What the mobile user wants

· Design

We’re not the only shop working on mobile user interfaces these days and we’re learning quickly as we go and absorbing advice and insight from multiple sources and directions. Here’s an article published last week in UX Matters called Designing the Mobile User Experience with some good food for thought.

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It's raining books on interaction design

· Design

John Kolko, a teacher at Savannah College of Art & Design, is writing and self-publishing a book called Thoughts on Interaction Design. He’s also blogging the process as he goes along. (It’s his first book, his first attempt at publishing, and his first business, so he’s treating the entire experience as an experiment.)
His book will join Dan Saffer’s recent Designing for Interaction (Wiley, 2006),
Bill Moggridge’s recent Designing Interactions (MIT Press, 2006), Jenifer Tidwell’s Designing Interfaces (O’Reilly, 2005), and Future Interaction Design (Springer, 2005); as well as older tomes including Barbara Mirel’s Interaction Design for Complex Problem Solving: Developing Useful and Usable Software (Morgan-Kaufmann, 2003); Jenny Preece’s, Yvonne Rogers’, and Helen Sharp’s Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (Wiley, 2002); Alan Cooper and Robert Reimann’s About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design (Wiley, 2003), which was the second edition of a book originally published with a slightly different subtitle seven years earlier; and Designing Interaction: Psychology at the Human-Computer Interface (Cambridge, 1991).

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Hiring renaissance talent

· Design

In response to a thread on the IxDA mailing list about how job ads seeking “Leonardo da Vinci” (that is, someone who can design, do illustrations, and write code) may be trying to pack too many requirements into a single req, Dave Rogers posted a link to an article her wrote nearly a year ago for gotomedia,
The User Advocate: One Size Fits None?, in which he writes:

I also recognize that the “one size fits all” designer is how the Web was won. Because the visual nature of the early Web was transformative, it was natural for visual designers to take the lead. Already savvy users of computer design tools, they added some straightforward HTML skills to their palettes and hung out their shingles. Pioneers are always generalists.
But those days are long past. The settlers have moved in, cities are rising. As business leapt into the Web with its show-no-mercy requirements, the gaps in the early Web designers’ skills-notably in interaction design (IxD), usability engineering and information architecture-became increasingly evident.
Specialists began to emerge. Requirements analysts. Usability specialists. Interaction designers. And information architects.

We’re hiring like mad right now and I’m wrestling with some of these same issues. I gave up trying to find an IA who was also good at functional requirements, specs, and use cases (although “back in my day” we did all those things while walking uphill in the snow against the wind both ways) and now I’m looking for separate individuals: an IA/user experience expert and a tech writer / spec writer.

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Jared Spool on 'embraceable change'

· Design

Last year, Jared Spool wrote an essay about a disruptive intranet redesign in which he used the analogy of finding your well lived-in home entirely changed on waking up one morning (Designing Embraceable Change). In it, he discusses how to make it easier for people to embrace changes in their information spaces:

To design for embraceable change, the design team has to be well aware of the existing Current and Target Knowledge points, as well as the new points. Field studies are the ideal technique for learning the existing points, whereas usability testing will give a detailed understanding as to whether the new design has an acceptable knowledge gap. These two techniques are essential for any team who needs to tackle this difficult problem.

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