The New User Experience: Engage, Entertain or Task Focus?

How a site is designed and what choices we make for UI depends on the  perceived goal of the user. Today’s user experience is not the same as  last decade’s usability.

Engagement Entertainment or Getting the Task Done

by Susan Weinschenk on UX Magazine

Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere!

This year marks the 3rd time in as many years that I have been involved in…and frustrated by, the process of defining, designing, testing, refining and providing patterns for use in an organization.

The task is not the most glamorous, but is essential in providing consistent and (hopefully) usable features, designs and interactions for an application or website.

I will not bore my readers with the trials & tribulations of iteration after iteration of changes, feature creep, special circumstances, alterations and exceptions that always come with these.

What I think is more useful are public examples of good design pattern libraries. The key is to make them clear, available, well defined.

Any discussions and decisions that are made by the teams are transparent and open to continual improvement. If the consumers of these patterns are not clear why a decision is made and in what situations they should use them in…They won’t use them correctly or not at all.

Here are some that I think work well:

http://ui-patterns.com/
http://www.welie.com/patterns/
http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/
http://www.usability.gov/

Characteristics of Great Usability Researchers

Whatever your passion happens to be, one should always strive to improve.

While there are (finally) some courses on facilitation and moderation of usability tests, I am always looking for colleagues to help fine tune and expand my knowledge of methodology and ways to improve my abilities to provide actionable feedback to the companies I consult with.

A recent article on UX Matters, called Characteristics of Great Researchers, made me think about other articles I have seen in the past about what makes a good usability researcher.

Here are some resources:

Although it is aimed towards designers, I think many of the paradigms in this article:

Characteristics of Good UX Designers are equally applicable to researchers.

Overcoming Fear of Moderating

I couldn’t live without the advice of Dana Chisnell & Jeffrey Rubin’s Handbook of Usability Testing

Jakob Nielsen has weighed in on What makes a good usability professional

I have mentioned some resources for those who wish to learn about becoming a usability professional, such as a review on Steve Krug’s books as well as 5 books every designer needs

There are also additional skills needed to do Global usability Research and a well recommended book is The Handbook of Global Usability Research

IT Hall of Shame

While we, as usability professionals, try to make the products and processes we work on usable, feasible and possible and are very passionate about it. We are also very passionate about pointing out the LACK of usability and total failures of other products and business strategists.

Information Week has posted a gallery of some of the worst IT failures in recent years.

An important part of providing consumers with products and services they want and need is playing by the rules, doing your homework and listening to what your customers want.

These are great examples of people, companies and products that did not do any of those things.

Lessons Learned?