What I read this week #24

Day one of September was absolute perfection. In fact, this pas week in its entirety was wonderful. There was just enough sun to feel those summer vibes and just enough chill to feel delightful about fall. On Saturday, September 3rd, I ran the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, starting from 80th street and finishing at 60th. You would think that a mile race would be easy but it was probably one of the hardest among all the ones I’ve done for the 9+1. A more detailed write-up is coming soon but I have to say that as tough as it was, the sense of satisfaction I felt as the end was strong.

1. 6 Psychological Triggers That Make UX Design Persuasive
By Spencer Lanoue from User Testing Blog
I’m beginning to realize that designing is becoming less about tech and more about human psychology. This is a great article that discusses six psychological triggers that can be incorporated into UX design to help businesses achieve their goals. Understanding human psychology can sometimes be intimidating and limited to academia but Spender shares his insights in a way that makes this information easy to understand and accessible for designers. These triggers are not complicated to incorporate and I can see them impacting designs in positive ways.

2. 4 Clever Psychology Rules for Making Better UX Decisions
By John Stevens from Sitepoint
Since we are on the note of psychology in UX design, I thought I’d include this article as well. Unlike the one above, this one discusses more general aspects of human psychology that designers need to keep in mind. I especially find that the first rule of putting things into context is really important. I also find that the third rule of avoiding drastic redesigns and working with gradual change is relevant. Many businesses seem to want to go down the path of dramatic redesigns to show their innovative side but it’s a huge risk that isn’t worth it. People are adverse to change so it’s crucial to keep changes and redesigns subtle.

3. 40 Hours to Prototype
By Monika Adarsh from UX Booth
Having participated in my first design hackathon, I understand the pressures of designing under deadlines. Monika’s week-long design sprint is a great outline to follow when battling a time crunch to make sure that the work gets done. There are tons of great advice in this piece and one of my biggest takeaways is the importance of doing some things alone and some things together. In order for collaboration to go successfully, the people involved in the projects need to work efficiently to get things done, even if it means doing some of the work alone and then coming back together to discuss.

4. An ultimate guide to A/B testing on prototypes
By CanvasFlip from UX Planet
In this piece, the author discusses why A/B testing isn’t as simple as it sounds but also why it’s a necessary aspect of each stage of the design process. In order to have a successful A/B test, it’s important to follow a seven step framework that involves: defining the goals, collecting data, generating hypotheses, creating variations, running experiments, analyzing results and implementing the winner. This is a great way to keep designers on task and be sure that the right problems are solved. A/B testing is definitely a great way to increase the likeliness of a product succeeding.

5. Why 5 is the magic number for usability testing
By Ellie Martin from InVision Blog
This article attempts to break away from any preconceived notions of usability testing to be expensive and time-consuming. Usability testing can be as simple as having five participants who, as a collective, can reveal up to 85% of the problems in any given interface. That’s quite powerful. Five can also be a good number to keep design teams grounded. When more test participants are added, they find all sorts of issues to the point where the goal gets lost and the whole process seems overwhelming. I’m convinced that five is a great golden measurement in terms of usability testing participants.

6. Employees as Usability-Test Participants
By Angie Li from Nielson Norman Group
I’ve always thought of companies that test on their own employees to be taking the “safe” route. I don’t believe that a company’s employees are suitable candidates for any sort of user testing and this article definitely reinforces that. I wholeheartedly agree with each of the points on why we should not test usability with company’s employees if we want to commit to creating the best UX. Most employees are not representations of real users because they are part of the business creating them. For that reason alone, designers should strive to test on people who would actually use that company’s products.

I’ve been thinking about the types of articles I write on my blog and want to incorporate some changes. I used to have a monthly design round-up section where I showcase good and bad UX designs in products I use every day. I did that for two months and found it to be unproductive so I’m eliminating that. I’ve also been thinking about changing up this weekly reads section to have more articles that I like with shorter captions. I want to share more articles, but still keep it somewhat curated so I’ll aim for 10-12 links per week. What do you think? Are there any other changes that I should make? What should I keep doing? Let me know down in the comments below.




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