What I read this week #17

Why is it that after every race, I crave to be fat? After the Retro Run, I had two slices of cake. After the Pride Run, I had a giant cone of belgian fries from Pommes Frites with garlic mayo sauce. Two days ago, after the Cystic Fibrosis Run (I’m working on the article for it), I had a giant bowl of pho for lunch and went straight for heavy Japanese food. Think: spicy tuna bowl, kara-age (fried chicken), pork belly bowl and skewers. What is life without food? This is my existential question of the week. But if I want to seriously run the Marathon next year, I need to change this.

1. Why everyone hasn’t embraced user research—yet
By Jennifer Winter from User Testing Blog
I am definitely guilty of over-saying “Did they do user testing for this!?” There is a program I use at work to keep track of billable hours and our firm had to host a training session on how to use it. If user testing was done and the program was designed with UX in mind, then a training session wouldn’t even be necessary. This is an excellent article on why user research isn’t a “thing” yet because the practice is relatively new. I love that it ends on a positive note on the importance of challenging assumptions and creating products that are pleasurable to use.

2. 5 Awesome TED Talks for Designers
By Nick Kellingley from Interaction Design Foundation
This is a beautifully curated collection of videos for designers at any stage of their careers. Each summary is well-written and provides a great sneak peak of what to expect from the actual videos. I haven’t seen all of them yet but it’s a high priority to get them watched. What I like about this list of videos is that it touches upon every aspect of UX and design from the simplicity aspect, integrating business goals and the discoverability of design.

3. Mobile UX Design: Key Principles
By Nick Babich on Babich
As I scrolled through this piece, I thought to myself “Yes, yes, yes!” All of these guidelines that Nick outlines are so obvious but I still need to be reminded of them because it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to get lost in the research findings and stray away from the goals. For each key principle that he discusses, he provides convincing examples and utilizes visuals to enhance his argument. I’m all for the last one, which is testing the design. Too often, designers get lost in the visual aspect and assume that they’ve created a usable product. However, it’s critical to test it. It’s 2016 and no one should be releasing a product that hasn’t been tested.

4. Careers in UX: How different organizations approach user experience design
By Laith Ulaby from UX Booth
As I work toward making my career switch, articles like these are fantastic reminders as to what the UX job market looks like. This piece is broken down into four main categories for the types of companies that employ UX professionals: UX consultancies, mature tech companies, startups and beyond tech companies. Laith details the pros and cons of working for each, highlighting aspects of the job such as the team, company culture and work styles. This article definitely helped me understand where I would fit in best and leverage me to a position where I can constantly pick up new skills.

5. How Humanities Degrees Cultivate Marketable Business Skills
By Bennat Berger from Entrepreneur
I must be aligned with something in the world right now because a few hours before seeing this article in my feed, I began drafting a piece on the advantages of having a humanities degree as a future UX practitioner (please stay tuned for that!). I’m beyond delighted that the rest of the world is catching up on the relevance of the humanities. Having a degree in the humanities can feel like a disadvantage sometimes because it’s not focused toward a career. However, the author proves that this is a myth because humanities graduates are significant contributors to the work ecosystem and provides solid examples of skills that lead to their success.

6. From the classroom to the cubicle: UX in the real world
By Leon Barnard from UX Mastery
What a great reminder of the differences of designing UX in the classroom versus on the job. If there’s one thing that being in the classroom doesn’t teach, it’s the importance of putting the business goals first. Yes, as designers, the most important aspect of the role is creating a beautiful user experience for the users. However, as harsh as this may be, a beautiful user experience is absolutely nothing if the product is not being used and generating revenue for the company. Therefore, it is necessary for designers to merge their creative thinking with an entrepreneural mindset. I’m all for merging design with business goals.

Somebody should really redesign the user experience of paying student loans. As soon as I pay my dues for the month, I get an email thanking me for the payment and then immediately after, I receive a reminder that I’ve got next month’s payment coming up. Please calm down and allow me to feel good about paying on time for a few days before you remind me to sacrifice $400+ again next month. Next week, I’ll be in Miami for a bachelorette getaway but will try to keep up with my weekly Monday’s batch of articles.




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