UX stands for User Experience and as a UX Designer it is my job to make things as easy as possible for the user while helping the business achive its goals.
UX stands for User Experience and as a UX Designer it is my job to make things as easy as possible for the user while helping the business achive its goals.
If you have read any of my previous blog posts you might have noticed that I have an interest in accessibility focused design. So when I came across Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population by Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn I was interested to understand how their advice would differ from all the other accessibility advice I had read.
When I first started reading about UX and all the research methods you could use to find out what people need, the one thing I could not find much information about was what to do with all the data you end up with. The answer always seemed to be ‘it depends’, which was not really very helpful.
The more I learn about UX the more I realise I need to understand more about business too.
For my current job I get to commute for about 3hr a day in my car. People often ask me what I do with this time. Driving home, I have to admit I like to think about my day and daydream a bit - some of my best ideas come about this way.
How many times have you offered creative solutions to a problem, only to have them turned down and other, less creative solutions, which might not fully deal with the issue, used instead?
This week I attended a Researcher Skills Workshop in Bournemouth. It was very nice to just walk round the corner from the office, rather than jump on a train to London.
To turn off or leave on, that was the question.
If you study UX you will hear about focus groups and how they are not part of the UX tool kit. And there is a good reason for this; in UX I am more interested in what someone is doing than in what they say.
I think everyone, whether they are anything to do with UX or not, has come across something and wondered why it has to be so complicated, just look at a standard TV remote control or DVD player.
Life is hard right? There is enough in the news to make you want to hide away from it all, without the trials and tribulations of real life on top.
When I was just starting out on my UX journey I was lucky enough to attend a four day conference in Dublin, run my Adaptive Path. It totally blew my mind and set me on the path to persuing UX as a career.
I received Messy by Tim Harford for Christmas, having requested it after being drawn in by its strapline - ‘How to be creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world’.
When I first started reading about UX and all the research methods you could use to find out what people need, the one thing I could not find much information about was what to do with all the data you end up with. The answer always seemed to be ‘it depends’ which was not really very helpful.
As I am doing a lot more research with users now, I asked for The Moderator’s Survival Guide by Donna Tedesco and Fiona Tranquada for Christmas.
It has been ages since I have managed to attend a UXPA event but this week our schedules aligned to allow me to attend Trends: what can we expect from design in 2019?
This month I have been reading the first of a massive pile of Christmas books which should keep me busy this year. A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger is a fascinating read all about how to ask better questions and why we should bother.
A couple of weeks ago I had one day of testing in London. I spend Monday in the office then left early to catch a train to London to spend the night before an early start testing on Tuesday.
With all the changes in the last six months of changing job and learning a bunch of new stuff I have not been able to attend as many events as I have in the past. Especially being based in Bournemouth now rather than London. So it was great to be able to attend this months Ladies that UX (LTUX) meeting, celebrating their 5th birthday.
Anyone who knows me, knows I like a list. And I’ve found Microsoft OneNote perfect for most of my organising needs, but there was still one thing that wasn’t quite working for me - my craft project list.
The more I read about Amazon, the less I want to have anything to do with them, whether it is the working conditions of their staff or the selling government agencies AI solutions that are not proven to be fulling working yet.
If you do enough research with real human beings you will start to build up a collection of ‘war stories’ about things that went wrong that you can learn from. This could be anything from you forgot the spare batteries to recruiting the wrong people to speak to and anything in between.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I would like to write a blog post for our company website about the different tools that allow you to create a personalised calendar to send out to your family and friends this Christmas. Maybe your read it?
When I started my new job at Experience UX I was sent two books to read. One was Made to Stick which I really enjoyed the other was The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.
This week I attended MUXL2018 (Mobile UX London). MUXL have a regular meet up but this was their annual conference.
A couple of months ago, as I was getting ready to fly to Scotland to run the Loch Ness marathon, I suddenly realised that my passport was about to go out of date. Luckily, as it was a domestic flight, no-one cared if my passport had less than a month left on it and if it had really been a problem I could have used my driving licence.
