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2018-04-23T21:22:30.892Z
0
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Every product manager’s dream is to launch a product or new feature that is perfect for their customer right out of the gate. But we know this is hardly ever the case.

It’s only through experience, and repeated user feedback using user experience testing, that we learn to tweak our product’s features and interface according to our users’ conscious or unconscious demands.

Over the last two decades, agile and sprint based development has enabled an efficient and effective product management – development team – design team feedback loop. The next stage in the Agile revolution is to add the customer and the user to this cycle, through Agile user experience testing (Agile UX Testing).

Test small, test often

Conducting market research and usability testing used to be an expensive and lengthy process. That’s why it was typically performed only once, or maybe twice during the design and development of new products and features. Since UX testing was often done towards the end of the product development cycle, the feedback gained was often used more as a “validation” exercise than an “exploratory” exercise.

It’s now possible to set up a UX test script in 5 minutes, receive qualitative picture-in-picture responses (webcam view recording of respondents + screen recording + audio + quantitative data) within hours, and add the customer and the user to the agile software development feedback loop.

You can even run a user test for every sprint, and for every design and development iteration. This iterative process avoids the risk of putting...

Our next ‘Ask the UXperts’ session is all about an amazing journey into digital accessibility.

Amir Ansari and Kelly Schulz are partners in appsforall – a project that seeks to help people create more accessible apps. Their target audience is product owners, app developers and designers. Their mission is to provide the tools, resources and guidelines necessary to start the process of re/building apps with accessibility and inclusion in mind.

In this session we’ll

  • learn how they’ve approached educating and building empathy amongst their own teams
  • find out about their challenges and how they approached them
  • talk about how we can lead the way with understanding our responsibilities and implementing good processes

If inclusive design is a part of your manifesto then this is the session for you.

The Details Meet Amir Ansari

Amir Ansari heads up the User Experience Practice at Transpire – a consultancy that aims to create impactful, design lead digital products that empower businesses and make a difference.

He has a team of wonderful, talented and friendly UXers helping to make people’s lives easier.

Amir has done his 10,000 + hours (over 18 years) of practice designing and leading designers, and is passionate about creating inclusive and accessible experiences...

If you’re trying to launch your UX career, you probably already know that having an amazing portfolio is key to landing your dream job in the field.

As an aspiring UX designer, you probably also have tons of great ideas that you want to turn into fully-designed portfolio projects. But how do you learn the right process to follow to turn those high-level ideas into comprehensive and well-researched projects that will impress employers?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. We’ve spoken with dozens of experienced designers and hiring managers over the past year as we’ve built up our Design Portfolio Starter Kit to try to understand just what makes an impressive junior UX portfolio and how new designers can maximize their chances of creating a portfolio that will help them get a job.

Even when you’re just starting out, you need the right mix of projects in your portfolio.

In this article, I’m sharing a few of those tips to help you build your own amazing UX portfolio.

Figure out what types of UX work interest you and become an expert

First things first: what types of projects should you include in your portfolio?

The simple answer is that you should focus on...

If we asked you to list the most important qualities of a UX designer, things like creativity, empathy and technical skills would no doubt spring to mind. But aside from these fundamentals, what really separates the best from the rest?

The answer? Teamwork. The most accomplished UX designers are kings and queens of collaboration. They have mastered the art of communication, and know just how to connect with those around them to leverage fresh perspectives and new ideas – all in the name of great UX.

That’s because great designers recognise that UX is universal. It isn’t merely the aesthetics of a product – it’s a culture, one that puts the user first and determines whether a brand succeeds or fails. UX needs to be a team effort, and more often than not, it’s up to the UX designer to get everyone on board.

To truly excel at your job, you need to make sure that teamwork is at the heart of what you do. This means collaborating effectively and maintaining strong relationships with your peers. So how do you go about this? Look no further than our five key pillars of UX teamwork.

Empathy

There’s a very easy way to become a better team player: empathy. It’s time to practice what you preach, but forget the user for a minute and focus on your colleagues instead. Spend some time getting to know each department,...

