Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!
Story Structure and Users Perspective. Another relevant and insightful article hailing from Smashing Magazine. This article uses the story metaphor to showcase important lessons to learn from story development, particularly how these emphasize a better understanding of users arcs, motivations and goals, when they reach the product that is in the process of being designed. The article also provides great recommendations on how/when to reach out to users/consumers, in order to create a connection that resonates (and hopefully creates retention). Highlight of the article includes:
“While you need to help users solve any problems preventing them from choosing you in their ordeal, the real goal is for them to have their problem solved. It’s easy to get these confused because your ordeal in your story is getting the user to buy in and engage with your site. Your goal is for them to buy in/engage and your ordeal is getting them to do that. Their goal is having their problem solved and their ordeal is choosing you to solve that problem. If you conflate your goal and their goal then their problem won’t get solved and they won’t have a good experience with you.”
Inclusive Designing. Another fantastic article from one of my favorite authors, Don Norman, this time for Fast Company. Mr. Norman tackles a very relevant and insightful topic — inclusive design, particularly when it comes to creating products for a growing elderly population. Much like one of my own articles, where I wrote about the process of teaching my parents how to use Skype, Mr. Norman details considerations that are important to have when designing products for mass audiences, specifically older ones, considering the life expectancy of most societies is now lengthier than ever before. Some of the topics he indexes include legibility, contrast, accessibility requirements, functional requirements, issues with close captions, among many others, all elements that are seemingly discarded in a lot of the products/experiences that he provides examples for. Highlight of the article includes:
“Despite our increasing numbers the world seems to be designed against the elderly. Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster. (We solve this by using a plumber’s wrench to turn the caps.) Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying lenses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world “I’m old and can’t function!” We can do better.”
Building a Startup Team. Another article from Fast Company, and slightly different than what I usually select. This article functions as a case study, in the sense that it provides crucial lessons to learn from, when it comes to topics such as Team Definition, Hiring Processes, Philosophy establishment, Prioritization, and also partnerships. It’s written from the viewpoint of someone who has gone through the process of establishing startups previously, and his candor on topics such as hiring/firing, team morale, investment partners, among other topics, is both insightful and rewarding. Highlight of the article includes:
“In our metrics-obsessed culture, it’s easy to prioritize growth above all else. But remember, you can’t build a successful company with unhappy employees, so that needs to be an equal priority for you in addition to growth. If a high-growth company prioritizes reaching targets at all costs, you’ll start to hire the wrong people, treat them poorly, and teach the wrong practices. That might result in mediocre work, which leads to not-so-desirable results, and probably won’t help your bottom line.”