What I read this week #14

New York City’s summer is starting to burn up, both literally and figuratively. It’ll never be as unbearable as Southeast Asian heat but summer is still pretty dreadful to think about. One of my friends who lives in Sudan texted me and said that on a cool day, it’s 40-degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). And I thought I had it bad. On Saturday, I raced again at the Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run (5M). It is unbelievable how much one can sweat in the span of less than an hour. After finishing, I grabbed more cups of water than I can hold to replenish what I lost. I have a reflection article on that race coming soon. Onto more pressing matters, I present you this week’s batch of articles.

1. Riding the UX wave: the state of UX job titles
By Emily Grace Adiseshiah from Just in Mind
I’m pretty sure that when I first heard the term, UX, I was confused as to what it was. A friend who does this for a living explained it as a position where you constantly have to ask, “How does the user feel?” Now that I’m delving into it, I’m even more confused than before. I studied all kinds of relevant job titles in tech and found myself asking people what the differences are among UX designers, product managers and business analysts. Yes, they’re different but some people write job descriptions in ways that convince me they are all the same. This article addresses the various job titles out there and asks readers to embrace the designer’s mindset over everything else.

2. Design How Your Team Thinks
By Mark Bonchek from Harvard Business Review
Design thinking is no longer just for the designers. Everyone needs design thinking. Having heard this term everywhere, I decided to do research on it and even took a 3-hour bootcamp course on it through The Design Gym. One of the things that disunites a company is when all the people are not even aware of how each employee thinks. I personally believe that different ways of thinking should be embraced but united by a mission that drives every action. This piece addresses how incorporating design thinking can be beneficial for the employee, team and company.

3. How to Get People to Fill Out Your Damn UX Surveys
By Oz Chen from UX Beginner
Oh surveys. Everyone loves to administer them and everyone hates to participate in them. So how exactly can we design the UX of a survey? For me, I would love to be guaranteed some form of compensation. I’d much rather receive a guaranteed $10.00 than a raffle drawing into $100.00 because I’m likelier not to get it. Oz addresses realistic ways to make the experience of participating surveys more enjoyable and personalized. As a future UX researcher, I’m definitely going to incorporate these pointers.

4. Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research
By UX Booth Editorial Team from UX Booth
This article was sent to my inbox as pre-coursework for a workshop I’m participating in tomorrow. I found this to be an excellent and comprehensive guide on what UX research is and the various methodologies around it. Oftentimes, research processes can be dreadful to talk about but I enjoyed how this article kept the tone academic and informative while being accessible. The content is streamlined and explanations of examples never strayed too far away from the main points. This is one that I know I will continue to revisit.

5. The UX of Learning UX is Broken
By Dan Maccarone & Sarah Doody from Medium
This article was sent to me by someone who graduated from General Assembly’s User Experience Design immersive (UXDi) course. For a while, I’ve considered registering for the course as well so that I can pick up a sharper skill set to succeed as a UX designer. Reading this actually solidified my decision to not take the course because it is not designed in a way that complements my learning style. It’s a long read so set aside quality time to read and digest it.

6. Improving UX For Color-Blind Users
By Adam Silver from Smashing Magazine
Since most designers are not actually color-blind, we neglect that part of the population when designing. Adam provides thirteen major problems that color-blind people experience and practical ways that designers can improve the user experience for them. For each section, he gave visual examples of good and bad interfaces that affect UX. I can definitely see the difference it makes when designing for someone who experience color-blindness. I also like how most of these tips are also beneficial for people who have normal vision as well. In the end, everyone benefits.

7. 8 Questions for Assessing Your Website
By Kate Swoboda from Entrepreneur
This is an excellent article with straightforward points on assessing whether your website is on point with the brand you’re representing and the audience you’re trying to reach. Each section discusses an important aspect to consider when assessing a website and follows up with an action strategy. To me, many of these evaluative pointers are obvious but it’s surprising how many companies don’t assess the one thing that most people judge them on. Having online presence alone isn’t enough. The presence needs to be compelling. One thing I would add to this list is if the mission statement is embedded into every feature of the website.

8. Why Users Abandon Forms with Select Menus
By Anthony from UX Movement
Oh, I loved the first sentence of this article: “Form abandonment is like someone agreeing to meet up with you but then canceling last minute.” We all know that feeling. I remember seeing the title of this article in my Feedly and feeling glad that someone addressed this issue because I don’t like select menus either. They’re cumbersome and really interrupt the flow of progress. The more select menus there are, the less likely I am to finish those forms. I really like the recommendations that Anthony offers as alternatives to select menus that get users to actually complete forms. It’s crazy how something as simple as this can significantly change the user experience.

Now, it’s time for me to go and heal my sore calves. I’ve been foam-rolling to loosen them up but I think I need a legitimate massage. I have a couple of questions for anyone who could answer them. First, I want to purchase Sketch after my 30-day trial ends but am probably going to upgrade to a newer MacBook in a few months. If I get Sketch now, do I have to repurchase it for the new MacBook? Also, has anyone taken the Continuing Education courses at the School of Visual Arts (SVA)? I’m interested in taking visual and graphic design courses to develop skills in that area and want to know if they’re worth it. Finally, has anyone heard of Ramit Sethi? Go look him up. He’s great.




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