If you study UX for long enough someone will eventually introduce you to Lings Cars, probably with a smile on their face and a comment about how dreadful the site is.
This week I attended UX Insider 2018 in Bournemouth. However it was a slightly different experience from a normal conference as I was part of the crew!
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath had been on my wish list for ages. So it was pretty cool to receive a copy as pre reading for my new role at Experience UX.
Over the last 16 weeks I have done a lot of running, and I have finally run my marathon! Due to where I live most of this running has been on tiny back roads with hardly any traffic and lots of trees. It is the trees I am writing about today and two very different experiences.
When doing user research we often talk about mental models and peoples versions of the truth. What I mean by this is the fact that what you think is a universal truth is often quite different for someone else.
How often do you look at your portfolio or CV, assuming you have one, or your LinkedIn profile and think “I really must update that” and then think of something better to do?
I asked for Demystifying Public Speaking by Lara Hogan for Christmas as I was starting to think about how public speaking might be the next step for me.
This week I attended UX Bournemouth 6, but it was a bit different this time as rather than just sitting in the audience I was up on stage speaking!
One of my favourite quotes is ‘Strong beliefs, loosely held’ and as a designer I think this is really important.
It was another hot trip to London for me this week for UXPA’s event Design for Meaning, Design for Doing.
Although I started out as a UX Designer and that is my job title at the moment, I really think that research is a very important part of my job. Without research and testing how can there be a user experience? It is just what I or my stakeholder thinks is best.
I love the A Book Apart books. These tiny volumes are easy to read while really getting into their subject and Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag is no exception.
This week I was lucky enough to attend the RNIB and AbilityNet Tech Volunteer event. This was a full day conference in London with volunteers from both organisations from across the country coming together to find out more about accessibility technology.
I was quite excited when I found out that this months UXPA event, celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), was being held at Barclays. At a GAAD event a couple of years ago I had picked up two booklets of accessibility personas created by Barclays so I was interested to hear more from them.
Since I have been working at Wiggle there has been a desire to do more live testing with our customers. As a team we have already been out to some of the Wiggle cycle sportive events where we spoke to our customers as they queue for coffee before setting out, but this limits what we can test.
The more research I carry out, the more aware I am that I need a better way to capture the results, so Measuring the User Experience by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert looked like a helpful read.
It was the hottest day of the year so far and I was making my way to London from sunny Portsmouth even though the beach was calling! But I am glad I did as this months UXPA event on Dark UX was well worth it.
This week I was back at General Assembly for an evening about video. Not your standard UX subject maybe, but in a world where video is king I am interested for two reasons. 1. To record my creative projects better and 2. From a UX research point of view for recording what participants do.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been made more and more conscious that just being aware of and avoiding dark patterns when building website and digital products is not enough.
This week I was in Bournemouth for UX Bournemouth 5. They had suffered a few cancellations from speakers, but still managed to come up with 2 excellent speakers in Paul Boag and Jonny Rea-Evans.
I have just finished reading Steve Portigal’s Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries, User Research War Stories.
With weather warnings in place I was not sure I would get to this months LTUX event, but the snow held off and I managed to get up in good time for their UX in cultural heritage event.
Today I got up really early and took the train up to Manchester to celebrate World Information Architecture Day 2018 (WIAD). It only took 4 hours and gave me a chance to catch up on some crochet.
A couple of weeks ago my husband asked me if I knew how to load a mobile webpage but on a desktop. He had been sent the URL by his father to print out the page as he does not have a smart phone and he needed evidence of his hotel booking.
The next project the team will be working on is the product listing page. It is not my project, but I will be keeping an eye on Emma and offering support, as she leads her first project at Wiggle.
At the end of February I am attending World Information Architecture Day (WIAD) Manchester 2018. This is very exciting but does pose the question how is the best way to get to Manchester from a small village near Portsmouth?
I received this book for my birthday last year and had been looking forward to reading it. It starts with a comment from Jared Spool stating that it covers everything UX, so I thought this would be a good book to read.
First event of the year and I nearly missed it due to trespassers on the Metropolitan line, but I got there in the end with a bit of a detour and I am really glad I did.
