User Experience is about more than just finding the best solution for your users

“Most people believe that User Experience is just about finding the best solution for your users — but it’s not. UX is about defining the problem that needs to be solved (the why), defining the types of people who need it to be solved (the who), and defining the way in which it should be solved to be relevant to those people (the how).” – Whitney Hess

Read more in Whitney’s great 52 Weeks of UX article “StartUXs.

How Organizations Can Best Support Beginner UX Designers

How Organizations Can Best Support Beginner UX Designers

There are many resources available for beginner UX designers to learn about the field on their own. In particular, Whitney Hess’ blog post series “So you wanna be a User Experience Designer” (part 1) (part 2) outlines a fantastic list of books, blogs, events, organizations, lists, workshops, conferences, and education references that can help those new to the field learn the ropes.

While being a self-starter and educating yourself is a huge step in the right direction, beginner UX Designers need support from their organizations in order to be most successful.  There are several steps organizations can take to guide and encourage those new to the field.

Your content is the hardest working part of your website

“Writing for your website shouldn’t be an extracurricular activity appended to anyone’s work description. Your content deserves better as it is the hardest working part of your website. Your content sells your services, captures the interest of potential customers, guides users through your site to achieve the goal they set out to do, instructs them on how to purchase from you, collects their information, lets people know the terms and conditions for a transaction with you, describes the unique collection you have for sale, rewards them for their brand loyalty, and introduces customers to the positive experience they get shopping with you.” – Relly Annett-Baker

Read more in Relly’s article “Why you need a content strategist.

(Remember you can always click on the quote image thumbnails to download the full sized image)

In design one makes-to-think and thinks-to-make

“In design one makes-to-think and thinks-to-make. There’s no hard line between wondering about something and making that thing in the machine shop. The two go together without a hard distinction between thinking it up and making it up. In a design studio… the making is also the thinking. We don’t figure everything out and then just build it. Both of these materialization rituals are the same and interweave in a simple, clarifying way.” – Julian Bleecker

This quote is from Kicker Studio’s interview with Julian: “Six Questions from Kicker: Julian Bleecker.

Design is really about the way products and services come to life

“Design is really about the way products and services come to life. The companies that build the most enduring relationships with customers often do so by creating an environment where design flourishes. They have leadership that embraces design, executives who trust their gut and their employees as much as they trust all the data they receive abut their business. To really grasp design is to intuit what customers want, often before customers even know what they want it. That’s not something you can learn in a focus group or an online survey.” – Jay Greene

This quote is from Jay’s book “Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons.” It was also quoted in Thomas Lockwood’s book “Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value.

Thanks to Michael Magoolaghan for submitting this quote!

Facilitating Collaboration Between Visual Designers and Other UX Roles

Facilitating Collaboration Between Visual Designers and Other UX Roles

In some organizations, “User Experience” is a treated differently from “Visual Design” (or “Creative”) and there is a distinct separation between the teams.  In others, Visual Designers are an integrated part of the User Experience team.  Regardless of team structure, however, there is often a pattern of UX deliverables such as wireframes or basic prototypes being handed off to Visual Designers to “skin,” or as some unfortunately call it, “make things pretty,” with little or no further involvement from the rest of the UX team.

There are some common problems with this approach:

  • Information Architects and Interaction Designers feel they lose influence over the design process once it’s in the hands of a Visual Designer
  • Visual Designers don’t feel they are involved early enough in the process to understand design inputs or to influence what goes into a given design
  • There’s an inherent disconnect between the knowledge that went into wireframes/prototypes and what is translated over to the Visual Designer
  • Design decisions are often seen as subjective as opposed to grounded in research and analysis

There are several techniques that members of the “big D” Design team (including all UX roles/responsibilities) can use to better collaborate to make sure the end design best represents an optimal user experience and is grounded in input from the entire team.

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