User Experience, Usability and Design links for April 12th

I bookmark a lot of pages and sites which I find interesting, inspirational and informative every day! I’d like to share some of them with you here. In general they are about user experience, usability, UCD, accessbility and design. In general, but not always!!

  • 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design
    Officially titled Design with Intent: 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design, it’s in the form of 101 simple cards, each illustrating a particular ‘gambit‘ for influencing people’s interactions with products, services, environments, and each other, via the design of systems. They’re loosely grouped according to eight ‘lenses‘ bringing different disciplinary perspectives on behaviour change.<br />
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    The intention is that the cards (download them here) are useful at the idea generation stage of the design process, helping designers, clients and – perhaps most importantly – potential users themselves explore behaviour change concepts from a number of disciplines, and think about how they might relate to the problem at hand. Judging by the impact of earlier iterations, the cards could also be useful in stakeholder workshops, and design / technology / computer science education.
  • Are You Designing or Inspecting?
    Guidelines and heuristics are not interchangeable, but many UXers treat them that way. It’s common to hear someone saying that they’re doing a heuristic evaluation against X guidelines. But it doesn’t quite work like that.
  • Coloring Outside the Wireframe: 3 Tips to Integrating Visual Design in the UX Field
    Having come from a start up where everyone did everything (from research to coding) I was worried about getting slotted into a specific phase of the design process, essentially “skinning” other designers’ work. I was assured that would not be the case. In my first 2 months I did, in fact, discover a sincere desire to redefine the role of visual design in the interaction process. However, up to this point visual design was typically tacked on at the end of projects.
  • Developing a user experience strategy
    The term “user experience strategy” gets thrown around an awful lot in design circles, but few people have offered an explanation as to what it means or how to achieve it. Here’s a look at the Miskeeto approach.
  • The Strange Connection between Entitlement, Social Innovation, and Interaction Design
    Students would contact me and describe how miserable they were with their jobs, asking for advice on new career paths or even entirely new professions. It wasn’t that their bosses were mean, or that their working hours were awful; it wasn’t even the larger issues we’ve all dealt with in the business context, like the misappropriation of designer as stylists, or the prioritization of technologists over designers. Instead, I began to hear how the benefits of ‘flow’ and ‘being creative’ and ‘solving really hard problems’ were being grossly outweighed by feelings of insignificance and irrelevance. My alumni were at the forefront of design, working at major consultancies and the heart of the Fortune 500 – and they didn’t feel like their work was meaningful.
  • Mental Models and Usability
    Mental models have been studied by cognitive scientists as part of efforts to understand how humans know, perceive, make decisions, and construct behavior in a variety of environments. The relatively new field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has adopted and adapted these concepts to further the study in its main area of concern (usability). This document will describe mental models and usability. It will then discuss the applications and limitations of mental models as they help improve software usability. The concluding section will describe a study developed and conducted by the authors. This study suggests some potential areas for further research that could help both cognitive scientists and HCI practitioners make progress in understanding mental models.

Please do feel free to suggest other related (and unrelated ones)!

About the Author

An experienced, commercial and creative user experience professional with a proven record in UX leadership, strategy, people management, branding and innovation. Responsible for the design and delivery of several high profile, big brand web sites and enterprise software applications. All opinions here are my own.

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