A couple of years ago I tried out the Apple Watch. To be honest I did not get on with it very well, mainly because it was doing things that are not a high priority for me - for instance telling me what notifications had come in. I find notifications really annoying so to get them on my phone and on my watch just annoyed me even more.
Each year I collect a selection of desirable products and books together on my Amazon wishlist and then make sure that list is shared with my close friends and family.
This week I attended my last event of the year, back at General Assembly in London - Leadership: How to Inspire and Enable Your Team.
I recently received a £5 Amazon token for filling out a survey. But what to spend it on? Alan Cooper of About Face fame suggested reading anything by Dan Ariely, so I looked him up.
This week on Twitter I saw a comment suggesting that ladies should not include their names on their CVs to reduce the chances of being discriminated against when applying for jobs.
I have seen the phrase Design Thinking cropping up a lot all over the place recently and yet no one seems to be able to tell me what it is.
This week I tried something a little different. Instead of going to London for a UX meetup I went to Bournemouth for UX Bournemouth 4. Experience UX are an agency based in Bournemouth and set this event up about a year ago.
I have just spent the last five months working on a redesign of our product description page. It is a really interesting project not just because we have been unable to update the website for a couple of years, but also because of the constraints we are working to.
I really enjoy my job. I love the people and the variety of projects I get to work on. But this does have its own problems.
One of my favourite parts of my job is when I get to speak to our customers to see how we can help them have the best experience possible on our website. So when the team working on the App asked me to organise a usability test for them I jumped at the chance.
I love the LTUX leadership events. They are so inspiring and inspirational and I have been to all of them so far so I could not miss this one titled 'Leadership: Advice to Your Younger Self'.
This weeks LTUX event, Machine Learning and Fairness, was held at the Google offices and with a title like that I knew we would be in for a challenging evening; I was not wrong.
I have run a few design studios in the past, but they have always been pretty fast and basic. (A design studio is a way of getting a group to design something but without the problems of design-by-committee or groupthink.)
I have been reading a lot recently about the ethics of design.
I had heard a little bit about how you can use nudges to help people make better choices so I was interested to read Thaler & Sunstein’s Nudge.
According to IDEO you can prototype anything so I thought I would put it to the test.
I was already aware that when making changes to the website it is always sensible to talk to people across the business to make sure they are aware. For instance you want Customer Services to be aware so that if they suddenly start getting calls about an issue they will firstly let us know as soon as possible, and secondly know what has changed so they can help customers.
When I go to job interviews I sit on my hands. Otherwise I have a tendency to get a bit too animated with hands flying all over the place. I just cannot help myself because I am really passionate about what I do and it tends to show.
After months of working on improving the Wiggle website navigation it was time to test it with real users. This is the part of my job I love the most, but get to do the least.
This months UXPA event was titled 'What AI means for UX'. While Hollywood encourages us to see AI (Artificial Intelligence) as evil and expects it to be the downfall of the human race, others believe it will actually save us. However you view it there is no denighing it is already with us, if hidden in most cases, and it is the job of us UXs to make sure we do not design an intelligence that will destroy us. Best to learn all I can now then.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I adopted a rescue dog (hence why I’ve been a little quiet on here). Milo is a three year old Lab cross, who came microchipped, vaccinated, neutered and with one month’s free pet insurance.
I am currently working on a project to improve the navigation of the Wiggle web site. This means coming up with a hierarchy which helps our customers find the products they are looking for, helps our buyers find sensible places to put new products and with a combination of the two an improved search function. We then need to come up with an interaction which is easy to use on both desktop and mobile.
As a UX designer I am very aware of the importance of onboarding your user. This was most important at my last job where I was working on a ticketing app, but is still important at my current job in retail, even if it is different.
When I finished my General Assembly course I treated myself to a copy of Universal Methods of Design which is a great book. However recently I have been thinking that I could do with improving my knowledge of other design principles from across other design disciplines, which is where its sister book Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler comes in.
Now that I am not working in London anymore I have a much quicker commute, assuming there are no problems on the roads. So while I might not get as much reading done as I used to with over two hours on the train each day, I do get to spend more time at home which is brilliant.
