UX Staffing Blog

Designing Sites for Nonprofits

 

 

nonprofit-1

 

by MYLES DANNHAUSEN on JULY 8, 2014 in DESIGN STRATEGY

As user experience designers, we seek to create the most intuitive and usable site flows for our end-users. But what about the site admins who use the sites we set up? It’s time to consider the usability of the sites themselves, and Myles Dannhausen knows where we can start.

Search “nonprofits and website usability” and Google will spit out dozens of great posts on user experience. What it won’t give you, however, is something that many cash and resource-strapped nonprofits value even higher – advice on how to manage the site. Where well-off companies might leave site management to a content strategist or IT director, nonprofits rely on us—the UX professionals building their sites—to find alternative solutions.

After many discussions with people in the nonprofit sector, I’ve learned that developers and consultants tend to focus on exciting features and intuitive user flows (as well they should), but neglect to discuss one key element with their clients: what will happen after the site launches? As a result, nonprofits waste valuable resources trying to work with sites their staff can’t manage to update or maintain. Their websites grow stagnant and unusable at a time when even the poorest of the people they serve are searching for online resources. Essentially, for small to medium-sized nonprofits (and even some small businesses), a great website is defined not by groundbreaking bells and whistles, but by the basic features many web companies overlook. In other words, in our efforts to provide an excellent end-user experience, we can’t neglect the site admin’s experience.

Last August I combed through the 77 applications for Chicago Cause, a competition in which a nonprofit is chosen to receive a free new website. Flipping through the applications, I found myself getting frustrated for these organizations—many of which couldn’t do anything with their websites. Here’s a sampling of what these nonprofit directors said:

“What I’d really like is to be able to update the calendar easily.”
“We need to be able to put our fundraisers on the homepage.”
“I just wish I could put pictures from our event on the site.”
These folks aren’t shooting for the moon. So how can we ensure we provide them with an intuitive admin flow and positive site management experience?

 

Read More: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/designing-sites-nonprofits-can-use/

Interactions that Change the Way Customers Make Choices Innovative interaction design insights from the Design for Experience awards

 

Shopping for new eyeglasses can be a frustrating experience. Of the scores of frames lining a purveyor’s wall, none have lenses with your prescription. Squinting at yourself in the mirror won’t give you a real sense of what a pair looks like on your face.

 

In an effort to improve the experience, LensCrafters and SapientNitro decided to alter the way customers interact with the mirrors in their stores, winning the a Design for Experience award in the Interaction Design Innovation category.

A team of designers, copywritersproject managers, UX practitioners, technology specialists, industrial designers, and store designers spent six months creating a digital mirror installation called myLook that customers can use to capture photos of themselves in new frames and then look at them wearing their current prescription. They can also compare multiple frames from multiple angles and share photos on Facebook for feedback from friends and family.

“The solution SapientNitro created for LensCrafters shows genuine innovation, providing a good solution to a clear problem,” Chris Noessel, a judge in the competition said. “Solid technical design is apparent across the functional and aesthetic elements of the installation, and everything stays on-brand.”

Noessel also liked the integration of social media functions, butt wondered why they’d didn’t also create an app, so people could use the service on their own devices when there’s a line at the kiosk. While an app might not be in the works, myLook is evolving, with version 2.0 set to roll out in hundreds of stores coast to coast over the next couple of years.

Read More and watch the video:

http://uxmag.com/articles/interactions-that-change-the-way-customers-make-choices?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UXM+%28UX+Magazine%29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for new eyeglasses can be a frustrating experience. Of the scores of frames lining a purveyor’s wall, none have lenses with your prescription. Squinting at yourself in the mirror won’t give you a real sense of what a pair looks like on your face.

In an effort to improve the experience, LensCrafters and SapientNitro decided to alter the way customers interact with the mirrors in their stores, winning the a Design for Experience award in the Interaction Design Innovation category.

 

 

A team of designers, copywritersproject managers, UX practitioners, technology specialists, industrial designers, and store designers spent six months creating a digital mirror installation called myLook that customers can use to capture photos of themselves in new frames and then look at them wearing their current prescription. They can also compare multiple frames from multiple angles and share photos on Facebook for feedback from friends and family.

