Introduction The IoT is a much marketed term as the future of all things; the IoT is interconnected landscape of life experiences and transactions What is the IoT, how is it intended to work and how does that relate to how it currently works. What are the real business opportunities and how will they be measured as a success? How can your business gain an advantage or benefit? Finally, are there any risks associated with the IoT, either foreseen or not and how might they be mitigated? What is the IoT and where does it come from? The IoT is problematic as a description for UbiquityRead More →

karl smith iot products situational awareness

The foundation for this thinking goes back to a notion of the ‘social life of things’. If things themselves exist and have a number of trajectories and states then those things also potentially have accessible and useful human touch points in the IoT. Much of the interactions we humans have become used to are in fact simple touch-points to hidden and complex interactions within dispersed and non-interlinked (at the core) technology systems. This simplification process of creating a directed visual presentation layer enables us to maintain a simplified mental model around our interactions. However in IoT technologies the additional integration of voice, touch and thoughtRead More →

1. Anyone can do user experience, nope! I meet a lot of people claiming to do user experience, process and deliverables aside, they don’t have a usability background so they cannot do user experience. User experience is a solution capability based upon usability principles and research findings not design aspirations User experience is a solution capability (not all usability people can do user experience) based upon the experience of conducting usability testing and user research. Usability testing and user research provides the standards and experience of the user that is needed to understand their perspective, elicit the correct (there are wrong ones) requirements in workshops or testingRead More →

An interview with a UX Guru

User Experience (UX) why is it important? User experience is so important because it enables client companies to get to the heart of their relationship with their customers without the marketing glamor that hides how they really feel and what they really experience. Client companies spend a great deal of money creating myths about what they do and their relationship to their customers but they also need the reality that user experience research brings. Ultimately user experience is about the ability to make decisions based upon re-creatable rigorous scientific research (avoiding one person’s view) involving real customers to create actionable information for design and theRead More →

UX afinity diagram

What is a User in Professional UX? Below is a simple guide to find out if you have users involved in your project. A person who is part (employed or service team) of a contracted consultancy – IS NOT A USER A person who is part (employed or service team) of a client company project team including sponsors and stakeholders – IS NOT A USER A person who does not represent the primary targeted audience (based upon user screening protocols) – IS NOT A USER A person who does not provide an independent non partisan (providing both positive and negative experiences) view – IS NOT A USER If your user falls into any one of the above groupsRead More →

An interview with a UX Guru

User Experience (UX) looks pretty simple can anyone do it? No it’s a skill and knowledge based activity, I look for communicators with formal science qualifications (BSc, MSc or PhD), standards knowledge, creativity and genius level intelligence. Wow you need to be a genius to do User Experience (UX)? Not exactly, but it helps. User Experience is a complex translation process, requirements are tested with users and transformed. These user requirements are then filtered through standards and then transformed again into concepts. The concepts are then transformed into functional and non functional specification (mostly as user stories) which are transformed again into wireframes, annotations andRead More →

UCD2012

After a year and a half of planning and work UCD2012 is almost due to start. It started as a conversation on Linkedin for me, then for a while between contacts became all consuming to make it happen. As a contractor myself I argued for an event that would also be available on a Saturday as I know how hard it is to motivate someone to lose a day’s rate and then pay for a conference on top of that. To my knowledge UCD2012 is the only United Kingdom conference to focus on it’s users in this way. It’s totally appropriate for a user centredRead More →

Karl Smith Experience Consultant

About Karl Smith Karl Smith works globally with directors, stakeholders and customers of multi-national enterprises across all verticals and technology stacks whose focus is on new concepts and capabilities that drive customer engagement, interaction and retention. He creates digital companies, strategies and services that drive customer centricity into the core of client companies, that in turn enable them to realise their ambitions to engage with and establish a consistent two-way communication and interaction with their customers. These new companies and capabilities are underwritten with tailored blue sky work, digital strategy, management consulting and program planning fitting to tight timescales, strategically correct, fully featured, useable, governable, scalable,Read More →

British Airways website security upgrade stops ticket sales

I just logged into my BA account to book a ticket, but BA does not want my business because they have implemented new security without thinking about the impact on users. After making my selection I’m shown the page below instead of a flight selection page. I could understand getting this if I’m not logged in, but I am so I have already authenticated my session. But there is no excuse for sending me to a blank screen, my firewall does not block Captcha, I know this for a fact. When was this tested or has it gone up today without being tested, who knows?Read More →

User stories is another name for a Cognitive Walkthrough I have been involved in Agile for a very long time, mainly because it uses methods from the human computer interaction scientific process (CHI/HCI). Agile Networking Group (20,000 members on LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/groups/81065. Signed the Agile Manifesto on 3rd April 2008 (http://agilemanifesto.org/display/000000111.html) Certified member of the Scrum Alliance Certificant ID: 52664 I’m surprise no one else has blogged about the use of CHI/HCI processes in Agile before, but though I should say something as I keep getting told that it’s interesting how many CHI/HCI people have embraced Agile. In fact it’s the other way around Agile has imply appropriatedRead More →

