There has been much talk lately of data overload. Of marketing noise and the struggle to attract and maintain consumer attention. A weekend outdoors with my toddler reminded me this isn’t a new problem, nor is our selective attention a new response. My daughter still notices every soaring airplane. Every buzzing hedge trimmer. Every distant siren. The sights and sounds I have learned, over time, to tune out as irrelevant. When faced with data glut in the marketplace, most consumers respond like me. That is to say, they don’t respond. So how do brands help consumers see their information through the eyes of a child?
Tag: user experience
Good design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. Incredibly subtle Supreme Court justice jokes aside, design really can make or break a company--especially for an “early adopter” technology that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Convincing people to do anything that’s out of their comfort zone (in our case, getting them to pay with their phones using LevelUp) is tough. But one of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person. In this instance, design, function, and brand can become one
Advertisers will be allowed to purchase placement in lists of "who to follow" recommendations targeted to users with particular interests on Twitter, according to the latest report by Peter Kafka on the Wall St. Journal's AllThingsD. Kafka reports that the new ad model will be unveiled at the IAB conference in New York City tomorrow. It's against Twitter's Terms of Service for outside parties to sell followers on the popular messaging service, but that's not just because Twitter wants all the revenues for themselves. Most "buy followers" services are completely untargeted and negatively impact the user experience on the network. This new feature may work out very well for all parties involved, including Twitter users. Early reaction on Twitter, however, is not positive.
Just as the iPad has proven to be a boon to magazine publishers, newspapers have flocked to the device too. All of the major western newspapers have an iPad app now: the New York Times, Wall St Journal, BBC News, USA Today, Financial Times, and others. There are also new forms of news services that have arisen based solely on the iPad's touchscreen interaction and multimedia capabilities: Newsy and Flipboard come to mind. In this post we'll look at how some of the leading newspapers are using iPad, what the user experience is like, and what could be improved still. We'll specifically look at WSJ, NYT and Newsy.
The content strategy movement has captured the hearts and minds of Web practitioners everywhere. For many (and I count myself among this camp) content strategy (CS) represents a vital next step in the evolution of what we do and how we provide value. At Teehan+Lax, we've started to formalize a practice and dedicated role around CS. But here's the catch: when we mapped out what we needed and compared this to the standard definition for CS, we realized there was a gap. Let me explain what I mean.
Experience is subjective, and therefore cannot be designed in quite the same way that a physical product can. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t design the framework within which people experience our product/service. If we succeed, then great experiences will be a common occurrence.
I'm a bit reticent to jump into this, as I'm not sure you all care that much, but I've got a decent reason for writing about Buzz (yesterday's piece) again today. First, I've seen a piece (Calacanis) proclaiming Buzz the second (third? fifth?) coming of social. Facebook will "lost half its value" due to Buzz's arrival, Jason opines. I think this is silly. Then again, I seem to think a lot of things are silly. Pretty soon, I'll be chasing kids off my front lawn, the way I'm going. And I've not used Buzz, nor will I, as I'm not a Gmail user nor do I plan on becoming one. So don't listen to me if you are a Gmail addict who wants to recreate your entire social experience in that medium. Go nuts. I'm all for more options
Despite starting Blogger, Evan Williams rarely blogs. But yesterday, for the first time in several months, he decided to put the digital pen to the digital paper in order to lay out his thoughts for Twitter’s new Retweet functionality. It’s a great view into the mindset behind what is already becoming a controversial change. Why is there so much controversy? The answer is simple — literally. When Twitter began, you could do one thing on it: Send a blurb about what you were doing in 140 characters or less. This led to an immediate outcry from a wide range of people who thought that it was just about the dumbest service in the world. Others saw the potential behind such a simple service, precisely because it was so simple, and history has proven time and time again that sometimes simple ideas can explode into the biggest ones.
Websites are social creatures. Or rather, their users are. In turn, the websites you visit are tempered by the users that interact with them. Your experience with a website, say facebook.com, is directly linked to the people with which you interact on that website. But this introduces an interesting challenge for a user experience designer: do you design for the intial experience or the resulting experience?
