Tagged 'user experience'

Pizza and the 2D Barcode Experience

Posted by Roger Marquis on April 27th, 2011 at 10:21 am

The other day, I went to a local pizzeria to grab a quick lunch of a regular slice and a Coke. When I sat down with the pizza and started to eat, I realized it was very hot so, as I sometimes do, I asked for a fork and knife. The person behind the counter gave me a set of plastic utensils, which is what I expected, but when I started to make use of the plastic knife it was like trying to cut with a butter knife. Back and forth, back and forth--as if I was sawing wood--the knife simply would not cut. So, in frustration, I resumed eating the pizza by hand. The plastic knife given to me must have been the least expensive plastic knife the pizzeria could have purchased and why? Just to save some money, I suspect. But, in my mind, I viewed the inexpensive plastic knife as something that caused me to have a less-than-ideal dining experience. Even though I enjoyed the pizzeria's food, I will now think twice about going back, because I know if I ever need to use utensils again I'll be stuck with the lousy plastic knife that won't cut.
Why... Read more

Dashboards, a Dickens Tale

Posted by Rachel Defriend on October 8th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Have you ever seen one of those movie renditions of a Charles Dickens story? Somehow, there's always a scene in there with some downtrodden clerk at a bank, toiling away at vast ledgers in the semidarkness, armed only with a quill pen, adding and subtracting endless columns of figures. A great Empire and an entire Industrial Age took its decision support from such mountains of dusty quill-scratchings.
Fast forward a hundred years. Now the office has better lighting, and those vast ledgers have been replaced by vast stacks of computer printouts. And business leaders could now make their decisions in a matter of hours, simply by scouring reams of spreadsheets.
Today, our quest for knowledge and for speed has brought us to the dashboard, where the very essence of the facts we need is presented in an easy-to-access and easy-to-understand format. Just the information we need, at a glance.
My manifesto for 2010 is simple – evolve these things we call 'dashboards'.  Why?  Because the time is right for this revolution/evolution.  A recent Gartner prediction/study said that one third of dashboards will be "mashups" with heavy analytics overlaid into the graphical user interface (GUI).
This is awesome news, as the more information that... Read more

May The Force Be With You: 3 Ways UX Designers Are Like Jedi

Posted by Rachel Defriend on August 13th, 2009 at 12:00 am

According to Wookieepedi, Force-sensitive beings are able to tap into the Force to perform acts of great skill and agility as well as to control and shape the world around them. They seek to understand the Force so they can use its power to protect and aid the people they serve. Here are three ways UXDs are surprisingly like Jedi:
1. They are bound to the ForceLike Jedi, UXDs use their powers to gain greater knowledge in order to get inside the mind of the user. They find a balance between the needs of the user and your business objectives. And when they are true to the Force, they are able to motivate and persuade the user to take the actions you want — be it opting into your email program, making a purchase, providing feedback, etc. 
2. They harness the ForceUXDs come armed to projects, ready to defend the user and promote their needs. And they usually do so with sharpies and scrap paper in hand. Starting with paper prototyping, UXDs create quick user-interface sketches that let the team evaluate usability early on with little expense.
Wireframe and prototyping software also play a big part in your UXD's process. Usually created... Read more

Return on User Experience: ROUX Part DEUX

Posted by Rachel Defriend on June 4th, 2009 at 12:00 am

In my last blog, we examined what goes into the calculation of Return on User Experience, and I promised more on "cooking up the improved ROUX."
In the culinary world, roux is a mixture of flour and fat used as a thickening agent in soup, sauces and stews. (For those of you who take things literally and like to eat while you think, here's a great recipe for Cajun roux.)
In the interactive world, ROUX is Return on User Experience and has nothing whatsoever to do with pots and pans let alone the art of sauce making, which is good because I am not a cook (although my mouth is watering right now for a heaping bowl of gumbo). Let's exit the kitchen now and enter the interwebs.
So, here's my recipe for improving the return on your user's experience. You won't end up with a tasty roux, but you will end up with a better ROUX.
Ingredients you'll need:
Site metrics An understanding of your users An open mind Defined goals for improvement
Step 1: Prepare. Start with your site metrics. Focus on conversion rates. Of the peeps visiting your site and engaging, are they finding success... Read more

Social Media User Experience: Is It The Contrast?

Posted by Michael Leis on June 3rd, 2009 at 12:00 am

One of the tried and true methods of creating flow state for audiences in broadcast is the use of contrast to create meaning and subtext between shots in a sequence. This concept was first articulated by filmmaker Sergei Eistenstein when he went to the circus. He found that the more rings a circus added, the more meaning and interest the performances took on.
For example, watching a juggling act alone is entertaining. Adding a fire-eater who performs in a ring next to the juggling ring creates a new experience of watching both acts, but also adds meaning between the two acts. When you have three rings of acts performing at once, the viewer takes even more meaning, gets even more entertainment, and simply can't take their eyes off the action for a moment.
Today, this approach is so pervasive it's cliche. Think of the shot sequence for almost any product in a television commercial: a master shot that sets the scene, pleasant expressions of people who can relate to the target audience, and product shot. Juxtaposing smiling faces and products along with light/dark color values engages audiences and sells products.
Applying this idea to the user experience through social networking platforms draws some... Read more