

Maximizing Usability Testing in a Pared Down Project

We all understand that times are hard right now. Finding the money to fund a project can be difficult and you will find yourself paring the project plan way down in order to

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complete it. Just because the money dries up doesn’t mean user testing nee

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ds to dry up. There are plenty of ways to test your site on Canada viagra pharmacies scam the cheap. Finding creative ways to keep usability testing in a project can make the best use of the dollars you have, catch issues before any code is written and give a better user experience to your customers.

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Nine Essential Characteristics of Good UX Designers

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p>Someone sent a message to the Adaptive Path Alums mailing list last fall asserting that Information Architects (IAs) need to be really great coders to do their jobs. I was aghast. I uttered many things, loudly, that are inappropriate for a profession

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al blog. The clincher for me was this line, “[IAs] need to wake up in the middle of the night and code SQL joins.” No. No, we don’t. I collected myself and wrote a response just snarky enough for me to feel I’d made my point. This discussion went back and forth for a bit, but it ended up somewhere interesting. To make my ultimate point, I thought hard about it and defined the nine essential characteristics you must possess to make a good software user experience designer.

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Four WCAG 2.0 Guidelines that could Improve Readability for all Audiences

I often hear how accessibility can help everyone. One

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of the most common examples I’ve heard is that sidewalk ramps not only help people in wheel chairs but they also help people rolling luggage, strollers, hot dog carts, grocery carts, etc. Along the same lines the WCAG 2.0 guidelines listed below are by far some of my favorite because they can improve content in a web site

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for everyone. These guidelines should not only be applied to accessibility, they should also be applied to style guidelines and user interface guidelines for a site.

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User Experience and Healthcare

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gning products and applications for Healthcare clients than I do for viagra original use clients in other industries. After buy discount cialis online looking at the emerging trends in the Healthcare industry and the shifting landscape of online user behavior, it became clear to me that when designing for Healthcare, I focus more user research and I

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prefer smaller, more iterative cycles within the design process.

The attached presentation details my insights on the subject and describes the steps I feel one should focus on when designing products and applications for Healthcare users.

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Tips for Evaluating a Site for Accessibility

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Accessibility is the development of information systems flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the broadcast range of users regardless of age or disability.

When creating a site that is accessible, make sure that it is accessible no matter what Internet browser is being used. You will also want to take into consideration that there are different types of assistive devices that users may be using and of these devices there are different versions of each device. Below are few tips and considerations to take when evaluating a site for accessibility.

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Recruiting Agency + User Testing = Nirvana

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a lot of user testing here at Evantage. A typical project can have a few rounds of testing. It’s that love of creative solutions for complex problems that leads us to find out if users totally get it or if they are struggling to complete a ta

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sk we had all high-fived over when the prototype was initially designed. Lots of user testing ensures that we are certain that users will spend time on the site/application/device and find everything best cialis 5mg prices they need.

Performing all this testing requires users. Depending on the number of personas or profiles I create for a client this could be anywhere from 7-20 people for each round of testing. This doesn’t seem like much and clients often think that they can save the recruiting costs if they do it internally, but I find that hiring a recruiting agency to find users is more efficient and even cost effective in the long run.

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Is the client ready for social media?

I found myself asking this question when one of our clients mentioned that they wanted to integrate social media in their customer facing website. I had just finished analyzing the data from a recent survey done to uncover the unmet needs of the user

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indicated that the users of the website were very skilled at getting their job done without having the need to engage with their peers. Which made me wonder why they would need social media. Digging deeper, I realized that 20% of the users had Facebook accounts but they had not used those accounts on a regular basis leave alone the option of using it for work. So while the client wanted to integrate social media to increase users’ engagement with the new site and stay ahead of the competition, I wondered if the users were ready for it. To get some answers I proposed doing what we love doing, talking to the users.

After doing a few telephone interviews with potential users, my gut reaction for introducing social media was positive. Here is why:
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A look at Healthcare Systems and Web 2.0

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p>Recently I attended the Health 2.0 conference and was impressed by the drive and the passion displayed by everyone to transform the Healthcare industry. This included entreprene

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urs, policy makers, patient advocates, physicians, corporate and research organizations. The conference discussions highlighted the changing role of patients and physicians and showcased the different ways in which Web 2.0 tools had been used to help bring this change. It was a good platform to get a sneak preview into the future of the digital landscape of Healthcare and evaluate some of our strategies for getting there.

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Sustainability = Accessibility

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In Dwell Sam Grawe, editor-in-chief, states we as individuals need to make micro-decisions to improve sustainability and “government, corporations, and other institutions need to lay a framework that makes adopting those decisions easy.” (May 2009) The 508

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law (Rehabilitation Act) was passed “to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.” ( Currently, the law applies only to federal agencies. Corporations and we as individuals are responsible for ensuring that this expands to other areas.

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The Five Minute Home Page Usability Evaluation

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p>A co-worker came into my office today with a printout of a prototype home page a friend of hers was working on. She was wondering if having this contact box on the home page was a good idea or not.

I don’t know when people will learn, but asking m

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e a yes or no question is a Bad Idea. I am not known for my brevity.

What came out of this was what was probably the world’s fastest home page usability evaluation. And in the time it took me to tweet about it, this friend had turned into a potential client. This led me to believe that this kind of ultra-fast evaluation might be a worthwhile business development tool.

So, here is what I did… but is this a repeatable process? Maybe, maybe not. Try it out and let me know.

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Reflections on the 2009 IA Summit

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with all the things I’ve learned and interesting discussions I’ve had. This is my humble attempt to gather my thoughts and put them down in blog form.

First, I’m going

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to say that if given the choice of only attending one conference a year, I would still choose this conference. It’s one of the more inexpensive conferences to attend and as Karl Fast said during 5 minute madness, it is designed by us for us. We only have two selected speakers and the rest are submissions sent in the by the community. It’s a great space to see what is happening in the user experience realm. On an individual basis, we spend the year solving problems and creating great user interfaces for our clients, on this occasion we get to compare those experiences and learn about some great new technique that will improve how we do our jobs.

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Will the Facebook redesign, impact it’s future?

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p>March 13th started a fury of activity on my Facebook. Everybody who is vocal on my Facebook had something negative to say about its new design. I repeatedly questioned the reasoning behind it and looked for something… anything remotely positive about

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it. A quick search resulted in some insights on the goals of the new design and this

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made me contemplate the future of Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

A template for capturing &amp; analyzing qualitative user experience data

Until recently, I captured all my data from interviews,

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contextual inquiries, walkthroughs, and user testing in Word. For each participant, I’d type my observations etc. into a copy of the test plan. At the end I was left with many many documents whi

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I became dissatisfied with this form of analysis. It resists rigor. So during the second to last round of testing I did, I put all my Word notes into an Excel document to make

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comparisons more effectively. It was lovely. It took a lot of effort with all that copying & pasting, but it was worth it.

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