There is no contradiction of „easy to use“ vs „easy to build“

I wrote easy to use as it sounded better in the headline but what I really meant is actually a good user’s experience.

The whole thread is good starting here:

OK, gonna rant about this.

There is a level on which I profoundly agree and a level on which I profoundly disagree.


— Jonathan Korman (@miniver) March 2, 2022

One vital core value @MrAlanCooper infused into his studio in the early days was vigorously fighting to break this bad habit.

He would say “reality bats last”, registering that UXDs do need to respect practical development considerations … but not in the first steps.


— Jonathan Korman (@miniver) March 2, 2022

I couldn’t agree more! If we think too narrow or don’t ideate big from the beginning chances are good that some good ideas never come to our mind. But if we start in this open field of possibility, this will lead to new ideas and we will be surprised what we can come up with. We have to think about constraints later. If we start with constraints our solutions might only a bit better than our current solution or other solutions that already exist and that is definitely not the path which leads to innovative ideas.

Comparing user goals and business goals side by side to show the gaps

When listening to the latest NN/g podcast episode 18 („Presenting UX Work in a compelling way“) I noticed this phrase from David Glazier. When asked for advice for eg prepare for a presentation or prepare for upcoming research he said

“ (…) find out what business (goals) are they after so you can compare your user goals and insights to those things. I think that is one of the most powerful slides in a presentation for executives is when they see business needs and user needs *side by side* and showing line item 1 on each side it harmonious with each other or dissonant to understand where you’re winning or where you need to focus (…) „

Even though it is actually so clear, and I wrote my thoughts about that topic a few times (for example here) , it kind of struck me (the side by side thing) and I instantly draw a quick/rough note for me to remind me of that. Maybe you’ll find that helpful, too.

So, here’s the link to the episode which I can highly recommend:!e8dfc

Missing: Female UX role models

Are their any “famous” women in UX? The level of Don Norman, Luke W, Alan Cooper, and Jared Spool? Where you say their names to other UXers and they know who you’re talking about?

— Katie Swindler (@KatieSwindlerUX) August 19, 2021

… 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

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. :)


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.

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:

Made a new research incentive calculator based on the conceptual framework of Run-DMC and data from 40,000+ @ethnio participants across 140 countries.👨🏻‍🔬🤖

— nate bolt (@boltron) February 4, 2020

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:

yesss!!, i'm also using this metaphor. every brand is like a planet with its citizens, different landscapes and a its own ecosystem. so think about why do people stay on this planet? why do they leave? where would they like to go? (a bit like the jetsons)

— katharina (@k____k____) February 2, 2021

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)

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.

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

Presenting design

'The fidelity of the presentation should match the fidelity of the thinking' – Bill Buxton.

Even if your team has a fancy design system & prototyping kit, use this guide when thinking about what kind of UI to bring into research at each stage. Don't get shiny too soon.

— Leisa Reichelt (@leisa) November 8, 2019

Security and UX: Don’t blame the users

A very good read by Albrecht Schmidt (LMU Munich) about security and UX >> Don’t Blame the User: Toward Means for Usable and Practical Authentication

„[…]When the user comes to use a service for the first time, many companies require registration. This is reasonable, as registered users are a valuable asset. However, asking the user for a password at this point is a bad idea. The user’s primary goal is to use a service. Providing a password is an obstacle; hence, it is likely that they will not give much thought about it and will choose a weak one.“

Accessible means usable

„Often designers use color as a method to identify if a form control is required. When a user moves into the form field or moves out of the form field, the form control changes to a red color. This method is not recommended as it is not accessible for users with low vision, colorblind users, users with cognitive disabilities, and users with visual disabilities. This method can be implemented if there is an alternative fallback method that is “a visual cue,” which can help all users identify if the form control is a required field.“

People with disabilities (temporary or permanent) feel and *are* less disabled if things work for them.
This is a very good article – also for UX Designers: The Anatomy of Accessible Forms: Required Form Fields

UX Camp Europe 2019 Session: Friend or foe? Lessons learned from human-to-human interaction

After UX Camp Europe Berlin being around for 10 years now (Happy Birthday!), I finally made it this year and got a ticket. I always wanted to go there and looked jealously at Berlin when I was still living in Mannheim.

I am so excited being part of this largest European gathering of UX professionals!! Looking forward to 2 days of fun and learning. Thanks @uxcampeurope for the great orga so far! 😱 #UX #uxce19

— Christoph Eikmeier (@C_Eikmeier) June 8, 2019

finally made it to my first #uxce 👋say hi if you are here as well 😊

— steffi (@guerillagirl_) June 8, 2019

In a nutshell: This was a perfectly organized event with so many enthusiastic UX people around! Everything did run smooth, and the organizers showed great enthusiasm for what they were doing.
The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly. With so many interesting sessions going on, so it was hard to decide where to go.

Good morning @uxcampeurope Sessionboard is full. Day 2 with more talks and further inspirations Yeah🎉❤️ #UX #uxce19

— Verena Scharnetzki (@scharnetzki13) June 9, 2019

Sadly Sunday I attended only one session, spending the rest of the morning preparing my slides and talk for my own session in the afternoon. I had to compete with Eric Reiss holding a session in the big audimax about ethics plus a few other sessions going on, so there were only a few attendees in my own session which was actually great. This was a real „improv show“ as I did not rehearse it and put the slides together and edited them really fast & spontaneously. So actually this was a good „real-life“ beta test run. :D Now I know also very well where I will make additions, refine and where to go more in depth.

Here are the slides.
CAVE: This is a rough, first „beta“ version of this talk- unpolished and there might be typos.

So thank you for this great event and hopefully seeing you all next year!

Alan Cooper at interaction18

Worth watching.

„We need to stand up, and stand together. Not in opposition but as a light shining in a dark room. Because if we don’t, we stand to lose everything. We need to harness our technology for good and prevent it from devouring us. I want you to understand the risks and know the inflection points. I want you to use your agency to sustain a dialogue with your colleagues. To work collectively and relentlessly.“

Alan Cooper – The Oppenheimer Moment from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo.

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