What I read this week #19

I’m back in New York City! Spending a few days away with incredible people was a great experience but I love coming back here. After all, New York is the greatest city in the universe (in my humble opinion). Now that my vacation is over, it’s time to get down to business. I have an exorbitant amount of work to catch up on but I’ll never complain about being too busy. When I started drafting this yesterday around midnight, I munched down an entire bag of Doritos. I know it’s disgusting and terrible for my body but it’s a craving I get once in a blue moon. Please refrain from your immediate judgments. And yes, I eat like a monster but I’m still a runner.

1. The 7 Best UX Infographics
By Spencer Lanoue from User Testing Blog
These infographics have definitely helped me understand what UX design is but more importantly, gave me the skills to communicate what it is to others who are not familiar with the concept. I did realize that ultimately, in order to explain what UX is to anyone, you have to understand the world from their point of view and speak in a language that resonates with them. I like that these infographics are visually appealing and use words that are understood across a wide variety of industries.

2. Disrupting Meditation: Can An App Really Teach Mindfulness?
By Mark Wilson from Co.Design
It is truly mind-blowing to have these types of discussions because nowadays, with technology and science, anything seems to be possible. This article is a story about someone who utilized the power of an app to embrace meditation to help bring him to a state of mindfulness. Although it’s a long read, it’s an engaging one. The beginning starts off like any other article or blog post from the internet but soon turns into a compelling story that pulls you right in. If you’re especially interested in virtual reality, I recommend this piece.

3. Developing a Crisis Communication Strategy
By Marli Mesibov, Carolyn Sullivan and Kristina Bjoran from UX Booth
I’m so glad that a discussion on crisis management is taking place in the world of UX professionals. Although crisis management would fall closer to the public relations side of a company, it can’t be denied that a disaster affects UX. I agree with the author that people all across the organization need to get involved in crisis communication. I don’t imagine a moment where UX matters more to an organization or a company during a hectic time. This is a very thoroughly written piece and I learned the impact that being prepared can have for an organization.

4. 6 myths that stop companies from doing enough user testing
By Codrin Arsene from User Testing Blog
These struggles are real. Since committing to making my career switch to a UX researcher role, I started to take a “user testing” approach to everything I do. And that’s the way it should be with most things. However, it amazes me that some people are adamant about sticking to their own ways when their methods don’t produce the outcomes they want. People are insistent on making broken things work because they’ve already invested time into building or learning it. This has got to stop!

5. Amazon vs Walmart : Whose search UX is more usable?
By CanvasFlip from UX Planet
My mind has significantly opened up in understanding the seemingly simple search function of a product. This article is the ultimate battle of the e-commerce veterans: Amazon and Walmart. I like how the author takes me through the process of setting a goal, creating a persona and performing usability testing. There are many visuals to keep my attention and it is written extremely concisely. I was surprised with the result and you might be as well.

6. Designing With Human Centered Usability Standards
By Danny and Patricia Franzreb from UX Booth
This article is part 2 of a series on the common standards for usability testing, set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In this piece, the authors breaks down the process of running iterative design projects from start to finish. They describe each of the four phases involved in UX design projects and present a case study with intriguing visuals to help readers understand the process. In the end, I was convinced that everyone should be approaching their projects (whether it is a design project or not) with an iterative process.

7. Mobile First: Insights from Going Mobile Only
By Joe Toscano from InVision Blog
In one of my Coursera lectures, the instructor noted that designing for mobile first is easier because that’s the platform that most people use. In addition, it’s better to start simple and add features rather than take a desktop interface and shrink it down to mobile by taking things away. All the insights are interesting and I especially found the second one to be important, which is designing for thumbs. It seems so obvious that we interact with the interface with our two thumbs and that designs should be catered to that. Not the case. As an iPhone 6 Plus user with tiny hands, I wish that more apps were designed with thumbs in mind.

8. User Memory Design: How To Design For Experiences That Last
By Curt Arledge from Smashing Magazine
This is a fantastic piece that provides tips and discusses the value of designing for experiences that leave a lasting and positive impact for users. I find this discussion incredibly relevant because from a psychological point of view, it’s one thing to go through the experience in real-time but it’s also another to think back to that experience and recall how it felt in that moment. Both are significant contributors to the UX of any product. Understanding how to “hack” the psychology can change the way designers approach their projects. I found this to be a phenomenal read and highly recommend it.

The other day, I was browsing through my LinkedIn feed of articles and came across this one from Inc. that talks about a quick trick to helps writers catch their mistakes. When it comes to proofing my work, I usually rely on a fresh pair of eyes but this article recommends reading from the bottom up. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I already do this!” It’s a wonderful writer’s hack and I’m always surprised at the little mistakes I initially gloss over. I also went for a run earlier today after a two-week hiatus since my last run and nothing has felt better. A shower can become the most rewarding part of the day.




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