This months UXPA meeting celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day with four great speakers covering all sides of accessibility.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been in charge of our card sorting project. This is the first part of a bigger project looking at the navigation of the Wiggle website.
This book review is not for a UX book, but for one that I think a lot of people will get a lot from. It is for anyone who wishes they could quit their day job and spend the time doing something else instead, whether that be creating something or doing some other job - maybe too low paying to support you, but that would fill that gap in you.
Ever since I started reading about UX I have been really interested in a thing called an ethnographic field study. This is where you get to immerse yourself in the world of your user by sitting with them at their desk as they work, or going out on a job with them - if they drive a lorry you get to sit in the cab and see how delieveries work, for instance.
Imagine you have a cheque to bank. It is for a reasonable amount of money and you need it in your account ASAP as you have money coming out soon for bills which this cheque is meant to cover.
Last year I joined the RNIB Tech Support Squad. I do not have any particular association with the RNIB, do not have any vision problems (yet) or know anyone with any but when I saw what the Tech Support Squad do, I though ‘I can do that!’
This week I was reading Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles and James Box.
This months UXPA event was called 'How to develop a creative culture within a company', which really interested my team at work. Sadly they could not make it, so I was sent to report back.
This months Ladies that UX event was a little earlier in the month than normal so we could celebrate International Women's Day. They had also teamed up with General Assembly and Expose UX to give us yet another inspiring event.
We spent the last 5 months of 2016 trying to move house. I was very lucky to be able to leave a lot of the process to my husband to organise as we thought it best to have just one point of contact between us.
For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive Hippo The Human Focused Digital Book by Pete Trainor. I received a good collection of books for Christmas (not all UX focused) and so it joined the pile to be read some time this year.
This month's UXPA event was looking at What Happens Next in UX Design. We had two excellent speakers, Pete Trainor and Ben Hart.
Having lived in our new house for about a month now we have a pretty good idea of the things we want to do to make it perfect. A big hammer and Gumtree have been helping us along.
How often have you been asked to do something new but it looks really hard so you have put it off or tried to get out of doing it. I know I have.
This month we finally moved house after five months of organising. It was grand to be in and unpacking, but because the previous owner had Cable and we do not we ended up living for six days without internet, TV, or phone and due to the rural location we do not have much mobile signal either.
After a break for Christmas UXPA were back with an event called UX and Video Games.
Around Christmas time I went to see my parents who said they had something I might like. In the depths of packing to move, a tiny part of me could not help but think about how I was supposed to be getting rid of things before we moved not adding!
One morning this week I walked into the office to find silver boxes on every desk.
The question of whether designers should code or not comes up on a regular basis. I have seen it in blog posts, on Twitter, on podcasts and at meet ups. I have heard both sides of the argument and now I will pitch in with my thoughts on the subject.
With our app live in LA, people could now buy tickets on our app to travel on the train. But how would they get home from the station? This question prompted Metrolink to ask for links within the app for Uber and Lyft and space for anything else that might become an option in the future.
Two years ago I attended my first Ladies that UX event. I had left work early and felt pretty nervous going to an event where I would not know anyone or even really know the subject. Should I really be attending as I was not a UXer?
The internet is an amazing thing, as are all the digital products and devices that we all use on a daily basis. But what is even more amazing is how these devices and products can improve the lives of people across the world.
This week we celebrate World Usability Day. This is a day of events around the world bringing ‘together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use’ to quote the website.
When I was first asked to look at the accessibility of our products I started by researching accessibility in apps.
This months UXPA event was held at Facebook and featured four really great speakers all on the subject of The Future of UI.
If you are interested in interaction design, About Face - The Essentials of Interaction Design, is the text book for you.
As a child at school I was diagnosed as being mildly dyslexic, which at the time meant being pulled out of class on a Wednesday morning to do spelling exercises.
Until last night I had not tried Uber. I tend to use the tube or walk when I am in London, or drive myself when I am at home.
This month UXPA was at the Moo offices and had Rolf Molich speaking to us. He worked with Jakob Nielsen to come up with the heuristic evaluation criteria which are used to evaluate websites for usability.