“The solution SapientNitro created for LensCrafters shows genuine innovation, providing a good solution to a clear problem,” Chris Noessel, a judge in the competition said. “Solid technical design is apparent across the functional and aesthetic elements of the installation, and everything stays on-brand.”

Noessel also liked the integration of social media functions, butt wondered why they’d didn’t also create an app, so people could use the service on their own devices when there’s a line at the kiosk. While an app might not be in the works, myLook is evolving, with version 2.0 set to roll out in hundreds of stores coast to coast over the next couple of years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile: A Beginner’s Guide by Lauren Smith

Over the past few years, mobile email opens have seen explosive growth. While they are now holding steady around 45% of all email opens, three years ago, they accounted for only 11% of opens — which is a 309% increase since April 2011.

Not only are mobile opens growing, but they’re also cannibalizing desktop and webmail opens. Desktop opens have decreased 53% in the past three years and now represent 28% of opens. During the same period webmail opens decreased 10% and now account for 27% of opens.

This rise in mobile has left many brands and businesses wondering if they need to hop on the mobile train — and if they decide to do it, what they actually need to do to be “mobile optimized.”

Keep on reading to figure out how to tailor your email marketing strategy for mobile audiences.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-mobile-optimization-tips

Google Ventures On 8 Shortcuts For Better, Faster Design Research.

VENTURES’S MICHAEL MARGOLIS IS MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN EVER. HIS SECRET? SHORTCUTS.

WRITTEN BY Michael Margolis

 

I’ve been doing design and UX research for almost 24 years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot, and I hope I’ve gotten better at it over the years.

One thing is certain: I’m more productive now than when I first started. I’m not any smarter (just ask my co-workers). I’m not working more hours. So what’s my secret? Shortcuts. In the interest of helping you do more faster (and to compel you to share your own tricks), here are my favorite ways to cut corners, save time, and be more efficient when doing research.

1. Start at the end: What questions do you want to answer?
Before you do any work on a research study, clarify what you want to get out of it. For example, would it be most useful to figure out:

  • Can new customers understand and figure out how to use the product?
  • What are customers’ existing workflow and pain points?
  • What are pros/cons of competitive products?
  • What are customers’ attitudes?
  • How satisfied are existing customers with the product?
  • How does new customers’ usage change over time?
  • Which design performs better?

READ MORE

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3031942/google-ventures-on-8-shortcuts-for-better-faster-design-research

SEPARATING GREAT FROM GOOD: HOW TO HIRE THE RIGHT TECHNICAL WRITER FOR THE JOB

When hiring for any job opening, it’s hard to know quite what to look for to get the perfect candidate. In technical writing, there are a lot of good writers. Good writers create nice, solid content. The end results are comprehensive and complete. Users can (eventually) find what they are looking for. Great technical writers, however, take everything one step further. They create documentation that lets users find answers right away, maybe even to questions they hadn’t considered. They find solutions that create a groundbreaking user experience of documentation. They can often be quirky people but they excel when given the latitude to do so; and your product will be improved as a result.

When interviewing technical writers, look for these 10 qualities:

