Category Archives: Real-World Usability

User Experience vs. Marketing

“There is a difference between making a simple product and making a product simple.”
“Marketing is about making people want things. Design is about making things that people want.”

5 things digital marketers should know about user experience

Great User Experience Quotes

Henry Dreyfuss’s “Designing for People” Henry Dreyfuss, an American industrial designer, wrote the classic text Designing for People in 1955. The cornerstone of his philosophy and thinking is captured in this quote from his article in The Harvard Business Review in 1950: “We bear in mind that the object being worked on is going toContinue Reading

At 90, She’s Designing Tech For Aging Boomers

NPR just posted this article about a 90-year-old woman recently hired as a designer at IDEO. What a great idea! As designers, our job is to understand and design for our intended audience. However, older designers may have problems identifying with younger users and younger designers may not really understand what elder users are goingContinue Reading

“Using your UX super powers for good or evil” – Mandel’s IUE2014 conference presentation

June 11, 2014 US Airways Corporate Headquarters, Tempe, AZ Conference website For many years, I’ve written about and presented on the “Golden Rules” of UX design – where our UX design powers are used to do good things for users. This presentation focuses on the dark side of UX design – how UX design canContinue Reading

John Karlin, Father of Touch-Tone Dialing, Dies

An obituary in the New York Times highlight’s John Karlin’s historic influence on digital dialing. Karlin died on January 28 at the age of 94. Ed Israelski, a well-know human factors professional, was fortunate to work under Karlin at Bell Labs. Karlin designed the famous (or infamous) telephone keypad layout. He also conducted innovative researchContinue Reading

Who owns your UX philosophy?

“I’ve been in three board meetings in the last month where it was painfully apparent that there wasn’t a person in the company who owned the UX philosophy of the product. I’m explicitly saying “UX” (user experience) rather than “UI” (user interface) as each company had an excellent designer and the application looked great. ButContinue Reading

Tech hotshots: The rise of the UX expert

“As the digital world shrinks down to a screen the size of your hand, demand for user experience designers explodes.” The surge of mobile and tablet devices has placed more emphasis and need for user experience skills. UX practitioners have been promoting awareness and education of UX and usability for years, and it has paid off. ReadContinue Reading

“Connecting” Video on the future of Interaction Design and UX

Thought-provoking video on Vimeo about the future of our field – The follow-on comments are just as interesting as the video. Here’s the summary: The 18 minute “Connecting” documentary is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry’s thought leaders. As the role of software isContinue Reading

Give Before You Get – Advice for the New Year

Great advice from a world-famous Boulder start-up mentor and founder, Brad Feld. Give Before You Get  

5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013

Happy New Year 2013!! Here’s a great blog post about integrating your work and your life and living DESIGN! Enjoy! 5 Ways to Begin Designing Your Life in 2013  

Simplicity Isn’t Simple

KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid! This has historically been a top-level goal for user experience professionals . However, as this blog post describes, achieving simplicity is not a simple exercise. There are many aspects to simplicity. It’s not as easy as saying, “If we look at an Apple UI, that’s our model!” Here’s the post: SimplicityContinue Reading

New book – Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving

Worth a read! New book available (for free!) – Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving is presented as a handbook for teaching, learning, and doing meaningful disruptive design work. The book includes an introduction to wicked problems, describing some of the challenges and opportunities of design-led entrepreneurial activities. The text describes the skillsContinue Reading

Information Visualization (and some whiskey, too!!)

Very nice example of the discipline called “information visualization.” This is the field best represented by Edward Tufte’s amazing books and courses. On one small notebook page, the complex distinction between the different varieties of scotch whiskey is beautifully displayed. Read the article here.

Perfecting Military Medical Solutions

View an amazing collection of new military healthcare devices in the battlefield! “With the growing swiftness and capability of today’s technology, medical tools are increasing in their specificity to meet military healthcare needs. The combat environment calls for particular solutions; on the battlefield, where time is of essence, military healthcare providers need the right implement,Continue Reading

EMR Vendors Stress Usability to Attract Physicians

Going back to my beginnings in the new field of building “user-friendly” software in the early 1980’s, usability began a long history as a potential product differentiator in a competitive field. Now, with the onset of a multitude of EMR software programs coming to market now and in the next few years, software vendors areContinue Reading

EMR Usability – Standardization vs Usability and Innovation

This is a classic debate – whether it is nobler to be consistent or to be usable! EMRs have notoriously been both inconsistent and also very unusable. So, what to do – fix the inconsistencies or fix the usability issues? The problem is, fixing one of these issues doesn’t necessarily fix the other! Here’s anContinue Reading

You’re not a user experience designer if…

It is very comforting that the “User Experience” field has become more popular and well-respected over the years. That makes me, as a UX professional, feel good about the work we do. However, as Whitney Hess points out in her blog post, There’s just one problem: not everyone calling themselves a user experience designer isContinue Reading

Walmart’s $1.85 billon dollar mistake

Good companies listen to their customers – better customers figure out the appropriate questions to ask BEFORE they ask for feedback from their users! There may be other  factors (economic factors, for example) that may be involved, but this case study shows the dangers of poorly designed user research and the inherent dangers of (just)Continue Reading

User Experience Myths

Similar to the “Golden Rules” of user experience design that I have written about and cover in my presentations and seminars, there are many common myths about users and the user experience. Some myths have been around for many years, such as the myth, “You may not have more than 7 +/- 2 items inContinue Reading

Healthcare Experience Design Conference – Boston, Mass – April 11, 2011

As a user experience professional designing EMR, EHR and case management software in the healthcare industry, there are few opportunities to educate, learn, network and focus on UX in healthcare. Well, look no longer!! I’m excited to hear about the Healthcare Experience Design Conference in Boston, Mass, on April 11, 2011. Here’s a summary ofContinue Reading