Efficiently organising research findings so that we can effectively use them to their greatest benefit is often a pain point. Luckily help is at hand, in the form of Benjamin Humphrey.

Benjamin is co-founder of Dovetaila new product that helps teams understand their customers through analysis of user feedback and qualitative research.

We were lucky to have the opportunity to pick Benjamin’s brain in our Slack channel yesterday. It was one of the busiest sessions we’ve hosted but he managed like a trooper.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

Transcript hawk 2018-03-07 23:04 The formal intro: hawk 2018-03-07 23:04 Benjamin is a co-founder of Dovetail, a new product that helps teams understand their customers through organization and analysis of user feedback and qualitative research. Dovetail is kind of like Google Docs meets Trello, designed specifically for researchers and product managers. hawk 2018-03-07 23:04 https://dovetailapp.com/ claudia.realegeno 2018-03-07 23:04 Do you find it easier to structure by primarily by participant, by event, or some other method? hawk 2018-03-07 23:04 Prior to starting Dovetail, Benjamin was a lead designer at Atlassian working on JIRA Agile, the growth team, and Atlassian’s cloud platform. He led design initiatives to bring consistency and modernity to Atlassian’s cloud offerings and was heavily involved in shaping Atlassian’s new design language, “ADG 3”, and their...

It’s widely recognised among the wider UX community that finding a mentor can have a significant positive effect on career development. Unfortunately mentors aren’t that easy to come by.

We thought we’d try and do something about that.

Last month we kicked off a new (very experimental) initiative in our Slack community – we’re calling it peer mentoring. Using a pairing bot from donut.ai we randomly matched community members for a duration of 4 weeks. Pairs were encouraged to contact each other and work out what they want from the relationship and how they can best make it work for them.

It’s super simple to join.

Read more about the program and how you can be a part of it here.

This program is perfect for:

  • Beginner UXers who are embarking on a career and need some guidance
  • Solo UXers who are looking for someone to bounce around ideas with
  • Designers at any stage of their career who would like to expand their knowledge in other areas of UX
  • Experienced UXers who would like the opportunity to give back by mentoring a beginner
  • You
Round 1 – How Things Went

The results so far are promising!

Several pairs have formed a natural mentor/mentee relationship. Others have discovered that they have strengths in different areas and can both mentor each other. Yet others have complimentary skills and have found the opportunity to grow their network valuable.

We’re declaring this a success to date and are going to embark on a second round of pairings on Monday 19  March.

Round 2 – What We’re...

We know that design research plays an important role in influencing product development. We also know that although interviews and usability tests are well-accepted practices in many organisations today, uncovering effective ways to unify our findings so that we can efficiently use them is often a problem.

Many designers still gather and store data for projects in an ad-hoc manner. This approach makes it hard to collaborate with others and can end up wasting time, money and energy.

Do you struggle to effectively communicate your research findings to stakeholders? Are you fighting a losing battle while managing complex data? Is it tough getting buy-in from other parts of the organisation because your data is disorganised or hard to access?

Fear not – help is at hand. Benjamin Humphrey is an expert when it comes to data wrangling. He spends his days helping teams to better understand their customers through organisation and analysis of user feedback and qualitative research.

If you could do with support in this area, make sure you join us for our next free Ask the UXperts session.

The Details Meet Benjamin Humphrey

Benjamin is a co-founder of Dovetail, a new product that helps...

Growth in the UX design industry continues worldwide, with a 10% increase in the industry expected in the coming years. As an emerging and evolving field, experienced UX designers can be hard to find, and businesses are looking to snap up top talent before the competition.

Experienced UX designers know that you have the upper hand when it comes to securing the roles that you want. In fact, it’s common for UX designers to receive multiple job opportunities and offers.

While a killer portfolio is essential, that doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to your resume. Otherwise, you might find your competition one step ahead of you. So how can you make sure your secure your next dream job? Here’s a list of resume writing tips you need to know.

