Sunday, October 31, 2010

8 UX Diagrams from UX Booth - Morville, Neilsen and beyond.

Aggregation of some of the UX diagrams that are floating can indeed have too many tools, but these make for starting points that are worth consideration or transformation to your project needs. Also, if you’re in search of something more comprehensive, check out Luke Wroblewski’s ongoing catalog of UX Diagrams over at his site.

FutuRIA - Max session now live

George Neil, Andy Mulholland, Matt Butler, Rupert Wills and I explain how we are seeing design unlock new value in systems through the expression of design thinking.

For more information on FutuRIA program, follow @uxpectations on Twitter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

MAX, LAX, FutuRIA and a choc-o-bloc schedule

Max 2010 Logo

Hopping on a LAX-bound plane at 5:00 AM gives me remarkable clarity that another year has passed and we are about to fire up the MAX machine in LA.  I have 3 sessions and ton of press/analyst meetings lined up for Max and it's going to be a non-stop whirlwind.  My intent is to spend the rest of the time sneaking into RIA and LiveCycle sessions and hanging out with folks I don't get to see in person too often.

If you are interested in what Adobe is up around RIA in the enterprise space and how we are working with partners and customers to better understand future requirements and share collective vision of the transformation of web applications then Max is the place to do it - and I personally would attend my session.  In fact, I will.  If you just want to hang out with George Neill, Matt Butler and our guest presenters/demo masters such as Andy Mulholland, CTO, CapGemini, who will be presenting with us during the Tuesday morning FutuRIA session (only!) then @ me and we can take it from there.  We promise more slick demos and sneak peeks than any other enterprise RIA session focused on Adobe LiveCycle.  Our session sold out for both of the Tuesday runs, so we added another one on Wednesday, October, 27th, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm which may go over.

Across the MAX agenda there is lots of new stuff being talked about, handed out and shared and a great opportunity to see the collective groundswell that is Adobe and it's awesome community of brilliant designers, savvy developers, partners, customers and more.

Here is the session description:

FutuRIA: The Convergence of Rich Internet and Enterprise Applications
Hear top design professionals explain how to unlock new value hidden in complex enterprise systems through the expression of user-centric goals in design patterns. You’ll learn how Adobe is converging solutions, platforms, and tools to help you better serve your customers or constituents by delivering great experiences. This session equips you with business cases as examples of current cultural shifts, as we share our user experience vision, some technology sneak peeks, and a vision for the future of enterprise applications.

Tracks: Develop
Audience: Partner Decision Maker, Web Designer, Web Developer, Application Developer, Business Decision Maker
Skill Level: General Audience
Products: Flex, LiveCycle ES
Speakers: Ben Watson, George Neill, Matt Butler + at least one special guest per session.

Tuesday, October, 26th, 8:00 am – 9:30 am - Guest speaker - Andy Mulholland, CTO, CapGemini
Wednesday, October, 27th, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday, October, 27th, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm (may go over)

Click here for registration details

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Everyone that ever said they had to help users because they couldn't help themselves...line up here. #UXbyusers?

A humbling viewpoint of the power of the people to do it better. Even 'users' underestimated themselves, likely because of the obvious omnipresence of constraints, and therefore engineered queues.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interesting connection between UX and adaptive case management for unstructured process

Ease of use is not enough sometimes when we need to make sweeping changes towards optimized productivity. Joy of use can help people adopt new ways of doing things perhaps even before they recognize the gains in productivity they will realize later. Simplifying business models is key to how we build user experiences that are infinitely more joyful to use, as there is only so much we can do to hide complex or cumbersome processes in an experience. Break it down, focus on what's really important and look at each of the stages of a process, and most importantly watch how people do what they do in order to learn clues for improvement and human behaviors that are engrained that may be useful.

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As enterprises become more successful in managing their structured, routine processes through BPM tools and methodologies, the need to also manage unstructured, ad-hoc knowledge worker processes is even more apparent.
Adaptive case management (ACM), also known as dynamic case management, is getting a lot of interest lately, especially from the business process management (BPM) community. BPM vendors were the first to identify this need, since they are on the frontlines assisting companies with managing existing business processes. As enterprises become more successful in managing their structured, routine processes through BPM tools and methodologies, the need to also manage unstructured, ad-hoc knowledge worker processes is even more apparent.

