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These definitions were formulated based on definitions provided by different user experience organizations and thought leaders across the country including UX Booth, the User Experience Professionals’ Association, and The Nielsen Norman Group.
Define User Experience, then talk about how User Research (emphasis on “context and insight”), then highlight Usability as PART of UX. THEN, use the horse example to elaborate. Equestrian buzz words: reins, saddle, shoes. Remember the guy who asks you “How was the ride?” is the user researcher. UX Design definition should tie into the next section: history of UX design.
QUESTIONS??? To figure out why UX matters, let’s look at how it has developed throughout history and how different innovators have focused on this relationship between user and product and applied it to achieve their own goals.
Da Vinci: Asked by the Duke of Milan to help host a giant dinner party; uses past experiences to design a better dinner…Theoretically, even if the project is a failure, there may be salvageable pieces that you can use again down the road. In addition, you can do all the right research, but the implementation of your design makes a big difference. Jumping ahead ~500 years… Fredrick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford conducting user research AND documenting that research but internally, focusing on the relationship between employees and the machinery they operate to better design things like assembly lines to improve production.
Dreyfuss authors Designing for People, elaborates on some of today’s key principles of usability; taking user research and applying it to the customer/product relationship. The Hoover vacuum seen here is one of Dreyfuss’ greatest achievements because it dominated its competition thanks to a superior design achieved through the study of user experience.
Disney takes Dreyfuss one step further and focuses on how his products and attractions not only are usable, but instill joy in users. Modern product designers are constantly looking for new ways to entertain customers, make using their products a joyful experience and much of this originated with Disney.
Interestingly enough, user research is still a relatively new field; it wasn’t until 1995 that Apple hired Don Norman to be their “User Experience Architect”, creating the first formal position (in a major company) that highlighted UX specifically. In the past, everyone was simply a product manager. The unveiling of the iPhone was a big step for the field of UX because, while Apple wasn’t known for the amount of UR they did, they were still able to harness key UX principles like ease-of-function and entertainment to make their product stand out. RWD is the ability for a web page to detect when you are using a mobile device (smartphone/tablet) and automatically change the formatting to fit the mobile device. We are in the age of the app and RWD has been named one of the biggest, if not the biggest, new UX trends of 2015 by an array of UX design firms.
QUESTIONS??? User Research is critical to creating a positive UX, so how do we conduct user research? (techniques)
Use the horse metaphor again… Non-directed interviews: let the audience control the conversation Questionnaires: another relatively simple technique, quick to write up and easy to distribute Contextual Inquiry: helps eliminate bias by observing what users actually do when they interact with your product rather than asking them Card Sorting: Participants are asked to classify different phrases on the fly, allowing you to pick up on patterns of association. Often used for web design, card sorting is especially effective when trying to determine how to group things on a webpage.
QUESTIONS??? There’s a lot of different information out there about UX, User Research, and Usability. Let’s see what some of the top minds in the field are talking about.
Can’t summarize the whole field with three individuals, but these three offer a broad range of knowledge and insights that are applicable to UX today.
HCI = Human-Computer Interaction; NNG = Nielsen Norman Group; Nielsen worked with Bellcore, IBM, and Sun Microsystems; holder of 79 patents
Don’t forget Devil’s Advocate Steve Jobs!
Silicon Valley veteran, Adaptive Path is a UX design firm; LUXr provides workshops to start-ups
Generative vs. testing (in that order)
Longtime UX consultant; worked in the UX department at Yahoo!; recently co-founded Optimal Experience Strategy (a UX firm focusing on social innovation); former Editor-In-Chief of Interactions Magazine, (a UX-centric magazine)
Use of the phrase “user experience design” is gaining traction, but the term “user” is still very commonly used and some argue if the phrasing is nothing more than semantics.
Pop-up Jobs appears again to give an example of designing for people.
And finally, let’s take a look at some User Research in action.
History of User Experience/User Research
By Arthur Hayden
A history of User Experience and
the research behind it
My name is Arthur Hayden. I am an intern for the User Research group at EBSCO
Information Services in Ipswich, MA. To gain a better understanding of our department
and the field of user experience design as a whole, I have created this presentation.
Thank you to the rest of the User Research team for giving me this opportunity.
EBSCO Information Services – July 2015
A breakdown of
Details about some
of the most
techniques used in
Bios and assorted
wisdom from a few
of today’s top User
Definitions of some
of the key terms and
phrases pertaining to
Takeaways from the
Key terms and phrases
The effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction
with which specified users achieve specified
goals in particular environments.
Simplified by Jakob Nielsen:
“How easy and pleasant [the product] is to use.”
User Research (UR)
Any number of investigative techniques
used to add context and insight to the
design process. The term User Testing is also
often used as these techniques are used on
User Experience (UX)
All aspects of the user’s interaction with a
product, service, or company that make up
the user’s perceptions of the whole.
