The Best UX Design Articles of April 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in April 2016.

A Checklist For Planning A UX Benchmark Study
An insightful article on the basics of benchmarking the UX of a website, app, or product, to support the health of the user-experience of your product.

Design Sprints for Branding
A lesson in product development from Google Venture’s (GV) design sprints, and why it makes great sense for the branding of the product itself.

Less Is Still More: The Importance Of The Minimalist Approach To Web Design
This article explains the importance of minimalism on websites, and how visual complexity affects a user’s perception of the site in milliseconds. It’s a great piece for creating a good first impression for your visitors.

The Product Design of IoT
Joe Johnston (VP, Experience Innovation at Universal Mind) talks about devising a holistic user experience for ‘Internet of things’ products in this amazing article.

Apple, The Original Human
Daniel Eckler outlines Apple’s legendary philosophy of incorporating human and emotional aspects in its product design with examples.

What the Past Five Years Have Taught Me About UX Design, Part 1
A first in a series of articles, Bob Hotard (Senior User Experience Designer at AT&T Digital Design & User Experience), reflects upon the UX trends relevant in 2020.

Keeping Life Meaningful: Designing the Senior Residence Experience
This article focuses on designing a better experience at senior residences.

What I Learned From the World’s Greatest Product Designers
InVision’s co-founder and CEO, Clark Varberg, shares the views of product designers from innovative companies in this insightful article.

Moving to a UX-Critical Culture
Baruch Sachs (Senior Director, User Experience, Pegasystems) provides his views on building a robust UX culture within project teams.

Articulating Design Decisions
A sample chapter from Tom Greever’s book Articulating Design Decisions published by O’Reilly Media.

Create a UX Measurement Plan
An insightful article on developing a user experience measurement plan, to advance the maturity of your UX practice.

Merging User Experience and Systems Engineering
In pursuit of ensuring a collaborative structure, an expert panel discusses the process of merging UX into a large company that usually approaches projects from a systems-engineering point of view.

Good Learning Design: Five Unique Challenges and Their Solutions
This article unravels the potential of developing a good learning experience in MOOCs and other learning resources, through examples of best practices.


Featured Image – by courtesy of ebayink / Tablet use 1 (Some Rights Reserved)
UX, Mobile, iPad, Tablet, HCI

The Best UX Design Articles of March 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in March 2016.

UX is Not Design
The ‘design’ in ‘UX Design’ is not related to visual aesthetics. This article reveals the true meaning of user-experience design.

How everything we design will in turn design us back
Entrepreneur and Creative Director, Jones Virtanen, writes on the interesting notion of ‘ontological design’, which says, everything that we design in this world, will in turn design us back.

Smart UX: Designing For The Future
A list of valuable future-oriented UX design questions for your next application or website design project.

How We Made Our Client’s Site Accessible by Law
Vince Sevilla presents a case-study about a California-based disability centre, and how his agency redesigned an “accessible” website.

Usability testing of Mobile Applications: A Step-By-Step Guide
Justin Mifsud, presents a structured view of testing mobile applications in this very insightful article.

7 Remarkably Simple Methods To Boost Checkout Conversion Rates
In this article, co-founder and CEO of Invest Consulting Khalid Saleh, speaks at length about ‘shopping cart abandonment’, and the checkout process conversion rates. And how to improve the analytics and the experience.

Microinteractions: The Secret of Great App Design
As a mobile app designer, you just can’t ignore the power of microinteractions for providing a delightful feedback. This article outlines the why, what and hows of dealing with microinteractions to design better apps.

How to Make Your Site Senior-Friendly
Declining eyesight and motor abilities create tremendous usability challenges when designing for senior persons. This is an insightful article which speaks about the sensitivity of building websites for seniors with key UX recommendations.

Five Best Practices for Becoming a Data-Driven Design Organization, Part 2
Michelle Bacigalupi (Experience Design Management & Strategy for WebEx Online at Cisco) lists a set of best practices for developing a data-driven design organization. You can also read Part 1 of the article as well.

Product Pages: UX Tips to Boost Conversions
As more products flood the shopping market, the competition to get stuff sold online will intensify. An article that broadly outlines the UX elements to make your product page stand out.

Best UI design principles to develop strong mobile apps
A comprehensive list of details that could make or break your mobile app.

