August 23, 2021 Edition

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Using Objectives and Key Results to Inform UX Design

Ask UXmatters

Get expert answers

A column by Janet M. Six
August 23, 2021

This month in Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses how objectives and key results (OKRs) can inform UX design. The panel explores how the use of OKRs differs from traditional requirements gathering. Our panelists then discuss the relationship between OKRs and product strategy and common pitfalls of using OKRs.

We also recommend a couple of books that could help you apply OKRs in your work. Finally, I discuss the importance of keeping business needs in mind. Read More

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UX Paradise, Part 4: The Customer Experience

August 23, 2021

In this article, which is Part 4, the final part, of my four-part series, I describe how customers would hypothetically experience Delta Market—a fictitious chain of more than 500 medium-to-large, high-end grocery stores and an organization at the highest level of UX maturity. This article also describes how customers might experience the gap between Delta Market’s high UX maturity and the low UX maturity of Delta’s biggest competitor, Alpha Market. The outcome of this comparison demonstrates how organizations can justify the substantial costs that are necessary to increase and maintain their UX maturity.

This series has presented Delta’s journey from low UX maturity, the UX Swamp, to high UX maturity, the UX Paradise. In Part 1, I described Delta Market in 2012, including the personas and the UX maturity model they had decided to use. Part 2 related the story of Delta’s journey from the UX Swamp to UX Paradise. Part 3 described Delta Market in 2020, after the company had attained UX Paradise. Read More

Developing a Mobile App? Focus on Patience, Practicality, and Purpose

August 23, 2021

Mobile apps are endemic. So it’s no wonder that companies of all shapes and sizes—from one-person startups to monolithic enterprises—are building apps to engage their customers. They know that branded apps are a modern must-have for any business.

Yet mobile apps, like businesses, take different forms, too. They’re not one-size-fits-most solutions. That’s why it’s important for your team to understand two basic types of apps so you can streamline the overall Android or iOS app development and engineering process: the minimum viable product, or MVP, and the production-quality app. Read More

Book Review: Escaping the Build Trap

August 23, 2021

Cover: Escaping the Build TrapAs organizations become more customer obsessed or user centered, we are seeing greater specialization in the delivery of user experiences. We are also experiencing significant changes in how organizations are delivering user experiences. A role that has recently risen in importance and shares some overlap with User Experience is that of Product Management. Specialization and modern forms of project management are encouraging these changes.

Rather than following the traditional waterfall process of software-project management, more and teams are adopting agile methods of software development. For organizations who may still be at an early stage in their UX maturity and user-centered thinking, it is still quite common to have a single UX professional working with a standing team of generalist developers who divide their time across multiple projects. However, as agile methods have become more common and in today’s world of scrum teams and agile sprints, it has become necessary to consider more specialized roles. Read More

How Product Managers Leverage Data to Boost Conversions

August 23, 2021

The ultimate goal of any product manager is to create a better product or service. But with this role comes great responsibility because every mistake product managers make can cost their company lost revenues. That’s why great product managers reject a reliance on people’s gut instincts and subjective views and instead rely on data in making as many product decisions as possible. Thankfully, we today live in a data-driven world, which makes the product manager’s job a lot easier.

In this article, I’ll discuss a number of data-driven methods of understanding the performance of Web sites—especially their conversion rates—and how to use this data to improve their results through iterative design. Thus, these methods are equally useful to UX professionals. Read More

August 02, 2021 Edition

Fostering Positive Environments for Remote Work, Part 1

Enterprise UX

Designing experiences for people at work

A column by Jonathan Walter
August 2, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how we do our work in unprecedented ways—some of which have arguably been positive. While many people have expressed a desire to return to their workplace after 16 months in lockdown, 41% of Americans want to continue working remotely on a part-time, hybrid basis because they’ve experienced an improved work-life balance. As remote work continues to reshape the policies of many large companies—including those who are beginning to encourage their employees to return to their physical offices, even if just part time—it’s important to step back and reflect on what we’ve learned from this shift to remote work. Companies must continue to help employees feel supported and satisfied in their jobs—wherever they are.

In this column, which is Part 1 of a two-part series, I’ll share my experiences with managing remote UX professionals and teams. I’ll provide some tips for avoiding pitfalls that could arise if managers and leaders are not mindful of how remote work affects their employees. Although I’m writing this column from a manager’s point of view, anyone can work with their manager or other leaders in their company to foster a positive, remote-working environment. I’ll cover the following tips in Part 1:

  • offering flexibility in camera readiness
  • creating safe spaces for employees to vent and connect
  • demonstrating trust Read More

The Importance of UX Writing

Business of Design

Learnings from design projects

A column by Manik Arora
August 2, 2021

UX design is a complex field that encompasses myriad disciplines, including information architecture, interaction design, user-interface design, user research, usability testing, and more. UX professionals working in each specialty must work in concert together to provide a user experience that is as enjoyable for users and as seamless as possible.

One of the most important, but often overlooked aspects of UX design is UX writing. In this article, I’ll discuss the significance of UX writing and share some design strategies for improving UX writing that I’ve personally implemented in my designs, helping users to successfully achieve their goals. Read More

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: Service-Experience Improvements and the Pandemic

Service Design

Orchestrating experiences in context

A column by Laura Keller
August 2, 2021

As we begin to see more friends and family, put social events and gatherings on our calendar, and slowly become more comfortable going maskless, I am grateful for the degree to which we’re now able to return to normal. My kids are in summer camp, and we’re looking forward to a couple of getaways. We can reflect on a difficult past year that our family managed to get through happily and healthily. We found ways to adjust and continue leading our lives, whether it was buying patio heaters so we could have family over for an outdoor holiday visit, rolling up our sleeves to help our kids when school was fully virtual last spring, or using more collaborative, digital tools at work.

While it’s easy to become eager to go back to the way our lives used to be, many people are now taking the opportunity to reflect on the last 18 months of the pandemic and decide whether any of the changes we’ve made as a result of the pandemic should persist in the future. From evaluating friendships to avoiding over-scheduled lives to working from home more often, people are motivated to move forward to a new and improved normal. We’ve realized what we can live without and what we want to have more of. Read More

Balancing UX Design and Conversion-Rate Optimization

August 2, 2021

Whether you are designing a Web site or a mobile app, both UX design and conversion-rate optimization (CRO) play important roles in lead generation, conversion, and retention. To achieve optimal results, you need to establish a symbiotic relationship between UX design and CRO, in which they supplement one another’s efforts and work together to achieve common goals.

Focusing too much on either UX design or CRO is often to the detriment of the other, so it’s important to strike the right balance between them. Before I provide some tips on how to balance UX design and CRO, let’s look at these two terms in context. Read More

Mitigating User Errors

August 2, 2021

All people make errors. User errors occur when people are unable to interact effectively with your Web site or application. According Don Norman, there are two types of user errors:

  • mistakes—These errors occur when the mental models of users who are not familiar with the way a particular Web site or application works don’t coincide with its actual functionality. Mistakes generally result when UX professionals haven’t conducted sufficient user research and create design solutions that don’t meet users’ expectations.
  • slips—These are unconscious errors that happen when users accidentally take an action that they did not intend to take. For example, tapping Cut instead of Copy or making a typo. Slips generally occur when users are familiar with a site or application and its features, but aren’t being sufficiently attentive. Plus, users are less likely to verify interactions with which they’re familiar, so might fail to notice a problem. Some slips are partly the result of design deficiencies as well—for example, placing a Delete button too close to other buttons—making it all too easy for mistakes to occur. Read More