Should you be a UX designer, a UI designer, a visual designer, a front end coder, or a back end coder? Can you be all of them? Can you be a few of them?
I’m looking forward to seeing what Stan, Presto, and of course Netflix have to offer avid Australian movie and TV watchers like myself. I’m a ripe candidate for all of these new services: I don’t subscribe to Foxtel (can’t get cable at home), I haven’t bothered to bypass geo-location blocks to access US Netflix, I don’t want to download illegally, I don’t have an Apple TV (love hate relationship with Apple, hate relationship with iTunes), and I’m ready to see what else there is besides Quickflix for more than a few reasons.
Its time to reflect.
There are some great UX/UCD resources online — my favourites to date have been Service Design Tools and more recently UX Mastery. But today I was knocked out by the phenomenal effort to define and encapsulate design research activities in a cohesive project framework. It was all revealed by a rather innocuous tweet that did not quite foretell the brilliance ahead.
Facebook, may I ask you to change one word in your user interface if I may?
While I was a student I worked in retail. At one store we were encouraged (forgive me if you hate sales assistants) to ask open questions to invite conversation. It’s harder that it sounds. Years later while being trained in user research we were encouraged to ask why. Not only why, but as many whys as we could … and you know why … to get to the root cause, that deep fundamental driver of behaviour. Of course this too is not as easy as it sounds. Unless you’re a charming 5 year old asking why can sound pretty obnoxious and being asked why can make anyone feel quite defensive. I’m guessing advice like this has its roots in the famous 5 Whys, which I take to be a tool of analysis, not a script. If you disagree with anything here, or have more to add please say so in the comments.
I recently read IDEO’s HCD toolkit and it reminded me of the instruction offered in Ethnography for Marketers: A Guide to Consumer Immersion, which I have written about before. If you do any type of UX research, particularly observational research, but have not had formal research training I think you will find them both worthwhile reads. This is my summary of advice from both these texts on debriefing after a contextual inquiry.
I have a BUNCH of notes from books and articles I have read on design research. I had reason to revisit them all recently when I was writing a training course and thought to share them as a set of reference tools for others, you dear reader, and as a memory boost for me on our next field trip.
Working for a customer experience consultancy, as I do, I am always on the look out for stories about customer activism or advocacy — so I was very interested in this story on the SMH about the influence of a customer in the removal of soft porn content from the Telstra BigPond service. Except it wasn’t quite the story I had read in the Saturday paper, which I have quaintly photographed and included for you below.
For a while during my time at Daemon I could talk geeky with the best of them – well at least follow the conversations. Jason Barnes, Daemonite development manager was filling me in on what the team had been up to recently. This included their visit to cfObjective conference where Geoff (head Daemonite) gave a talk on Varnish. The slides are online (nice HTML 5 slide deck btw). I was like Varnish!? What the? No longer working with developers means I no longer get to learn geeky things through osmosis. A hello ping on IM resulted in my schooling in Varnish – a service that simply makes websites, like Facebook and Twitter serve content fast.
was recommended to me in 2007, I finally got round to reading it in 2010 and the other day I revisited the copious notes I took. This is a book about ethnography, research, projects and design. But why write a blog post that is a book review? Particular when the subject is essentially a text book?
I first saw Sebastian Chan speak at Web Direction on 2007. He presented on social tagging (“folksonomy”) projects at the Powerhouse museum. The first of these projects was the digitisation of electronic fabric swatches. After that the entire collection was digitised and published available for public classification. Recently I saw him present and got an update on these projects.
Museum experiences and the post web accord | Sebastian Chan on Museums for the Next Generation Part 1
Sebastian Chan on Museums for the Next Generation
The Powerhouse Museum and the in-house digital agency Chan has been heading within it have liberated the collection and extended the museum experience beyond exhibitions and museum walls. Sebastian Chan is head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. I first saw him talk at Web Directions in 2007. Then he case studied social tagging projects and it was great to here how the initiatives have grown.
There’s efficiency and there’s experience. Last month I published an article for UX Mag on the subject of customer efficiency. It opens with a story about the Melbourne trams. It’s conductors were replaced by machines in an efficiency drive. However the efficiency of customers and of the service required consideration around tasks beyond ticket purchase. Conductors served a multitude of customer needs but in the narrow assessment of their use they were deemed redundant.
Having worked for a company behind open source software, I know how important community conduct is, on forums and other channels. In fact it was something that Geoff, as FarCry product evangelist had to (and I’m sure still does) moderate closely. This interaction between products and users is vital in fostering closer relationships between companies and customers, feature improvements and product innovation.