Quote re: RWD

“The most important part of adapting experiences is not the responsive-centric focus on screen size and breakpoints, but making sure functionality and content is similar across every touchpoint. ” — Steven Hoober

See more at: UXMatters

UX Concepts and Practices That We Wish Would Just Go Away!

From the experts at UX Matters dot com, a round-up of UX concepts and practices that defy best practices, and consequently create negative concepts and practices.

One True Way: That there is just one true way to practice user experience.

Expecting Perfection and Pixel-Perfect Design: Focus pixel perfect design and perfection––we have to begin designing for mistakes, uncertainty and imperfection.

Imitating Other Companies: The imitation of other companies’ user experiences that have nothing to do with your own…we want our site or application or product to be the next Apple or Google. The problem is that their companies are neither Apple nor Google.

Lean UX: The key original concept of lean is about efficiently testing assumptions and approaches, then iterating in response to what you learn.

Focus Groups and Preconceived Notions: Focus groups may be okay for driving small incremental changes, but innovation happens in leaps. Focus groups can kill innovation and great ideas.

Return on Investment (ROI): Accept the common-sense notion that improving usability is worthwhile… good user experience is valuable and essential.

Roles and Politics: Delegating user experience to one person or role is the wrong approach; each team member should bring his or her own flavor of user experience to the table. End the practice of using the term user experience as a catch-all for all the skills required for product design and development.

Terminology and Semantics: We are not doing ourselves any favors by talking in terms that our companies and clients struggle to understand.

Lorem Ipsum: When used in the wrong context, it can confuse participants in usability studies.

Fewer Clicks: Another example of people trying to dictate a solution before understanding the problem. Is it better for the user to take 5 clicks without thinking, or one click after spending copious amounts of mental energy skimming the page and mulling the available options?

Regarding Terminology and Semantics, I have one internal label that I use when it’s appropriate to what I’m working on  – the Technical User Requirements Document, or “T.U.R.D.”

Read the complete article: UX Concepts and Practices That We Wish Would Just Go Away!

What to do when a stakeholder passes away

More often than not, UX Architects are called upon to conduct stakeholder interviews for the purpose of gathering individual thoughts regarding a particular project. And, more often than not, these interviews are recorded to augment and support any notes taken during the interview. The question then becomes, what do you do with a recorded interview when the stakeholder unexpectedly passes away?

We all know in our personal lives we’ll eventually have to deal with the death of our friends, loved-ones (people and pets, in my case). Depending on the nature of our grief and sadness, we hold on to mementos that represent the soul we’ve lost – notes, letters, drawings, photos, (and more recently texts, Facebook pages, blogs). Sometimes those mementos include a voicemail (message or greeting) or a video, where we can hear the voice of our friend or loved one in an everyday moment.

But in our professional lives we rarely give death of a colleague or acquaintance a second thought, as in it will happen at all. Sadly, as I just recently experienced, this does happen – a stakeholder passed away suddenly one weekend. Oddly enough, of all the stakeholders I interviewed, hers is not recorded; I can’t recall why, and I did go back and review the recordings, just to be certain.  Regardless, when I heard the news, I immediately thought of the interviews I’d conducted and what would I do with hers (if it existed)? It would only be an interview, q/a – nothing that I thought could be uniquely interesting or personal. But it would have been her voice – the one thing that tends to fade the quickest in our memories but is one the most recognizable aspects of our individual self.

Ultimately, I decided that if I had the recording, I would have deleted it. Principally because it felt eerie and somewhat wrong (but not disrespectful) to have it at all. It’s hard to explain and/or rationalize. Right decision? Wrong decision? I guess until it happens (God forbid) it’s hard to say. But, because we all react to and deal with death in our own personal way, it’s the only decision I know I could make.

Example: How contrast works

I was recently on the Microsoft Support website (I don’t recall the exact URL) and was interrupted by one of their overlays asking if I would be willing to take a survey after using the site. (See the screenshot below).


Now, I’m guessing that was the intent of the overlay based on previous experiences, because I can’t actually read the text at all. In fact, even attempting to makes my head hurt.

The lack of contrast between the text color and the background color, a basic accessibility, usability and readability tenet, is obviously lacking. It makes the attempt to gather potentially useful user input a useless exercise. Even more regrettable is that this is on a Help and Support website, which should be as accessible and usable as possible. Not to mention how poorly it reflects on the Microsoft brand–which is very legible with its two logos–a fair example of admissible contrast.