  1. Do they learn quickly?
    You’re looking for someone who makes a habit of learning new things, whether in their personal or their professional lives. Ask them what they have enjoyed learning lately.
  2. What have they taught lately?
    The act of communicating product knowledge to an audience is very similar to teaching. A writer who enjoys teaching (even informally) is one who will be happy doing the job. Happy writers are productive writers.
  3. How do they challenge themselves?
    Technical writers who shy away from challenges might still be good technical writers, but they probably won’t be great ones. It’s the ones who push themselves in new directions that will help take your content to the next level.
  4. Have they ever worked outside their job description?
    You want someone who will not limit themselves. Great technical writers go beyond what their job descriptions detail. These are groundbreaking people who discover whole new ways of communicating content and find new tools to get excellent results.
  5. Do they have integrity?
    There’s little else as important as integrity. While it’s not enough on its own to make a great technical writer, it’s certainly an aspect you want your new hire to possess. A person with integrity can be counted on, no matter what happens. They make not just great employees, but great co-workers, great friends, and great people. Get them to demonstrate their integrity by asking them about an error they made and how they owned up to it.
  6. What’s the first question they ask when documenting a new feature?
    There are a couple of good answers to this question. The first would be “Why would I ever document a feature?” but you’ll only get the really confident candidates answering the question that way. Another good answer would be “How would people use it? Why would they use it? What are they trying to do when they use it?” Great documentation starts with understanding the user. Developers design and explain the product features, but technical writers need to document the product from the users’ perspective and this probably won’t involve documenting features but the users’ goals instead.
  7. Do they understand topic-based writing?
    Topic-based writing is an important way to chunk and focus information into tasks, concepts, and references. Although writing this way is easier for writers, it’s also vital for making content easy to read.
  8. How do they define minimalism?
    Minimalism is a way of writing so that content is clear, concise, and totally streamlined. It is an extra step needed after you write your initial draft; it requires another pass (or two) to get the content down to the essential pieces. Like cutting away the clay from a sculpture, you pare away the extra words and noise until you are left with the perfect, minimal content.
  9. Have they written this sort of documentation before?
    Although it’s not indicative of ability, a technical writer who has written the same type of documentation can likely do so again. Technical writers tend to specialize in types of documentation such as APIs, online help, proposals, health care, high-tech, training, CLI, finance, or telecommunications. Sometimes it’s the type of documentation to create, sometimes it’s the industry vertical, and sometimes it will be a combination of the two. Ask for samples. However, the best candidates can adapt to any writing requirements, so ignore this factor if most other key considerations are favorable.
  10. Do they have knowledge of the industry?
    This is possibly the least important factor to consider. Technical writers have to understand what they are writing about to do a good job. That means either that they need previous knowledge of the industry (in any role) or that they are giving enough time to learn the product backwards and forwards before they start documenting it.

In the end, selecting the right technical writer for a job is not a difficult task. There are many qualified writers just waiting for the chance to prove what they can do. Finding the right one is just a matter of asking the right questions and knowing what you’re looking for.

About the Author

Jacquie Samuels is a technical communication consultant providing companies with DITA, CMS, and information architecture solutions and training. She endeavors to help everyone create documentation that is stronger, faster, and smarter. 

Have you ever considered a career using UX to solve the problems of developing countries?

Unconventional Opportunities for UX: The BRICS and Beyond

While news stories often profile fast-growing parts of developing countries, these stories are exceptions. In reality, the pace of life in developing countries is typically slow. Anecdotes abound of locals sitting before teacups, joking about the frenetic pace of life in New York or London. Sitting and laughing along with these people, there is a palpable temptation to really reevaluate one’s priorities. As it may appear, this pace of life isn’t a product of some tropical mindset; very often there are huge impediments to getting things done quickly at all. In developing countries, incomplete information consistently leads to misinformed decisions, products ill-suited to their environments function poorly and break, and inadequate sanitation makes people sick. User experience professionals can help solve common problems experienced by citizens of developing countries. Here are a few examples that demonstrate how user research not only made profitable products in the world’s poorest communities, but in doing so made great steps towards poverty reduction.

Read More: http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/uxmagazine/unconventional-opportunities/

UX Consulting in 2014: Predictions and Pain

 

By Baruch Sachs

As we enter the beginning of 2014, it is almost impossible to avoid reading articles that discuss the trends we saw in the previous year—noting what trends have gone mainstream or failed gloriously. We’re also getting bombarded with UX predictions for what will be trends in the new year. This cycle repeats year after year, along with predictions that this year we’ll finally see—insert UX trend here—go mainstream.

From a professional perspective, this kind of stuff is fun. If you are passionate about user experience, there are bound to be some trends that really speak to your own personal design sense. And you can derive an abundance of amusement from reading about the really silly UX trends.

But predictions and trends can also be a source of pain when you work in the consulting world. As user experience—and let’s be honest, anything with the word experience in the title is trendy in and of itself—continues its well-deserved climb into the hearts and minds of regular folk, chances are that your clients and customers are reading the same UX articles you are. Since they will undoubtedly bombard you with questions about new trends, you’ll need to have a decent amount of knowledge about them so you’ll come off well informed.

