Summary: Accessibility compliance is governed by laws (Section 508 of the ADA in the US and the soon to be ratified European Accessibility Act). Web developers look to WCAG 2.0 of the W3 standards organization and typically aim at "AA" compliance. This article explores quality from an accessibility standpoint and points to areas of better compliance that go beyond the "getting by" approach.
Summary: 'User research' has become a catch-all phrase to mean user testing in many organizations. User research has two main activities: usability testing and field studies. Defining your design research with only a validation exercise (testing) misses the essential discovery of user needs, pain points and desires that Ethnographic Field Studies provide. User research should always mean more than just user testing!
How are you defining user research?
Many organizations we work with and UX designers we provide training for, tell us they do 'user research'. Once we dig deeper, we find they are defining user research as user testing. This means only half of UX insights are actually making it to your team.
The two main types of user research your team needs access to:
Summary: [VIDEO] 30 min recording from the Experience Dynamics webinar "Mobile UX Design: Use this process to get differentiation right!". In this webinar, Frank Spillers reveals some essential UX process secrets to our award-winning strategy for designing the mobile app user experience.
Fact: Uninstall is the default: The average mobile app retention rate is 20% after just 90 days (i.e. 80% stop using installed apps after 3 months) -Localytics (2016).
Most approaches to Mobile UX Design sucks! Mobile app retention rates are spiraling downwards. We maintain, this is because many mobile app ideas are typically invented from a good idea, a conversation or your product requirements...not from your users world. Next mobile app design is outsourced or drawn up by a skilled designer. The result? Looks amazing, but doesn't hit the spot.
Summary: Storytelling is instrumental to delivering good UX in augmented or virtual environments. Storytelling evokes emotion, captures attention, guides and directs user interaction. One of it's primary functions is to deepen the usability goal called "presence" (the feeling of being there).
Why is storytelling in AR so important?
Storytelling is critical for moving past "boring" in AR. Without good storytelling your user experience can stagnate or lead to poor engagement, confusion or helpless exploration. And storytelling is not just about transmitting content to your user... In AR, as with VR, story keeps 3D UX interaction on track. It provides experiential structure: users are pulled in or pushed out, moving toward or away from events or areas of the environment (physical or augmented)-- by design.
Summary: Flat Design Origins reveal its strengths and weaknesses. Flat Design comes with negatives and positives. It's main challenge is "correctly" implementing Flat standards that work for your UI or brand .
Summary: UX Design strategies for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) run the risk of overloading users with too much input: complex menus, unclear or complicated tasks, too much movement etc. For AR/VR UX to be useful and compelling, "less is more" applies for reasons users reveal in user testing.
Disconnects in comfort zones
Developers and designers often want to impress their users with exciting visualizations and manipulations of their physical environment eg. with holograms, moving objects or augmented/virtual spaces to explore. This creates a disconnect between what your bias may be, versus that of your audience.
The problem that many new and returning users to Virtual or Augmented environments seem to experience overwhelm caused possibly by expectations patterned from passive media experiences (television or 2D Desktop/ Mobile).
Summary: For UX management to be effective, the entirety of UX roles needs to be understood. The most common misperception rests with the UX Designer role. For UX to include strong user representation, (its absence is a marker of failure in software projects), the User researcher role is as important as UX Designer.
Why UX org charts are important
User Experience (UX) has matured over the last decade to a level of practice that is standard in software development. However the level to which UX is practiced, for it to have a positive return on investment on your UX efforts (INFOGRAPHIC) varies between organizations. This is due to incomplete or poorly understood Organizational Charting.
Summary: Flat Design has become an industry-standard approach to UI/UX Design with Microsoft, Apple and Google all backing Flat UI styles. Flat Design's minimalism aims to bring visual breathing room to a design by eliminating visual clutter and chrome (UI extras). The problem with this approach is it is easier to imagine than to execute with maximum usability intact. In this post we will discuss some of the common pitfalls in designing Flat or Flat 2.0 Design.
Minimalism needs to balance with function. This is particularly challenging for Visual or Graphic designers who can embrace minimalism at the cost of hiding UI signals, "information scent" or triggers for user action. A few years ago this led to the "Flat 2.0" update to the approach, which seeks to minimize yet allow UI's to be perceived and used.
Summary: Feature-rich UI's run the risk of doing too much and being difficult for users to discover. The cure is to remove features and replace them with tasks. Task-features anchor your feature sets in what users want to do, not what you think they want from you.
Popularity is building for a new minimalist smartphone called a 'dumb-phone' aka the Light Phone 2 (pictured above). The phone was deliberately designed without social media apps, to reflect the growing problem of smartphone addiction. The minimalist design strategy of this product offers a good reflection point to consider your 'dumb-phone' strategy for minimalizing feature creep and getting results from Flat Design approaches.
Summary: To design immersive narratives for VR and AR, you must become a strong Storyteller, Improviser and Imagineer.
One of the things we've realized from our VR/ AR design projects over the past few years, is that 3D storytelling is central to the Interaction Design technique and to how users experience immersive (virtual, augmented, mixed) realities. As you approach the user experience of Virtual Reality and mixed reality (we'll refer to that as AR), you need 3 skills under your hat:
The key is to learn from these traditions in theater, comedy and animation/entertainment and apply them to immersive experiences and VR UX Design. Let's look at each of these in more detail and how they are relevant to 3D Interaction Design.