"user experience" entries

Mobile First? Not So Fast!

Why "flow" and "context" are more important than screen size

Are we done with the Mobile First meme, yet? Can we be? Please?

Look, don’t get me wrong. I fundamentally agree with a lot of the thoughts behind the annoying catchphrase “mobile first.” For example, I agree that mobile devices are now the primary (if not only) mode of connecting for many markets. I also think that having some sort of mobile strategy is absolutely required for almost every product.

mobile-first-not-so-fast

The problem is that “mobile first” often equates “mobile” with “small screen” or “responsive layout” or “native vs. mobile web.” Now, those are all incredibly important decisions. But if you’re thinking about the size of your screen or the technology you’re going to use first, you are designing wrong.

Of course, if you’ve read anything else I’ve ever written, you know that the first thing you must figure out is an important customer problem or need that your product is aimed at solving for real people. We’re going to just skip over that whole part where you get to know your most important users. But that’s always first. Promise.

Once you’ve done all that though, you need to start designing. And there are two things that you should always know before you even start considering things like screen size or technology.

Those two things are: Flow and Context.

Read more…

Comment

UX Is about Much More than Making Stuff Look Pretty

User-Centered Design with Travis Lowdermilk

Travis Lowdermilk (@tlowdermilk) is a software developer who recently joined Microsoft as UX Designer for Visual Studio. He hosts the Windows Developer Show and advocates for User-Centered Design (UCD). Travis is the author of User-Centered Design: A Developer’s Guide to Building User-Friendly Applications.

Key points from the full video interview include:

  • What is User-Centered Design and why is it important? [Discussed at the 0.16 mark.]
  • How does UCD relate to HCI and UX? [Discussed at the 1.56 mark.]
  • UX helps developers create engaging apps. [Discussed at the 4.34 mark.]
  • Ask questions, observe users, and modify your apps based on what you see and hear. [Discussed at the 07.13 mark.]
  • UCD applies to large and small companies alike. [Discussed at the 9.54 mark.]
  • Users don’t always know what they want. [Discussed at the 13.37 mark.]
  • Engage users even if it’s just a few. [Discussed at the 18.23 mark.]

You can watch the entire interview in the following video:

Related:

Comments: 2

How crowdfunding and the JOBS Act will shape open source companies

New regulations could mark the end of proprietary finance.

Currently, anyone can crowdfund products, projectscauses, and sometimes debt. Current U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations make crowdfunding companies (i.e. selling stocks rather than products on crowdfund platforms) illegal. The only way to sell stocks to the public at large under the current law is through the heavily regulated Initial Public Offering (IPO) process.

The JOBS Act will soon change these rules. This will mean that platforms like Kickstarter will be able to sell shares in companies, assuming those companies follow certain strict rules. This change in finance law will enable open source companies to access capital and dominate the technology industry. This is the dawn of crowdfunded finance, and with it comes the dawn of open source technology everywhere.

The JOBS Act is already law, and it required the SEC to create specific rules by specific deadlines. The SEC is working on the rulemaking, but it has made it clear that given the complexity of this new finance structure, meeting the deadlines is not achievable. No one is happy with the delay but the rules should be done in late 2013 or early 2014.

When those rules are addressed, thousands of open source companies will use this financial instrument to create new types of enterprise open source software, hardware, and bioware. These companies will be comfortably funded by their open source communities. Unlike traditional venture-capital-backed companies, these new companies will narrowly focus on getting the technology right and putting their communities first. Eventually, I think these companies will make most proprietary software companies obsolete. Read more…

Comments: 15

The complexity of designing for everywhere

Author Rachel Hinman on the future of mobile design and UX.

In her new book The Mobile Frontier, author Rachel Hinman (@Hinman) says the mobile design space is a wide-open frontier, much like space exploration or the Wild West, where people have room to “explore and invent new and more human ways for people to interact with information.”

