Diving into the UX World

For the past few weeks I have been working with a team on redoing a large corporate website (almost two large corporate websites).

Word Cloud for UX

Word Cloud for UX

During the course of the project I have had several people, who are unfamiliar (and familiar) with web technology talk with me about UX and UI, but in terms of Design. They might say: "We need a re-design. Our branding is not displayed well." or the might say " Oh, but it was designed to do that, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do!" So, most of the people (I am encountering) talking in terms of design, are talk about the business design or the function of a website at a very high level. Not the UX and UI level of design. I have tried to explain it in the following terms

The words Usability and Design each suffer from a very unfortunate ambiguity. Usability in a very raw sense means is a tool usable. Just because every tool can be a hammer, does not mean that every tool should be shaped like a hammer. Design in computing also suffers a similar fate. If some computer tool does something, it does so because it was designed to do so. This does not mean that the computer tool is esthetically pleasing or that it creates a good impression on its user. An impression of such a nature that the user might want to come back to the site and use it again. The following diagram contrast the words, functional, reliable, usable, convenient, pleasurable, and meaningful.

User Experience model

User Experience model

Because images show so much more than words I looked around for some images to describe the difference I have been trying to communicate. This has resulted in the following collection of images. In the process of linking to these pictures I hope to introduce my readers to some of the ongoing discussion of professional UX design and development.

Layering the Design

Layering the Design

This image is from a PDF called: The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garret. [1] Jesse James Garret. 30 March 2000. The Elements of User Experience. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf [PDF]

Layering the Design

Explaining the Layers

This Image comes from a write up about UX: UX Design Defined [2]Michael Commings. 16 August 2010. UX Design Defined. Uxdesign.com [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://uxdesign.com/ux-defined [Link] In it is perhaps the best definition of UX I have come across is:

User Experience Design is the art and science of integrating all the various elements that comprise an interactive system so that:

  1. The user's needs, limitations, goals, desires, expectations, are served
  2. The publishing organization's objectives are served as a result of serving the user's (#1)
  3. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Peter Morville's Facets of the User Experience

Peter Morville's Facets of the User Experience

This image was take from Peter Morville's article on User Experience Design. [3] Peter Morville. 21 June 2004. User Experience Design. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000029.php [Link]

Flickr user Model

Flickr User Model

This Diagram of the Flickr user experience model has been attributed to Bryce Glass by Kenny Chen on 5 April 2008, at http://www.kennychen.net/blog/2008/04/05/flickr-user-model-diagram/. [4] Bryce Glass. Diagram of the Flickr user experience model. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] [Link]

user experience design explained

User Experience Design

This image comes from What Is User Experience Design by Kimmy Paluch. [5] Kimmy Paluch. 10 October 2006. What Is User Experience Design. [Accessed:8 November 2011] http://www.montparnas.com/articles/what-is-user-experience-design [Link]

Multiple Roles in Web Strategy

Multiple Roles in Web Strategy

Finding the right fit of UX

Finding the right fit of UX

This image is taken from User Experience Strategy. [6] Luke Wroblewski. 27 July 2005. User Experience Strategy. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?203 [Link]

Additionally there some good articles:

  • UX ROI: User Experience Return on Investment [7] UXPassion.com. 10 October 2009. UX ROI: User Experience Return on Investment. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.uxpassion.com/2009/10/ux-roi-user-experience-return-on-investment [Link].
  • User Experience vs. User Interaction [8] uxrevisions.com. 23 December 2010. User Experience vs. User Interaction [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.uxrevisions.com/user-experience-design/user-experience-vs-user-interaction [Link].
  • The difference between Usability and User Experience [9] uxrevisions.com. 23 December 2010. The difference between Usability and User Experience. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] … Continue reading
  • Strategy by Design, the second page - about Recruiting T-Shaped People, was interesting. [10] Tim Brown. 1 June 2005. Strategy by Design. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/95/design-strategy.html [Link]

References

1 Jesse James Garret. 30 March 2000. The Elements of User Experience. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf [PDF]
2 Michael Commings. 16 August 2010. UX Design Defined. Uxdesign.com [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://uxdesign.com/ux-defined [Link]
3 Peter Morville. 21 June 2004. User Experience Design. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000029.php [Link]
4 Bryce Glass. Diagram of the Flickr user experience model. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] [Link]
5 Kimmy Paluch. 10 October 2006. What Is User Experience Design. [Accessed:8 November 2011] http://www.montparnas.com/articles/what-is-user-experience-design [Link]
6 Luke Wroblewski. 27 July 2005. User Experience Strategy. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?203 [Link]
7 UXPassion.com. 10 October 2009. UX ROI: User Experience Return on Investment. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.uxpassion.com/2009/10/ux-roi-user-experience-return-on-investment [Link].
8 uxrevisions.com. 23 December 2010. User Experience vs. User Interaction [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.uxrevisions.com/user-experience-design/user-experience-vs-user-interaction [Link].
9 uxrevisions.com. 23 December 2010. The difference between Usability and User Experience. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.uxrevisions.com/user-experience-design/the-difference-between-usability-and-user-experience/ [Link].
10 Tim Brown. 1 June 2005. Strategy by Design. [Accessed: 8 November 2011] http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/95/design-strategy.html [Link]

Leadership in an OpenSource Project

In the past week have been confronted with several issues related to project planning, task & time management and project execution. Just defining the “deliverables” has been a real challenge. Given that the workforce of the company I work for is largely constituted of people who consider themselves to be volunteers, it makes for an interesting work environment. I naturally gravitate towards planning for tactical success and wanting to view things from the “big picture” perspective – knowing how the parts fit together. Project planning and project execution involves a lot of decision making and a lot of communicating about decisions.

Over the last year I have been watching with some interest the UI development of WordPress. UI design is an area that I really enjoy. So when I saw Jane presenting on this issue of “How decisions get made at WordPress” (on the Open Source part of the project), I thought I would watch it. I thought that I would be watching how a company does UI decision making. But the focus of the talk was broader than that. It was generally good to see a model at work in a company where there is a successful product. As I listened to the discussion I was struck at how their project deals with:

  • Decision Making
  • Community Involvement
  • Consensus Building
  • Project Planning
  • Leadership
  • Sustainability

In many respects the company I work with deals with these same issues. It was good to see how another company/project deals with these issues, and sees these kinds of issues as important to the success of their product.

Selected Works™ & BePress

Bepress is an internet based service from Berkeley Electronic Press. They basically allow a user to display their work. i.e. a Professor’s CV which has a list of publications, those publications are then displayed by Selected Works™ & BePress as downloadable PDFs. These works can then also be described, downloaded, their bibliographic references can be downloaded, etc. Berkeley Electronic Press archives the Documents and presents them in an understandable, accessible, usable format. They have integrated Google search. Seems like lots of Love all around.
This kind of thing would be really good for an organization like the one I work with.


This is a picture of a page. See this page live.


This is a picture of a page. See this page live.

BePress has a lot of features, it integrates with a lot of other services too. One service which looked really cool was their service for working with the editorial process used in working papers.