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Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

5 UX Workshops and When to Use Them: A Cheat Sheet

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 09:00

Summary: UX Workshops are used throughout the design process to solve problems when crossfunctional ownership or consensus are needed. Here are 5 common UX workshops and how to use them within the design process.


What Is a UX Workshop?

UX workshops are intensive collaborative sessions used to solve problems and enable progress on a particular challenge throughout the design timeline. Workshops enable participants to come together for a concentrated time of idea generation and hands-on activities that allow them to achieve an actionable goal.

Several variables distinguish workshops from traditional meetings:

When deciding if a UX workshop is appropriate for your situation, remember this guideline: Meetings are for project updates or general awareness discussions. Situations that require greater input and consensus from diverse groups or that would benefit from greater sense of shared ownership may require a collaborative, hands-on format such as a workshop.



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Categories: Design

Accelerators Allow Experts to Increase Efficiency

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Alternate methods for accomplishing a frequent action in a user interface support expert users by speeding up their interactions, without hindering novices.


In user-interface design, we often focus on first-time users . In the typical usability-testing scenario, we recruit participants who have never seen the tested interface before and ask them to use it to complete certain tasks. But, in many cases, the system will be used again and again. Will repeat users be able to improve and become efficient at their tasks? Once they’ve figured out the basics, will they be able to speed up or will they be annoyed at having to repeat the same tedious steps?

Designing for expert users means we must balance learnability with productivity and efficiency . It is vital that new users are able to easily figure out how to use the interface — otherwise they may never return — but expert users expect to be able to complete their tasks with increasing efficiency and reach the point where they feel they have mastered the interface. Any system that will be repeatedly used should cater to both new users and expert users by including accelerators to allow people to complete certain routine tasks quickly and easily.

These types of systems include software-as-a-service (SAAS) products, applications (both mobile and desktop), social-media platforms, and really, any system that is likely to be used frequently, particularly to complete a small set of routine actions.



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Categories: Design

Service Blueprinting: Top Questions Answered

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Service blueprints are the primary tool for service design, but practitioners often misunderstand how they relate to journey mapping, who should be involved in the process, and how to sell their value to the organization.


Service blueprints map out the relationship between various service components (people, processes, and props) and customer touchpoints. In this article, we answer the most frequently asked questions we receive about service blueprinting in our full-day course, Service Blueprinting .

1. How Does a Service Blueprint Differ from a Customer-Journey Map?

Think of service blueprints as a sequel to customer-journey maps . Like customer-journey maps, blueprints render complex scenarios spanning many service-related offerings. Blueprinting is an ideal approach to experiences that are omnichannel , involve multiple touchpoints , or require a crossfunctional effort (that is, coordination of multiple departments that all contribute to a user’s end-to-end experience).

In terms of the artifacts themselves, the biggest similarity between the two is the presence of customer actions. This “swimlane” (or row of actions) acts as a foundation in both maps.



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Categories: Design

Usability Testing 101

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 09:00

Summary: UX researchers use this popular observational methodology to uncover problems and opportunities in designs.


Usability testing is a popular UX research methodology.

In a usability-testing session, a researcher (called a “facilitator” or a “moderator”) asks a participant to perform tasks, usually using one or more specific user interfaces. While the participant completes each task, the researcher observes the participant’s behavior and listens for feedback.

The phrase “usability testing” is often used interchangeably with “user testing.”



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Categories: Design

UX Conference Boston Announced (Jul 15 - Jul 19)

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 09:00

In-depth, full-day courses, teaching user experience best practices for successful design. Conference focus on long-lasting skills for UX professionals. July 15-19, 2019.



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Categories: Design

UX Conference London Announced (Mar 21 - Mar 27)

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 23:44

In-depth, full-day courses, teaching user experience best practices for successful design. Conference focus on long-lasting skills for UX professionals. 21-27 March, 2020.



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Categories: Design

UX Guidelines for Ecommerce Product Pages

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Customers shopping online rely on product pages to decide what to buy. Help them by answering questions, enabling comparison, providing reviews, and facilitating the purchase process.


In ecommerce, product pages are critical to the success of a site. Customers need to have enough information to make an informed purchase decision. The product page, or product-detail page, is where users decide whether and what to buy. The page must include complete product information, educating and informing the user about the product in a straightforward way.

Online customers can’t touch the product, ask a salesperson a question, try an item on, or use the item before buying. Sure, motivated shoppers may be able to order swatches to feel the material. Or they can ask questions via live chat (usually as a last resort). The most intrepid shoppers may even be willing to attempt a virtual try-on tool. But all those  have a high interaction cost , requiring strong motivation and willingness to spend a chunk of time in the app or on the site. In many cases, customers don’t want to invest that much time, so the product page needs to help them get their information as fast as possible. It’s in the store’s best interest to make sure that users’ questions are answered and that the product is accurately represented.