The process of enhancing user satisfaction
by improving the usability, accessibility, and
pleasure provided in the interaction
between the user and the product.
History of User Experience/Research
UX through the ages
Circa 1430 – Da Vinci’s Kitchen Nightmare
In an early example of UX design,
Leonardo created working conveyor belts,
a giant oven, and a primitive sprinkler
system for a feast hosted by the Duke of
Milan. All of these innovations failed, but
only because of poor execution: a good
Early to Mid 1900s – Efficiency in Engineering
Mechanical engineers such as Fredrick
Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford created
a framework for the relationship
between workers and their tools: early
examples of documented research on
the relationship between users and
1955 – Dreyfuss Designing for People
Henry Dreyfuss, an industrial
designer, authors Designing for
People, elaborating on some of
the key principles of usability for
1966 – Disney Designs for Happiness
Walt Disney emphasizes the use
of the latest technologies to
improve people’s lives, inspiring
many user experience designers
today. Design for utility AND joy!
2007 – The Birth of the iPhone
Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone, which proves far
easier and more fun to use than any other
cellphone on the market at the time. Apple’s
success through superior user experience
instantly made UX (and, therefore, user
research) more important for tech companies.
2015 – Responsive Web Design
As smartphones become even more
influential in our lives, tech products and
websites are facing the challenge of
transitioning to mobile devices. Google
and other tech giants have all emphasized
the growing importance of RWD.
1995 – The First UX Professional
Don Norman, of the Nielsen
Norman Group, joined Apple in
1995 as a “User Experience
Architect”, taking the place of
what many consider to be the
first dedicated UX position.
Researchers invite people to say who
they are, what they do, and where
they go. Generally speaking, this is the
easiest method of gathering raw data.
This is a reliable, inexpensive method for
finding patterns in how users would expect to
find content or functionality. Works by forcing
participants to classify things on the fly.
Researchers observe what people do as
they go about their day, utilizing the
product. This strategy focuses on users’
actual activities to get as accurate data
as possible from users.
Researchers set up some rough
guidelines and converse with their
audience, generally letting the
audience control the conversation.
Common User Research Techniques
Different ways we collect data
What the best, contemporary UX minds are saying
HCI specialist: co-
founder of NNG;
with pioneer tech
and experienced start-
up consultant; co-
founder of Adaptive
Path; CEO of LUXr
consultant; started the
Experience Center at
Viant; worked for the
UX department of
The field of User Experience/Design is a vast and expanded landscape and it would be impossible to summarize all contemporary
developments and schools of thought through three individuals; however, these three User Experience professionals have very
different backgrounds and present three unique perspectives into the most important features of User Experience and where they
believe User Research is headed.
Human-Computer Interaction Specialist, Michael Jordan of tech usability
Jakob’s Law of the Web User Experience
“Users spend most of their time on other websites.”
Users form their expectations for your site/product based on what’s
commonly done elsewhere. If you deviate from that norm, the innovation
must offer significant improvement or users will leave.
User Research and Usability Design are Essential
With the number of websites increasing at an exponential rate, those that
do not meet basic usability standards will lose customers to competitors.
Additionally, intranets with poor usability significantly hinder employee
Prioritize Testing Over Surveying
While it is easier – and oftentimes very useful – to simply ask users
questions about your products, this is no substitute for watching what users
actually do with the product. What users say can be misleading, even if they
firmly believe in what they tell you. Simple observation eliminates bias.
Interaction designer, start-up wizard
Two Types of Research Methods
Fraser breaks down the types of user research methods into two groups.
She also talks about the plethora of new tools available for product testing
such as Usertesting.com.
User Experience Expert, Organizational Strategy Consultant, has
exactly one usable headshot on the internet
Anderson talks about UX
researchers in two different
categories: those who design with
people and those who design for
people. He doesn’t say that one
mindset is necessarily better than
the other, only that transitioning
between the two entails major
cultural change for the company.
Should we call it
The term can imply that our department
only does research with users when in
reailty we also study people who are not
yet users of EBSCO products. Anderson
argues that this phrase can prevent UX
teams from being involved early in the
Yahoo! merged their UX research group
and the market research group to form
the Customer Insights department.
Some UX experts believe that
modern computing is minimizing
the importance of usability
studies. Anderson argues that
more emphasis should be placed
on ”social user research” which
relies on huge amounts of what he
calls ”casual data” from Twitter,
Anderson has 20+ years of experience working with different companies to move user
experience into a position of greater influence. He has written and published numerous
articles and teachers numerous courses across the country.
A few of the key arguments that he makes on User Experience:
What have we learned
• UX encompasses everything
• User Research investigates UX
• Usability is a part of UX
• Interviews & questionnaires are easy
• Contextual inquiry generally provides
• Growing number of testing resources
User Research in Action
Usability Testing of Fruit
• Nielsen: Use usability!
• Fraser: Generative vs. Testing
• Anderson: Culture matters
• UX is still relatively new
• Lessons from Da Vinci
• Apple was important