Thursday, October 30, 2014

Figuring out the best practices and necessities for a successful website

There is no exact cookie-cutter answer to figuring out the best practices and necessities for a successful website. That said... Eariler today, I was working with a co-worker and they said that they had a person that was planning to hire a web design team to develop a Mortgage website. They hiring manager wanted some article or list of basic construction blocks for a website...

Holy wow. Talk about your loaded question.

I don't think any one article can provide the 'necessities' of a successful website. If it was that easy, everyone would have successful websites!!!

Choosing the elements needed will greatly depend on the users needs, available content, and many other attributes. Here's an article that might help clarify what's important when it comes to a User Centered Design approach...
Asktog.com Article: First Principles of Interaction Design

Then... to make it a successful site, really will depend on what the measuring stick for success is and how the design is driving to meet the line.

Here's a case study of a bank that adopted a UCD mindset, and explained the results.
UX Booth Article: Banking on Success: A Content-centered RedesignHere are a couple more articles that I think would really help get someone into the UCD mindset...UXMatters Article: Home Page DesignUXMatters Article: Building trust on ecommerce home pagesSpeaking of banks, here's a somewhat negative article (but may carry some truths that might feed into the conversation)...


I'm interested in what your take is on this topic. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Elements to include in a persona

This article is intended to provide you with a list of some of elements that are most commonly suggested includes for the construction of personas for your project.

Many UX practitioners would argue that a persona is essential to the successful start-up of a User Centered Design Process. So what's a persona? It's a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users depicted as a fictional person. Yes, a pretend person that has many of the characteristics of the primary archetypes (not stereotypes) of users to you up-coming interface.

Many usability professionals have different ideas of what goes into the design of a persona document. While looking through many of the different resources online offering advice on this topic, here are what I'm calling the top ten elements that should be included in the design of your personas...

Top 10 Persona Elements

  1. Persona's interface goals
  2. Persona's name
  3. Persona's age
  4. Persona's attitude/ emotional perspective / personality
  5. Persona's background and experience: technical skill level / tech savvy?
  6. High resolution photo representing the persona / not drawing or cartoon
  7. Persona's daily tasks / duties / skills / day in the life / activities / common behaviors.
  8. Education / aptitudes / capability to learn
  9. Title / persona group / segments / archetype
  10. Persona's Quote <-- my own suggestion


Note: To see how I arrived at these suggestions, and to see some other suggestions, please feel free to check out the Top Persona Elements - 2014 spreadsheet. Let me know if you have questions.


Reference

United States Tech Savvy Age Ranges - Hypothesis

Earlier today I asked a few folks on my UX team  what they thought the most Tech Savvy age ranges were in the United States. This is just a report back on those assumptions in comparison to what the United States Census bureau has for population for the last few years.





Can we learn anything from these numbers? Maybe? Maybe not.

A lot of factors are still missing such as non-assumptive/research based statistics on "Tech Savvy" as well as a clearly defined meaning behind "Tech Savvy". If only we could identify where our (project based) common users land...

Maybe we wouldn't have to avoid "techy" lingo.

Reference

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Best UX Websites

The purpose of this research is to identify the most popular user experience websites referred to. This is not an all inclusive list. As such, it should be considered more qualitative research.

To build the list, several google searches were conducted using many different search terms with the intent of maintaining a non-biased query. Once the search results displayed, pages were opened and when possible, the name added as new, or the "Times mentioned" tally was incremented.


To best understand the extent to which these top sites stand apart from some of their competition, check out the full research spreadsheet.

Full research package (includes my notes and references)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnOZjrdeGyfWdDRiQ0xYU0loM1pFb1g3MlBuZzZPbFE&usp=sharing


Top 10 User Experience Websites

  1. uxbooth.com
  2. uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com
  3. alistapart.com
  4. boxesandarrows.com
  5. uxmatters.com
  6. useit.com
  7. uxmag.com
  8. konigi.com
  9. uie.com
  10. 52weeksofux.com

How does this list help me?
- Now that you know of some of the more popular websites, what should you do? Well, if you are new to UX, I'd recommend that you start looking to see what each of the sites are saying about some of the key user experience categories such as "Usability Testing", "UCD Methodology", or "Suggested Newbie Reading".

- Leverage a list like the above during your competitive analysis to gain better ux understanding. Example... Let's say you want to know what the best way to present a help link is. You could go to google and search each of the sites above like this...


- See if the crowd is right. Are these really the Best UX Websites? or are they just the most popular? If you find some websites that you believe to be the best, then please share in the comments area below. I'm happy to publish any comments that have links to good ux sites.