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What do you think of when you hear “remote usability study?” A user sitting at home in front of their computer or device for 15 minutes poking around a prototype following directions pretending to be someone they’re not? Answering random questions like: Imagine you’re interested in buying new patio furniture, where would you click first on this page? How might you find out more about shipping options? How easy was it to find “x?”

No one described SnapChat as useful, but 1M+ users don't lie. #usability #ux #thelink #fun Click To Tweet

Not that there isn’t merit in traditional remote usability tests, but wouldn’t it be great to go beyond the device into the customer’s real-life experience on their personal customer journey right into retails stores, restaurants and the like?

UserTesting has made that possible stretching far beyond the limits that traditional remote user testing typically goes.

  • Why do Yelp users find the app’s filters an absolute necessity, despite the filters themselves becoming overwhelming while using the app during a walk on the street looking for a place to eat? What’s that all about?
  • How does wearing a Fitbit wristband really get people to live healthier or as one person said “It makes me want to get up and move around when I have it on.”  Why does that happen?
  • Nest has a great reputation for satisfying customers with its ability to “learn” your habits saving you hundreds of dollars a year. But who would have guessed during a “beyond the device” study to measure the unboxing and installation experience that the biggest wins would have been a built in leveler and a back plate to avoid damaging the paint on the wall?
  • Simply having the features users want isn’t enough, as Apple learned with a qualitative remote usability study where customers said they wished it had the ability to adjust screen brightness and timeout, even though it already had those capabilities.
  • Why is it that Snapchat has millions of users despite one usability test not having even one person describe it as useful or helpful? Does “being fun” trump everything else?

These are just some of the modern UX research stories told by UserTesting. Check out more details of these studies and also studies on the Starbucks app, Netflix, and Virgin America’s unusual approach to booking flights.

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From Insight to Action: How Data-Driven Marketing Is Supporting Big Decisions

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Data analytics can work wonders. Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making, according to PwC research. Yet, 62% of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions.

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THE JOY OF UX

Master user experience and interaction design from the developer’s perspective. Quality user experience isn’t hard, but it does require developers to think in new ways.

By David Platt

MULTISCREEN UX DESIGN

Find patterns, strategies, examples and case studies, methodologies, and insights to help inspire a viable strategy for digital products and services.

By Wolfram Nagel

HACKING MARKETING

Expand your mental models for how to lead marketing in a digital world where everything—including marketing—flows with the speed and adaptability of software.

By Scott Brinker

THE SMARTER SCREEN

Using engaging reader exercises and provocative case studies, Benartzi shows how digital designs can influence our decision making on screens in all sorts of surprising ways.

By Shlomo Benartzi

UX design vs UI design inforgraphic

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Crafting great animations takes a lot of time not only building them, but testing and optimizing as well. Thankfully, after years of experimentation and pushing browser’s to their limits, Gyroscope came up with a series of design & code principles for smooth pages that are much easier to maintain than you may think. And they’ve been nice enough to share them with us.

Take advantage of recent improvements in browser performance, GPU’s and CSS3 for animation. #thelink Click To Tweet

As a preview, take these tips as a example:

  • For smooth 60fps performance, each frame needs to be rendered in less than 16ms!
  • Don’t change any properties besides opacity or transform! Even if you think it might be ok, don’t!
  • Hide content in plain sight. Use pointer-events: none along with no opacity to hide elements.
  • Use a global multiplier to design in slow motion. And then speed everything up later.
  • Don’t bind directly to scroll. Seems like a cool idea, but it really isn’t great.
  • Test frequently on multiple devices. Screen size, density, or device can all have big implications
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34 Hands-On UX Hacks & Practical Tweaks for Web & Mobile

Great experiences are grounded on knowledge of people, simplicity and some unique flavor, resulting in users converting and your bottom line growing. Check out the link for 34 visuals like this one that show you not only what not to do, but what you should be doing in your designs instead.

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UX designer facts

Hamburger Alternatives for Mobile Navigation

Sure one could argue that nowadays most people have been exposed to the hamburger menu enough to know what it is, but even so, it’s no secret they have been proven to lower both discoverability and efficiency of not only mobile sites, but some desktop site designs which have opted to hide everything behind the catch all icon as well. It’s not that the hamburger menu is completely wrong, as it serves secondary navigation quite well. But there are often better options for primary navigation such as:

  • Tabbed navigation
  • Tabs with a ‘more’ option
  • Progressively collapsing menu
  • Scrollable navigation
  • Dropdown menus

Check out the link to find how different places like Medium, Google, Barnes & Noble, Uber, LinkedIn, BBC and Facebook approach navigation using these alternatives to the generic hamburger menu.

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Designing Modern Layouts

In the early years of the web, there was a lot of variation and experimentation with where to put content on a web page. Then, it seems, we all settled into a handful of patterns and stayed there for over a decade. It wasn’t until the arrival of responsive design that new ideas for page layout started appearing. Now with new CSS properties for layout landing in browsers, we may be about to see a bigger renaissance in layout design patterns. How can we better use the space inside the glass rectangle? What layout innovations could help users better find and focus on what they want? Take a walk through where we’ve been, where we might be going, and how we can better design for the true medium at hand. In this talk Jen Simmons presents practical examples of what’s newly possible, along with access to a code repo for you to play with later.

Check out the link for her long list of demos and resources for everything shown in her video:

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UX Is Too Important to be left to UX designers

UX is too important to be left to UX designers

There’s a problem with how user experience (UX) is being approached, and it comes down to this: it shouldn’t be left to UX designers alone. It’s everyone’s responsibility. While there’s nothing wrong with people carrying UX in their title, they need to be considered the practice leads and cultural ambassadors not the only ones responsible for UX. Reality presents less than ideal budgets and time, a team just slogging it out trying to get it done, business owners not ‘owning it’ and so on. Lots of competing issues are working against an ideal UX solution.

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Give Thanks for Good UX by the Nielson Norman Group

United Airlines includes a foldable device stand on some flights.

Check out some of the designs that delight us because they either solve a long-sought need, or save time, or make an input less awkward, or simply because they bring a smile to our face. Some are big technology changes, others are subtle interaction details. Either way, we are grateful for them.

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Big data to personalization

Marketing to design

Considering a career change from marketing to UX design? It makes sense. There is a lot of overlap between the two career paths. For example, both are driven by research of consumer behavior. Also, both are about making a product as desirable as possible where psychology plays a major role.

However, they do have their differences, beginning with marketing tends to focus on conversions, where UX design’s core is on, you guessed it, user experience regardless of the end result. Fortunately, studies show that a great experience more often leads to a conversion than otherwise. Additionally, contrary to marketing’s interest in broad consumer trends, UX is not about market trends but what a person feels about using a product or service.

This article explores these topics in more depth as well as the benefits of having marketing experience when making the move to UX, how to enhance your skills with online and/or classroom courses, who you should follow on social media and network with, as well as several resources you’ll find very helpful.

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