Probability: A UX Designer’s Second-Best Friend
Probability is about making educated guesses about the future. Even without research, we all have an innate sense of probability, that makes us judge a bad idea from a good one. A very good article on the effects of using probability in UX design.


Featured Image – by courtesy of ebayink / Tablet use 2 (Some Rights Reserved)

UX, Keyboard, Computer

The Best UX Design Articles of February 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in February 2016.

User-Centered Design Artifacts
An expert panel comprising UX professionals discuss artifacts a UX team should create during a design project to best enable the team to understand the design problem.

Mobile-First eCommerce: What Customers Expect and Value in Mobile Shopping Experiences
Senior Omni-Channel Commerce Consultant, Afshan Kirmani talks about best practices for increasing conversion rates for eCommerce mobile experiences.

Designers shouldn’t code. They should study business.
Designer Joshua Taylor weighs in with his opinion about how designers must focus on their craft, and the business.

The Three Views of (Information) Architecture
Information Architect, Dan Klyn speaks about designing a sitemap experience, by drawing an analogy with a real building architecture process.

3 Keys To Creating a Frictionless Experience
Elements in “anticipatory” design principles for creating a seamless experience. An article by Joe Johnston (you can’t miss the amazing hand drawings from @hellokevinwhite).

5 Steps To Conducting An Effective Expert Review
A write-up on the process for an effective expert review with examples and suggestions by Jeff Sauro.

What Assembling Ikea Furniture Taught Me About User Experience
BodeTree.com CEO and co-founder Chris Myers describes his experience with IKEA furniture and compares it with a traditional user-experience design process.

15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs
A drill-down of the best practices to improve site structure and search engine ranking.

Beyond Usability: Designing with Persuasive Patterns
When products suffer from higher bounce rates, users miss out on the chance to experience what the product has to offer. Building persuasive user experiences is imperative. Anders Toxboe lists a set of persuasive patterns in this interesting article.

10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Tech blogger, Alan Smith presents his list of must-have design principles for small businesses who are struggling to make a compelling website.

Featured Image – by courtesy of N i c o l a / Microsoft Type Cover 2 – IMG_4252 (Some Rights Reserved)

‘User Interface Design’ In 25 Hottest Skills List for 2016

‘User Interface Design’ made it to the 10th place on LinkedIn’s ‘Hottest Skills of 2015’ Global list — jumping 4 places. It puts ‘User Interface Design’ in the 11th place for Canada. LinkedIn analyzed the hiring and recruiting activity on its website in 2015, and uncovered the 25 hottest skills, and it believes that these skills will stay in demand in the early part of 2016. You can also view the presentation on SlideShare.

LinkedIn - User Interface Design in The Hottest Skills of 2015 - Global

Source: The 25 Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2016 | Official LinkedIn Blog

Time For a Fresh WordPress Theme?

I have mulled to change the current WordPress theme, and it’s not an easy task. In 2014, I chose this design for its RWD capabilities and simply loved it. Almost 2 years later, and after many design analysis, I have realised the flaws which are crucial, not just for the visitors but for me as a designer. Here’s what I have found with my review and why I need changes in the theme desperately.

The all-important search functionality lies buried under a cryptic ‘folder’ icon and glancing at my analytics, not many users have ‘cracked the code’. It’s a worrisome situation if users have to first find the search function, before looking for information.

Font Customization
Despite the Easy Google Fonts plugin, I find it hard to change the font for the H1 tag unless if I edit the stylesheet within the WordPress system (which is very meh!). The one way I can bring subtle changes to the theme and effect a better user-experience is by toying with the typography. I quite frankly want to move away from the current typeface used for H1. I even started a thread on WordPress Support forums for help which is lying ‘dead’.

Featured Image
I think a large featured image is an absolute overkill for a write-up. Unfortunately, for my limited coding skills, I would rather change the theme. Besides, I really don’t need large images to convey meanings.

Simply large and bloated, and I would appreciate a more subtle approach.

Challenges with New Theme
I’m looking for a new minimalist theme and this is taking time. A changed theme means a new experience for the user, a fresh learning curve. I also have no idea what happens to the design of the posts (i.e. the large featured images) when the new theme takes over. Hopefully, we will know soon.

Lastly, Designing from Scratch
My first priority is to design an original theme. Considering the challenges and limitations, I’m keeping all fingers crossed for now.