guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

by stef

Cboard: A Browser-Based, Open Source Tool for Alternative Communication


What a great tool.

“Have you ever lost your voice? How did you handle that? Perhaps you carried a notebook and pen to scribble notes. Or jotted quick texts on your phone. Have you ever traveled somewhere that you didn’t speak or understand the language everyone around you was speaking?”

Read more here:

Head over to the web-application:

by stef

Use storytelling to build empathy for your users


This is a great podcast episode. I’ve once heard that in gym and I was like: yes! This is how to build “empathy” or a feeling of an “ally” who must solve a problem and you want to help her to do that.

“[…] Then, when we go in-home and study these users, we have this process, which is pretty fun, where we try and think of the user as a character. We put together something that we call a user profile/character. It’s a prompt where we would learn about the users and then create this character where, kind of like how writers would think of a character for their story, a user wants something, but they can’t get it. There’s something that’s blocking them, whether it’s a technical thing, environmental, or social. Then, now you have a user, which we would call a character, and we’d give them a name. They want something that they can’t get. These studies, we would bring the designers and the engineers with us. Data scientists, QA people, everybody would come and really understand this character. We would run a two-day workshop where the product is actually one where everybody on this team will take that character and map out a story about how we can take this user, apply what Wink has in terms of technical capabilities to get them all the way around to achieving what they want. That’s what we create as a product vision. Usually, we think of” it as: What can Wink do in the next two years to help this user achieve that problem?

Listen here:

by stef

Permanent usage of pop-ups and interruptions hurt your orgas credibility

Just stumbled again upon this quote:

“Our studies showed that ads that pop up in new browser windows hurt a site’s credibility. This makes sense; people usually go to Web sites with goals in mind, and they expect the site to help them accomplish those goals. Pop-up ads are a distraction and a clear sign the site is not designed to help users as much as possible. Pop-up ads make people feel used, perhaps even betrayed.”

(Brian J. Fogg. 2003 Persuasive technology: using computers to change what we think and do)

Even though the quote mentions specifically “ads”, this is also true for newsletter subscription reminders (which may be also “ads” in peoples perception) and other stuff which is constantly popping up and therefore interrupts people.

Suppose you go into a shop and just want to look around with no intention to buy something. What impression does it make if the store owner stands behind you, constantly asking if you want to come more often, maybe tomorrow, and despite the fact that you say no, she keeps coming back, asking again and again. This is what the pop up window does, literally. Will you ever step into this store again? And will you perhaps tell your friends about this experience and tell them how crazy they are and tell them not to go there?

And: Do you want to be this store owner?

by stef

Ladies that UX Berlin #15 is coming up!

Ladies that-UX-Berlin-March 2018
Happy to announce our March meetup! We’re kicking off spring (hopefully!) with Andrea Ramirez Sabat, who will share some thoughts about the often perceived tension between Product vs Marketing and how to collaborate better.
Massive thanks goes to this month’ host and sponsor Blacklane

Ladies that UX Berlin, Tuesday, March 27, 2017; 6:30-9:00PM.
This month’s event will be hosted by Blacklane.The location is: Feurigstrasse 59, 10827 Berlin.

Please make sure to RSVP here:

Are you passionate about a special UX / Design topic? Why not give a short talk on that one of our next events? It’s a great place to get started and train your speaking skills ia a very welcoming environment! If so or if you would be interested in hosting one of our upcoming events please make sure to reach out

by stef

Sie haben beendet. Heute: Die I/O-Verschwörung.

……und fertig haben Sie auch.

Guten Morgen an diesem wunderschönen Montag! (Hust).

Heute soll’s ja wieder Nichtwetter – also ja wieder winterig werden. So hört man sich ja gleich mal an wie ein knotteriger Rentner. Über’s Wetter reden. Ha! Und ich sag’s Ihnen: Dieses Autokorrekt ist strunzdoof. Und macht mich echt wahnsinnig. Ich habe das Gefühl, das wird immer dümmer! Woher kommt eigentlich das Wort „strunzdoof“? Wieder sicher nix gutes dahinter.
Nun ja Montag, also – der Liebling unter allen Wochentagen. Autokorrekt nervt, die Maus zickt mal wieder – also Montag as usual – diese beiden Dinge haben sich wohl vorgenommen mich zu terrorisieren – eine Input-Output Verschwörung also sozusagen, wobei das ist nicht ganz korrekt, oder? Vielleicht eher eine Input-Analyse-Verschwörung? Das hört sich ja bescheuert an, dann doch lieber Input-Output Verschwörung, das ist doch besser so vom Klang und den Silben. I/O-Verschwörung. Man vs Machine, wie immer eben. Das ist ja mein Lieblingsthema, wie sie vielleicht wissen – vielleicht mache ich ja eine Kolumne daraus? Für so einen unnützen Quatsch bin ich ja sofort zu haben.
Wenn ich mir dies vornehme, hab ich aber Angst kein Material zu haben – bzw. eben, dass mir nichts einfallen mag. Sie wissen schon, Erwartungen und so. Hm. Eine Man vs Machine Kolumne als Interaction Designer? UX Kolumne möchte ich das nicht nennen. Ich mag den Begriff ja echt nicht, wie sie vielleicht auch schon wissen. Mir geht es ja um die zwischenmenschlichen (HUST!) Problemchen zwischen uns eiweißbasierten-Entitäten und den silikonbasierten. Us vs them, sozusagen – da haben wir das Problem doch schon! Wir gegen DIE! Die anderen, die Doofen. Wie früher, auf dem Schulhof! Wie sagt man noch gleich? Problem exists between chair and keyboard, Code: PEBCAK.

