5 Steps to Your First User Test

By Craig Phillips, UX Designer on Oct. 3, 2017 View Comments

The barrier to entry into user testing has never been lower. Forget size and budget. Companies who interact with users on a regular basis will swim, while others sink. Despite the ease of entry, many still neglect testing and rely on internal opinions to guide product decisions.

Though investing in a user researcher is ideal, this hurdle shouldn't stop you. Look on your team for a strategic thinker and good listener to get started. When you witness the insights and aha moments that come from a test, the value will be clear as day.

These 5 steps are a simple introduction to user testing for non-researchers. It's a flexible process to follow, avoiding the complexities in favor of action. With clear goals, and a sincere desire to gather honest feedback, you're already well on your way. Jump in and get started. You may never look back.

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Human Behavior and the User Experience

By Ken Mohnkern, Interaction Designer on Nov. 22, 2016 View Comments


While navigating a well-designed user experience feels organic and natural, the science behind that end result is very much a deliberate effort. Assumptions and whims make User Experience (UX) Designers squirm. Instead, we prefer making design decisions based on evidence and data, but when we can’t perform our own research by observing the behaviors of users, we can still avoid “guessing” what users want by following basic UX principles as we design digital systems. Many of those principles are based on well-documented studies, but some of the studies are misunderstood and misapplied to digital design.

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What Super Mario Bros. Taught Me About User Interface Design

By Chris Scheler, Web Designer/Front-End Developer on Jan. 5, 2016 View Comments

“Daddy, why is Mario orange when he has fire?”

That was a question my then five-year-old son asked as we were eating breakfast together one day. The answer, which I’ve known for 30 years, was something I never gave much thought. “It’s so that when you look at him you remember whether or not you are Fire Mario.” That’s when it dawned on me: Fire Mario was one of my first and most prominent exposures to User Interface design.

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Why UX's Time Has Come

By Kelley McDonald, Senior UX Architect on Jan. 31, 2015 View Comments

As a seasoned UX designer, I’ve worked with clients in many different types of organizations to envision new products and services or evolve their existing web properties. The most undeniably successful projects—and therefore the best user experiences—to which I’ve contributed were those that allowed for feedback from both client stakeholders and end users early and often in the process.

Too many times, clients and project teams with whom I’ve worked assumed that they didn’t have the time or money to include formal usability testing, so the whole idea of gathering feedback from end users was abandoned. Likewise, many projects only enabled stakeholders to provide feedback on designs once or twice in the process, and usually only after these designs were fully formed. The result in those situations was an overreliance on one person—me—to solve all design problems and control all facets of the solution. While this has certainly been great for my ego, it has not always been great for the user experience.

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7 Things We Learned About UX Design in 2014

By Alex Hsiao, Senior Art Director on Jan. 7, 2015 View Comments

Last month, I had the privilege to put together and moderate a distinct panel of creative leaders from companies like HUGE, Gannett, CHIEF, and AKQA as we focused on the state of UX Design in 2014 and beyond. Our friends at AddThis—who’ve seen great success this year as the #1 ranked distributed content provider—host the NOVA UX Meetup each month, and I strongly encourage you to check out the group if you’re involved or want to learn more about the UX Design industry.

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What the Wearable Tech Craze Means For Your UX Strategy

By Jay Kissman on Sep. 26, 2014 View Comments

Wearable technology is the new frontier for mobile design and development. And as with most other tech revolutions, this one happened quickly. Public interest in wearables like the Apple watch, FitBit, and Google Glass increased by 190% from 2013 to 2014, and analysts predict that sales will go from $2.5 billion to $30 billion by 2018.

This comes at a time when technology is more personal than ever. 82% of wearable tech consumers believe that wearables have enhanced their lives through convenience and connectivity. So if you’re at all involved with digital product development, you need to consider the implications of this new craze on your digital strategy. How are customers interacting with your brand on these new devices, and how is your brand helping to enhance their lives?

