Author Archives: Catriona Shedd

It’s not enough to think tactically about content

“The central message of content strategy is that it’s not enough to think tactically about content. To serve our clients and readers, we have to look beyond individual battles and ensure that the whole array of individual campaigns and choices works together to meet a clearly defined set of overarching goals.” – Erin Kissane

This quote is from Erin’s article “What Do Content Strategists Do?”

15 Tips to Help Designers Gain Stakeholder Buy-In

15 Tips to Help Designers Gain Stakeholder Buy-In

Internal buy-in often has to come from multiple groups within an organization: designers, developers, project managers, product managers, business managers, marketing, and executives. Getting everyone to agree on a design direction can be difficult as conflicting opinions and goals often get in the way of reaching consensus.  Without gaining buy-in, however, even a great design can be doomed to failure.

There are several techniques that you can employ as a member of the Design team to reduce the amount of resistance involved in getting buy-in.

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Every detail contributes to associations and judgements users make about your company

“Designing interactions and guiding experience is more than interface design or usability tricks. Every piece of interaction will speak to the user. Every detail, every piece of marketing copy, image, icon, drop shadow, layout placement, or button contributes to the user’s associations and judgements about the company they are dealing with.” – Shawn Borsky

Read more in Shawn’s article “Defining User Experience as Brand Experience.”

Truly great design occurs when the designer’s, client’s, and user’s perspectives are considered

“To the designer, great design is beautiful design. A significant amount of effort must be placed into making the product attractive. To the client, great design is effective. It must bring in customers and meet the goals put forth to the designer in the original brief. To the user, great design is functional. It’s easy to read, easy to use and easy to get out of it what was promised… Truly great design, then, is when these three perspectives are considered and implemented equally to create a final product that is beautiful, effective and functional.” – Joshua Johnson

Read more in Joshua’s article “The Difference Between Good Design and Great Design”

Quality Assurance as Applied to User Experience Design

Quality Assurance as Applied to User Experience Design

Quality Assurance (QA) is a critical part of any web or application development project.  QA helps to verify that a project has met the project’s requirements and technical specifications without bugs or other defects.  The aim is to identify issues prior to product launch.  Most QA initiatives focus on following predefined test cases, which meticulously outline required functionality by stating an input and expected response.  In order for QA to be successful, requirements must be clearly articulated and changes must be communicated effectively.

As User Experience professionals, we often rely on our QA teams to help verify that a design works as intended during development.  However, it should not be assumed that traditional QA can validate that your product is facilitating the desired user experience.  QA is very effective at identifying technical implementation issues (e.g. system errors, incorrect calculations, etc.) and often issues with front-end design implementation (e.g. CSS misalignment, cross browser differences, etc.). However, most QA processes do not focus on the quality of the user experience in regards to usability, affordances, findability, content clarity, or appropriate placements of items within the experience.  Nor should they.  The quality of the User Experience needs to be evaluated separately from technical quality assurance.

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