Design thinking in User Experience

1. Anyone can do user experience, nope! I meet a lot of people claiming to do user experience, process and deliverables aside, they don’t have a usability background so they cannot do real user experience. User experience is a personal capability (not all usability people can do user experience) based upon the experience of conducting usability testing and user research. Usability testing and user research provides the standards and experience of the user that is needed to understand their perspective, illicit the correct (there are wrong ones) requirements in workshops or testing and represent them in projects. I met (in 2006) a UX expert, I’mRead More →

Business management does not reflect customer (users) activity The management of a businesses online presence is broken up into various channels in order to simplify the management, responsibility and accountability for overall effectiveness and value. However customers (users) are unaware of these business rules and are only focused on their task or tasks, which will cut across several channels. Holistic customer (user) experience is cross channel Given the behaviour of customers (users) it is clear that effectual user experience is cross channel as well. This creates some problems for business, however with the advent of Agile, user stories it may be time for businesses toRead More →

I like many other people love to use my mobile phone to view the web, contact friends through mobile applications and keep up to date. But recent changes by companies are driving me nuts; it’s so bad that I’m considering not using their services. So what’s the problem with mobile? When the World Wide Web started to go mobile, the complex problem of screen size and control had many solutions, some worked some did not. I remember writing my first WEP site; it worked but was an awful user experience. Then CSS took over as the solution of choice, now it’s purpose built applications (lessRead More →

Information Systems

IA is not another name for UX User experience (UX) and Information Architecture (IA) are very different and have separate skill sets, processes and outputs. I often talk to people who add IA on the their CV as if it’s some simple skill; IA is actually more complex and difficult than UX IA is also hundreds of years old as an activity while UX is less than twenty in it’s current form. Information architecture is involved in the classification and structure of information. User experience is involved in; defining who the audience is, what they can do, how they can do it and matching the aspirationRead More →

Design thinking in User Experience

UX is a highly complex set of research tools and outputs, the use of which is dependant upon time, cost and the clients willingness to accept them. Question 1, why are you there? If the client were to think in best practice terms which for them would deliver exactly what they require then everyone would have a great experience of the process. Unfortunately it is pretty much a given that clients want to prove themselves knowledgable about well everything, in control and this is one of the main problems. I often hear clients say “I understand our users” or “I built this company so IRead More →

Win8 is a game changer, but why the new strategy? Any knowledgeable IT and digital stratagist who understands the technology will tell you that Win8 is a game changer, but what is more significant is the way Microsoft is acting, they are thinking the way Apple used to, while Apple has moved to a 1970-80’s Microsoft! Win8 is a cultural change as much as anything else, the user is not driven to the desktop or forced into an office the devices and Win8 travel with them. I recognise that Apple users (I have both, I’m platform agnostic) will just see this as Microsoft catching up,Read More →

The UX Triangle The UX triangle is supposed to focus a project on the relationships involved in a project and how everything is centred upon the users. The UX Triangle shows the key relationships and participants in a user experience project. The outer participants are the Business (strategic and corporate), IT services (design, delivery and infrastructure) and Marketing (driving relationships, market knowledge and acquisition). Centred on User Experience (UX) and focused on the User. It’s almost as if User Experience needs to start from the beginning again, because the essential component is missing in so many critical projects because there is ‘No Budget’. If youRead More →

An interview with a UX Guru

Like my last post How to Hire a Head of User Experience this post is not intended to supersede the experience of a really good HR or employment agency person but to bring clarity around the differences in the roles. A Director of User Experience is not really the next level on the business ladder for a Head of UX or a lead user experience or senior user experience person. The reason is that it’s a business role with little or no actual practical activity in the UX domain. A Director of UX is someone with an extra level of expertise related to management, financeRead More →

An interview with a UX Guru

Head of anything is evocative of responsibility, power and knowledge, but what does Head of User Experience (UX) really mean and how do you know if your getting one? User experience in its value and effectiveness is geographical and sector based, that is to say it means different things to different people by country, by business and by route to the role (in-house HR or agency service). With this many variants how can anyone be sure that they have hired a Head of User Experience? One of my colleagues in a recent contract described User Experience as turning the turd (poo) into a piece ofRead More →

There is a major problem with user experience as it evolves, many practitioners are not underwriting their output with recent ux research but are relying on past patterns. In turn this has caused the creation of streams or levels of UX capability and delivery; Subsistence, Resolution, Gain or Advantage UX.Read More →

Design thinking in User Experience

Doing user experience The first step in user experience needs to be the recognition that every problem is different and will require a separate solution. Because if they are not, then every business is the same which they are clearly not. In effect there is no quick fix or standard solution method but rather there is an armoury of methods each with associated risks, limitations and plus points. Anyone offering a standardise method for user experience without flexibility should be ask to leave as they about to cost you a fortune. I have worked with very well known agencies who are unable to get theirRead More →

Design thinking in User Experience

Setting the scene for user experience to work I have over the last few months had several rants about people claiming to be involved in user experience who are not regardless of their job titles. I came across a great blog post by Whitney Hess (I don’t want to steal her traffic so here is just a link) about what shows your not a user experience person, but I though maybe I should point to what does show your are one to get some balance here. Training clients what to expect Does your client know what they want, this sounds obvious, but user experience isRead More →