Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!
Single Page Applications & Progressive Web Applications. Great article from Multi-Programming Solutions, focused on the education of what SPAs and PWAs actually are. As product strategies continue to evolve, it’s important to understand what these products actually are, from aspects ranging from performance, to product experience, also contemplating specific topics such as properties and tools typically associated with them. Highlight of the article includes:
“As for PWAs, there is a whole set of properties such solutions can boast. In a nutshell, PWA solutions should be considered especially Reliable (an app should load up immediately on the user-side, with any Internet connection speed or even in an offline mode), Fast (data transfers between the server- and user-side should be rapid, taking 3 seconds at the most), and Engaging (a prominent level of user experience should be provided — users should want to use the app again and again). In order to correspond with all these requirements, developers usually employ a number of specialized tools, such as Service Worker, Web App manifest, HTTPS, App shell, Push Notifications, and others to define the list of the most proper end product requirements. The PWA concept as a whole was first introduced in 2015.”
Product Design Exercises. While not a typical article that I reference in this newsletter, this reflection on Product Design Exercises by author Chris Meeks is well worth a read. Personally having done “Design Exercises” over 15 years of my career, I can attest to the fact that this is a practice that can be interpreted and viewed from many different angles. In the context of interviews, I believe a well thought out interview process surpasses “Design Tests” as a tool to assess someone’s capabilities (but this topic alone is worth reading that article, and possibly even writing a lengthier discussion on that topic). Highlight of the article includes:
“There’s a term for companies that want you to solve their exact problems, unpaid, and it’s called spec-work. Spec(speculative)-work is not the same as a phone interview or other activity that you invest in an opportunity. It’s the literal use of your skill to solve a real problem without compensation, based on the hope that it will result in pay down the road. Simply put, it’s an exploitative practice and one to be avoided. It can be tempting to take on a challenge like this if you have the time, energy, and aptitude, but be warned — this request is usually a sign that the company doesn’t truly value good design. Even if you’re rewarded with a job offer, you could land in a company culture that isn’t aligned with your values.”
Unmoderated Usability Testing. Another great article from the Nielsen Norman Group on the topic of Usability Testing, specifically the unmoderated type. This is well worth a ready and being mindful of the notes that the article provides, since these types of tests, and the tools used to apply them (such as Validately and UserTesting.com) are so commonly utilized, at times not contemplating follow up situations, or even the granularity of tasks asked to perform when preparing the testing script. Well worth a read. Highlight of the article includes:
“In unmoderated studies, the activities that you want the participants to conduct have to be even more carefully written than the tasks for moderated sessions. Participants cannot ask for clarification if they don’t understand the instructions and you can’t ask them to try again if they do the wrong thing. If users misinterpret your instructions and perform the wrong task, your test is wasted. Unmoderated task instructions should also explicitly tell users when they should stop; remember, the moderator won’t be there to ask them to move to a different task. You should also meticulously plan any followup questions. These can include quantitative questions, in which participants rate the subjective difficulty or satisfaction of an activity. Or you may ask open-ended questions which prompt users to describe specific parts of the experience. Carefully choose how you phrase your questions; broad wording such as “How would you describe this brand?” may lead unmoderated participants to talk about their past experiences instead of the system they just used.”