In an excellent discussion piece for uxmatters.com, Jon Innes considers user experience and customer experience. Is it the same thing, or are there differences? The article prompted me to think again about my university's current student experience enhancement project.
Saturday, 14 December 2013
Responsive design - a single design that changes to suit the size of the screen - is an increasingly adopted approach. Karen McGrane explains why this is a content issue first and foremost, and shares a few anecdotes.
Paul Boag, writing in Smashing Magazine, talks about the challenges of implementing navigation on really big sites. He considers a range of solutions, drawing on examples including university websites.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
I've been using personas on website and CMS development projects for about 5 years now. It's still a fledgeling technique at the University of Edinburgh, so I thought I'd try and find out if personas were being used by other UK universities.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Ginny Reddish, author of the book on web writing - Letting Go of the Words - presented at a content strategy conference in London earlier this year. Her slides are available via her website.
We don't advocate inline links on our University website. In fact, the corporate content management system won't allow them. There's a fair bit of debate on the topic of links appearing within the flow of a paragraph but no writing I've seen seems to focus on the web editor.
Monday, 4 November 2013
Sunday, 3 November 2013
I've been reading a great book: 'Simple and Usable' by Giles Colborne. I'd put it up there with Steve Krug's 'Don't Make Me Think'. It really is that good. What follows is a conversation with my 5 year old son about the book.
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
I've recently finished and really enjoyed a book by Giles Colborne - Simple and Usable. So much so, I'd probably recommend this as a good read for anyone, right up there with Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think. A few snippets I jotted down when reading to help me keep in mind...
I had a flick through a slide deck by content strategist and author Sara Wachter-Boettcher the other day. A couple of quotes really stood out for me and set me reflecting on the major CMS project we're working on right now.
The "fiasco" around the US public health service website HealthCare.gov and President Obama's announcement about it has prompted quite a lot of articles and opinions. In among the doom and gloom and politics, there were some good nuggets for those of us involved in public sector web development.
Too many organisations lose sight of the fact that their website should be a self service enabler (or maybe they never got it in the first place). Adding more services and more content just provides more opportunities for the visitor to take a wrong turn.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
David Travis of Userfocus.co.uk talks about what really matters on your website. He likens these customer journeys to the major arteries of London - the red routes.
An interesting take on the power of customer service from Gerry McGovern. He talks about reverse marketing - where the customer's activity searching or using social media provides insight into what they care about.
I've just come across an excellent article on prototyping at Smashing Magazine. Combining principles with solid examples and an overview of tools available, it's probably the best overview piece I've read.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
A recent article on Jakob Nielsen's site talks about the dangers of challenging navigation. The conclusions drawn from user research observations are interesting, but I feel they're only covering half the issue.
Monday, 30 September 2013
We're in the process of planning a new corporate content management system and I'm determined to give our website content the attention it deserves. This has driven me to read up on content modelling, push out to a group of colleagues and begin the journey. These articles & presentations have proved really helpful in getting things going...
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
A presentation by meetcontent.com's Georgy Cohen looking at the challenges to content being presented by the trend towards responsive website designs. Includes lots of examples of responsive designs around US universities.
Balsamiq is a great mockup tool - it's quick and simple to use. The Balsamiq champions blog is a series of articles by people who have put it to good use. Worth a look if you prototype (or are wondering why you should) - even if you use a tool other than Balsamiq.
Plain English and reading scores are sometimes considered irrelevant for higher education websites. Georgy Cohen explains why intellectual snobbery and sloppy copy can't be allowed to persist on university websites.
If you write web content, this article is worth a look - even if you're not in the business of creating conversion copy. The list of examples just shows the value of reviewing your copy - ideally testing with end users. The impact of a few apparently subtle changes can be enormous.
While copy may seem like small details of a design, great copy is the backbone of successful product experiences. David Simon has written a great article illustrating his point with lots of great examples from websites and applications.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
An excellent series of articles by Ritch Macefield in which he discusses challenges faced by agile teams looking to efficiently build user centred design processes into their work and makes the case for more sophisticated prototyping software.
