guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

by stef

Cognitive Psychology for Designers: Visual Search – Feature Integration Theory

How do we find what we are looking for? And how do we do it?

Visual search deals with the problem of how we find what we are looking for (relevant things) in a world full of things that might also be irrelevant to us.

Visual search is necessary for our daily life. Imagine we have to process all the information in our visual field at once. It is simply not possible because of our limited cognitive capacity. Visual search is also very important for design. 

See this example:

Continue Reading →

by stef

Missing: Female UX role models

… yep this is a very good question and part of the problem aka missing role models for young female interaction designers (surprise: this problem also appears in science) as this perception of a male dominated field will influence their self-concept

by stef

Partizipative Forschungsansätze – auch für uns im Interaction Design relevant

nur kurz, da gerade frisch gehört und für gut befunden: ich habe gerade eine sehr spannende Podcastfolge von Technology Review über partizipative Forschung gehört. Lustigerweise habe ich darüber auch gerade viel Input in dem Modul Community Psychology bekommen. Dazu hoffentlich bald mal mehr. In der angesprochenen Folge geht es um einen Bereich, in dem die hierarchische Kluft zwischen Wissenschaftler*innen und Anwender*innen traditionell besonders hoch ist: der Medizin.

Allerdings ist das Feld der partizipativen Forschung oder des partizipativen Designs auch für den traditionllen Forschungszweig HCI sowie für Praktiker in dem Bereich (UX, Designer*innen, Entwickler*innen etc ) interessant und dreht ja in den einschlägigen Fachjournals schon länger thematisch die Runden. Viele Designentscheidungen beruhen ja (hoffentlich) auf einer Datengrundlage. Also ist auch die Frage wer entscheidet welche Daten überhaupt erhoben werden sehr sehr relevant für uns Praktiker die zB User Research betreiben. Reinhören lohnt sich. :)


by stef

Cupertino, we have a problem

Apple’s health app calls upcoming menstruation a “highlight“. Dare I say it: this is not a highlight for most women.
So while I don’t think things like this are happening on an intentional basis it is a very good example of what we call self-referential design. Self-referential design means that we tend to design for ourselves rather than for our actual audience. This behavior is a result of the so called false consensus effect /bias – the tendency to overestimate the agreement that exists between our own attitudes, worldviews and opinions and those of other people.

Different explanations have been developed why this effect appears, for example cognitive availability/availability heuristic plays a role: Similarities between oneself and other people are easier to retrieve from memory than dissimilarities. Also, the search for consistency might play a huge role as people specifically search for people who agree with them while avoiding people who have different viewpoints.

It’s a fact that tech teams are often male-dominated. And I think this is something we all / tech teams can do better. We have to bring more diversity to tech teams. More diversity leading to more perspectives and thus less self-referential design… still a long way to go.

by stef

What I was doing in…March 2021

We finally have received the results of the examinations and I’m very happy with my results! Now I’ll continue with Industrial and Organizational Psychology and with Prio 2 community psychology which are my first courses in applied psychology! I’m looking forward to IO because there are some parallels to UX Work….:)

Besides I’m about to finish a course about cognitive psychology in instructional design at my university.

by stef

What I am doing in…February 2021

I took three weeks off to prepare for two exams for my psychology studies. However, the preparation is going rather poorly, I could have done more this semester, but the whole winter went rather sluggish… However, let’s do this. Nice side effect: The more I read the longer my blog idea list grows. :D

This is my desk right now
Image of my desk at the moment

Also, I decided to try out a Now Page where I share what I’m up to at the moment and this is what you are currently looking at. I decided to do not a “page” that I will update regularly but try this as a category on my blog where – this is the plan- I can share monthly updates.
The idea comes from a project by Derek Sivers and I liked the idea right away, because I want to write more anyway!

I am also thinking about reducing the categories on this blog (this will be a painful task) and to add a “Talks” category

Besides that I am currently reading: Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles, which is a fantastic book. Almost done!

by stef

What to pay user research participants?

A question which comes up a lot: What should we pay for research incentives these days? This calculator might help to get an idea:

by stef

Storytelling is a design tool

whitney quesenbery on a panel discussion about storytelling

Tonight I attended a panel discussion about Storytelling for User Experience with Whitney Quesenbery, Andrew Merryweather, Karina Van Schaardenburg and Julia Goga-Cooke (moderation) and it was great – so here are a few quick notes/quotes from it I’d love to share:

First, you have to know I’m a big advocate for using storytelling methods in design work e.g for developing future visions of a service / product or presenting design or communicating research. Storytelling is the process of using facts and narrative to communicate our thoughts and ideas to a team. It’s very beneficial for UX work simply because stories are more memorable than tons of research datasheets or abstract use cases, boring list or diagrams.