Isn’t all design a service to someone? Perhaps that can be debated. But currently the service design genre is receiving considerable attention and achieving currency. When Phi-Hong D. Ha, an interaction design and strategy consultant, was asked what is meant by “service” in today’s design world, she responded, “Service design is a collaborative process of researching, planning and realizing the experiences that happen over time and over multiple touch points with a customer’s experience.” And according to Liz Danzico, chair of the School of Visual Arts’ new MFA Interaction Design program, “Service design looks at customer needs and experiences in a holistic way.” Yet many service designers in the United States do not call themselves Service Designers. Much of the work done in this area is still referred to as “customer experience” or “user experience.” This is where Ha enters the arena.
Do you sometimes get the feeling that Internet portals, search pages, social networks, e-commerce, and other Web sites are not necessarily designed in order to maximize user convenience and benefits? We do, too. Why—you might ask? For a fundamentally similar reason to why some retail stores place the most popular items (e.g., bread, milk) in the furthest possible place from the entrance; that shopping malls seem designed to make sure you get lost at every single visit; and that popular magazines drown the content they carry in a sea of advertising with no clear table of contents and split stories. Indeed, all of these intermediaries are in the business of matching consumers with products. Trouble is, prior to visiting an intermediary, consumers are interested only in some products, which may not necessarily be the ones that yield the highest margins for the intermediary.
When Google's renowned visual design lead, Douglas Bowman, left the search giant at the end of March, he wrote a passionate blog post about his reasons for quitting. He claimed that the company's reliance on data was so extreme, it prevented it from making any daring design decisions, and quoted one instance when a team couldn't decide between two blues, so were testing 41 shades between each of the choices to see which one performed better. Bowman's post sparked a heated debate on the web. Irene Au, Director of User Experience at Google, acknowledges that Bowman is an extraordinary designer who made huge contributions to the company's products. However, she insists there's a clear logic behind Google's approach. "It's very much a culture of experimentation," she explains.
The first Tiger Woods video game, released in 1999, was available as an off-the-shelf disc for the Sony PlayStation console or the PC. Today Tiger Woods games, including the just-released "PGA Tour 10," are available for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox, PCs and mobile phones. Gamers can download new golf courses and equipment, buy expansion packs, play in live online tournaments, stream play to a PC or Mac and order up a specially created iPhone app. Marketing has followed a similar course.
Yahoo is unveiling a major overhaul of its vaunted home page, a redesign aimed at creating a less cluttered, more malleable and cohesive user experience.
As leaders of UX organizations, we want our teams of designers and researchers to design products that change the world—to engage in strategic design. Often, though, UX designers and researchers get stuck with incrementalism—designing minor new features for which another functional group has provided the requirements, expecting UX to design them—regardless of whether the UX team agrees with the product direction. Perhaps we find ourselves immersed in organizations or work routines that do not provide space to think differently. This column reveals some tools that can help your team to innovate.
Human-centered design is nothing new. In the mid-1990s, designers realized making a product successful meant incorporating users early on -- testing prototypes with actual people and iterating quickly, rather than polishing something clunky or complicated that wouldn't make sense beyond the lab. But tech companies, with their rapid growth and the raging complexity of their products, remain elusive guests at the design party. MAYA is trying to change that.
In professional industrial design, designs aren't really for the designers. They aren't even for the clients. They're for the end-users. I believe we get the best results when we "design from the first-person perspective" and really immerse ourselves in the user experience. When we understand the touch points the user identifies with, the needs that drive them, and the benefits they seek, we can create designs people crave. The more we're able to focus on the user, the more we're create deep emotional connections.
Can a company blunt its innovation edge if it listens to its customers too closely? Can its products become dull if they are tailored to match exactly what users say they want? These questions surfaced recently when Douglas Bowman, a top visual designer, left Google.
Well-intentioned engineers often ask me how they can become designers, or how they can "do" design. A typical question might be something like this: "Can you please share guidelines for maximizing user experience while designing a UI? For instance: When should I use radio buttons instead of drop down bars [to minimize clicks] and so on?" Questions like this are tough in more than one way. So I thought I would share a considered response—in the form of a hypothetical e-mail reply—to the well-intentioned engineer:
Since leaving his post as sales chief of Google to run AOL, Tim Armstrong has kicked off a review of the long-ailing internet icon's vast array of brands, with an eye toward creating a simpler experience for both consumers and the ad community.
By thinking outside the parameters imposed by technology, executives and designers can build businesses by creating an experience that truly resonates.