Teaching, Promoting, Cheering UX and SEO Since 2002

Usability Is My Drug of Choice

Web site usability and information architecture are still my drug of choice.

c5Whenever I feel close to quitting, I find others who not only believe in the value of UX work, but explain its value better than I can.

UX is the New SEO

UX is the new way to optimize sites for search engines because Google said so. Yes, that benign search giant has decided that links are no longer as important as they once thought. Out of deep concern for its users that click on the search ads, Google has decided that user experience (UX) is a much better determinant of relevance. This left the entire SEO is gob-smacked and floundering, at least those that have not already stepped off the ledge are.

Google’s help is not really helping. As their search engine has gotten smarter with personalization and query revision, we’ve gotten dumber at searching.

From How do we solve the Enterprise UX skills gap?

Sommer used the example of abandoned shopping carts, which are not just a metric but may reflect an emotional breach of trust with a web site that bombards the user with additional offers and promotions, causing potential buyers to flee the scene.

Yen added the importance of facilitators/requirements gatherers who know how to ask the ‘why’ questions, determining the key parts of the user’s role versus ‘chores’ that are not core to the user’s role but must get done (e.g. timesheet processing).

Few designers possess the range of UX skills needed, which include:

User profiling and research, informed by industrial psychology
interaction design: translating use cases into information architecture and screen elements
low and high fidelity mockup creation
user testing and prototyping
visual design
emotional design elements, branding, and verbiage
engineers to build the design
performance testing

Towards a New Information Architecture: The Rise and Fall and Rise of a Necessary Discipline

This is the most incredible article I have read in months.

…I call this new breed of talented thinkers Information Architects and this book was created to help celebrate and understand the importance of their work—a work which inspires hope that as we expand our capabilities to inform and communicate that we will value, with equal enthusiasm, the design of understanding.
~Richard Saul Wurman in Information Architects

Dan Brown, in his talk on Designing Rules, points toward a new relevance for the information architect in a post-Google world. Just as furniture makers had to choose between making patterns for IKEA or continuing to hand craft furniture for a shrinking?—?but appreciative— market, so IAs must decide if they will handcraft bestbets or create the rules for making them. Peter Morville, one of the “my two dads” of Information Architecture moved on to search. Search is far from solved. It and recommendation engines— the push to search’s pull —provide more than enough of a fun rule space to keep IAs busy for many years to come.

This just about caused me to have a heart attack, die, and go to UX Heaven, from Choosing the Right Metrics for User Experience.

Although most organizations are tracking metrics like conversion rate or engagement time, often they do not tie these metrics back to design decisions. The reason? Their metrics are too high level. A change in your conversion rate could relate to a design change, a promotion, or something that a competitor has done. Time on site could mean anything.

I am told that site owners want me to prove why they should hire me. All they want is to rank in search engines. Their sites are fine. From 5 Questions to Ask Your Next UX Design Agency

Smart UX design provides value to your consumers. Value, in turn, influences purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. A great UX firm should understand your users better than you do. That understanding, translated into positive daily user experiences over the long-term, can be a competitive advantage. UX design has the power to set your brand apart. Pick the agency that can best articulate how their UX skills will contribute to your brand’s success.

c4The next time you see a web page with a big form covering up the page, forcing you to give them your email address first, before you are allowed to enter the site or see what what it is about, just know that a marketer had the final say – not a usability professional or conversions expert.

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