Usability testing is an important component to User Centered Design. Whenever possible, we recommend that businesses validate changes to their UX design with actual or potential users of the product. However on occasion, we’ve seen usability testing do more harm than good when project teams misinterpret the tests. They might take all results at face value, misinterpret the user’s actual intent, or mistake a prototype limitation with a usability issue.
Over the last couple of years, single page websites have become more and more common. These sites are great in having a singular focus and in telling a coherent story. They typically communicate information in a friendly and approachable way. (Head over to One Page Love to see some examples). Traditional businesses that offer multiple products or have content-rich sites have not been able to implement these sites. However, multi-page sites can realize many of the same benefits as single page sites by essentially turning one page of the site into a single page experience, which can link to other pages on the site.
Last May, Busse Design is celebrating 6 years of being an entirely distributed user experience design agency. We rented a space in San Francisco for a long time to have a meeting space for clients, and since we’ve found that clients typically prefer that we go to their offices, we’ve recently let that go. So, this is a perfect opportunity to let our clients and partners know how this model works with our agency, and discuss the benefits to both our employees and our clients
The world of web design is evolving in leaps and bounds, and designers continue to inspire us with their creative ingenuity. Some creative trends come and go–others become the new standards of web design, shifting the industry permanently and for the better. Flat design, white space, flexible typography, cards, more videos, larger graphics, responsive design- these are are some of the trends we’ve seen gaining speed in 2015, over multiple platforms. It’s hard to predict which of these new trends are fads and which will stick around, but with mobile users predicted to surpass desktop users this year, one thing is for certain- the philosophies behind responsive design are here to stay.
Today’s responsive design allows your interface to adapt to any screen size or device, location, time of day, events happening, and user’s history. More and more, websites are being designed for mobile first, and with the help of responsive design, adapted for desktop. This means that businesses can build one website that retains continuity across devices, making for a more fluid experience for users and a lower price tag for web development.
According to IBMs Digital Analytics Benchmarks Hub’s data, 2014 online sales were up 8.3% by Christmas day from last year, and mobile device traffic rose 18.%. According to bigcommerce’s merchant data, mobile purchases on Christmas day actually doubled in just one year, with 37% of consumers using a mobile device to do their shopping. Clearly, mobile e-commerce is on an inexorable rise, so you’re going to want to make your company’s mobile experience the best possible. How is that going to work?
Remember the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey? How HAL wouldn’t let Dave back onto the ship? In the unlikely event that you’re drawing a blank, it went like this:
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Now, if this scene was being written today, Dave wouldn’t have even needed to ask for HAL to open the pod bay doors, because the doors themselves would have sensed his presence, anticipated his intention to enter the ship, and opened by themselves. In the age of the Internet of Things, our doors, lights, windows, cars, and wearables can all be taught how to anticipate our needs and react appropriately. Instead of needing to interface with a main hub, like HAL, more and more, the user will find herself at the center of an invisible system composed of integrated networked devices designed to predict and meet her needs.
Today’s technology brings us websites and apps that are increasingly powerful, elegantly designed and easy to use. Every year holds the promise of significant leaps forward as far as the technical capabilities of our products go. An incredible level of collaborative ingenuity is required to bring these groundbreaking creations to market. On the one hand, you’ve got the creative innovators dreaming up amazing new products the world has never seen before and on the other hand, you’ve got the engineers who write the code that make these innovations possible. So, we’ve got designers and engineers working together to make really cool stuff… but how does the artistic vision of your team’s creatives get translated into the beeps and clicks that constitute the programming under the hood of every brilliant digital product we use? Introducing the Technical Director (TD), the invaluable bridge between inspired vision and digital brass tax.
The User Experience (UX) Lead’s job is to understand users. She’s the person on the team who’s responsible for translating the project vision into a product that end users can use easily and happily. This is not just about creating a product that’s beautiful to look at. It’s about conducting user research, testing and trouble-shooting in order to understand the end user’s goals and motivations, so the team can design a product that improves the user’s experience. The main job of the UX Lead on any project is to identify a product’s problem and create an elegant, intuitive and optimized solution for it. Without the UX Lead, the design team is merely guessing at what end users want/need, and most often end up solving the wrong problem, albeit in an aesthetically pleasing way. In other words, you end up with a pretty product that is of little value because it’s not focused on the exact goals of the end users. Through research, testing and design iteration, a good UX Lead makes sure that the product will increase conversion and/or advance the mission of the company. So how, exactly does the UX Lead make that happen?
If you want to know what customers think about your product, the best way to find out is to ask them. Why do unnecessary guesswork when you can ask the customers directly? The customer advisory board, or CAB is a group of about 10-15 customers who meet regularly on behalf of your company to discuss their views on a particular product, of which they are end users. The discussions, which are based on the board member’s firsthand experience with the product, include thoughts on customer desires, motivations, and values, as well as information on competing products and industry trends. The CAB ultimately creates a list of actionable items for your company, which will facilitate product improvement, and in a more general sense, will help to assess prospective business priorities and direction. Assessing and using the data from CAB meetings is a great way to ensure that your company’s vision is kept in alignment with customers’ desires, safeguarding product profitability.
The world of tech is filled with groundbreaking products that inspire us with their ingenuity, elegance and utility. These products are created by diverse teams collaborating on a shared vision. From engineers and designers to business development and marketing gurus, these teams of talented individuals would be lost without the invaluable Sherpa also known as the Product Manager. The Product Manager takes the CEO’s idea, communicates it to the team and helms the ship that will journey through the creative storm of product development. During their journey, the design team will encounter shifting icebergs and treacherous sea monsters. The PM will keep the project on course in the face of these obstacles, ultimately ensuring that at their final destination, the team has executed the company’s vision. The PM knows that achieving this goal is paramount because the vision represents the objectives of the CEO and founders, and most important, serves the company’s users.