It seems everyone is right aligning their UI buttons these days but I’m not sure what the rationale is?
A delightful animated tribute to UX Design by Lyle Alzaldo. A cute overview of what we do and what others sometimes think of us.
Every online business should be focused on conversion – it goes without saying. A/B testing (which I’m including multivariate testing in even though they are different) is a great way for businesses to help determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to converting leads into customers. The recent rise in availability of A/B testing tools is helping many online businesses gain valuable insights they never could before, and to test ideas more accurately than ever. But should it be given the credence it seems to have at the moment?
There’s a saying in advertising that campaigns can take one of two approaches:
- Baffle the audience with bullshit, or
- Provide one stupidly simple idea clearly.
I think it applies to user interfaces as well. I think websites often do the first one and struggle to do the second.
I’ve been to (and worked on) websites where the businesses intent seems to be to baffle potential customers with an array of bullshit (features, functionality and even content they don’t need) and make them feel like they need it. Maybe this tactic works, hell it must do given how many infomercials exist in the world, but I like to think customers are maturing.
I’m noticing that companies who take the second approach are becoming more prevalent and successful – I’m thinking Apple and 37Signals. These companies that focus on doing one thing well and not diluting their market perception are the ones flourishing while others (I’m thinking Microsoft) get weighed down by their own bloated products, features and offerings.
There are lots of opinions on this but that’s not going to stop me adding mine. My overly simplified take on why Apple has become hugely successful of late is that they focus on building long term relationships with their users.
While others are absorbed with creating features that help win the sale or are engaging in cheap tricks that help convert customers in the short term, Apple focus on creating products that build admiration and respect for their brand over time.
This means that those who own Apple products are unlikely to return to other brands and they also evangelise Apple products to others.
As Sachin Agarwal of Posterous very accurately pointed out in his recent post – A product is not just about features. It’s about experience:
“You won’t find a matrix where Apple compares their product to a competitor by feature. They measure products by the experience.”
The other ingredient for their current success is that I believe the IT consumer market is maturing and people are actually realising that the user experience is actually more important than the number of features.
There’s been some recent blog posts and discussions around Google’s apparent lack of “Design Thinking” and their focus on “Data Thinking”. I find these discussions overly simplify the role of design and designers as well and are unfair to Google and their appreciation for the finer aspects of design.
The first post on this theme was by Douglas Bowman when he wrote about his rationale for leaving Google in his post titled “Goodbye Google“. In it he describes a company focussed on data (testing everything) and lacking design vision.
The next post was by Cliff Kuang of Fast Company’s Co.Design. In his post titled “Google Instant Proves Google’s Design Process is Broken” Cliff suggests that Googles reliance on user testing inhibits true design thinking and innovation.
And most recently was a post by Faruk Ates titled “Design Thinking vs. Data Thinking” in which Faruk describes Google having no empathy in it’s design approach and that they live or die by the “sword of data” – again suggesting a lack of design thinking at Google.
These discussions and the perception of design by some in the community concern me and I’d like to give my perspective.
To most people I’m sure debating job titles seems a waste of time and self absorbing, and it is, but for me it’s been enjoyable. It’s forced me to think further about why I use the term UX Designer as opposed to other titles and has made me more comfortable about my decision.
Pagination, those 1 2 3 .. Next page links at the bottom of a page of search results or content. Are they dying a slow death? I think so and when you step back and think about it, it makes perfect sense. Why do we need it? If you scroll to the bottom of a page of content surely that’s indicating you want to see more? So, website, load some more and save me the click and time!
I recently conducted an interview with 3 UX Designers who will be speaking at the 2010 UX Australia conference – this year hosted in my home town of Melbourne (August 25-27).
The interview is on sitepoint.com entitled UX Design: What it is, What it Takes, and Where it’s Going.
I’m really happy with how it turned out, I thought the guys had some insightful views especially around what it takes to be a good UX Designer. Have a read and let me know what you think.
It’s been almost a month since myself and the rest of the Aussie team brought the FullCodePress trophy to the shores of Australia for the first time. After suffering defeat at the hands of the New Zealand team for the first 2 years it was a nice feeling to win. And what a fantastic event to be a part of. I really enjoyed what was an intense long weekend in Wellington – the friendly locals, the lovely meals, the stunning Martinis, the excellent Webstock talks and the event itself. It was certainly an experience I’ll never forget and am glad I plucked up the courage to be part of.