After a break for the summer Ladies that UX were back. And what a great event to lead with.
As a designer I am quite aware of the problem of Imposter Syndrome and see many articles about how it can be overcome.
A year nearly to the day that I started studying with General Assembly and I was back. But this time things were a bit different. This time I already had the job title UX Designer, we were in their brand new swanky office space in Whitechaple and rather than a course we were there to watch a film.
I have been very luck this week to attend the Universal Design conference held on the massive campus of the University of York. I had a fantastic four days and learnt a lot. In fact I am still processing everything and trying to work out what to do with it all.
If you want to work in UX, at some point you are going to come across IA or Information Architecture. This started out in library sciences looking at how to organise information and books, and has move across to the internet to organise digital information.
We have recently moved into a new office. It is very nice (and much better than where we were) but it is taking a little while to sort ourselves out. After all it is not just about unpacking the things we bought with us, but getting used to a new layout and new furniture as we have more room now.
When building things for many different people, how do you make sure it covers all their requirements? Especially when there might be conflict between different groups.
This months UXPA meeting was called The Changing Nature of Automotive UX, hosted by Unruly and curated by the HCDI team at Brunel University.
Today I am looking at Jesse James Garrett's The Elements of User Experience. If you are into UX and have not heard of Jesse James Garrett go look him up now!
Last October the Ladies that UX went to the Google offices to hear about how their researchers conduct international research. It was a facinating event and we all agreed we wanted to know more!
On the 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU. This single question - "should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?" which seemed simple enough at the time has had massive knock on affects across the globe on financial markets and currency values and Scotland saying it may well hold its own referendum on the subject.
I have been attending the Ladies that UX meet ups for a good year and a half now and really enjoy them. But it can sometime be a bit of a pain having to get across London to the venue in time. This was especially the case when I was travelling in from Guildford to attend them.
A couple of months ago I happened to mention to my manager that I am really interested in accessibility issues and how we can improve things within the digital world. I think I was trying to convince him to send me to an accessibility conference at the time.
This months UXPA event was a career fair. Held in the Ticketmaster offices, about 20 companies looking for UX designers and researchers filled the kitchen area, while downstairs CV and portfolio workshops were being held by Futureheads and Zebra People and Sam from General Assembly gave a talk on 'Hacks to getting hired'.
Recently people in my office have walked past one of our glass fronted meeting rooms to find a small group of us laying on the floor drawing (there is no table in this room). I know the first time we did this some people even came and took photos!
As someone who still has much to learn about UX Design and research I am always looking for reference books which will help me out.
This evening I was back at Atos for the Ladies that UX meeting. Still on the subject of accessibility after last weeks Global Accessibility Awareness Day it was slightly different from the other events I had attended.
I love nature and being outside and my first choice of career was Garden Designer after Vet. So when my company moved to a new office where we actually have windows the first thing I did was get a plant for our window. First to join us was a peace lilly, swiftly followed by a house leek, cactus and orchid.
Having spent the day at Atos for their Global Accessibility Awareness Day Event, I then travelled across London to the Daily Mail for the UXPA event on the same subject.
19 May was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) this year and I was lucky enough to spend it at Atos at their day event where we heard from a wide range of speakers on a wide range of subjects around not just creating accessible products but making our work environment and practices accessible too.
Working in the tech industry, even as a designer, there is a lot of talk about side projects.
I am always on the look out for interesting events to attend, so when the Intercom newsletter dropped into my mail box a month or so ago with an event about making better products, I signed up.
So far in my life I have been incredibly lucky. Except for a short stay in hospital when I was 10 I have always been fit and healthy and able to do anything I set my mind to. But I realise this will not always be the case as I get older.
This months UXPA meeting was held on 17th floor of the News UK building. So with amazing views across London we listen to 4 speakers talk about their thoughts or experiences of UX in news media.
This week I was back at Rated people for the Ladies that UX, UX Jam part 2. Having learnt about volunteering with a charity last month, this time we were actually going to put it in to practice.