Before you start on your resume

It’s important to remember that hiring managers for companies want to recruit the top talent as soon as possible. This typically means that the recruitment process happens fast, and this is something you need to be prepared for. This means making sure you’re ready for your interview before you’ve even sent out your resumes.

In addition to these points, leadership skills are also essential, depending on the role that you’re applying for. If you’re applying for an experienced UX designer role, in most cases, leadership qualities are expected since you may be working with a team of writers and...

Landing a job as a company’s only user experience pro is an amazing opportunity. It means having the ability to shape and guide the design of an entire organisation. As a UX team of one, you’re part of a small group of pros at the coal face of an entire organisation’s design strategy.

Leading an organisation from this role is also a major challenge. It’s hard work implementing a UX focus in a company where none exists. There will be battles against corporate biases, conflicting business needs, and results-driven culture.

In such a difficult position, how can a UXer go about creating a culture of great user experience?

It’s imperative to establish a baseline process, socialise the benefits of great UX, and prepare for the long road ahead.

Above all else, establish a process

When starting a culture of user experience focus, the first step is to establish a clear UX process. 

UX process is a cornerstone of UX design, it’s a make-it-or-break-it aspect of UX design,” writes veteran UX professional Nick Babich in his blog for Adobe.

Without a solid UX design process, a designer could be completely moving in the dark. A clear and concise UX process, on the other hand, makes it possible to craft amazing experiences for users.”

Every UX professional should have a favoured baseline process. In fact, you’d expect this to be the first question in any UX...

 

What kind of tools do UX designers use?

I get asked this all the time by people new to user experience (UX) design. Understandably, they want to learn the tools of the industry so they can get hired.

To celebrate the recent launch of the UI for UX Designers course in collaboration between CareerFoundry and InVision, I’ve put together an answer to this all too common question. 

Hiring someone based on the tools they use would be like hiring an artist because they have the right brushes. It’s not about the tools, it’s about method and craft. UX design relies heavily on process and the tools that I use mirror that process.

A design process is a recipe for creating great products. Everyone has their own way of doing it, and everyone uses different tools to make it happen. I’m going to try to share my recipe and the tools that I use along with a few alternatives.

Even better, most of the tools listed here are available on a freemium model and have a usable version for free. The exception is Sketch (good news- there are tons of free alternatives). The only requirement for these tools is a computer or tablet, but with UX design in general, all you really need to create a good user experience is pen,...

As more and more organisations become focused on creating great experiences, more teams are being tasked with conducting research to inform and validate user experience objectives.

UX research can be extremely helpful in crafting a product strategy and ensuring that the solutions built fit users’ needs, but it can be hard to know how to get started.  This article will show you how to set your research objectives and choose the method so that you can uncover the information you need.

When to do research

The first thing to know is that there is never a bad time to do research. While there are many models and complicated diagrams to describe how products get built, essentially, you’re always in one of three core phases: conceptualising something brand new, in the middle of designing and/or building something, or assessing something that’s already been built.

There’s plenty to learn in each of those phases. If you’re just starting out, you need to focus on understanding your potential users and their context and needs so that you can understand your best opportunities to serve them. In other words, you’re trying to figure out what problems to solve and for whom. This is often called generative or formative research.

Research can add value at any...

A month or so ago, I was driving into work listening to the Design Story Podcast, when I heard Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo, talking about not just satisfying our users, but loving them.

This really resonated with me because I’ve been thinking of a way to explain the importance of going beyond just having empathy for users—especially because designers often talk about empathy but then proclaim that they are here to solve your (the user’s) problems.

Having just started a new role, I’m working on creating design principles with my team as a way to align and communicate our fundamental team beliefs. The idea of ‘loving’ users was one of the principles we instantly agreed upon.

When you think about the people you love, you want the very best for them. You want to make things delightful and keep them magical. There is great joy in spending time with those you love, the relationship involves an element of surprise, and sharing experiences to build understanding is key. Love has a far greater emotional connection than empathy; as designers, we can leverage this way of thinking to provide more immersive, engaging experiences for our users.

