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2018-04-23T21:16:42.808Z
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Once you’ve built your prototypes based on the ideas you and your team generated, it’s time to gather feedback from the people on whom you are testing these. Optimising how you gather feedback — and, therefore, learn from your prototypes and users — is essential to help you save time and resources in the Prototype and Test stages of the Design Thinking process – and in any other human-centred design process. Being quick and efficient allows you to move rapidly from creating a prototype, to putting it out to test it, to gathering feedback, and finally to creating a new and improved iteration of your ideas. To maximise learning from your tests, we will share six best practice tips on how to ga...
Gestalt is a German word that carries much importance, especially for us as designers. Let’s have a close look at its principles so that we can see how much information this little word encompasses!The central principle to the Gestalt theory was neatly summarized by the Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka: "The whole is other than the sum of the parts." The human eye and brain perceive a unified shape in a different way to the way they perceive the individual parts of those shapes. This global whole is a separate entity that is not necessarily formed by the sum of its parts.When we fully understand Gestalt design principles, we can utilize them to create more interesting and engaging visual exp...
The first step in any User Experience or Design Thinking process should involve getting to know your users. When starting a project from scratch or moving into a new market, you may not have any experience or a deep understanding of your users. Ethnographic research, such as user observation and interviews, will allow you to discover who your users really are, and the environments in which they live. It will provide great insights into the way that your users will interact with your product. Here are seven easy things you can do in order to maximise the effectiveness of your ethnographic research. There are specific challenges associated with ethnographic research—the main one being that it...
The triune brain model may not be an entirely accurate depiction of the human brain and its development, but the concept of our three brains (reptilian, paleomammalian, and neomammalian) represents a useful guide for us as designers who are looking to capture what it means to be a human user. Thus, many of the insights we derive in this way can be highly instrumental in our fine-tuning products that latch with their target users in the best way possible. The 'Neomammalian' brain represents the third and outermost structure of Paul McLean's 'Triune Brain' model. MacLean proposed the neomammalian brain is responsible for abstract, rational thought, foresight, hindsight, and insight, which cou...
Did you know that users are more likely to choose, buy and use products that meet their needs as opposed to products that just meet their wants? An Empathy map will help you understand your user’s needs while you develop a deeper understanding of the persons you are designing for. There are many techniques you can use to develop this kind of empathy. An Empathy Map is just one tool that can help you empathise and synthesise your observations from the research phase, and draw out unexpected insights about your user’s needs. An Empathy Map allows us to sum up our learning from engagements with people in the field of design research. The map provides four major areas in which to focus our atte...
One of the most important steps in the Design Thinking process that is often employed as standard practice in UX design is to define the users’ problems. This means being able to clearly identify and articulate problems in the user experience so that you can later begin the process of ideating (i.e., generating great ideas on how to solve them). Task Analysis is a simple exercise that UX designers can undertake during the definition of a problem, which can help not just in identifying where opportunities to improve the user experience exist but also to generate some preliminary ideas as to how you might approach these challenges. Let’s find out how. Task analysis is one of the tools that yo...
Perhaps the biggest buzzword in customer relationship management is “engagement”. Engagement is a funny thing, in that it is not measured in likes, clicks, or even purchases. It’s a measure of how much customers feel they are in a relationship with a product, business or brand. It focuses on harmony and how your business, product or brand becomes part of a customer’s life. As such, it is pivotal in UX design. One of the best tools for examining engagement is the customer journey map. As the old saying in the Cherokee tribe goes, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” (although the saying was actually promoted by Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame). The customer...
Personas are fictional characters, which you create based upon your research in order to represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. Creating personas can help you step out of yourself. It can help you to recognise that different people have different needs and expectations, and it can also help you to identify with the user you’re designing for. Personas make the design task at hand less complex, they guide your ideation processes, and they can help you to achieve the goal of creating a good user experience for your target user gro...
Interaction design is an important component within the giant umbrella of user experience (UX) design. In this article, we’ll explain what interaction design is, some useful models of interaction design, as well as briefly describe what an interaction designer usually does. A simple and useful understanding of interaction designInteraction design can be understood in simple (but not simplified) terms: it is the design of the interaction between users and products. Most often when people talk about interaction design, the products tend to be software products like apps or websites. The goal of interaction design is to create products that enable the user to achieve their objective(s) in th...
Now that we’ve seen some grids at work in the Rule of Thirds article, let’s examine them a little more deeply. As a concept that deals so fundamentally with the fabric and background of our work as designers, it’s easy to overlook the power of grids and think more about the elements we want to create. Many traditional artists still paint their masterpieces over a feint series of intersecting lines. To help us make the most of our work surfaces and create with precision, we designers have a tool that echoes this. We call it the Grid System. The Story of the GridOne of the easiest ways to achieve an organized design is to apply a grid system. It’s a tried and tested technique that first found...
