AnxietyTech 2019 Conference Recap

September, 04 2019 | Human Factors, Events & News

      AnxietyTech is a conference started by Kari & Jamund Ferguson, a husband and wife team that aims to “explore how technologists can better contribute to the growing mental health challenges in the world”. They brought together researchers, technologists, and mental health professionals to discuss the intersection of mental health and technology. It is a conference for programmers, researchers, technology developers, and health providers in order to expand the conversation surrounding how technology is changing the way in which we understand and approach mental health challenges.

      The event started with two keynote speakers before diverging into two rooms, with two different speakers presenting at the same time in different rooms. Attendees were given an agenda and speaker bios beforehand and you got to choose who you wanted to see. Topics included mental health wearable technology, using AI to help treat mental illnesses, designing for healthier technology habits, and using immersive tech as a form of therapy (among many others).

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Creating a Custom Material UI Theme: Part 2

August, 21 2019 | Personalization, UI, Tips & Tricks

       Creating a truly customized theme for Material UI can be a daunting task. There is some documentation available on the Material UI website, but it’s limited. And it doesn’t quite cover all of the options you may want to customize. For example, Material UI uses only two main colors (primary and secondary), and the color scheme I created has three main colors – I added a default color. In addition, you can’t just add different color options in one spot – they have to be added to each component (there are over 30) that you want to have more than 2 color options. Here are some tips and tricks beyond the minimal documentation that’s already available.

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Inclusivity and UXR Part 1: Revising Survey Screeners

   
     User experience seeks to be able to capture the accurate experience of the user, but it is critical to consider if we are truly being inclusive when it comes to including all users in that collective experience. Inclusivity in UX means helping to develop and/or improve products that can serve as many people as possible. It means that all users, including those with diverse characteristics, are all able to use the product and feel included in the collective user experience that is being captured surrounding a product. The reality is we are currently designing, studying and testing products that will be used by millions of people- and it is important to make sure that all potential users can feel included, and validated, in the shared user experience.

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The Three Things UX Designers Can Learn from Game Tutorials

         
      From exhaustive manuals to lengthy lines of texts with bright red arrows to fully integrated narratives, game tutorials became more complex as both available interactions and user expectations grew. An industry valued as a billion dollar market with over 2,700 companies located across America and completely saturated with customer options totaling at over 9,000 titles released on Steam in 2018 alone, is it any wonder that games would dedicate so much time and effort to the first entry point a user sees? Teaching users the skills necessary to master the basics isn’t only used in games of course. In UX design, we are more accustomed to calling this process ‘on-boarding.’ However, many products’ on-boarding processes are dry and overwhelm users by front-loading a ton of knowledge at once. In the words of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Ralph Koster “game design is about clarity that teaches complexity.” The key word here is teach. As UX Designers, we need to treat learning as the equivalent to fun and game tutorials are an excellent starting point.

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Tips for More Effective Design Thinking Leadership

July, 08 2019 | UX, Design, Tips & Tricks

In collaboration with Mindy Eng.

       Design thinking is not a new topic here on our blog. However, many are still under the impression that design thinking is a method that can only be applied to designers or those working in product development. When in actuality, design thinking is a methodology that can be applied to basically any role or industry, but especially leadership roles. Design thinking is not just a method that can be applied to better understanding and addressing customer problems but is also an extremely valuable leadership philosophy that can help improve companies in industries everywhere.

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3 Tips to Writing Better Survey Responses


In collaboration with Annabell Ho.

     Surveys are often regarded as being easy ways of collecting large amounts of data. You put together your questions, design your survey and boom- it can be distributed and accessed online by hundreds upon thousands of participants. While it seems easy enough, there is actually a great deal of design thinking that goes into the creation of a well-designed and efficient survey. In order to make sure that once your survey goes live you generate the best possible results, there requires a hefty amount of thought, design and care that goes into the construction of a survey. A bad survey design can lead to bad data through causing participants to be unsure of how to answer questions, or not providing enough options to accurately capture the participants true experience.

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Pre-Work for Usability Studies

June, 21 2019 | Strategy, UX, User Experience, UX Strategy


       
In collaboration with Jasmin Joseph.

       The goal of a user research study is to better understand users behaviors, desires, needs, frustrations and attitudes through using varying feedback and observation based research methods. Therefore, it is critical that we as researchers are able to understand and capture the user experience to the best of our ability. This relies in the researchers ability to listen, as well as the participants ability to articulate themselves. Sometimes, participants may find it difficult to think of things in the moment, or know what to tell researchers. In these instances, it could be helpful for researchers to add an extra step of “pre-work” for the participants to help ensure that the research study is able to illustrate their experience in the most accurate way possible.  

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Three Questions to Ask Before Creating an Immersive Retail Experience

      As consumers, we expect our shopping experiences to be engaging and intuitive. More and more brands are going beyond traditional means of website and storefronts by opening temporary and permanent immersive retail experiences. What is an immersive retail experience? It is a highly instagrammable, interactive happening that is re-thinking traditional brick-and-mortar stores and taking over both the art and retail worlds alike. Some examples include Samsung 837, Sony Lost in Music, Ikea Play Cafe, Adias NDM, Visible’s InVisible, Dolby Soho...the list goes on and on. At their core, these immersive retail experiences are driven by good UX design. They attempt to connect with consumers by creating moments of empathy and personalization, immediately satisfying interactions and word-of-mouth marketing strategies. It may not be a website but all the same principles are applied.

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Participant Recruitment: What Not to Do


In collaboration with Jasmin Joseph.

         Recruitment, whether it be internal or external, is a necessary part of the research process. Part of being able to carry out an effective UX research study is being able to recruit participants who are right for the study, as well as making sure to recruit enough of them. There are several articles (including our own) that provide various different tips and tricks in order to try to help the recruitment process run more smoothly and efficiently. But what about what not to do when trying to recruit participants?

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Tracking Mental Health with UX Research Methods

June, 14 2019 |

In collaboration with Nhan Vu.

        Mental health has become a topic of increased attention within recent years, with more and more emphasis being placed on practicing self-care and raising awareness for mental health issues. However, an overwhelming number of people still lack access to mental health care. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 89.3 million people in the U.S. lack access to mental health care. This article seeks to explore the potential application of various forms of UX research methods as a way of tracking one’s mental health- both through the implementation of these methods in one's own individual life as well as through the creation and design of mental health based applications. UX research methods employ a wide variety of tactics from using mood tracking to diary studies to ethnography. These methods can be applied as a way to track mental health and potentially expand the accessibility of related mental health services.

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