ACM tools are emerging as complements to BPM and as a human-centric combination of process and collaboration. These solutions address the issue of how to structure knowledge worker processes just enough to make them manageable, but not so much as to strangle them - thereby increasing productivity. The issue of knowledge worker productivity is not a new concept. Peter Drucker recognized it at least 10 years ago , and it is still an unsolved issue today (Boosting the productivity of knowledge workers, McKinsey Quarterly 2010). Routine, structured processes are becoming automated; enhancing knowledge worker productivity is the next frontier in business productivity and is a crucial stepping stone to economic growth.
ACM is still an emerging discipline, but it is currently the best bet for process-aware tools to enhance knowledge worker productivity. Over time, these capabilities may be rolled into BPM suites, ECM suites or even e-mail. To alleviate the obstacles to knowledge worker productivity, the coming generations of ACM tools will need to focus on three areas:

  1. User Experience -- For knowledge workers to adopt ACM, these tools must reflect the way people work today. E-mail and Microsoft Office are the tools knowledge workers use most often, and ACM needs to be just as simple and intuitive. ACM tools must adopt a motto of radical simplicity for user experience design. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. If ACM is to supplant e-mail and documents (or augment them) and be a key driver of knowledge worker productivity, it will need to go beyond ease-of-use to joy-of-use.
  2. Simplified Models -- Standard modeling language and techniques are just too structured and complex for knowledge worker processes. For most knowledge work, there is a greater emphasis on process visibility and monitoring, rather than upfront modeling and a rigid predefined structure. The participants themselves decide on the flow and the structure based on their experience, skills and the specifics of the process and its data. Models as we know them in BPM won't exist in ACM, which will replace models with guidelines, guardrails and best practices. These provide valuable information for knowledge workers as they work through a process. Here, too, radical simplicity must be employed. Checklists and process visibility will take the place of BPM (or other more complex modeling techniques) for ACM.
  3. Process Analysis and Mining -- The use of an ACM creates a system of record, linking knowledge worker processes with the documents and other artifacts used in those processes. That system of record is a goldmine of knowledge regarding the way an organization actually works, providing companies with insight (which is currently missing) about how knowledge work gets done. ACM needs to analyze and mine that data to create and manage best practices for knowledge work, enabling the knowledge workers themselves to make their work more efficient.

Thinking about motivational design after the Clienteer session and I came across this future trending gem.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, dives into a world of game development which will emerge from the popular "Facebook Games" era.

See it here or follow the Amp link:

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Adobe partners bring solutions to some big enterprise problems. #CEM #UX #CRM

Some great solutions from Adobe partners built on Adobe LiveCycle can now be reviewed on  I saw many of these at our New York UX day earlier this year and they are worth a look!  Many more to come...

Alti - Real-time SAP access for retail systems

Improved in-store experience through real-time SAP access

Deloitte - Adobe Sales Force Automation solution

Next-generation role-based solution fulfills the promise of CRM, improving customer experience and increasing business growth

Ensemble - Ensemble e-invoicing solution

Streamline and automate invoicing processes

Pico - Advanced Communication Chatting System

Enter into a dialogue with today’s customers*LBDut29q6-iw

Roundarch - BI Dashboard

Rich Internet applications framework transforms business intelligence applications.*xJXUVWyWKg

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Great post on measuring usability; effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Liking an interface is not enough.

It's hard to avoid the "acquiescence bias" in an interface - people will say that they like something even after not being able to complete basic tasks. Rating design is subjective and people frequently feel like the are being put under pressure, right or wrong, to rate aesthetics. Tags that represent emotive responses or evoking feedback that is task-centric allows us to better measure actual success. Read on to see some recommendations that have been around for a while that may help with this.

I do feel like this area of usability, especially in the enterprise, is a work in progress. We have likely over-rotated on aesthetics due to mass frustration with archaic interfaces, and may need to re-balance priority against business process, perhaps taking some cues from social activity streams, rather than just focusing on 'small d' design as a way to solve adoption.

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Most usability tests culminate with a short questionnaire that asks the participant to rate, usually on a 5- or 7-point scale, various characteristics of the system. Experience shows that participants are reluctant to be critical of a system, no matter how difficult they found the tasks. This article describes a guided interview technique that overcomes this problem based on a word list of over 100 adjectives. — David Travis, March 3, 2008, updated 22 July 2009.

These dimensions of usability come from the International Standard, ISO 9241-11, which defines usability as:

"Extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use."

The ISO definition of usability makes it clear that user satisfaction is just one important dimension of usability. People may be well disposed to a system but fail to complete business-critical tasks with it, or do so in a roundabout way. The three measures of usability — effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction — are independent(opens in a new window) (PDF document) and you need to measure all three to get a rounded measure of usability.

