Monday, December 22, 2008

User Experience - It Ain't Just Paint

We’ve known for a while now that Microsoft is taking User Experience seriously – Bill Buxton’s keynote at MixUK ’08 being clear testament to that – but it’s nice that they’re starting to share out the goodness so the message can be shouted out clear and loud.

In December’s MSDN magazine, Dr Charles B Kreitzberg and Ambrose Little give us the first I of a new set of columns focusing on putting usability into practice.

From the article, the facets of UX are:

Interaction Design Defines how the user interacts with the product. It specifies the behavior of the product in response to actions by the user and focuses on the product's navigation as well as the specific controls that are used.

Information Architecture Defines how information is organized and presented. Its goal is to support discoverability and usability.

User Research The process of studying users in order to develop a design that meets their needs, capabilities, and preferences. The methods are varied and typically employ a number of interview techniques along with observation. User logs and secondary sources are also used. Surveys and focus groups can also be used although many UX designers avoid them.

Visual Design The graphic treatment of the UI. Visual designers may be graphic artists rather than UX designers. While visual excitement is important, it is also essential that the visual design does not impair readability or usability.

Usability Testing The process of observing users performing specific tasks on a prototype or mock-up of the UI. Traditionally, usability testing was performed in a lab with observers behind a one-way mirror. However, increasingly, usability tests use webcast technology.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series – if only there was an RSS feed for it!

Usability In Practice : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd263095.aspx

3 comments:

Charlie and Anne Kreitzberg said...

As the author of the article you referenced it was really nice to come across your blog post.

I think that the development community is ready to think about usability and how to integrate it into the development process. But it will not be an easy.

Understanding design and thinking about usability requires a shift in thinking. But the good news is that it pays off hugely in the production of better interactive products and the end-user's acceptance of them.

Please share your thoughts with us. Until we can get a better way set up, email me at charlie at cognetics dot com with your ideas.

Best,

Charlie Kreitzberg

_howard said...

You can get an RSS feed of the column here.

you can also create your own custom feeds of MSDN Magazine content here

Cheers,

_howard

J. Ambrose Little said...

Hi Joel,

Just thought I'd complete the circle. :) Thanks for the notice. Hope you find what we write useful.

--Ambrose