Mental models play an important role in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and interaction design. They relate to the way that a user perceives the world around them and are based in belief as opposed to being a factual concept. However, if you can understand your users mental models you can simulate these models within your designs to make them more usable and intuitive. Mental models are an artefact of belief. They are the beliefs that a user holds about any given system or interaction. In most instances, the belief will – to a certain extent – resemble the real life model. This is important because users will plan and predict future actions within a system based on their mental models. De...
Learn to design with consistency and standards in mind and understand the reasons why they’re important to incorporate them into your work. Derived from Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich’s Ten User Interface (UI) Guidelines, ‘Consistency and Standards’ are evident in many of the widely-used products created by some of the most successful companies. Products like Adobe Photoshop, originally released in the 1990s, and Google Gmail, released in the mid-2000s, are just a few of the widely popular products that exhibit this important rule of thumb. This article will teach you how to recognize consistency and standards and explain why they’re important in user interface design. Two Key Reasons for Co...
Learn five steps to tackle wicked problems by combining systems thinking with agile methodology. Many successful organizations like Boeing, Walmart, Chrysler and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have adopted agile methodology and have been achieving success and innovation through this collaborative method. By becoming more agile, the team at Chrysler had innovated their steering wheel, outpacing Ford and GM. By incorporating customer input into their design process, Boeing produced a new airline fleet in record time. New problems require innovative thinking, and innovative ideas arise from new perspectives. 10 Characteristics of Wicked ProblemsSo what defines a wicked problem? Horst Rittel (1930-1990),...
The spaces we occupy deeply influence our experiences, our feelings, and our behaviours. Our state of health, psychology, productivity, mood, and creativity spaces influence us on many levels and also influence our interactions with each other. The spaces in which we journey through Design Thinking and Ideation sessions must be set up in such a way that they facilitate the purpose behind each phase or step appropriately. This involves creating an environment in which the team is free to embrace the mindsets required at each point in their process without the intervention of others who may not understand what they are doing and why. Freedom to Think and ExpressWith all their thoughts out in...
In the 1980s and ‘90s, our technology-loving civilization rode the wave of Personal Computing – one computer per person. As computers became smaller and less expensive to produce, every worker—or indeed, every person—could have one at his/her disposal. With the rapid rise of Ubiquitous and Mobile computing, the situation had certainly changed by the 2010s. It’s more or less fair to say that every person is the owner and user of many computers, desktops or laptops, tablets and—of course—smartphones. We receive our computing services even from things that don’t look like computers at all—for example, Amazon’s Alexa or smartwatches. What does this mean for UX design? How can we design experienc...
One of the biggest challenges facing designers is how to begin and how to further their design education. Do you go for the university degree or book-learning or e-learning or pay for classroom learning? While we all have some natural preference for one (or more) of these learning methods, one thing we really need to consider is the return on investment for the path we choose. Return on investment is the amount of money that we expect to earn over and above the costs of the learning experience. The higher the return on investment, the better the learning opportunity is for us. About Return on InvestmentThe formula for Return on Investment (ROI) is as follows: ROI = Profit/Investment * 100...
The idea of “faking it, until you make it” is not new but it has a unique UX twist. The ability to develop and test prototypes at rapid rates of iteration lets you “fake” new products, get user feedback and make improvements without ever “making the product” until you have things just right. This can be a very valuable way of making a small budget go a long way. Liz Gannes, writing for Gigaom, reports that Aardvark maybe the most successful proponents of faking it, until you make it in recent times. The company knew what it wanted to do but didn’t have the funds to go about it. So what did they do? They created a manual process that appeared like an automated process. Instead of automating...
In the 1960s, American neuroscientist Paul MacLean formulated the 'Triune Brain' model, which is based on the division of the human brain into three distinct regions. MacLean's model suggests the human brain is organized into a hierarchy, which itself is based on an evolutionary view of brain development. The three regions are as follows: Reptilian or Primal Brain (Basal Ganglia) Paleomammalian or Emotional Brain (Limbic System) Neomammalian or Rational Brain (Neocortex) According to MacLean, the hierarchical organization of the human brain represents the gradual acquisition of the brain structures through evolution. The triune brain model suggests the basal gangli...
Have you ever thought about how much data flows past each of us in an ordinary day? From the newspaper you read at breakfast, to the e-mails you receive throughout the day, to the bank statements generated whenever you withdraw money or spend it, to the conversations we have, and so on?There is a tidal wave of data associated with each aspect of our lives, and in addition to that personal data, there is data available on nearly every aspect of life.Over the last few decades computing and the internet have revolutionized our ability to create, store and retrieve information on a whim. A global economy and instant communication have created an explosion in the volumes of data to which we are e...
Businesses are still stuck in the idea that UX is about the products and services they offer their customers. They are yet to grasp the idea that UX can be applied to all services within a business. A UX focused of review of recruitment or accounting (or whatever) can quickly improve the way that a business function, which will never (or rarely) interact with an external customer, delivers the service to the internal customer.With that in mind, we thought we’d look at one of the most contentious areas of business services – recruitment - with a UX focused eye.Know What You’re Looking ForWhen you advertise for a “UX Designer” try and be specific about the responsibilities and work required fr...