“Communicating the User Experience” book by Richard Caddick & Steve Cable.
Researching LUMA’s Human-Centered Design Framework
- LUMA Institute: http://www.luma-institute.com/
- Came across this blog post: Getting an Organization to Adopt Human Centered Design (aka Design Thinking): Working with LUMA, http://sethstarner.com/getting-an-organization-to-adopt-human-center
“What is design thinking? It means stepping back from the immediate issue and taking a broader look. It requires systems thinking: realizing that any problem is part of larger whole, and that the solution is likely to require understanding the entire system. It requires deep immersion into the topic, often involving observation and analysis. Tests and frequent revisions can be components of the process. Sometimes this is done in groups: multidisciplinary teams who bring different forms of expertise to the problem. Perhaps the most important point is to move away from the problem description and take a new, broader approach.”
- Don Norman
Disclaimer: Quote taken out of context, but I like what it says.
The interactive agency OnetoOne in Charlestown, hosted the February UPA Boston meeting, on the topic of Mobile best practices. (Thanks for hosting. Cool digs!)
Here are some take-aways:
- Think of mobile strategy first, before designing main website
- All content needs to be there (Same as main website)
- The focus for mobile is Context, Content (Information), and Task-Specific (Services)
- Tom DeMarco, famed software engineer, talks about simplifying tasks, never more than 3 clicks away or 3 pages deep.
- Search is most important
- Order tasks to start with most frequent
- Group by categories. Maximum 10 items by category
- Total links per page: 10
- Main Nav: 3 or 4 links
- Most used features at the top
- Have a “go to top” link at the bottom of information pages
- Provide a back link
- Top Aligned form fields
- No horizontal scrolling
- Use all available width (not columns) for links, list elements, text inputs
- Consider the color palette in different environments (low light, bright light)
- No to low multimedia
- Only essential elements on home page
- Don’t use graphics for text
- They use Omnigraffle to create “User Journeys”
- They like Axure as a tool
- Test for the 4 main carriers
- Android has the main share of market, followed by Apple
- Check on actual devices, as performance can be an issue
- Simulators are okay for first round of debugging (DeviceAnywhere, PerfectoMobile)
- Interface Design
- Interaction Design
- Information Design
- Performance and Stress
- “Monkey testing”
- Low/no network
- Interruption testing
*For testing, they build a “sled”, a lip-stick camera mounted on a plastic frame that hangs above the mobile device.
- NFC will drive payment methods (Near Field Communication) “Pay with your phone”
- Mobile ALM (Application Life-Cycle Management)
- Private clouds for mobile testing
- Tablets here to stay
- Paradox of Choice
WORK IN PROGRESS… DRAFT
Gone are the days when we built everything from scratch. We are in an era of Software as Service, 3rd-party product implementation, open source… More than ever, it is important to integrate core UX principles in IT projects.
Need: A definition of UX
- Consider the complex eco-system in which this new project (tool or service) will live in.
- How can a new project help simplify the “technology landscape” at Tufts?
- Will this new project involve asking users to learn one more destination, one more system name, one more url? (can it be avoided?)
- Can this project be integrated with other related tools or services? (or make it look like it’s integrated)
- Is it a hermetic 3rd party product, or can we link to specific pages inside the new system from other websites? (you’d be surprised…)
- Get end-users involved.
- Talk to real end-users, early and often.
- Do not create user requirements based on business requirements
- You are not the end user (in most cases)
- Each project requires its own UX approach
- UX work is not one-size fits all
I am keeping a list of resources to consult in this post: http://sites.tufts.edu/usercentereddesign/2012/01/18/ux-guiding-principles/
IBM’s User-Centered Design principles
For each principle, the goal is to involve users — to ask the right people the right questions.
Set business goals. Determining the target market, intended users, and primary competition is central to all design and user participation.
Understand users. A commitment to understand and involve the intended user is essential to the design process. If you want a user to understand your product, you must first understand the user.
Assess competitiveness. Superior design requires ongoing awareness of the competition and its customers. When you understand your users’ tasks, you must test those same tasks against competitive alternatives and compare their results with yours.
Design the total user experience. Everything a user sees and touches is designed together by a multidisciplinary team. This includes the way a product is advertised, ordered, bought, packaged, maintained, installed, administered, documented, upgraded, and supported.
Evaluate designs. User feedback is gathered early and often, using prototypes of widely ranging fidelity, and this feedback drives product design and development.
Manage by continual user observation. Throughout the life of the product, continue to monitor and listen to your users, and let their feedback inform your responses to market changes and competitive activity.
Over the next months, I want to distill UX guiding principles we can use on most projects.
Here is a bookmark to an article.
Here’s an important one:
- Acknowledge that the user is not like you
The Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
Here’s a nice resource from A List Apart on Usability of Forms: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/sensibleforms
Sections in the article cover:
- Use the right field for the task
- Give them room to type
- Shorten your forms and question “mandatory” fields
- Mark mandatory fields clearly
- Provide descriptive labels for all of your fields
- Let the computer, not the user, handle information formatting
- Use informative error messages
- Don’t return users to an altered form
Also: care should be taken to design forms for a logical path when tabbing from field to field. I thought this practice was gone, until I requested an account on the Trek to Talloire site yesterday. The fields took me from “Home Address” to “Email Address” to “Town/City” to “Confirm Email Address”.
There’s a couple of really good mobile pattern resources on the web:
- Thanks to IXDA for this thread -
I have no idea if Kindles are part of the Tufts landscape, but as we think of mobile, this column offers an interesting insight.
Nielsen’s recommendation: Serve the mobile version for kindles (7-inch) instead of the standard website version.
Sounds like iPad (10-inch) and up get the website version.
At our last meeting, Thom Cox, and Kate Bronstad from the Tisch library and Heather Klish from University Library Technology Services (ULTS), shared insights using card sorting to get user feedback on the redesign of the Tisch library website.
- 1hr sessions with individual participants (so far: 5 students, 3 faculty)
- 1 session leader, 1 note taker
- They used 35 cards, which seemed to be a good amount. Participants didn’t feel overwhelmed, and good information came out of each session
- For their purpose, they found “open card sort” worked better than a “closed card sort”.
- Participants could rename labels / annotate. Cards could also be left out.
- Warm up exercise to help them to think about it
Some of the take-aways of card sort:
- Helps rethink “content strategy”
- The value of card sort is to derive “User Stories”, to help discover paths through information based on different types of users.
- Current site reflects organizational structure. Not helpful to users.
- Users want to access resources, not a gateway to resources
- Assumption that the search box on the site can search all content/resources
Findings we can apply to other sites. (I might be going out on a limb here, but this is in line with other studies I did)
- Keep language simple, conversational.
- Specialized terms don’t always resonate with users (ex: “collections”)
- Make content scannable.
- Simplicity, white space
- Don’t seek full consensus. Lose being effective.
The team also conducted Ethnographic studies: http://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/staff/webTeam/ethno/index.html
See a description of card sort here.