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Shaken or Stirred? How Knowing Audience Habits Can Make or Break UX

By Margaret Rogers, Director of Digital Strategy on May. 12, 2014 View Comments

UX designers are always looking to digitally knock down barriers and help facilitate desired actions from a user. And understanding user cognitive habits is the first step in winning users over to a website.

What are Cognitive Habits?

Cognitive habits are the repeated responses you give in the same situation without really thinking. A habit is generally learned through repetition and may be created through a variety of influences, such as culture, technology, environment and personal preference. However, determining the appropriate habits to examine for segmenting or categorizing your audience properly is tricky, and it’s starting to evolve at a much faster pace.

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If Santa Had an App: A Better Customer Experience for Billions

By Joe Satovich, Web and Mobile Engagement Director on Dec. 19, 2013 View Comments

Don’t be surprised if you find a bearded man in a big red suit taking the time to savor the cookies you left out for him on Tuesday night. A new mobile application promises to accelerate the already seemingly-magical process of delivering gifts to billions of customers worldwide in a single night.

The “Sugar Plum” app, as it’s been dubbed, is long overdue. With a growing client base, new competition, and rapidly evolving customer expectations, a business model that has spread delight for centuries faces modern threats. The CEO from the North Pole, Kris Kringle, has a need for speed and initially looked at adding more reindeer or investing heavily in R&D to create a next-generation delivery vehicle.

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Revisiting "the Fold" in Today's Digital Landscape

By Celerity on Nov. 5, 2013 View Comments

“The fold” is one of the basic design concepts of web design that is widely known in the digital space by layman and specialist alike. It’s a concept that is often debated in design shops and boardrooms. But what place does the fold have in modern, responsive web design?

The term was born from the newspaper industry to describe the part of a newspaper that is immediately visible after it has been folded for distribution. Time and time again, newspapers featuring catchy headlines and compelling imagery above the fold had significantly higher sales. The area above the fold became extremely valuable real estate and the design implications were widely accepted by the industry. Designing for the fold quickly became commonplace.

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Internal Customers During the Mobile Revolution: Spoiled or Neglected?

By Joe Satovich, Web and Mobile Engagement Director on Sep. 9, 2013 View Comments

We now live in an era where we can choose to digitally augment and simplify almost any part of our lives. Thanks to Apple, Google, and thousands of consumer app developers, expectations are that information, supported by effortless functionality, should be immediately available on all devices—meaning users have to be able to find it, understand it, use it, and accomplish something with it. Instantly.

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Skeuomorphism and Flat Design: Where is User Experience Design Headed?

By Jason Kolaitis, Senior User Experience Designer on Aug. 29, 2013 View Comments

The world is flat again—or at least, the world of web design is.

For the last 20 years, personal computers have employed dozens of real world metaphors, and Skeuomorphism has been used to make design elements look almost 100% like objects from real life (turning a digital page to resemble the experience of reading a physical book, for example). But lately, the pendulum has shifted toward Flat Design, which is based on minimalistic design principles and gives the impression of a two-dimensional look.

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Using Digital Analytics to Drive Intranet Adoption

By Jeff Cooke, Engagement Manager on Jul. 15, 2013 View Comments

As businesses continue to expand in stride with the global economy, the value and demand for more robust intranets is similarly increasing at a rapid pace. And it’s no surprise; given that a 2012 report cited nearly one in five American workers were “Actively Disengaged” with their company. In a previous post, Redesigning the Intranet, we discussed how when looking for newer and better ways to build online employee communities, some companies are designing next-generation intranets with real-time dynamic content and social media capabilities.

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Five Questions to Rate User Experience Quality

By Sarah Tricha, Sr. User Experience Designer on May. 30, 2013 View Comments

User experience is the primary competitive advantage for businesses today. The web or mobile interface that is the easiest to use is the one the most people will use. And that’s how market share is won. But what is this elusive quality called “usability?” And how do you know if you need to improve the usability of your web or mobile user experience?

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