Archive for the ‘Optimisation’ Category

Six Circles – An experience design framework

Monday, January 30th, 2012

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This ebook has taken far too long to write but at last it is finally finished. The beauty of self-publishing is also the major problem with it – nobody pushes you, you aren’t paid and for all you know nobody will read it once it’s published. I wanted to see how the many different aspects of the book may develop conversations within the user experience community.

Elements of the book have already aged, but the principles continue, even though the examples may not! However, I hope you enjoy the read and I am really interested to know your thoughts, either here or on twitter. Currently it is only an ePub available for mobile devices but if the demand is there, other versions will be made available.

Download Six Circles for Epub readers
(See the comments section below for browser-based ePub readers)

Download Six Circles as a PDF

Some accompanying thoughts

In the last year I have seen how the different elements of the Six Circles transcend user experience, into the fields of brand strategy, service design and customer experience. It is my view that in ten years time we will be talking about what we do today in very different terms due to the contexts that we have to design for, using technology that is only beginning to become pervasive in our physical environment. I predict that UX and Service Design will cease to be differentiated, as they will be so entwined it would be too difficult, and potentially inefficient to separate into different disciplines.

I have seen enough of touch and tablet usage, mobile devices, ‘Everyware’ (and even Microsoft’s shift of it’s Windows 8 platform towards the touch paradigm) to feel that we are in for an exciting decade ahead.

Call it the legacy of Steve Jobs, but what he has left us with is a global population who are more instantly engaged with technology than we could have imagined ten years ago. To allow the very young and very old to interact with content through the same device is a stunning achievement, and for the interface and interaction designers to be able to support a richer experience is truly exciting.

Unfortunately companies are still catching up, fearful of failure and what they perceive as risk. Watching their competitors to see who makes the first move but the time for businesses to be brave and bold is now. There is not much time remaining for some businesses to make use of the power of meaningful, rich experiences delivered by brands that satisfy the culture and contextual uses of the users. Those companies that achieve this will simply dominate at a rate that is faster due to the networked society.

But all the talk of technology misses the point. It is the human needs, desires and emotions and their interactions with each other that create our insights that in turn drive innovation and success for companies. These experiences make the difference. It is the quality of experience that is the differentiator for any company in a crowded market.

Solving people problems will inevitably solve business problems. The challenge is to get businesses to believe in it, and trust those to deliver on the promise of user centred design. But with a process that is understood and a philosophy that appeals to many, there is alot we can do to ensure the business world adopts a path to greater product development, that builds on the needs and wants of people at its core.

UX Design Framework – Persuasion

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Previously I have written about Content, Behaviour, Visual Design and Interaction. The fifth element – Persuasion, is a part of the UX design framework that has many darker, or manipulative connotations. Some would say that persuasion does not align itself well with the ethics of designing for the user.

But as BJ Fogg in his book, Persuasive Technology, says:

The answer to the question – Is persuasion unethical? Is neither yes or no. It depends upon how persuasion is used…The designers intent, method of persuasion and outcomes help to determine the ethics of persuasive technology…If a human were using this strategy to persuade would it be ethical? We expect ethical persuasion to include elements of empathy and reciprocity but with interactive technology there is no emotional reciprocity.

Which is why we sometimes feel cheated when technology fails to deliver an experience that is empathetic, and why as designers we need to be more aware of these potential pitfalls.

Here persuasion is explored in terms of design principles that influence people and factors of motivation – competition, cooperation and recognition. These characteristics also give products that are connected (from social networks to mobile applications) the power to persuade.

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Engagement and Optimisation: Architecture for optimisation

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

How do you construct the architecture of a site or web application you are designing to give an optimised experience? When talking about architecture it is not specifically about the technical implementation but more the concept of a site being able to exist in multiple areas, accessible from multiple paths and able to accommodate different user interactions.

An optimised architecture must be;

Adaptable – to adapt to different user needs (how they arrive to the product, via search, email, bookmarks or referrals)

 

404   Be aware that users arrive deep into the content a site offers. Every page should have the ability to act like a landing page. Ensure the user’s initial intent is satisfied by clear calls to action, signposting and visual clues to get them started and motivated to continue on site. Group pages together and see what percentage of the total audience arrive at them to give you an idea of how to shape and model the content around their wants and needs. Offer numerous opportunities for varied paths of navigation, from different user types.
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Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

 

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Verdict:  This book may well do for persuasive design techniques what Steve Krug’s Don’t make me Think did for usability. If you are involved in user experience I recommend reading this book.

 

The human brain is complex but this book manages to break it down into parts that we can relate to and is a very accessible and quick book to read.The author, Dr Susan Weinschenk, tells of us having three brains in one. Which certainly explains why it is so necessary to embark on research – with three brains how can we ever second guess our users?

 

She lays out how this complex system works but also states that the unconscious mind makes many of the decisions in our lives. By influencing the unconscious mind though design techniques, we can effectively persuade users to interact with our sites and become more engaged.

 

The book is not really a practical, by the numbers guide, but more about the concepts of why users do the things they do. As such its worth buying and an enjoyable read that gives us insights that are backed up with actual contemporary research.

 

Sacca, Twitter and why should we care?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

 

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Chris Sacca – Picture courtesy of Anne Helmond

  Last month, at The Next Web 2009, Chris Sacca – investor in Twitter, was interviewed on stage and also chaired a panel about the Twitter ecosystem. The following post is a combination of his comments.

Before being a major investor in Twitter, Sacca worked  for Google, where he ran the the alternative access division, whose ambitious aim was to get everybody connected to the internet. They mostly focused on user experience and solving user problems.

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Tipping point – beyond 2.0

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

 

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Jeff Jarvis (left) and Andrew Keen courtesy of Ann Helmond

   Jeff Jarvis (author of What Would Google Do?)  and Andrew Keen (author of The Cult of the Amateur) painted opposing views of the techno-cultural landscape.

Keen actually regarded Jarvis as a ‘cheerleader’ for Google although Jarvis himself said he used the company as an example for changes in the real world.

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Impact of Web 2.0 on Search

Friday, April 17th, 2009

 

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Ricardo Baeza-Yates gave us Yahoo’s view that they do not believe in black boxes as a way to solve the complexities of search but that its more about what can be learnt from users.

 

Of course nothing new here   but he gave a holistic view about how Yahoo is addressing the different areas of the conundrum.

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Engagement and optimisation: Defining behaviours

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

 

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Photo by Nicholas Nova

 

The second of a seven part post about optimising a site to create a more engaged audience. Here we look at user behaviour and how methods used help ensure you address user needs.

Previously: Success metrics

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Engagement and optimisation: Success Metrics

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
sale You hear alot about engagement, and not just in the UX community.

How do you engage your website users? What exactly constitutes the different parts of a website’s content that will attract people and make the website an enjoyable experience for them and a profitable one for your business?


In the first of seven parts, I’ll take a look at what goes into creating an engaged website audience and an optimised site.

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