December 2016

As we end the year, it is interesting to take a look back at the state of UX in 2016. Leah Buley looks at where we’ve been in three areas, People, Process, and Impact.

From “The State of UX in 2016” by Leah Buley:

We have seen big investments to buy, build or bolt-on design programmes in recent years. A few events stand out in my mind: IBM’s announcement it would earmark $100m and hire 1,000 designers in 2012; the tumult of design agency mergers and acquisitions through 2014 and 2015; Mike Bracken on stage at the O’Reilly Design Conference earlier this year reporting the jaw-dropping fact that the UK Government Digital Service has saved UK citizens £4.1billion.

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It seems intuitive, but it is not enough to say the right words. The tone of voice, body language, and words are always communicating to others your true intentions. What we believe invariably affects what we do. What we do speaks louder than words (to borrow the colloquialism). Next time you are in a crucial conversation, stop and ask yourself, “Am I honoring this person? Can I let go of hostility?”

With the shout of “Action!” John walked onto the set, hit his mark, and delivered his opening line: “You said you’d have product to me by noon, but it never arrived. What happened?” Note: the script we had written contained no inflammatory words, insults, threats, or attacks—just a simple description of the problem followed by a diagnostic question. John delivered the correct words—no problem there—but he said them with such force and disgust that the other actor nearly melted.

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Recently, I had the privilege of writing for the Cooper Journal about how Goal-Directed Design makes a lot of sense for heavily regulated industries. A few key points are using personas and scenarios to get early buy-in from stakeholders, building a shared vision for the project team, and discovering ideas that actually have merit (before you get all the approvals and launch).

Working in the insurance industry, an industry saddled with stiff regulations, has several implications for the design team. Generally, this means submitting each page to an internal review process and then to every state for their approval. If after filing there are additional changes, re-submitting a particular webpage earns extra scrutiny, increasing the chance that edits will be necessary prior to launch. As a result, every A/B test, every possible change, must be thought out ahead of time, without proving it first in production. Otherwise, the changes must be filed all over again. Because of these challenges, our digital experience and design team has adopted Cooper’s Goal-Directed Design (GDD) approach.

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Tempted to dump your content on Medium? Think that Facebook might be a good place to write content? Changes to a platform could be disastrous if you don’t maintain content on your own site.

From “Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy”

It wasn’t Amazon that killed them, or the proliferation of free content on the web, or the crappy economy.

They closed the store because they were leasing their big, comfortable building … and when that lease ran out, their landlord tripled the rent.

Literally overnight, their business model quit working. Revenues simply wouldn’t exceed costs. A decision made by another party, one they had no control over, took a wonderful business and destroyed it.

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