UI/UX Articles And Interesting Tidbits Of The Week

May//1//2020

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

1.

Designing Voice Experiences. An older article from Smashing Magazine on the topic of building Voice Based applications. This is a thoroughly researched article, focusing on the different phases of how to build an app of this nature, including steps such as Discovery, Definition, Detailing, Describing and Refinement. The author also goes details topics such as personality, capabilities, conversational flows, onboarding experiences, among many others. Deeply pragmatic and worth a read. Highlight of the article includes:

“Your voice app can only support the capabilities you have defined in the previous step, but users always have the ability to ask the app anything and in any format. Detailing a conversation flow allows you to respond to the user, or to drive the conversation towards what the app can do for the user. For each capability that the voice app will support, start creating conversational dialogues between the user and the app, similar to dialogues in a screenplay. As you write these dialogues, remember the personality as well as voice and tone characteristics. Start creating and curating the actual content for your voice app; for our quiz, this would mean building the list of quiz questions.”

2.

Globalization and Designing Products for African Markets. Great article from UpsideLab, focused on the topic of design Digital Products for African markets. One of the most fascinating aspects of this article, is not only its candid approach to how different users in different countries in that continent, digest and utilize products, but most importantly, how fundamental it is to research cultural aspects, demographics, habits, of the populations or segments that will be using the app. It’s an article that also looks at important issues such as logistics, local payment methods, cultural relevancy, all points that become part of defining a product journey. Highlight of the article includes:

“As an example, in Western markets mobile commerce is still a second-class citizen. People very often use mobile for browsing, but still finalize transactions on their computers. Because of this, checkout experience is often optimized for desktop. During user tests, we quickly learned that Africa skipped the desktop and went straight to mobile, so the checkout experience must be mobile-first. Another interesting thing that we learned was the importance of word of mouth. Africans rely on the social aspect way more than Europeans or Americans. You can build plenty of traction by marketing activities in Europe, but this alone won’t work in countries like Senegal. To succeed, you need to build credibility in local community, by delivering the best customer experience possible to first customers. One of the key takeaways here is that it’s difficult to build valuable products without gaining a deep understanding of local culture and values. Besides constant user research, it’s also important to have local people at decision-making positions in your team. There are some details that will be difficult to catch without living there.”

3.

Agile in Design Thinking. Another atypical highlight on this newsletter. This in particular is well worth a read. It hails from Jeremiah Lee, a Product/Engineering professional, currently working for Invision. This article details his experience working at Spotify, and how the popular organizational and team dynamics arrangement under the designation “Squads”, isn’t something that actually and realistically works in the real world. It’s an interesting perspective and in a way, it demystifies the “Squads” notion, while also pointing out many valuable lessons, which includes scaling of talent, accountability across teams, and how collaboration can be truly achieved. Worth a read. Highlight of the article includes:

“When a company is small, teams have to do a wide range of work to deliver and have to shift initiatives frequently. As a company grows from startup to scale-up, duplicated functions across teams move to new teams dedicated to increasing organization efficiency by reducing duplication. With more teams, the need for a team to shift initiative decreases in frequency. Both of these changes allow for teams to think more deeply and long term about the problems they are scoped to solve. Faster iteration, however, is not guaranteed. Every responsibility a team cedes to increase its focus becomes a new cross-team dependency. Spotify did not define a common process for cross-team collaboration. Allowing every team to have a unique way of working meant each team needed a unique way of engagement when collaborating. Overall organization productivity suffered. The Spotify model was documented when Spotify was a much smaller company. It was supposed to be a multiple part series, according to Anders Ivarsson. Autonomy made the first cut, but the parts on alignment and accountability were never completed.”

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