In late August I attended the third annual UX Australia conference in Sydney. The conference was well organised, enjoyable, informative, and peppered with a great mix of both local and international speakers. Topics were varied and covered the full breadth of the UX discipline, from designing for mobile to UX design in surgical environments. There was definitely something of value in every session that I attended. Not one was a dud.
There were some common themes running throughout the conference: multi-channel design, designing for mobile, and the role that UX plays in transforming the culture within a business. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights. Read more »
People are creatures of habit and this can introduce challenges should you want them to adopt a new behaviour. We all start forming and evolving our behaviours from the time we are born, and each of us will respond to different stimuli in our own unique way. Some of us can’t start their day without our morning coffee whereas others will reach for a cigarette as a first port of call. Some can’t fall asleep without a book in their hands and others like to leave their T.V. switched on. These behavioural differences are a big part of what makes us human.
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Something that I have noticed while working in the UX industry is that sometimes it feels like interaction designers are from Mars and visual designers are from Venus. Often during user-centred design projects there is a lack of understanding between the two species, which can have a huge effect on the overall success of a project. Read more »
Here’s something that may surprise you - user testing doesn’t help you innovate. For example, it’s unlikely that in the middle of a user test a participant is going to leap out their seat and shout “I’ve got it! This iPhone app is answering the wrong question! What you need to design is this!” Nope, participants are more likely to tell you about what they don’t understand or what they don’t like. Read more »
The deeper we get into the service design world the more methods we are finding that improve our ability to empathise with (and then create for) our target audiences. Service design, in a nutshell, is intentionally designing a customer’s experience to be wonderful no matter how they interact with your organisation. It is as much about designing great customer facing interactions as it is about the internal processes that enable that experience to be replicable and adaptable. Read more »
In the mid-80s, a new radiation therapy machine called the Therac-25 was introduced to treat people with cancer. During treatment the machine would often show cryptic error messages like “malfunction 47″ and “vtilt”. These messages would occur up to 40 times a day, and they rarely involved patient safety.
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Recently I was driving in France, and got a bit…lost. At the next village I pulled into the petrol station, walked up to the matronly woman at the counter, and asked to buy a road map. She stared at me blankly. I checked my phrasebook and tried again. “Non”, she said this time, waving her arm to encompass the whole shop, “pas de cartes ici”.
I left there shaking my head. No maps at a petrol station? The next petrol station was the same – “pas de cartes”. Clearly, my idea of what a petrol station should sell was different from the French model.
So what does this have to do with usability? Read more »
Regular readers of our newsletter and attendees at our breakfast briefings will have noticed that we’re passionate about Service Design here at Optimal Usability and want to be the go-to guys for Service Design in New Zealand.
UX Australia’s Service Design 2011 one day conference offered us a chance to take the temperature of Service Design in Australia and see if we Kiwis measure up. In short I think we more than measure up, but nevertheless there were some interesting learnings to take home from some great presentations which I’d like to share with you. Read more »
A design project can be a lot like climbing a mountain; it is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort. As an Interaction Designer here at Optimal Usability I am exposed to incredibly smart people every day who work in a wide variety of industries, and all too often I hear examples of where they have climbed mountains only to feel a sense of disappointment after reaching the top and realising that the view would have been better from a different mountain.
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Most of us have at least heard of anthropology and ethnography, but how many of you have considered using it in your projects? If I were to guess, I’d say not many, which is what I’m hoping to change with this brief article.
In the broadest and most literal sense, anthropology is the study of human beings: What defines being human? How did we evolve to where we are today? What separates us from animals? What differentiates groups of humans from each other? In what ways are humans similar across cultures and societies? To answer these questions, anthropologists look to those boring yet extremely complex everyday experiences that we all go through.
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