The predominant aesthetic of user interface design since its advent reflects the ethos of modernist, Bauhaus-inspired architecture and design, shunning decorative adornment in favour of aesthetics determined by utile function.
As experience designers, we are increasingly asked to design for social engagement with features like following, commenting, and the critical piece of the viral web; sharing. Tweets, status updates, and content forwards are woven into many of the products and services we use every day, but do we really understand what makes people ~want to share in the first place? You can’t just add a button and expect a digital tsunami of shares. Designers, this is where our unique blend of behavioral understanding and design context can translate into magic.
The DNA of our industry is rapidly evolving. Devices are multiplying like a zombie plague; once immutable patterns are being challenged; interface conventions are changing at an incredible pace; all the while, our documentation is struggling to stay relevant. This constant flux is enough to make you want to quit and buy a farm. But one thing remains constant through it all: user experiences are forged in code. As UX professionals, we are learning, unlearning, and relearning things all the time.
You know how you can recognize a Porsche sports car regardless of the model or year? This is effective design language at work. A design language establishes the visual vocabulary, relationships and hierarchies that allow diverse products to become recognizable and unified. This tool has long been used in industrial design to create coherent families of products. But as products become digital and shift to multi-platform app-driven ecosystems, what constitutes an effective design language for interaction that can drive consistency across these varied experiences?
After several years as a practitioner, you’re now managing other interaction designers… As a UX professional, you are naturally empathetic towards others, so your first goal is to be a good manager to each individual.
What do bakers, metalsmiths and user experience professionals have in common? They’re all crafts, but unlike other crafts, UX doesn't have a mentality of apprenticeship and practice. I argue that because UX requires broad knowledge across a number of disciplines, practical experience, and people skills, simply getting a degree and attending conferences isn't enough.
If we want the UX field to grow and mature, we should re-think how we grow and mature incoming UX professionals.
In 2009 we began with a question: “Why isn’t anyone teaching interaction design to high school students?” We knew we wanted to take on this challenge, but we didn’t know how to create such a class. We approached the problem as we would approach any other design problem. We began by researching our “users” – students, teachers, principals and education experts – and developed a curriculum and methodology for teaching design to high school students.
Mobile user experience is a new frontier. Untethered from a keyboard and mouse, this rich design space is lush with opportunity to invent new and more human ways for people to interact with information. Invention requires casting off many anchors and conventions inherited from the last 50 years of computer science and traditional design and jumping head first into a new and unfamiliar design space.
Interaction Design is a young field dedicated to how people interact with technology, but people used to interact without technology way long before it. Kid’s street games are one example of what we call Vernacular Interaction Design. Those games have interaction structures that were designed by players themselves across many generations, accumulating a history of successive adaptations for local cultures. By playing those games, children learn how to behave across different social dynamics and, at the same time, update game’s representation of those dynamics by according new rules.
In our role as consumers of services, as information bleeds into the physical world we face an increasing multitude of different environments, interfaces, and procedures which, from our perspective, all participate in one single activity: completing the goal at hand.