Ne, ne, ne…. so einfach ist das eben nicht! Da oben sehen Sie übrigens nach wie vor meine Lieblings- Systemnotification.

Schönen Montag!

by stef

Designing for credibility and Stanford Website credibility guidelines

Credibility is a very important factor in both: Human to human Interaction, but also when we interact with computers/technology. Unfortunately, the factor is often neglected in the latter.

As credibility is attributed to others, it is a subjectively perceived and therefore experienced quality. Nevertheless, it is not completely random and based on subjective perceptions – most people of a society agree on what is perceived as credible or not. There are key dimensions such as trustworthiness and competence based on perceived cues which play a role when it comes to an evaluation of the perceived credibility – of course depending on culture and socialization.

Websites/Apps also do good when perceived as credible. Credibility can refer to several things like the content, the messages sent, the tone of voice, the behavior of the site/app, the visual design etc. Users will make (mostly unconscious) judgements about the company’s/organizations credibility based on these factors. If a website is perceived as credible, this can increase the decision to trust your company/organization over another.

For a starting point how to design credible websites, you can use the Stanford Credibility Guidelines (see image above) which are based on solid research.

by stef

A question concerning credibility…

How will our perception of the “credible” computed technology change further in the future with regard to the conversational crimes of digital assistants that are currently on the mass market? Will we start to stereotype computers/technology as “incompetent” based on our experience with crappy voice assistants? (Which is some kind of presumed attribution of credibility – people do this all the time in human-human interaction btw and it happens unconsciously)

by stef

Friend or foe? Social presence is an important factor to consider in Interaction /UX Design

Ever yelled at your computer? Congrats! You’re in good company applying social responses to inanimate things. We as humans are wired to be social creatures. And even digital products may trigger social responses and you might not even be aware of it.

Often, computing technology conveys some sort of social presence. Resulting to that fact people do respond to this technology often as though the technology item is a social entity like eg another human (For reference on that see e.g Reeves, B. and Nass, C. ;1996. The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places, Stanford University)

Here are a few examples how social presence is conveyed (among other things):

Fig 01: Keepon, a social robot/beatbot for autistic children

Keepon is a computing technology in form of a robot. It conveys social presence for us humans through (obvious) physical cues like a face. It has eyes and also some physical skills like it starts dancing/moving and making funny noises when it listens to music or when you interact with it.

Fig 02: Siri, a voice based digital assistant

Also, voice based digital assistants like Siri convey – in this case despite their very futuristic and techy appearance – social presence through language cues but also through social roles like gender which we implicitly perceive. We will imply implicit assumptions and personality behind it – despite we are knowing it is a machine.

Fig 03: Unhelpful error message found in moodle a while ago

But of course, also technology with no obvious physical cues like faces or other cues like voice/spoken language at all can convey social presence. For example simply in presenting an error message, respectively by using written language/plain copy to communicate with a human. The example error message above is not providing any helpful hint what exactly has happened/has gone wrong and also it uses a strange language (It says: Error found. Error only could be removed by a programmer. Course not usable) – so I will attribute this behavior to the product/company behind it: eg they are blaming me for that error only a programmer can remove, so they are unhelpful and they don’t care about me /their customers/users etc.

So, in all these cases, considering theories provided by social psychology research and lessons learned from human-to-human interaction can serve as a valuable source of information and also guidance when it comes to making design decisions for interactive products or any computing technology. For better understanding, I recommend trying out how the communication would be perceived if it were a human-to-human interaction instead of a human-computer interaction. This works quite well in e.g a role-playing game within your team. One is the user while the other person is playing the computer or application. So you can pay attention to how the communication will feel like. Another way may be simply writing down the interaction as a System/User dialogue and behavior, considering the System as a character.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with Paul Watzlawick’s “One cannot not communicate”.

by stef

About segregating research and design (and other problems)

This article speaks to my heart. So much true words.

“The split of the design teams into researchers and designers might be hampering effective software development. To truly understand the user, designers need to develop empathy. They, and other team members, can gain this by conducting user research or usability studies—or just by being present during research efforts. This locks in the user’s successes and difficulties and gives the designer a sense of what is truly important, which will pay off in more targeted designs. Besides benefits to the designers, regular user research keeps a company informed of user expectations and behavior. If these benefits were widely understood, wouldn’t companies pay more than lip service to empathy and user research?”