Poor product pages have two main results, both of which harm the customers’ relationship to the site:



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Categories: Design

Mental Models for Cloud-Storage Systems

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Users have a rudimentary understanding of cloud services and attempt to fit them into their existent, simpler mental models that they had formed for similar, more-traditional services.


Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud — these have all become common household names. They are all cloud-storage systems that people use them every day for a variety of purposes, ranging from syncing information across devices to collaborating in real time with others.

Yet, these systems are complex and users don’t always have a good understanding of how they work. To get a sense of how people think about these systems, we interviewed 8 participants who shared their practices related to their use of Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox. Some also briefly described their experiences with other services such as Apple’s iCloud and the Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Complex Systems, Simplified Mental Models

From a user perspective, in a normal interaction with a website or an application, there is normally a single agent force: the user. Changes in the state of the system occur usually in response to a user action, and users can build a fairly simple mental model based on the alteration between executing an action and evaluating the system response — at least, if the design follows usability heuristic #1: visibility of system status , so that users know what the system did.



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Categories: Design

New Online Seminar: Managing UX on Agile Teams (Wednesday, December 18, 2019 5:00 AM ET/2:00 AM PT)

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 23:34

It can be challenging to manage UX and Agile frameworks together. When a team is working quickly, UX work can easily get deprioritized in the interest of meeting deadlines. In this seminar, we will discuss overall Agile team lessons learned from the perspective of Australian fin-tech start-up, Athena Home Loans, growing from 20 to 100 people in 6 months.



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Categories: Design

UX Conference New York City Announced (Apr 18 - Apr 24)

Mon, 11/18/2019 - 15:48

7 in-depth, full-day courses, teaching user experience best practices for successful design. Conference focused on long-lasting skills for UX professionals. April 18 - April 24, 2020



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Categories: Design

Complex Search-Results Pages Change Search Behavior: The Pinball Pattern

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Because today’s search-results pages have many possible complex layouts, users don’t always process search results sequentially. They distribute their attention more variably across the page than in the past.


Gone are the days when Google would return a simple list of 10 blue links, each neatly packaged with a URL, blue link, and text snippet. Today, search-engine-results pages (SERPs) are far more complex. The majority of SERPs on major web-search engines like Google and Bing present at least one informational, interactive feature .

The continuously evolving layout of the SERP is shaping how people search . Each new feature affects the distribution of users' attention on the page. In the old days of web search, users would reliably focus their attention on the first few results at the top of the page and would sequentially move from result to result down the list. (In the research for our first edition of the How People Read on the Web report, we found that in 59% of cases, people scanned the SERP sequentially, from the first results, to the second, and so on, without skipping any results or looking at the right side of the page.)

That linear SERP pattern still exists today, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Today, we find that people’s attention is distributed on the page and that they process results more nonlinearly than before. We observed so much bouncing between various elements across the page that we can safely define a new SERP-processing gaze pattern — the pinball pattern .



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Categories: Design

What Every Intranet Needs: Reflections After 20 Years of the Intranet Design Annual

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Communication, credibility, collaboration, consistency, and a central place that organizes policies, forms, and all the tools offered in the digital workplace are some of the marks of successful intranets.


I find myself in a unique and fortunate situation: to be able to reflect on the hundreds of intranets I have seen over the past 24 years — large and small , helpful and wasteful , homegrown or based on an intranet tool . I started Nielsen Norman Group’s Intranet Design Annual in the year 2000 and published the first report in 2001 . Between reviewing these contest entries, working with clients, conducting independent UX research, and talking with our UX Conference attendees, I came to understand the features and themes that make intranets successful. I share them with you in this article.

The elements found on the most successful intranets are:

Corporate and Leadership Communications

Several types of corporate-related communications are usually easily found on successful intranets:



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Categories: Design

DesignOps FAQ: 6 Common Questions About Design Operations

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Because the field is being defined in real time, practitioners often have questions about what Design Operations means, and how to establish DesignOps practices.


Design Operations (DesignOps) is a relatively recent topic of conversation: practitioners are still actively defining what it means and how it takes shape within organizations.

Given this real-time discussion, practitioners seeking to implement DesignOps often have questions about how to define DesignOps and how to get started implementing Design Operations tactics and practices.

This article addresses 6 frequently asked questions that often arise in our full-day course, Design Operations: Scaling UX Design and User Research .



