Ha!

Kind of funny: Googling UX Masters programs and get a hit on Kent State. Click it to be taken here:

Kent State University   Online Education Programs

 

First thought was “haha, lorem ipsum text as a sly wink to us practicing folks”. Quickly followed by “no way, loopback links and other terrible placeholder copy says this page is live too early.” Hehe.

 

Motion Sickness

Came across this site catalog recently:

http://hoverstat.es/

It is a gallery of new and interesting interaction design and indeed showcases a lot of cool stuff that is worth checking out. then click down to this page:

http://hoverstat.es/posts

And I find myself kind of overwhelmed by all the dissonant motion. This sort of effect seems to be showing up more and more often in blogs and elsewhere. Individual instances of motion or gifs that are fine on their own but when aggregated together become kind of nauseating. I’m curious what the site’s creator intended with this posts page – the repetitive looping and flashes of color seem over the top to me but I’d love to hear why they set it up this way. Is Flashy the new Good? And of course for me the irony is that a site about UI/UX has a facet that I find to be pretty anti-user. Of course I’m a huge believer in the use of motion to add meaning to UI (see, for example, Google’s thoughts on Material design) but I see more and more gratuitous use of it and I wonder if it’s an accident, a fashion that will expire or a new baseline.

This becomes a huge issue with advertising too, especially as banner blindness takes hold, can we count on seeing more of this intrusive imagery? Right now the most egregious examples can be found on adult aggregator sites but I won’t be surprised to see a trickle down effect to more mainstream sites over time.

I see a a parallel with television commercials in some ways; for a long time commercial spots were least common denominator affairs that folks sat through because there wasn’t a choice. The DVR arose and a lot of advertisers panicked about their spots being skipped. There was a protectionist stance of disabling skipping (see DVD intros and ads for more on this) but there was also a group of creatives that set out to make better content that people might actually want to watch. The best of them treat the ad as its own form of content.

It seems to me that there is a remarkable opportunity to create new interactions that are more subtle and engage the user’s curiosity instead of stomping on their optic nerve. The challenge is set, what can we do to respond to it?

 

Lessons From Failure

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Michael Bohanes could teach you a lot about the perils of entrepreneurship. In this long-ish post on Medium he goes over 7 key lessons. One bit that really stuck out to me was:

This will be the number one lesson I will never forget and the absolute key to understanding Dinnr’s failure — we were not solving anyone’s problem.I should have found that out in my initial market research, especially in my 1–1 interviews.

However, we committed the big mistake of presenting people with the idea and asking them if they liked it and would buy it. And when people said yes, WE thought they meant

“launch it and I will buy”.

In reality, they meant

“I’m not entirely excluding the possibility that one day, when Ocado trucks run out of gas, supermarket doors get blocked by red-hot lava and restaurant waiters will, due to a mysterious leak of radioactive fumes emanating from commercial kitchen equipment, all be zombified and eat patrons’ brains, yes, in that case I might be tempted to purchase a trial product from you. Once. Then I’ll take a risk with the zombies.”

This is so true and one of the things you have to be extremely careful about when talking with your customers. Even late in my career I have worked with people who have more experience and should know better but don’t, and commit the sin of asking “Do you like it?”

Go read the whole post here.

 

Rapid Prototyping – Making it Real

I couldn’t agree more with this post over at Adaptive Path:

http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/making-it-real/

At Adaptive Path, we employ rapid prototyping in nearly every design iteration. Our clients enjoy the benefits of risk reduction and concept validation, and through prototyping with standardized kits, we also avoid unnecessarily long timelines and bloated budgets.

I have long been an advocate of lo-tech, hi-impact approaches to visualizing and communicating ideas; time spent fiddling with comps and hi-fidelity presentations early in the process could be better used to explore and accept/reject additional ideas – get a big bucket of ideas and sort out the garbage (or recycles) as quickly as possible.  The post above is broader in scope than this single topic, covering concepts of interdisciplinary work but is spot on for my little corner of work and appeals greatly to the industrial designer in me.

KitsDrawingKitsDrawing

First Time UX

Krystal Higgins has a great post up about first time user experiences. Check it out here:

http://www.kryshiggins.com/patterns-for-new-user-experiences/

This is a great illustrated roundup of key patterns (and anti-patterns) of a variety of first run approaches in use. There are a lot of details and interesting observations about the pros and cons of the different approaches but one thing I find particularly useful is the naming of these things – for example, I had no idea that the semi-transparent overlay with a handwriting font and sketchy arrows was referred to as “Coachmarks”. As our field of UX/IxD grows and matures it’s great to see these things standardized and labeled.

The Idea Funnel

Nice essay this morning on Medium about the idea funnel. The money quote:

“If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas.
Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is
which ones to throw away.”

Linus Pauling

This is a great reminder about the dangers of falling in love with your own ideas and settling on a direction without evaluating it against lots of other potential directions. The author, Stef Lewandowski, has a great quote of his own about taking the approach of “Strong idea, loosely held”

Short read and a nice reminder. Check it out here.