As a Sr. User Experience Architect, one of the core lessons I have learned lately is the importance of human interactions throughout implementation—the same care and attention we pay to the end users of our products needs to be applied to the relationships we manage as UX Architects on a daily basis. Let’s dig into this a bit.
As a User Experience Architect, I was fortunate to attend the recent People Skills for UX webinar locally sponsored in part by Hanson and hosted by Rosenfeld Media and Environments for Humans. The webinar featured specialists on topics related to improving interpersonal relationships, with user experience leaders then tying those topics into the realm of digital design. One thing that became clear through all of these presentations was how crucial people skills are to advocating for UX.
There’s an old episode of The Simpsons where Homer, working from home, tries to call the nuclear plant to warn about a meltdown. As he dials, he hears the following recording: “The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.”
Have you noticed all the friendly, integrated help popping up everywhere? YouTube, Google+, MySpace (you should check out the new MySpace), and tons of apps are all moving away from traditional help menus and stand-alone content to more intuitive introductions and in-the-moment assistance…
Do you have dusty boxes in a closet or basement that you never unpacked last time you moved? You ran out of energy. Or you ran out of space. Maybe (gulp!) it’s been boxed up for decades and you just keep moving it with you. Now imagine that those boxes are the website content you haven’t updated in five years…
Do you hate filling out online forms? Most web users do. Forms are critical to companies collecting our personal information so they can “convert” us into something—a new lead, a direct sale, a happy existing customer, a new employee. That’s why forms matter, and why they won’t be going away anytime soon. But do forms have to alienate the end user?
There is nothing to fear except fear itself. And also getting lost in the woods overnight. My husband and I are both runners. Yet I had long hesitated to run a trail race for one reason: my fear of getting hopelessly lost in the woods. Last summer my husband coaxed me into a series of XTERRA trail races. But as the date of our first race approached, I became almost panic stricken that I would never find my way out of the trees.
There are many definitions of “usability,” but most of them are too general to be useful. The VIMM Model is different. It’s a practical approach to improving usability that can be applied by just about anyone.