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Categories: Design

Information Foraging: A Theory of How People Navigate on the Web

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 09:00

Summary: To decide whether to visit a page, people take into account how much relevant information they are likely to find on that page relative to the effort involved in extracting that info.


Will people scroll on a webpage? How do they decide to click on a link? When do they leave a webpage? When do they prefer to search and when do they browse? How do they decide to search for information in a mobile app or on the web?

These and many other questions about web-user behaviors can be answered by the information-foraging theory.

In this article we present a broad overview of the theory and review some of its implications for web design.



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Categories: Design

Mobile Microsessions

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Notifications, widgets, quick actions, and Siri shortcuts or Google Assistant routines are all ways to support short mobile sessions.


Have you ever briefly turned on your phone, glanced at it, found whatever needed to find, and then turned it back off? That’s an example of a microsession — a quick session with minimal interaction that completes a user goal.

Definition: Mobile microsessions are mobile sessions shorter than 15 seconds.

The word “microsession ” follows the terminology introduced by an article by Ferreira and his colleagues, who coined the term “microusage” to refer to mobile usage that is shorter than 15 seconds. They found that a little more than 40% of the mobile usage was microusage.



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Categories: Design

Content Management on Intranets: Centralized, Distributed, and Hybrid Models

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Three different content-management models enforce who creates, owns, and publishes intranet content.


Content can make or break an intranet. Employees access the company intranet for specific information related to their jobs. Unlike the content found on a company’s public-facing website, intranet content often comes from many different crossfunctional contributors, such as human resources, internal communications, and individual departments. The right content-management model for your intranet will preserve its integrity as a supportive and productive digital workplace hub.

Definition: A content-management model is a clear set of roles, responsibilities, standards, and guidelines which concern how and by whom content is produced, published, updated, and retired.

(This is different from a content-management system [CMS] which is a technology for getting stuff published easily and consistently. Some CMS software includes features to support tracking or even enforcing elements of the content-management model: for example, automatically notifying the owner of a piece of content that has not been updated for a certain amount of time.)



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Categories: Design

Social Impact and Sustainability on Corporate Websites

Sun, 10/27/2019 - 09:00

Summary: Companies should describe their giving back and social responsibility in simple terms, at the right level of detail to build trust and avoid user skepticism.


In our recent usability research with corporate websites , we found that companies that make a concerted effort to give back to society and their communities are perceived as more benevolent and responsible than companies that don’t. Users like to see when organizations care about people and the environment; it influences their decision-making and elicits good feelings about doing business with or working for those companies.

While this general theme came as no surprise, users did have specific expectations for how and where companies should communicate about their positive social impact (also referred to as corporate social responsibility, though not as user-friendly of a term). If your organization prioritizes giving back to society, the environment, and the community, pay attention to these five details in order to effectively communicate about social good on your corporate website.

1. When giving back is a major part of your corporate identity, devote an entire navigational category to the topic, if your information architecture allows. Otherwise, it’s appropriate to house this information in the About Us section. For example, Wells Fargo did a nice job of outlining their community efforts by featuring an entire subcategory entitled Corporate Social Responsibility under its About Us section. Here, users could find a wealth of information about Wells Fargo’s focus in the community, stories of sustainability, and its commitment to social efforts.



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Categories: Design

Unmoderated User Tests: How and Why to Do Them

Sun, 10/27/2019 - 09:00

Summary: The 6 steps for running unmoderated usability testing are: define study goals, select testing software, write task descriptions, pilot the test, recruit participants, and analyze the results.


Many UX teams rely on remote usability testing to efficiently get design feedback from users. There are two types of remote user testing :

Is Unmoderated Testing Right for Your Project?

Unmoderated studies do not include any direct interaction between the researcher and the study participants, which is both their biggest benefit and their greatest drawback.

Because there’s no need to schedule an individual meeting with each participant, unmoderated testing is usually much faster than a moderated study. It may be possible to launch a study and receive results within just a few hours. Unmoderated studies also allow you to collect feedback from dozens or even hundreds of users simultaneously. And for international studies, you don’t have to get up at an ungodly hour to match users’ time zone.



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Categories: Design

UX Conference Los Angeles Announced (Feb 23 - Feb 28)

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 17:22

6 in-depth, full-day courses, teaching user experience best practices for successful design. Conference focused on long-lasting skills for UX professionals. February 23--28, 2020.



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Categories: Design

New Online Seminar: Prototyping with Functional Fidelity in Mind (Wednesday, November 13, 2019 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT)

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 13:03

Learn how differing functional fidelities can help teams explore, communicate and accurately usability test the more functional elements of our user interfaces – and what you need to consider to create a high functional-fidelity prototype.



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Categories: Design
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