Source: via @BeParticular

by stef

Free writing im Test, exklusiv für Sie – jetzt hier und Quasi-Live.

Sie sehen hier: Mein erstes “free writing” ever. Eigentlich gehört sowas nicht an die Öffentlichkeit, aber ich möchte das mal zeigen, wie es so ausschaut im Gehirn, um diese Uhrzeit. Besser als jegliches fMRI. Geschrieben ohne Formatierung und einfach so runter, gerade heute morgen. Rechtschreibfehler inklusive. Das Schlimmste – irrsinnigerweise erzeugt durch Autokorrekt übrigens – konnte ich noch retten.
Wenn Sie mich nämlich fragen: Autokorrekt ist der sichere und sehr unschöne Tod des sogenannten „Stream of conciousness“, des „freien Schreibens“ also – das kann ich Ihnen bereits jetzt sagen – und muss dafür dringend deaktiviert werden. Selbst wenn man sich unsäglich vertippt (was oft vorkommen kann so in Gedanken), kann man das Geschriebene sehr wahrscheinlich später beim drüber lesen noch irgendwie entziffern, aber das bevormundende Autorkorrekt macht ja einfach draus was es will, wenn man nicht konstant aufpasst – wie so ein autoritärer eingekaufter Versuchsleiter von Stanley Milgram.
Man erkennt ja seine eigenen Worte nicht mehr wieder später beim Lesen – da entsteht ein ganz neuer, ein sehr verwirrter Stream of Conciousness. Der Hä?-Stream, sozusagen.
Und genau das ist es , man möchte ja seinem Gedankenstrom folgen – Live writing sozusagen: Brain-to Paper und nicht umgekehrt – aber Autokorrekt lässt dies nicht so ganz zu, wenn man sich darauf auch noch konzentrieren soll. Das geht einfach nicht. Brain to Paper ist somit unterbrochen.
Und hiermit sind wir schon wieder bei meinem Lieblingsthema: Interactiondesign oder User Experience Design whatsoever ach, nennen Sie es doch grad wie Sie möchten, mir egal jetzt so langsam – aber dies ist ein anderes Thema.

PS Getätigt mit der „Ulysses“ App (Danke @k____k____ für den Tipp – und danke auch an alle anderen, aber das war eben der Winner für meine Bedürfnisse ha!)

Free writing Test #01 – 07.03.2018, kopiert aus der App inklusive der Fehler:
Guten Morgen – es ist sechsuhrvierundvierzig, an einem Mittwoch im März und – es schneit. Ich wachte aus, weil ich auf’s Klo ,musste – dies ist ein fieses – ein nicht-freiwilliges Aufwachen und dementsprechend mürrisch ist man. Mürrisch ist ja auch so ein Wort, welches man kaum noch verwendet. Nunja, weshalb ich hier sitze , na ja um diese, sagen wir unheilige Zeit: Free writing nennt man das, den „Stream of conciousness“ einfach niederschreiben. Well here we go. – „consciousness“ – immer wieder muss ich dieses Wort nachschlagen, genau wie “Kommilitonin“ (eben wieder, ha!) – und das mit 44 Jahren, was wohl bedeutet, dass ich es nie mehr lernen wertem aber nun, vielleicht ja doch? Geht es Ihnen auch so? Es gibt sicher einige Wörter, die Menschen, egal welcher Bidlungsstatus, nachschlagen müssen, wenn sie diese niederscjhreiben möchten. Egal, ich schweife vom Thema ab.
„Free writing“ also. Das Ganze hat wohl den Zweck, eine Schreibblockade abzubauen. Ich habe zwar keine Schreibblockade im eigentlichen Sinn – ich bin ja kein Autor o.ä. – dennoch möchte ich mehr schreiben wie z.B um meine Gedanken zu sortieren, für dei Uni,für den Blog und auch Vorträge, und da dachte ich mir, vielleicht hilft es ja, den Anspruch an das sofort.Perfekte etwas herniederzuschrauben. „Herniederschrauben“ …ähm, wie ich das so lese glaube ich ja, dieses Wort existiert nicht… moment. Ja. Das Google Orakel schlägt „herunterschrauben“ vor, ebenso die Autokorrektur und ich komme mir vor wie ein dummes kleines Kind, zurechtgewiesen von den Autoritäten dieses Planeten. „So macht man das doch nicht!“
Schon wieder dieses Abschweifen. Egal, Mein Gehirn springt gerne, und huch wie ich gerade sehe bin ich über mein Ziel von 1000 Zeichen bereits hinaus –… Ganze 1764 Zeichen ( natürlich nun bereits Wieder mehr, haha) habe ich schon herausgewürgt an diesem Mittwoch um mittlerweile sechsuhrvierungfünfzog. Guten Morgen.

by stef

iPhone Filming Tips

Perfect for your field research, interviews, observations and shadowing:

PS: Ignore the “Open PNg Camera” Instruction – it’s a BBC insider app to send stuff directly to the newsrooms.