July 7, 2014

A UX Attitude Adjustment

One aspect of being a User Experience designer that I enjoy is the attitude of solving tough problems in a team setting. Working with teams has allowed me to see the attitudes of other disciplines and identify their strengths. These attitudes can help bring the user experience discipline forward to help make our viewpoint less subjective, and more in tune with our collaborators’ attitudes. Below is a list of key roles and their attitudes, and what we should borrow and utilize to make us stronger UX designers. - Read More -

March 3, 2014

UX Design and Agile: Integration User Experience Activities

There has been much discussion lately on how to start integrating user experience activities into the agile way of developing software (you can take a look at this article from UXmatters and LinkedIn discussion). While both development and user experience may have the best interests of users and the business in mind, their approaches to solving problems can vary greatly. From my experience working in agile, I find that there are ideas that can be used from both sides to help get a design specified and implemented (as I have worked in both agile and waterfall development environments). - Read More -

January 24, 2014

Looking for UX Designers

A quick shout-out to UX folks in Southern California (or those looking to move to a place where 85 degrees is described as “Winter”.

For those who don’t know, I work for Slalom Consulting. We’re growing rapidly across the nation, and in particular Southern California. Part of our plan is to expand our Experience Design group by bringing on experienced and passionate UX Designers.

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity, please contact me and we’ll go from there.

January 14, 2014

Five Second Tests: Avoiding the Non-Response when Using Online Tools

The main selling point of the five second test method, and of using online tools such as fivesecondtest.com, is that you can get specific feedback about a design quickly and fairly effortlessly. It is therefore very dispiriting to receive the results of a test and see multiple instances of empty or “I don’t know” responses. (Indeed, experience has shown that in crowdsourced tests, respondents are more than willing to communicate the “I don’t know” response in more creative ways.) Design and user experience research can be difficult to justify from a time and resource standpoint – results like this undercut the research effort and make the job that much more difficult. It is therefore critical that precautionary actions be taken to minimize the likelihood of “empty data,” so that the researcher has not wasted his/her time. - Read More -

November 19, 2013

Becoming A UX Designer: My Path And Observations

While a lot of schools are starting to turn out students with degrees in User Experience, many of us came to it though other (usually related) fields.

This was my path

I grew up in a house with a father who was both a scientist (chemical engineering, mining engineering, and lab research) and lover of the arts. His connection with the arts came in diverse areas: painting, music, and to a lesser extent, film. Every moment of his life was seen through the context of the scientific observation as well as aesthetic appreciation. I picked up on this and found it something to emulate. Even when I was very young, my father answered my questions as if I were an adult. If I didn’t understand, then he would simplify it. I even remember having a conversation with him about what makes a good scientist. His response included such things as the scientific method, that there were many unknowns, that a good scientist tries to prove theories wrong, not right. Never to assume that a fact can be applied to an example in a way that ‘fits really well’ but not exactly and then presume that the result is correct. Be honest but skeptical in practicing science. - Read More -

November 4, 2013

Try Flat Design – You Might Like It

The latest buzz around the design ecosphere lately has been this concept called flat design. If this term is new to your vocabulary, it is a newer concept that on the surface asks the designer to rely upon a very simplistic visual design to accomplish the user experience design. One of the latest examples of flat design is the release of iOS7. Have you played with flat design yet?

For me, flat design has a much deeper meaning (which is why I personally like it) for the design team. Here’s my critique on what flat design brings to the table. - Read More -

October 10, 2013

The Five-Second Test: A Wealth of UX Data

If you KNOW HOW AND WHAT TO ASK

The Five-Second test — also known as “timeout test,” “exposure test” and/or “memory test” — is one of the easiest and most convenient rapid testing methods available.  Displaying a visual or informational design for five seconds and asking what aspect(s) were recalled most easily or vividly can help pinpoint (a) what stands out most about a design or product, and (b) how the viewer’s perception of the overall design is impacted.

However, the method’s value can be compromised by ignoring its restrictions, and by designing the tests to encourage empty or unhelpful responses.  After participating in dozens of such tests using widely available unmoderated testing tools, I found myself giving far too many responses like “I have no way of knowing this” or “I cannot answer this after only 5 seconds of exposure” — and getting far too many similar responses to my own tests.

Convinced there was a better way, I set out to examine the method more closely — how it become an established UX method, how it has evolved in light of new technologies, and whether users are using the tools effectively. - Read More -

October 9, 2013

UX Design Volunteering

When was the last time you volunteered?  What did you do – prepare food for your local food kitchen?  Hammer nails at Habitat for Humanity?  What if you could make use of your design and/or technology skills to improve the lives of the poor? - Read More -

October 3, 2013

Finding UX Hope for Greener Lawns

My family and in-laws work for Montreal City Council. I like this city. It’s my city. Even if it hasn’t been at its best recently, I like working here and I take care of the area I live in.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with my in-laws, who had invited some colleagues around for a birthday celebration. Little by little, I took the opportunity to discuss their work processes and their decision-making strategies. All were extremely inspiring topics, enjoyed with an enormous cake and plenty of coffee.

As we discussed projects that had undergone a change in working methods, the author of this note, your user experience architect, was intrigued by a pretty captivating anecdote. Two of the civil servants in the room had been given the task of redeveloping the footpaths in a park, when the construction of a new administrative building meant they needed to be reconfigured. The concrete paths had been done away with, and they had to find a solution that would create a pleasant and efficient walking experience for park users. - Read More -

September 23, 2013

Lean UX: Why It Can Fail So Miserably

Lean UX has definitely been a fashionable word within the UX world in 2012 and 2013. But like anything that quickly becomes a buzzword, it can often become misunderstood and translated into something completely different. I am not claiming to be an expert of Lean UX, but have seen environments where these tools have thrived but have also seen them fail. - Read More -

September 23, 2013

A UX Design Process without Technology

One of the skills I’ve found to work well in the realm of user experience, is not using technology to help in the UX design process. It seems a little counter-intuitive, as at the heart of our trade is the use of technology. But if we reframe our design thinking without the constraints of our technology-based tools for design, we’ll end up focusing more on the real issues and pain points people have with the technology we end up making. I’ve distilled the essence of these thoughts below. - Read More -

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