Sunday, 30 June 2013
The UX Scotland conference took place 20 & 21 June here in Edinburgh and I was lucky enough to go along. Lots of great resources from the sessions are now online, and I've summarised a few notes I jotted as I listened.
Saturday, 29 June 2013
At last week's UXPA Scotland session, we were lucky enough to have author and content strategist Rahel Anne Bailie. Her talk prompted a bit of food-for-thought for me, and highlighted a few resources and bits of follow up reading.
Friday, 21 June 2013
Steve Krug gives a presentation to a group of developers for Outsystems. Video and slides are available, along with Outsystems' short eBook on usability rules for developers.
Steve Krug has long had a load of resources related to his excellent book 'Rocket Surgery Made Easy' freely available online. He's just added a nice extra resource to help you with user testing facilitation.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
Content strategist Karen McGrane gives an hour long presentation on where she sees web content consumption going and the challenges this presents to web publishers. To be fair, it's not just the future - these are the challenges we're facing right now and have been for a good while.
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Well crafted web pages or great features in an app will be undermined if the micro content associated with it isn't right. The little snippets of teaser text, form labels and help text give users confidence and encourage deeper engagement.
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Gerry McGovern presents an overview of his research for Cisco highlighting that your target audience is likely to have a different set of top tasks depending on how they engage with you.
We all know use of mobile touchscreen devices is on the rise, but little is written specifically about the university sector. Karine Joly has repeated her annual survey of US Higher Ed web managers to provide a summary of analytics data and colleges' approach to accommodating these visitors.
If you've ever done user testing, you'll know that one of the most onerous aspects is reporting on findings. And then getting stakeholders to read them. This collaborative recording approach - including a spreadsheet template - could well be worth a try.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Gutted that I couldn't go to the London content strategy conference, Confab 2013 as it has a number of sessions with authors, thinkers and speakers I admire. Thankfully, Martin Belam has written blog posts to summarise each session.
Monday, 1 April 2013
Gerry McGovern writes about the hidden costs of adding content and features. It's easier and in our nature to look to add rather than remove, but we rarely think about the implications.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Saturday, 30 March 2013
What's a call to action? It's the reason a web page exists. The thing you want your reader to do next. This presentation provides 20 do's and don'ts, covering a range of graphical and editorial considerations.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
This week I had the pleasure of presenting at a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) conference in Edinburgh. My presentation? "Marketing is dead, long live user experience!" (I didn't get lynched).
Friday, 15 March 2013
Saturday, 9 March 2013
An excellent opinion piece by Leisa Reichelt on the challenges faced by designers. Not tricky design problems though. Organisations, politics, ego and immovable complex processes. Sound familiar?
Leisa Reichelt, a user experience consultant, sells her services and at the same time does a great job of succinctly explaining what a customer journey map is and why it should be important to you.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
An excellent article on how we're not making the most of social media and not providing the experience between networks and our websites that our users want. And this ultimately is to the detriment of our business.
UX consultants Webcredible released a report last year analysing the performance of ten UK high street retailers against what it calls 'omni channel' experience criteria. Many companies have strategies for particular communications and commerce channels - online, mobile, in-store etc. Webcredible class omni-channel as the customer experience across channels.
An interesting article reporting on the annual Society of IT Management (SocITM) review of local government websites and calling into question the cost-effectiveness of devolved web publishing. Something that Gerry McGovern has been saying for a long time and a point equally valid in the higher education sector.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Jared Spool has written a really nice article pulling together the key considerations when devising a strategy to achieve a responsive design - a site layout and content structure approach that adapts according to the device your website visitor is using.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Monday, 21 January 2013
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Higher Education Interest Group annual conference is being held in Edinburgh this March. I'm presenting on the totally uncontroversial topic: "Marketing is dead, long live user experience" (UX).
It seems that (at last) user experience (UX) is beginning to appear on the agenda and in the vocabulary of senior managers. A couple of articles I read recently illustrate the gulf between the corporate and public sectors.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
This month's UXPA Scotland session on 29 January sounds interesting - a case study in healthcare technology highlighting the difference between usability and user experience.