Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!
Why Do Websites Look the Same (And Should We Care)?
Have you ever looked around the web and wondered why so many websites look like one another? It's not like every…
Homogenization of Web Products. Another article hailing from the Web Designer Depot and author Suzanne Scacca. The topic of homogenization of digital solutions on the web has been one that I highlighted in the past, and one that continues to deserve relevance. The goal for Solid Design solutions are, much like the values of good UX (usable, useful, findable, desirable, accessible, credible), solving problems effectively, responding to clients needs, capturing their attention (and retention), while doing it in a way that is innovative, cost effective and scalable. The article details reasons why this sense of copycatting solutions seems to pervasively invade the web, from the progression of Design Education, Trends, Blogs, Tools, Data, all factors that weigh in how teams go about solving issues. It’s an article that forces some much needed reflection on how product solutions, while solving problems for users, should also create a narrative that aligns with the brand and its own story. Highlight of the article includes:
“This is the same issue presented by templates and site builders. If you do exactly what’s needed and not much more, your site is going to look and act just like everyone else’s. Which comes at the cost of your brand reputation. Just look at Google’s Material Design. This design system may have made it easier for web and app designers to create new solutions that were user-friendly and responsive, but there was just too much spelled out. And this led to a slew of Material Design lookalikes everywhere you turned. This is the whole reason why companies take the time to craft a unique selling proposition. Without a USP, brands become interchangeable in the eyes of consumers.”
How Remote Work Could Destroy Silicon Valley
The tech industry is built on serendipity. If workers flee the Bay Area, what’s left?
Will Remote Work Destroy Silicon Valley. Interesting reflection from author Steve LeVine on how Remote work practices may shift the well known Innovation birthplace that is Silicon Valley. While not a typical highlight from this newsletter, it’s nonetheless an article worth reading for the scenario that it depicts, how the new work standards may stand in place for the foreseeable future, and the implications/ramifications it produces for Big Tech companies and the ecosystem they have generated in that Californian area. Highlight of the article includes:
“And yet Big Tech has seemed calm if not outright indifferent regarding the potential demise of the unscripted moment in this protracted period of remote work. A look at the last decade or so of Valley history may explain why: Over that time, the FAANG companies have largely stopped trying to invent the next big thing, at least in-house. Instead, they have shifted to milking their signature inventions — for Google, the search engine; for Facebook, its basic social platform; Microsoft’s operating system and Office software; and Apple’s suite of “i” products — while keeping a keen eye on the Valley’s garage inventors. When a startup produces something truly market-moving, Big Tech leaps into action, copying the breakthrough or attempting to buy the startup outright, such as Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google’s purchase of Fitbit and a suite of A.I. companies. Big Tech’s heft has allowed it to leverage away from a heavy reliance on serendipity.”
Ethnographic research in design processes - interview with David Travis
If I tell you that one amazing solution to this is to include ethnographic research in your product design process, you…
Ethnographic Research. Very interesting article from UX Studio and author Dora Farkas. This one specifically focuses on the topic of Ethnographic research, something that should be a fundamental part of any Design process, since in essence, it captures the authentic voice of the user, in terms of what they actually do. It’s driven by observation, and also through a series of engagements with the users, to better understand their context, tasks, habits, building a narrative around their product journey. The author provides good tips on how to build these types of studies, how to utilize the information collected, and how this information ultimately powers the iterative process. Highlight of the article includes:
“Ethnographic research is a method that originates from anthropology. It studies and represents a culture. As user-centered design has gained ground over the years, ethnographic research methods have started to be used more and more in product development. One of the great benefits of ethnographic research is that it’s conducted in a real-life environment. Because of that, it lets us peek behind the curtain. Studying our users in real-life scenarios uncovers issues that even the best-designed laboratory experiments can not present, which gives us a huge advantage.Ethnographic research is diverse, just as its major focus: culture. It has lots of names: field research, site visits, contextual inquiry, to mention a few. In a broader sense, it’s more like a mindset that helps the researcher understand the user group and its motivations and pain points better through observation.”