Recently in User experience Category

*** Posted originally on the Adaptive Path Blog ***

Strategy and design are two crucial elements when it comes to site design and development. In my work at Adaptive Path, I've worked on a number of projects that focus on these two key elements. We'll end the project with a stack of deliverables, often including HTML templates and CSS files, the pieces and parts the client will need to move forward.

And yet, this can be an uncomfortable transition at times. We've put in so much hard work to plan and think and design how the features and elements of the site will work. It's now up to the client to take the next leap into Implementation. This can sometimes feel like a murky wilderness, with unknown snares and dangers the client is left to navigate on their own.

Mostly this stems from the fear of the unknown. Sites have a habit of growing organically overtime, and clients are unaware of the implementation processes they have been through in the past. There is a lack of clarity around what tasks and events go into making an implementation successful.

I've put together this this diagram that shows the general tasks that go into a typical site redesign with a new CMS implementation. It shows where the Strategy and Design tasks stop and where Implementation starts. It also shows what roles are involved in the different stages.

Implementation Diagram [PDF: 49KB]

Frustration Free Packaging

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It's amazing the change that can be made when one has power in the marketplace. has started a new program called Frustration-Free Package.

They are working directly with manufactures to eliminate the excess packaging that many products have these days. Rather than encasing everything in layers of plastic, they are using simple, cardboard boxes that can be mailed directly. This has the added benefit of getting rid of the box-in-a-box situation. And it removes the problem of having to fight with the box to get to your stuff. Everyone wins!

I'm so glad to see Amazon doing this. They have become a big enough player in the retail space that they can actually get companies to start changing their business practices. Way to go Amazon!

I just got the following spam in my inbox:


I thought you might be interested in this article: "10 Virtual Spokesperson Tips"

Adding a Video Spokesperson to your website can not only improve conversion rates but also help you explain your product or service with ease.

Here are the first few tips (Click to see the rest of the article):

10 HD Quality- Make sure the videos that you use are always shot in HD. We live in a world where we are judged by our appearance. If you have videos on your website that do not represent your business in an ultra-professional manner it's waste to even add a video. Quality is key!
9 Close Captioning- Adding close captioning is important. The reality is that some users don't have speakers or are deaf. Therefore, taking into consideration their needs is imperative.
8 User Experience: You have the ability when adding a spokesperson to customize it where if the same user comes back to the same page within a 24 or 48 hour period of time, then that user would not get "force fed" the same video again. The user would be given the option to play the video again if they chose to, but wouldn't be forced to watch it again. It is important to be courteous to your users and look at their experience when adding a video spokesperson.
Click to see the rest of the article, or go to

Some companies do a very good job of using a Video Spokesperson on their website. However, there are a lot of mistakes that are being made that can significantly hurt a websites appeal.

I hope you find the rest of this article interesting and useful.



I mean, I guess it's good that they are mentioning user experience at all. It wasn't that long along that such folks would have no idea that such a thing existed. I find it interesting that they don't have a problem "force feeding" (their term, not mine) the video to a user the first time (or if they come back a few days later). Just don't do it multiple times in a 24 hour period.

Um... how about never having auto-play audio or video? That seems like a much more considerate approach to me. I'm fine with using video to explain a product or process. But let the user have control of the experience. Let the user decide when and where they want to watch a video.

I wonder how much of their "conversion rates" are people just clicking on it to try to turn it off.

What User Experience Means To Me

One of my most favoritest and talented co-workers, Leah Buley, just interviewed me for the talk she will be giving at UX Week next month. She is revising her talk, "A User Experience Team of One," which was a smash hit at the IA Summit this past April.

During the interview Leah asked me an interesting question. She asked what it was about user experience that got me into this business in the first place. I think it all goes back to my days when I worked as a page at the CH Booth Library in Newtown, CT. I love hooking people up with the information they are looking for. It's the best part of customer service. I love being able to take an often amorphous need and translate it in to resources that directly solve it. And I love the smiles and how happy folks are when they get their questions answered.

If you look at my career as an information architect, it becomes clear that this is a driving force to most of my projects. Whether it's specs on how enterprise software functions or the address of a local dry cleaner or details for treatment of medical condition, it all boils down to essentially the same thing. Solving that information need.

I want people to have the best time while they are filling that need. And I love that "best" means different things in different situations. It might be speed, maybe it's via an entertaining way. Perhaps it's just being authoritative and all inclusive. Making the systems and designing the structures so information is the most findable and usable is just plan fun for me.

Thanks Leah for helping me articulate that. It's good to be reminded just how much you love what it is that you do.

--- Originally published on the Adaptive Path Blog ---

I returned home from the IA Summit 2007 last night, and a burr has been rubbing my hide ever since. Since the Summit happened in Las Vegas this year, there was a lot of talk about the UX of Las Vegas, and how bad it was. Or rather, that Las Vegas didn't really have a UX because it was bad. Because if you planned a UX it had to be a good one.


Folks, everything that we come into contact with we have an experience with. That experience may be positive, or negative or neutral. It may be planned or accidental. It may be created out of an effort to make the world a better place. Or it may result from manipulative and selfish motivations. Either way, we (the users) are having an experience with said item, be it a website, a hotel, a towel or a piece of gum. Not to mention the fact that these are subjective determinations unique to each individual.

What I don't understand is when the term "UX" took on the implicit connotation that to have a UX, whatever it is must derive from a place of wanting to improve the world. When did UX mean to make things better and good, to be altruistic and benevolent? Now, don't get me wrong. Those are very noble goals, and they are certainly motivators for the work I do. But, come on.

"User experience" is a neutral term, in and of itself. It's something that just exists, that just happens. Labeling it as a good UX or a poor UX or a manipulative UX is needed to clarify what type of experience we are talking about. For as much as IAs love their labels, this is a strange instance for us to forget them.

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