Ok here are the quotes:
This is actually an analogy I love from Whitney Quesenbery: “(…) journey maps are the landscape and personas are the characters” – it also reminds me a bit on Kim Goodwins metaphor of the persona as the hero in the story (which is the future Scenario)

And here’s a reply to that I loved:

Andrew Merryweather shared an Idea regarding one question from the audience how to communicate stories of future scenarios I liked a lot: “(..) One team recorded a 2min video focusing totally on the users experience and not the content on the screen Status quo (failing) vs. future (succeeding)

Whitney Quesenbery mentioned that “(…)Stories in UX give your work impact and help people see the visions you see for a service/product” and “(…) stories put a face on information and help understand / communicate future scenarios” which I totally agree with

She also said something that I mention in my class on “Bridging the research design gap” quite often: “Stories make insights from data memorable” – yesyesyes, I couldn’t agree more, maybe I share something about that topic also soon here (top secret hint well its about these often scorned personas / user models)

by stef

Presenting design work

Even if you’ve been doing the job for a long time, design presentations are always a challenge. But presenting and thus communicating conceptual design is a very important aspect of our work.

Listen to this great interview with Donna Spencer on the UX podcast on the value of scenario based presentations.

“[…] pointing out things like real estate doesn’t help the audience get the flow in their head. It doesn’t help them understand what the user’s experience might be. And literally does draw attention to the things you might not want any comment on like, you know, colours and buttons and drop downs.”

I’ll look forward to reading her book.
Podcast episode

by stef

Lorrie Cranor: The (lacking) usability of privacy interfaces.

Watch Lorrie Cranors very interesting keynote about designing useful and usable privacy interfaces. She talks in depth about the use of icons related to privacy settings and what to consider. This keynote was held at the on the annual conference of the Forum Privatheit 2020 which took place in November.

by stef

Accessibility Maze

Accessibility Maze

This is a great resource for learning some basic accessibility principles.

“For people who do not experience barriers, it can be difficult to empathize with the challenges that people with disabilities often face when navigating the Web. The Accessibility Maze was created to help those new to web accessibility experience firsthand what it is like to encounter those barriers. The game introduces a number of common barriers players must work around, mirroring the experience of those who encounter these obstacles daily, and provides quick lessons on how to avoid or correct them.”

– via a11yweekly

by stef

Finally – M4 Sozialpsychologie Klausur: erledigt

So , heute hab ich endlich etwas zum Abschluss gebracht, was schon viel zu lange fällig war: meine Modulabschlussprüfung in Sozialpsychologie. Vielleicht wissen ja einige, dass ich “nebenbei” noch Psychologie an der Fernuni in Hagen studiere.
Ewig mache ich mit dem betreffenden Modul schon rum, mitten im Semester nicht weitergemacht, die Klausur nicht mitgeschrieben..weil immer was war etc pp. – aber nun ist es endlich erledigt, juhu… und es fühlt sich gut an, dass dies vom Tisch ist! 😊 Das Modul interessiert mich sehr, und es gibt da immer so viel links und rechts interessantes und relevantes zu gucken, bringt aber nichts für die Klausur. :D Die Prüfung fand ich teilweise persönlich nicht so einfach (und viele meiner Kommilitonen auch nicht, wie man in Gesprächen direkt nach der Klausur merkte) da ein großer Teil in der Mitte auftauchte, den wir wohl alle *in dem Ausmaß* bezüglich Statistik und Forschungsdesign nicht ganz so auf dem Schirm hatten, naja, egal, denke, dass ich bestanden habe – sicher wissen werde ich das allerdings wohl erst in 5-6 Wochen. Übrigens schreiben wir in Berlin seit letztem Semester die Klausuren elektronisch auf iPads und ich war selbstverständlich megaskeptisch wegen der Usability und malte mir schon die schlimmsten Szenarien aus – Berufskrankheit 😬 etc, aber großes Lob an Dynexite – super einfach und null Featureitis, wirklich sehr übersichtlich. Das Tool wurde an der Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften der RWTH Aachen entwickelt.

Ab April geht’s offiziell weiter mit Allgemeine Psychologie 1: Kognition – auch bereits einmal angefangen und liegen lassen. Die wunderbare und spannende Welt der menschlichen Wahrnehmung, yay.
Nun bin ich von den letzten Wochen gerade ganz schön platt und erledigt,dachte eigentlich, dass ich sehr ruhig bin, merkte aber teilweise erhebliche Schlafstörungen die letzten beiden Wochen etc…und schätze, dass ich das doch nicht so easy wegsteckte. Aber nun ist erstmal unglaublicherweise ein *richtiges* Wochenende, yeah.

Und für alle die mit Statistik was anfangen können hier der passende Song: