Happy World Usability Day!


   The theme of this years’ World Usability Day: “Design for the Future We Want”. The theme is inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development GoalsDesign can help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. Design has the opportunity to create a better world for all by creating products that cause no harm, make the world a better place to live and support our humanity: For example, design could persuade people to consume more sustainably or it could potentially help prevent the spread of fake news.

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Machine Learning for Recommendations on Streaming Services

       Oftentimes, when trying to decide what shows or movies to watch on our favorite streaming services, we look at what is being recommended to us. Most TV shows and movies we watch on streaming services (like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime) are discovered through an algorithm that informs the recommendation system. The following article focuses specifically on the recommendation systems in Hulu mobile App and Netflix TV, and the way in which machine learning can be applied to improve this algorithm.

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Data Visualization and Qualitative Reports

October, 04 2019 |

         When writing reports, we are often looking for the best ways to effectively synthesize and communicate our findings to a larger audience. Implementing data visualizations into qualitative report writing is an effective tool that can enhance how findings are presented and understood by those who will be reading the report, as it works to help create a shared understanding of what the main findings are.  Effectively utilizing data visualizations in report writing can help to express concepts or findings in a quick, easy, and memorable manner. 

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Don't Turn a Blind Eye to Website Accessibility

September, 25 2019 |

        On May 28, 1988, a young woman with cerebral palsy, Lisa Carl, went to her neighborhood movie theater to see a film but was denied entry because of her wheelchair. The theater manager refused to accommodate Lisa and wouldn’t take her money. When questioned later, the manager said, “I don’t have to let her in.” Lisa told this story during testimony to Congress, saying “I was not crying on the outside but I was crying on the inside. I just wanted to watch the movie like everyone else.”

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UX Research vs. Market Research

September, 11 2019 | Usability Testing, UX, User Experience, Data

      While the field of UXR has existed for a while now, there still seems to be some confusion surrounding what exactly sets it apart from other forms of research. It can be difficult to differentiate it from other types of research that, like UX research, measure and evaluate user needs, behaviors, and preferences. One form of research that often gets confused for being UX research is market research. While they are similar, they are very different in their approach, goals, analysis, and implementation. It is also about the kinds of questions you are asking, and the kinds of answers you are hoping to get by conducting your research.

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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.

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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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