In addition, you should prepare some good defenses to justify why you would not recommend following any UX trends that you find silly. What you find silly might turn out to be something a client truly believes would elevate their products to providing a world-class user experience.

In my first column of 2014, I’ll offer three predictions of my own for 2014—all relating to UX consulting—in the hope that this discussion will help prepare us for the conversations we are inevitably going to have with our clients.

http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2014/01/ux-consulting-in-2014-predictions-and-pain.php

Realizing Empathy/Part 1 Art

 

By Seung Chan Lim – Seung Chan Lim (a.k.a Slim) is the author of the award-winning book “Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making.” As a designer, researcher, and artist he works to explore how qualities of freedom and dignity can emerge and develop through conversation.

For as long as I can remember, I’d considered art to be the antithesis of design. But after spending four years studying both the visual and performing arts, I’ve come to recognize how prejudiced this point of view was. I’ve realized that by incorporating art into our lives we can not only develop our own empathy but also rethink the ways in which design can impact the lives of others.

My story begins over a decade ago. From 1999 to 2008 I worked at MAYA Design, taking part in commercial human-centered design projects and research into the future of human-computer interaction. The research, in particular, was fascinating, conducted around the idea that we’d soon be surrounded by trillions of computers of all shapes and sizes, that there had to be a conscious effort to consider how people would deal with such a future.

By my seventh year there, though, I started to feel that something was missing. I didn’t know what, so I asked some of my mentors what I should do. One piece of advice stuck out: Leave behind what you have to explore something you don’t know, something that scares you.

Soon thereafter, a chance encounter with an artist suggested to me that the best way to follow my mentors’ advice was to attend a traditional art school. Her argument went:

1          My undergraduate degree was in computer science;

2          I had zero training in art; and

3          I considered art to be useless bullshit.

As surprising as it was, it seemed to make sense. To be sure, however, I decided to take a couple of night classes at a nearby art institute to validate my logic. I took the classes, and, before I knew it, I was applying for art school.

From 2008 to 2012 I immersed myself in the visual and performing arts programs at both the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. Most of my time was spent in the wood/metal shop, the rehearsal room, or the dance studio. What I learned from this experience was that realizing empathy is at the core of the creative process. Moreover, as I reflected on this experience through writing, I began to wonder how we, as designers, can go beyond presenting people with products and services that are “usable, useful, and desirable” and towards empowering them with the choice to become artists of their own lives—exploring who they are, who others are, and how we are all interrelated.

In this three-part series, I’d like to dive more deeply into some of the events that led to my epiphany. Part one (the part you’re currently reading) will explore the direct relationship between making art and realizing empathy. Part two will suggest how, in becoming aware of this relationship, we can develop our own ability to empathize and practice it more deliberately throughout our design practice. Part three will invite readers to share and discuss how we, as a community, might shape the future of design through the lens of empathy.

Read More:

http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/realizing-empathy-part-1-art/

 

The New Learners 
Book Review: ‘Society 3.0 How technology is reshaping education, work and society’ by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti

In Society 3.0 Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, explores the changes in social trends over the past 50 years or so, which inevitably includes advances in technology. These changes have and will continue to influence how higher education institutions and the workplace cater to future populations.

The book investigates work trends today compared with that of the 1950s, as well as the role of women in the workplace. The author explores the development of the global market and its effect, together with the ubiquitous use of technology in society and what impact this has had on workforce skills. The statistical information highlights the need for small businesses and individuals to be able to compete in an increasingly tech-savvy global marketplace.

Wilen-Daugenti provides valuable insight into the emerging trends in technology, which she describes as “indispensable to modern life” and “constantly changing.” But, it is mobile technology that is her focus. She writes, “It is in mobile technology—both in hardware and the uses we find for it—where the biggest transformations have occurred.”

For more information, log on to:

http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2542664

UX Myths

Build your website based on evidence, not false beliefs!

UX Myths collects the most frequent user experience misconceptions and explains why they don’t hold true. And you don’t have to take our word for it, we’ll show you a lot of research findings and articles by design and usability gurus.