As we spend time with users, observing them with intent can help us identify their pain points, goals and desired outcomes. Taking time to know them and build relationships uncovers their unarticulated needs. Understanding the reasoning why, beyond just knowing the what, provides an opportunity to truly delight users—more than fulfilling a single need—and involving them throughout the process cultivates a...

As a designer, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What really motivates you to do meaningful work?

The Japanese have a great word: ikigai. It has no direct translation into English, but roughly means your level of happiness in life, or your ‘reason for being’.

As you can see in the chart below, you can achieve ikigai—meaning in life—if you can find the right balance of 4 things:

  • Passion
  • Mission
  • Vocation
  • Profession
Your design Ikigai

Your ikigai encompasses your career and your personal life. But it’s also a great lens to use when looking for the next step in your design career.

With Ikigai in mind, we can design our own careers, finding a balance between working on the things that we love doing, the things that we’re good at, and the things that add meaning to the world. And yes, we need to be paid for our work too.

Many people spend their lifetime working out their reason for being.

But understanding where you sit on the chart above might help you realise what areas you need to work on to get there. Here are the questions to ask yourself.

Are you in a role that you love?

Nothing makes us happier than working in a job, or at least a project that gets us into flow state.

Ask yourself, “am I truly happy with the work that I do?”. Are there changes that you could make in your current role that could make you truly love your work? Or would a new role get you closer to finding your...

 

Welcome back to UXmas for another year! In case you haven’t joined in the UXmas fun yet, here’s an update on your favourite UX-themed digital advent calendar.

But first, what’s UXmas all about?

Well, each year (since 2012), the teams from Thirst Studios and UX Mastery collaborate to create a Christmas-themed website called UXmas: a digital advent calendar where each day we open a door to reveal an insightful little UX nugget. We see it as our way of giving back to the UX community.

Once again, we’ve curated a captivating lineup of UX content. You can expect articles, videos, sketches… we’ve left it up to our amazing authors to get creative. Our contributors are an inspiring mix of our UX heroes and voices from the UX Mastery community.

Missed the start of UXmas? Catch up on every tasty UXmas treat from our first 10 days.

1 December: The Heartwarming Story of Nelly & Neil

By Paul Boag

In this video, Paul shares a heartwarming story about lonely Nelly, the power of understanding, and how good UX extends beyond the edge of the screen.

2 December: Overcoming That Dreaded Malady: User Research Fatigue

By Jim Ross

Are you at risk of developing user research fatigue? Whether you have a predisposition or your case is caused by environmental factors, learn the signs and symptoms with this humorous and authoritative guide by Jim.

3 December: King Content Joins the UX Team

By Chris Offutt

In this modern-day illuminated manuscript, King Content loses...

 

‘Star Trek’ actor Anton Yelchin died last year at the age of 27 when a Jeep pinned him against a gate and brick pillar outside his home. It turns out that his Jeep’s gearshift was poorly designed.

Poor Anton didn’t realise that the Jeep was in neutral when he got out, so it rolled backwards down the driveway, crushing him. This was one of over 100 accidents related to confusion over the gearshift.

Many people thought the Fiat Chrysler gearshift, which looked like most gearshifts, should move up and down to shift into reverse, drive and park. That was their mental model. In other words, their belief about how it should work.

The gearshift, in fact, worked differently than most. It used push-buttons and always returned to the centre position. The fact that the gearshift’s actual functionality – otherwise known as its  “conceptual model” – was different than users’ mental models caused issues. Major ones in this instance.

Jeep’s confusing gear shift.

In the field of user experience, we need to understand how users think so we can design with that in mind. When we understand people’s thinking, we can either design to match their current mental models, that is their beliefs about how things should work. Or, we can clearly...

Susan Weinschenk joined us in our Slack channel yesterday in what was one of the most popular sessions that I’ve run to date. She did a stellar job of keeping up with the quick-fire questions and the hour flew by.

The session marked the culmination of our theme for November – how psychology and neuroscience help us design for people. We used Susan’s book 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People as the inspiration for our discussions so it was a fitting way to end the month.