In our studies, we notice that participants tend to rate an interface highly on a post-test questionnaire even when they fail to complete many of the tasks. I've spoken to enough of my colleagues at conferences and meetings to know that this problem is commonplace. Is this because we are about to give the participant £75 for taking part in a test session or is there something else at work? For example, one group of researchers makes this point:

"In studies such as this one, we have found subjects reluctant to be critical of designs when they are asked to assign a rating to the design. In our usability tests, we see the same phenomenon even when we encourage subjects to be critical. We speculate that the test subjects feel that giving a low rating to a product gives the impression that they are "negative" people, that the ratings reflect negatively on their ability to use computer-based technology, that some of the blame for a product's poor performance falls on them, or that they don't want to hurt the feelings of the person conducting the test." - Wiklund et al (1992).

Once you ask participants to assign a number to their experience, their experience suddenly becomes better than it actually was. We need some way of controlling this tendency.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fuel cells bloom on Adobe rooftop

Our sustainability efforts continue to hit solid milestones. Thinking about pulling together a SWAT team/advisory board to look at UX best practices for sustainability dashboards - any interest in chatting about this?

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Rooftop gardens are becoming common in many cities, but what Adobe has planted atop its San Jose headquarters is a little different: 12 fuel cell servers known as Bloom Boxes. The tech company said it will harvest enough clean energy from the installation to meet half the site’s electricity needs.

Adobe said the boxes went in on the fifth floor of its west tower in downtown San Jose. According to a press release, each of the dozen 100-kilowatt servers is the size of an average parking space and “contains thousands of fuel cells – flat, solid ceramic squares made from a sand-like powder – which will convert air and biogas into electricity via a clean electrochemical process, producing zero net carbon emissions.”

See more at

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Device Design Day videos - convergent process, affordance, implicit interaction and healthy behaviors. #UX

Kim Goodwin and Michael Voege, "Convergent Products, Convergent Process"
Interaction designers and industrial designers are kindred spirits in many ways, yet we tend to lean on somewhat different skills, biases, and design approaches. Many teams struggle with these differences, and the results of that struggle are visible in the telephones, remote controls, and even toaster ovens that drive us all a little bit crazy. So how do we get past atoms vs. pixels, while still benefiting from the different strengths of each discipline? No doubt there's more than one answer, but the one that has worked for us is a convergent design process that incorporates both co-design and parallel design, but never sequential design in which one discipline drives the other. We'll share that process—and the project management considerations that go with it—from both IxD and ID perspectives.

Stuart Karten, "User-driven Innovation"
The fast pace of technology development makes almost anything possible. The challenge that product developers face is implementing technologies in ways that meet customer needs and facilitate trust. In the hearing aid industry, technology allows hearing instruments to become smaller and smaller and opens up new possibilities for user interface. In taking Starkey’s hearing aids to the next level, Stuart Karten and his team at design and innovation consultancy SKD served as user advocates, making sure that Starkey’s advanced technology was developed into a family of products that meet the unique needs of 65- to 85-year-old end users. Karten will share the tools and strategies that SKD employed to maintain its focus on the end user throughout the product and interface development process.

Implicit interactions can interactive devices to help communicate cues and to provide feedback to make interactive devices easier, more effective and less infuriating. We'll look at examples and design guidelines to help design good implicit interactions and avoid making inadvertent bad ones.

Are you inadvertently porting old UI paradigms to new contexts of use? Tomorrow's devices need new affordances. I'll share insights and considerations for designing distributed experiences across a range of converged devices.

Gretchen Anderson, "Motivating Healthy Behaviors"
We've moved into an era where the gadgets we use affect our very being. Purpose-built medical devices are moving into the hands of consumers, and apps deliver healthcare over-the-air. This session looks at key concerns and best practices when designing medical devices and motivating healthy behaviors.

All of these videos can be found at the Device Design Day group.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Social Enterprise and 3 levels of pull - Access, Attract, Achieve.

Excellent article and thought leadership around the social enterprise here - covers the fear, the concept and the notion of handling exceptions. I found this part really compelling and I hope you would agree that we have only scratched the surface of the audacious opportunity that this presents for more social approaches to solutions:

"Exceptions occur in every organization. In our informal surveys, we have found that as much as two-thirds of headcount time in major enterprise functions like marketing, manufacturing and supply chain management is spent on exception handling. Whether it is a customer that requires non-standard financing terms, a brand manager who needs to find the code for an unusual pallet configuration, or a software developer trying to resolve an issue in code that has multiple dependencies — each is an example of where traditional enterprise applications are insufficient and standard operating processes break."

Read the full article at