52 Weeks of UX

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What Does it Mean to be Simple?

All designers say simplicity is important, but what does it really mean to make something simple? Most of the time we think it means less, that by removing stuff we achieve simplicity. We think by keeping content above the fold we’re helping people focus, or by using bullets instead of paragraphs more people will read it, or by cutting text in half...

Is UX the Key to a Long-lasting Business?

"But what if the firm was driven, not by the goal of short-term profitability, but by the goal of continuous innovation in service of finding new ways of delighting customers? The new bottom line of this kind of organization becomes whether the customer is delighted. Conventional financial measures such as maximizing shareholder value are subordinated...

The Ghost of Decisions Past

Ghosts: invisible specters often thought to be trapped between worlds, left to torment the living or act as a messenger from the beyond. They invoke fear because we can’t touch them, can’t see them, and we don’t fully understand their existence—much like the mysterious design decisions that often haunt your product. Constraints drive and shape the design...

How to Identify the Best Design Problems

One of the core principles of UX is to solve existing problems, or problems that people are already struggling with. While this might not be as glamorous as inventing a brand new thing it is more practical: it makes identifying problems easier and people are much more receptive to your design. If you’re solving a known problem you don’t have to convince...

Why "Clean" Isn't Such a Dirty Word For Designers

You have probably heard someone say, “That design is so clean!" Or perhaps you’ve scanned your RSS feed and seen titles like “1000 Clean and Minimalist Designs", “Super-clean, Simple,  Minimal Website Designs", or “How to Design Clean, Typographic, Minimalist Sites." I normally throw up in my mouth a little when I encounter such phrases. But I have...

Is Facebook Temporary?

Last week, the most prestigious investment bank in the world, Goldman Sachs, decided to invest almost 2 billion dollars in the social network Facebook (a mix of its own and its clients capital), which on paper made the six year old startup worth $50,000,000,000.  Yes, a social networking site is now worth $50 Billion Dollars. With a B.  The recent...

Knowing Your Audience: Lessons from the Gaming Industry

This week’s guest author is Matt Ventre, a user experience designer at MessageFirst in Philadelphia, PA. Now that we’re settling in to play our new, more-amazing-than-ever video games procured over the holidays, it makes sense to ask: “What can the UX folks learn from the wildly successful gaming world?" In a word: audience. The video gaming marketplace’s...

Building a Shared Understanding

This week’s guest author is Bill Scott, Director of E-commerce UI Engineering at Netflix and co-author of the fantastic book Designing Web Interfaces: Principles & Patterns for Rich Interactions. Years ago I was in an off-site with the design team for a well known, successful web site. During the course of the day I heard designers complain that what...

Usability Testing: Getting Design Teams Onboard

This week’s guest author is Christine Perfetti, CEO of Perfetti Media, a Boston-based user research consulting and training firm. Many designers come to me for usability testing consulting services. One of the reasons they reach out is because they assume usability testing must be a complex, scientific process. As a result, they’d prefer to have an...

Words are the soul of UX

This week’s guest author is Relly Annett-Baker, who writes some of the best, most interesting web copy around for clients of all sizes. She resides in Wokingham, UK. Words are the soul of user experience. More than any other design element, words communicate the bulk of the messages we communicate to others. Whether they are spoken or written, there’s...

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