If you didn’t make the session today because you didn’t know about it, make sure you join our community to get updates of upcoming sessions.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

Transcript hawk 2017-11-28 23:00 Ok, let’s get this show on the road hawk 2017-11-28 23:01 First up, thanks to you all for joining us today. I’m super pumped about this session – I’m a huge fan of @susanweinschenk’s work and I’ve really enjoyed reading her book this month hawk 2017-11-28 23:01 (for those of you that aren’t aware, we used Susan’s book _100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People_ as the basis of our theme for November) hawk 2017-11-28 23:02 And a very big thanks for you @susanweinschenk for taking the time this evening to answer our questions

Picture it: We’re in a room with our colleagues, attempting to determine the relative importance of features for a product (because we can’t do everything) but it quickly turns into what I call a feature debate …

Ever been in a meeting like that?

It’s the kind of discussion where people try to justify the features they want. Sometimes it’s based on their opinion, sometimes on what they’ve heard through their own “research” (eg. asking friends and family or people in coffee shops), and sometimes it’s even based on a business goal.

Feature debates rarely end well—we feel like we ‘lose’ when a feature we want isn’t included in the team plan. We get upset, politics become aggravated, and it leads to conflict within our team. Not to mention that feature debates can be quite expensive to the business; after the meeting they often trigger a lot of back-and-forth communication that becomes a huge distraction from what we should be focussed on.

So, given such clear drawbacks, why do feature debates still happen?

I think they’re a clear  sign we’re not doing enough research. If our team has done the groundwork, we can easily integrate these research findings into the feature debates. For example, we could counter an opinion by saying something like “Well, in the research we found that people had problems with _____ therefore we really should prioritize feature ____.”

Sure, it’s easy to argue research. But good research should back up every insight with evidence; the stronger the evidence, the...

 

Looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and secret codes for user experience professionals? From prototyping tools to online courses, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve partnered with our friends from the Interaction Design Foundation, UsabilityHub, Loop11, Protopie, Mockplus to bring you featured deals and exclusives.

Grab any UX Mastery ebook for just $5, and browse some of the best deals from across the web!

Show me these amazing bargains »

 

The post UX Mastery’s Guide to the Best Black Friday Deals for UX Professionals appeared first on UX Mastery.

We’ve spent November taking a close look at how psychology and neuroscience help us design for people. We used Susan Weinschenk’s amazing book 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People as the inspiration for our discussions so we’re pretty excited that she’ll be joining us in our Slack channel this month to share her knowledge and answer our questions.

Whether you’ve been following us as we’ve explored the book or not, you’re welcome to join us for this amazing opportunity to learn from Dr Weinschenk.

The Details Meet Susan Weinschenk

Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology, and is the Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO at The Team W, Inc, as well as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Susan consults on with Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, governments and non-profits, and is the author of several books, including 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, 100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People and How To Get People To Do Stuff. Susan is co-host of the HumanTech podcast, and writes her own blog and a column for Psychology Today online.

How to Ask Your Questions

If you can’t make the live session...

After a brief hiatus our Ask the UXperts channel was brought back to life yesterday by my fellow kiwi, Kah Chan.

Kah first crossed my path at UXNZ last month and I was both entertained and educated by his talk on the careful use of language in our work. I’m pleased to say that my not-so-subtle solicitation was a success and Kah joined us yesterday to give us his tips and tricks on using language to craft better experiences for our users.

If you didn’t make the session today because you didn’t know about it, make sure you join our community to get updates of upcoming sessions.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

Transcript hawk 2017-11-15 22:02 OK… so I will admit to ambushing Kah to do this session after I heard him speak on the topic at UXNZ last month hawk 2017-11-15 22:02 His talk was my favourite and given the number of questions we get in our community about ‘UX writing’ I thought it would resonate well hawk 2017-11-15 22:02 So firstly, a huge thank you @kah.chan for your time today hawk 2017-11-15 22:03 It’s appreciated hawk 2017-11-15 22:03 For the formal intro: Kah Chan is the Head of Product Design at Flick Electric Co., which is really just a fancy title for the only designer in...