In the following interview, Hinman talks about the changing landscape of computing — GUIs becoming NUIs — and delves into the future of mobile and how designers and users alike will make the journey.

What is mobile’s biggest strength? What about it is creating a new frontier?

Rachel Hinman: Humans have two legs, making us inherently mobile beings. Yet for the last 50 years, we’ve all settled into a computing landscape that assumes a static context of use. Mobile’s biggest strength is that it maps to this inherent human characteristic to be mobile.

The static, PC computing landscape is known and understood. Mobile is a frontier because there’s still much we don’t understand and much yet to be discovered. There are lots of breakthroughs in mobile yet to come, making it an exciting place for those who can stomach the uncertainty and ambiguity to be. Read more…

Comment
Data Jujitsu: The art of turning data into product

Data Jujitsu: The art of turning data into product

Smart data scientists can make big problems small.

Having worked in academia, government and industry, I’ve had a unique opportunity to build products in each sector. Much of this product development has been around building data products. Just as methods for general product development have steadily improved, so have the ideas for developing data products. Thanks to large investments in the general area of data science, many major innovations (e.g., Hadoop, Voldemort, Cassandra, HBase, Pig, Hive, etc.) have made data products easier to build. Nonetheless, data products are unique in that they are often extremely difficult, and seemingly intractable for small teams with limited funds. Yet, they get solved every day.

How? Are the people who solve them superhuman data scientists who can come up with better ideas in five minutes than most people can in a lifetime? Are they magicians of applied math who can cobble together millions of lines of code for high-performance machine learning in a few hours? No. Many of them are incredibly smart, but meeting big problems head-on usually isn’t the winning approach. There’s a method to solving data problems that avoids the big, heavyweight solution, and instead, concentrates building something quickly and iterating. Smart data scientists don’t just solve big, hard problems; they also have an instinct for making big problems small.

We call this Data Jujitsu: the art of using multiple data elements in clever ways to solve iterative problems that, when combined, solve a data problem that might otherwise be intractable. It’s related to Wikipedia’s definition of the ancient martial art of jujitsu: “the art or technique of manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it with one’s own force.”

How do we apply this idea to data? What is a data problem’s “weight,” and how do we use that weight against itself? These are the questions that we’ll work through in the subsequent sections.

Read more…

Comments: 3
Design your website for a graceful fail

Design your website for a graceful fail

Mike Brittain on the resilient user experience.

A failure in secondary content doesn't need to take down an entire website. Here, Etsy's Mike Brittain explains how to build resilience into UIs and allow for graceful failures.

Comments: 2
Publishing News: DoJ lawsuit is great news for Amazon

Publishing News: DoJ lawsuit is great news for Amazon

The DoJ sues Apple and five major publishers, Yahoo files patents to put ads in ebooks, and B&N one-ups Amazon.

Amazon does a happy dance as five of the Big Six publishers and Apple are sued by the DoJ. Elsewhere, Yahoo looks to increase revenues with ebook ads, and B&N lights up its Nook.

Comment: 1
Everyone has a stake in the digital reading experience

Everyone has a stake in the digital reading experience

Louis Rosenfeld says a good reading experience is shaped by everyone involved.

In this video interview, Louis Rosenfeld, publisher at Rosenfeld Media, LLC, says ownership of the digital reading user experience is shared between authors, publishers, device manufacturers and readers.

Comment
Commerce Weekly: EBay’s TV tie-in

Commerce Weekly: EBay’s TV tie-in

EBay for iPad lets you make offers based on the TV program you're watching.

The new Watch with eBay function within eBay's iPad app shows products related to whatever television program you're viewing. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

Comment: 1
Commerce Weekly: EBay's TV tie-in

Commerce Weekly: EBay's TV tie-in

EBay for iPad lets you make offers based on the TV program you're watching.

The new Watch with eBay function within eBay's iPad app shows products related to whatever television program you're viewing. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

Comment: 1