UI/UX Articles and Interesting Tidbits of the Week

Pedro Canhenha
4 min readNov 20, 2023

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November//17//2023

Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!

1.

Design and Business. Stupendous article which registers the conversation between Dylan Field (Figma’s CEO) and Brian Chesky (Airbnb’s CEO), on the evolution of the latter’s organization towards a Design centric organization and what that actually entailed. Mr. Chesky talks about the evolution of the Product Owner role, but also how Design principles have permeated across the organization and what actually entails. I particularly appreciated the fact that he mentions (and I’m loosely paraphrasing), shipping products/features they actually firmly believe in, being thorough (the attention to detail), improving customer experiences and mapping out user journeys very thoroughly (storyboards). It’s a truly fascinating conversation, worth reading through, and a testament to Airbnb’s and its leadership insight. Highlight of the article includes:

“We went from a business unit organization to a functional organization. So we had a design department, a marketing department, an engineering department — the way every startup is run. We took all the projects in the company. I asked every lead to show me their roadmap. They couldn’t even figure out their roadmaps because everyone had a sub-roadmap on sub-teams. Those teams had roadmaps and those teams had roadmaps. So I said, “There’s a simple rule: If it’s not on the roadmap, it can’t ship and it must be on one roadmap.” So we put every single thing on one roadmap. Then I said, “We can only do 10% of the things on the roadmap” — that was a wet reckoning — “We’re only going to do a few really big things.” We took the very best people, we put them all on a few projects. And then I said, “We’re not going to do A/B tests. A/B testing is abdicating a responsibility to the users. We’re going to do a little bit of experimentation, but if we do A/B testing, you’re going to only do it if you have a hypothesis. If B is better than A, you have to know why B was better than A, otherwise we’re stuck with that for like the next 10 years.” So we are going to focus on shipping things that we’re proud of. If you don’t want to put your name on it, you don’t ship it. The designers are equal to the product managers. Actually, we got rid of the classic product management function. Apple didn’t have it either.”

2.

Omnichannel Challenge. A brief and insightful article from the Qualtrics blog and author Daniel Saunders. It focuses on what was discussed on X4 London (The Experience Management Tour), in particular with Three and Samsung. Ashling Williamson from Three, Ross Perry and Michael Hardwick both from Samsung, were asked a series of questions on the topic of Omnichannel experiences, and what that entails for clients/users. The article emphasizes some of the fundamental aspects of this discussion namely: how Customer Experience has become as important as product and revenue, Insights and Actions must go hand in hand and finally, demonstrating value means tying feedback to outcomes. Very pertinent read. Highlight of the article includes:

“Customer experience is fundamental. “Experience value sits alongside monetary value and product value as a core part of a value proposition,” says Michael. Customers expect you to know them and not have to repeat questions they already asked. Even this kind of minor friction can impact the customer experience. Trust is how we build connections. We build it by being on time, delivering what we say we will, and doing that consistently. Doing it again and again adds up to customer lifetime value. “We thought of good CX as hygiene,” says Ross. “But we see the tangible incremental benefits coming back to us going through the roof. We can show that because all our data is now connected.””

3.

GenAI and UXR. Very interesting article from the dScout blog, People Nerds, on the topic of Generative AI and how it impacts UXR. Karen Eisenhauer’s article provides context on the evolution of AI, how the pacing and evolution of this type of technology is in itself creating tension, and how can Research work with it and benefit from it. There’s a section of this article that will resonate with many, aptly titled “Being the Voice of the Human”: meaning, while AI can in reality automate much based on patterns that it reads through, there are nuances to humans and their behaviors that still warrant a fairly close observation. It’s a fascinating article worth reading through. Highlight of the article includes:

“The next tense question is, what do we research when it comes to GenAI?Builders’ focus is likely to be granular issues of performance and usability. They need to ship fast, and want to make sure what they’re building is functional and legible from a UI perspective. They are also grappling with new questions of accuracy. GenAI is probabilistic technology — its output isn’t very predictable. So builders need to figure out how to measure and improve accuracy.”

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