As a designer it is important for me to design things that people can work out how to use without them needing a pop up box explaining what to do every time, after all you can not do this with a pair of scissors or a door.
Are you thinking about running some usability tests on your digital product? Are you unsure where to start? Then today's books (yep two for the price of one) are for you.
This week I was back at General Assembly to learn about Infographics in an evening session run by Alan Rutter from Clever Boxer.
I recently read somewhere that small projects can be more work than big projects but with less pay, and although I have worked on all sized projects and know this to be true I think one of my recent projects shows this well.
This months UXPA meeting was themed round UX Trends for 2016.
This months Ladies that UX meeting was held at the offices of Rated People and was as much to celebrate the groups 2nd birthday as to talk about how to use our skills for charities and non for profit organisations.
This week I went back to General Assembly to see the latest group of students on the UXDI11 course.
I am not sure when I first heard about this book, but it was only when I heard an interview with Golden Krishna on the Boag World podcast that I became really interested. They talked about the book and discussed some of the ideas in it and I found myself wanting to know more.
This evenings event was held at the funky offices of Unruly and covered the subject of UX challenges.
I like Apple. I think their products are good and their marketing done well. I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad and I love them both.
I have been attending the Ladies that UX London meet ups, once a month, for over a year now. It is a great group which made me feel so welcome when I joined, before I was really a UX designer.
This week I was back with General Assembly for an evening class. Although I have spent a good number of years working on websites, and considering I am now working on mobile apps, I know there is still much more I can learn about designing for devices. So when I saw the class 'Designing for Multiple Devices' I thought it might be a good way to improve my knowledge, especially as this seems to be the way technology is moving now.
When I first found out about UX, I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. Although the internet is an amazing resource with many articles, blogs and videos to use to your advantage, I do love a book. I love how you can take your time with it and mark important sections for reference later and how you can carry them anywhere and you do not need an internet connection to use them (perfect for the train then).
The nice thing about starting out at a new company is being able to reinvent yourself a bit and leave some of the old stuff behind. For instance if I had gone back to my old job after my training with General Assembly I know that people would have still contacted me about issues they were having putting content up on the website and I would have felt obliged to help. At least in my new job I am only expected to do UX stuff.
In my post 'What is UX?', I talk about the problems a company might have if each department is left to look after their own part of the website and the UX within these pages, instead of having an over arching UX strategy. I was recently lucky enough to experience just such a problem for myself.
Yes. But also maybe no. Let me explain.
So there it is 10 weeks done and UXDI complete. Except it’s not really - now the hard work begins as we sort out our portfolios and start to look for jobs.
Another busy week as we went into the second week of our client project. This week was all about design and actually started on Sunday when we spent the day at Ben’s house working on a first rough paper prototype.
This week has flown by but its gone really well. Week 8 was probably the one I was most worried about. For the last 3 weeks of the UXDI course we are working on a client project - this time with a real-life company who really do need our help.
This week was Front End Web Development (FEWD) week.
Week 6 was all about Visual Design and after the last 5 weeks it was a nice change. There was still much to learn, but it was a little less intense.
Hello October! Hello week 5! Where did September go?! I think this has been the most difficult week so far of UXDI. Second week of project 3 and everyone is feeling the pressure.
Week 4 and I think everyone is starting to feel it a bit. We are all tired and some of us are ill (yep me too) and we’ve had our first drop out taking us down to 17 students. (I think this was a joint decision as I don’t think her English was good enough for the pace of the class)
So that was week 3 and project 2. It wasn’t quite as intense as week 1 and 2 in the sense that there were a few less lectures but there was still a tonne to do.
So that was week 2. It didn’t feel like week 2, we’ve done so much that each time Andrew says something like ‘don’t worry about that now, we’ll cover it later, remember its only week 2’, I am shocked every time.
It’s a week since I started my new adventure on UXDI (User Experience Design Immersive) with General Assembly (GA). It doesn’t feel like a week, it feels more like a year with all the information and activities they have packed into it.
UX stands for User Experience and as a UX Designer it is my job to make things as easy as possible for the user while helping the business achive its goals.