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Topic: User Experience

What do the people who use your website actually want? Making web content accessible. Designing and testing interfaces and the systems that support them. Talking to users and considering real-world use cases. Testing on the cheap. Design, architecture, research, benchmarking, usability, analytics, studies, interviews, surveys, focus groups.

  • A DIY Web Accessibility Blueprint

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    Good accessibility is good UX. We should seek to create the best user experience for all (not just the able-bodied). But launching a company accessibility remediation project can be a big undertaking. You will need to win over company leadership, build a multi-disciplinary accessibility team, and educate everyone on accessibility standards. In this article, Beth Raduenzel provides a step-by-step guide to making and maintaining an accessible website.

  • Discovery on a Budget: Part II

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    When it comes to evaluating the next “big idea”, not everyone has a pot of money, crowds of existing customers and a roomful of eager researchers and analysts. So in this second installment of her three-part series, Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek leads us through the next steps in budget-conscious discovery—analyzing the data gathered from initial research, refining the problem hypothesis, and setting up a fresh round of more-targeted research. For Meg’s fictitious startup, Candor Network, it’s clear that a new focus is needed ...

  • The King vs. Pawn Game of UI Design

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    If you want to improve your UI design skills, try looking at chess. Sounds contrived, maybe, but in Erik Kennedy’s hands, it’s sublime. Marvel and learn as he uses a concept from chess to build a toolkit of UI design strategies covering color, typography, lighting and shadows, and more.

  • Discovery on a Budget: Part I

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    “Discovery” is a key phase of design. It’s the starting point, where you define and clarify the problem you’re about to solve. For established or big businesses with dedicated budgets, teams, and customers to interview, the process is straightforward. But what about small companies, startups, and nonprofits that lack these resources? How can lean organizations participate in and benefit from discovery? Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek shows us, in Part I of “Discovery on a Budget.”

  • Planning for Accessibility

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    Incorporating accessibility from the beginning of a web design project is easier, more effective, and less expensive than making accessibility fixes after the fact. Yet most of us too often get stuck doing the latter. Fear not! ALA’s exclusive excerpt from Laura Kalbag’s Accessibility for Everyone is here to help. You’ll learn how to make the case for accessibility to reluctant coworkers, bosses, or clients. How to build your team, scope the project, and even budget the job.

  • UX for Lizard Brains

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    In the digital world, anything is possible. Technology can seem like magic. But if the interface strays to far from human’s expectations of the physical world, users will become unsure, confused, and unhappy. Design with lizard brains in mind to create intuitive interfaces.

  • How People Perceive Lossy Image Quality: A Study

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    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the same can definitely be said for the ugliness of those “jaggies” we often see in compressed images. Our own Jeremy Wagner is on a mission to quantify image quality as it relates to performance. Can you help him out?

  • Color Accessibility Workflows

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    Color is a powerful tool that allows for an almost infinite array of design options. Yet when applying color to our work, we can have a “myopic” viewpoint that puts us, rather than our audience, front and center. Author Geri Coady discusses some solid color considerations we can make for our audiences in this excerpt from her new book, Color Accessibility Workflows, available from A Book Apart.

  • Fait Accompli: Agentive Tech Is Here

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    Artificial Intelligence is an extremely hot topic. The process in which everyday devices become more aware of our needs and “learn” to adapt to those needs will play a big part in the future of user experience. In this excerpt from Designing Agentive Technology, AI That Works for People Chris Noessel, examines agentive technology and how it works in behalf of the user.

  • User Research When You Can’t Talk to Your Users

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    User research is about understanding people. But how can we do that when frontline methods of research aren’t an option? Jon Peterson offers up several “outside the box” methods for getting to know users when access and funding is limited.

  • I Don’t Need Help

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    People assume help will be there when they need it. They don’t want to wait and they don’t want to have to ask. As Neha Singh explains, designers must accept these basic human traits and develop sites accordingly. There’s no design so intuitive that it doesn’t need a help function, and there’s no complex help app so engaging that it will hold user interest.

  • A Dao of Product Design

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    What the world needs now is not more emotionally fragile, harried, and uncertain people. Deeply consider the potential effect your product has on users, and how that effect can cause ripples in society. Faruk Ateş urges us to make sure our user experience fosters civility and emotional well-being, because our products don’t exist in a vacuum.

  • Awaken the Champion A/B Tester Within

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    Athletes capture and analyze data to optimize their performance. A/B testing can produce winners the same way: with data that goes beyond best guesses via behavioral analysis to extract deeper insights.

  • Let Emotion Be Your Guide

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    There is no separate digital experience for human emotions. In the realm of feelings, it’s all real life. Hana Schank and Jana Sedivy learned from their surprising and transformative encounters with users of a hospital website that you gain deeper insights when you let emotion take the wheel once in a while.

  • Why We Should All Be Data Literate

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    Design to the data. That’s the mantra of modern, research-driven web designers. But blindly accepting statistics and studies at face value is delusional at best, irresponsible at worst. Former journalist and current design specialist Dan Turner says be a skeptic. And don’t let fear of math, or innumeracy, stop you from running the numbers. Unexamined data can lead to costly mistakes. (Hint: Tripling your page views doesn’t mean much if you started with one visitor.)

  • Resurrecting Dead Personas

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    You spent a lot of time and money putting a human face on your market research. You created a dream-user and pledged to design with this persona in mind. But something happened. Now, your user persona is dying a lingering death. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek explains that user personas—those darlings of user-centered design—require care and feeding to remain vital, and valid.

  • Adapting to Input

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    The rise of mobile devices made us confront the reality that we can’t control the size of the viewport, and we adapted. Now it’s time to face up to another reality: web input modes are proliferating and we have no control over which ones a user has and prefers. Seasoned developer Jason Grigsby has some advice on adapting to the way the web is now.

  • Never Show A Design You Haven’t Tested On Users

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    User testing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming—and it should never be skipped entirely if you don’t have “permission” to do it. Injecting real feedback early and often affects how we design our work, communicate, and even present concepts to the client. Testing should be a habit, even when it doesn’t seem possible. It just requires a little ingenuity.

  • OOUX: A Foundation for Interaction Design

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    Pivoting smoothly from action to action is all well and good, but when interactions seem abstract to users, a sense of context is probably missing. In this follow-up to Object-Oriented UX, Sophia Voychehovski takes us from big-picture OOUX frameworks to confidently targeting actions that meet the needs of users.

  • Looking for “Trouble”

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    Venting isn’t exactly an innocent activity. Rolling our eyes at a struggling client—no matter how justified we may think we are—hints at a skewed sense of entitlement. It means we’ve forgotten that our experience working with others reflects their experience working with us. Orr Shtuhl shares how the team at Blenderbox changed their “venting culture” to proactively hunt for subtle flags of distress and take responsibility for their clients’ side of the experience.