Some ugly truth on UX

Came across this really intriguing presentation on the UX. The person is a UX recruiter, and has worked across geographies, with numerable people, or varied experiences and skill set.

Truth and Dare – Out of the echochamber into the fire View more presentations from Jason Mesut

The presenter does a great job of highlighting some interesting Truths an Dares. Having been in the UX field for quite some time now, I know recruiting it a big challenge to anyone dealing with UX professionals. To me subjectivity of the field is hugely responsible for it. And secondly, it is the notion of calling oneself a designer, just by learning a few tools.

I would soon be putting up a presentation on my experiences with recruiting in the UX field. Would love to hear from more people who are into it.

The art of critiquing

I am a firm believer of the point that designers (and just about anyone in the creative field) needs to be a good critic. They need to critique not only the innumerable work of others but also of oneself.  I also insist upon the value of critique and the art of critiquing a lot in my design workshops too.  In this respect I would like to share this semantic differential diagram that I had come across during my masters studies.

There are two key things that the designer has to consider, when looking into doing a critique of things. 1. Audience and 2. Content.

1. Audience The first important thing is the audience. For any critique exercise to take place, understanding the audience is vert important. Once one has an understanding of the audience, they can look to deciding the language and the tone for the critique. In my opinion the language should be kept simple and in easy to understand terms. One can adopt a particular tone depending on the audience. Whether to make it filled with case studies (if the audience is an academic audience) or to make it filled with stories / anecdotes if the audience is more laypersons.

2. Content This has two parts to it. One is the content you wish to critique on and the other is the content you write in support of the things you wish to critique on. The points to critique on could be the functional aspects, the visual and aesthetic elements of a design. The critic should look to going into the visceral, behavioral and reflective levels of a particular design (D Norman in The Design of Everyday Things) .

Species of Criticism

This above semantic differential outlines the different approaches one could take for criticism. Would love to read more . . . → Read More: The art of critiquing

Changing the world..facebook

Facebook is taking the world by storm. No i mean it. They literally are. Look into the developments from the recent f8 conference where they launched the Timeline concept. It’s like a public scrapbook that is showing your lifetime (or maybe only on facebook) in a linear chronological manner. It almost appears like Facebook is on its path to supreme world dominancy. They already have more than 700 million users and that is a huge number! The one thing that I really hope is that Facebook can take the position in which it is in to make the world a better place.

Check out this concept video of what they call the Timeline.

While not all have the timeline concept enabled, a lot do have the newer facebook layout.

There is the element of the Twitter (in the way a real time ticker on the right that keeps telling you what your ‘friends’ are doing), and the Google+ (in the way the images are displayed in the timeline)

The Social platforms wars just does not stop from getting more interesting! Often I wonder where this will lead to. Let us hope that it does so without any ill effects on our souls.

To Design is to solve a problem

One of the key things that I have learnt over the past decade of my being involved in the design field is that, it is about solving a problem. Often the problems need not be a large one. A design should solve some problem in some form. It could be a direct or an indirect solution. The results could be tangible or intangible. More often than not, we designers try to make things complex by adding complex elements to the solutions we provide. But as a firm believer of simplicity in the stuff I design, and the life I live, I know simplicity is a tough thing to attain.

Here’s a great example of how a simple design solution can be involved in creating an impact that is huge. We have heard a lot about alternative sources of energy and electricity, but here we look into an example of something that is so basic that you would think why you did not think about this earlier. It is something that we can adapt to the communities that are devoid of light and the light brings in a sense of happiness that cannot be measured.

Simple design. Impactful Design.

Visualizing KIVA activity

Information Visualization is something that has always interested me, and I am always amazed at the heights people go to illustrate huge amount of data. With more and more resources to visualize data, the Information Visualizations are now more dynamic than static.

Came across this visualization recently and was totally blown away by it! KIVA the social entreprise, showcases all its activities through this amazing InfoViz. Do check it out!

The same in static would definitely not had the same User Experience as this one does, for the viewer!

The rise of SoLoMoN

My recent talk at STC UX conference aimed to throw light on why everyone is a designer and is contributing to the co-creation of UX.

We user experience designers, live in exciting yet challenging times. From the rise of social networks, to the evolution of different devices and platforms, to our design decisions being governed by someone else, the excitement for the field is unbounded. However the excitement also comes with its set of challenges. Design being discussed in the board rooms, poses a lot more challenges. While its an indicator that it is being given its long due value, it also leads to a lot of expectations.

This also allows that a lot of people start pitching into the design process. The rise of the adoption of Agile framework at work places, the decision making in design is starting to get faster and often without much thought about ideas.

Another phenomenon that is gaining momentum, is that with design gaining more prominence across projects, often we end up having many more people who need not be from a design background, to contribute to the designs. These come mainly from the Business teams, the technology teams or even the marketing teams. This is also corroborated by the fact that there is a rise of a lot of crowd sourcing platforms. Design faces a lot of challenges when going via a crowd sourcing platform. As a result of all the above, the UX field is undergoing a paradigm shift.

In a follow-up to my earlier article on Co-creating the User experience, I recently gave a talk on the same topic at the STC UX conference, held on 27th August at Bangalore. Here is the presentation that I used in the talk:

Co-creating the User Experience View more presentations from Kshitiz Anand . . . → Read More: The rise of SoLoMoN