Product Design Newsletter

Insights from fields like user experience, agile development, marketing and of course product design.

Product Design Newsletter

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Jan Mikula Jan Mikula • Weekly

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Mobile-App Onboarding: An Analysis of Components and Techniques

Summary: Onboarding is the process of getting users familiar with a new interface. It can involve one or more of the following components: feature promotion, customization, and instructions.

Imagine being dropped into a new job with no explanation of your primary work tasks or how to accomplish them. You probably wouldn’t be very successful (however that’s measured) or stay for very long, right? Having an effective onboarding process is key to enabling new employees to succeed. Further, each time a new process is introduced, onboarding would again be needed to get everyone to adopt it.

The same is true for user interfaces, particularly when the interface is something intended to be used repeatedly. In this article, we’ll focus on mobile-app onboarding.

Read the article (6 min read)

User Research

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3 Persona Types: Lightweight, Qualitative, and Statistical

Summary: For most teams, approaching persona creation qualitatively is the right balance of effort vs. value, but very large or very small organizations might benefit from statistical or lightweight approaches, respectively.

Personas used in UX work are a quick, empathy-inducing shorthand for our users’ context, motivations, needs, and approaches to using our products. They are meant to help us focus on what matters most to our users and put ourselves in their shoes when making design decisions. Because of this, they must always be rooted in a qualitative understanding of users and reflect the what and why that drives them. They should not be based on (often dubious) correlations between different demographic or analytics variables.

Read the article (5 min read)
NN Group

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Journey Mapping for Remote Teams: A Digital Template

Summary: A collaborative spreadsheet is an efficient, effective tool for virtual customer-journey mapping. Because of the format and structure it affords, almost everyone will be able to access and easily use it.

Journey maps visualize the process that a customer goes through to accomplish a goal. They are created by compiling a series of user tasks and actions into a timeline, alongside user thoughts and emotions, in order to create a narrative. This narrative communicates insights that inform the design process.

There are many digital tools that help distributed teams compile journey maps into digital formats. This article provides a simple spreadsheet template for virtual customer-journey mapping. You can also use this template as a first step for digitizing the output from an in-person journey-mapping workshop.

Read the article (3 min read)
NN Group

NN Group

Journey-Mapping Approaches: 2 Critical Decisions To Make Before You Begin

Summary: Before beginning any journey-mapping initiative, teams must decide between (1) a current-state or future-state map, and (2) an assumption-first or research-first approach. A hybrid approach for each decision works well for most teams.

Whether you’re attempting to address user-research goals, such as learning about a specific persona’s needs related to your product, or internal business goals, such as addressing lack of ownership over certain parts of the customer experience, journey mapping can be useful activity for bringing teams together to create one shared organization-wide vision for prioritizing design and UX ideas and investments.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

12 Ways To Improve User Interview Questions

An experienced interviewer takes care of many things: builds hypotheses, selects interviewees, composes invitations, schedules appointments, sets the stage, and, of course, writes an interview script. Any of these preparations can go wrong, but the script failure means all the effort is in vain. So, if you haven’t interviewed people a lot before or you have to delegate it to non-designers, I’d recommend paying attention to high-quality questions, in the first place. Then, there is a chance they’ll smooth out other potential shortcomings.

We’ll talk about 12 kinds of questions explained with examples. The first part includes six frequent mistakes and how to fix them. The second part presents six ways to improve decent questions and take control of difficult situations.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How To Run The Right Kind Of Research Study With The Double-Diamond Model

Product and design teams make a lot of decisions. Early on in the development of a product, they will be thinking about features — such as what the product should do, and how each feature should work. Later on, those decisions become more nuanced — such as ‘what should this button say? Each decision introduces an element of risk — if a bad decision is made, it will reduce the chance for the product to be successful.

The people making these decisions rely on a variety of information sources to improve the quality of their decision This includes intuition, an understanding of the market, as well as an understanding of user behavior. Of these, the most valuable source of information to put evidence behind decisions is understanding our users.

Read the article (6 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How To Test A Design Concept For Effectiveness

Most of us are reasonably comfortable with the idea of carrying out usability testing on a website or prototype. We don’t always get the opportunity, but most people accept that it is a good idea.

However, when it comes to a design concept, opinion is more divided. Some designers feel it undermines their role, a view that seems to be somewhat backed up by the famous “Forty Shades of Blue” episode, where Google tested which one of forty shades of blue to use for link color.

Aricle titled: Google's Marissa Mayers Assaults Designers With Data
Google undermined the role of the designer by placing an overwhelming emphasis on testing. (Large preview)
Read the article (6 min read)

Inspiration

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Is Your Website Stressing Out Visitors?

Stress is a nasty thing and many of us deal with it on a regular basis. Our jobs, school, homes, relationships, and even things going on around the world can trigger feelings of panic, unease, and depression. And those are just chronic stressors. Think about the small things that send your body into instant fight-or-flight mode on a daily basis (e.g. traffic jams, unhelpful customer service reps, getting sick when you have a big project due).

The last thing you want is for someone to visit one of the websites you’ve built, only to feel like they:

  • Need to battle their way through it, or
  • Leave immediately and never come back.

There are a variety of ways a website can cause stress and leave visitors wondering if their response should be to fight or flight. Slow loading times. Overwhelming navigations. Excessive 404 errors. You get the point. But the design itself could be a problem, too.

Read the article (5 min read)
UX Planet

UX Planet

7 practical examples of how to improve CTA’s

Words can improve your conversion. Here’s how.

CALL TO ACTION (CTA). People easily leave your website because you lost their attention. It’s your job as a UI designer, web designer, developer, founder, CEO, -insert fancy title here- to grab that attention and hold it. And a change in words can accomplish that.

1. Beta’s don’t own only 1 CTA text

Read the article (2 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

10 great design systems and how to learn (and steal) from them

DDesign systems are all the rage and while most articles talk about what they are and best practices for creating them, at DesignerUp we’ve been framing them as a teaching tool with our product design students to help them better understand, explore and learn the philosophies, best practices and principles of UI design, UX and Product Design.

Aside from implementing design systems into your workflow, design systems are a tremendous untapped resource for learning how to create better user experiences and interfaces just by studying them! What better way to understand how to design an e-commerce user flow than from Shopify?!? These are what we call Design Patterns and smart designers know how use these to inform the decisions they make with their own designs.

Read the article (7 min read)

Accessibility

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Accessible Images For When They Matter Most

When it comes to informing the public about critical health issues, timing is everything. The information you consume today could save your life tomorrow. And with more than 65% of the population being visual learners — meaning they learn and remember best through visual communication — the job of creating and sharing accessible images has never been more important. This is especially true for public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at providing crucial and urgent information to the public.

But what happens when your users have visual impairments? Or dyslexia? Or cognitive disorders? How do they receive and understand this visual information? What elements make an image accessible or inaccessible?

Read the article (10 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Equivalent Experiences: Thinking Equivalently

This is the second of two articles on the topic of how digital accessibility is informed by equivalency. Previously, we have learned about the underlying biases that inform digital product creation, what isn’t an equivalent experience, the compounding effects of inaccessible design and code, and powerful motivating forces for doing better.

In this article, I will discuss learning how to embrace an equivalent, inclusive mindset. I will also provide practical, robust ways to improve your websites and web apps by providing solutions to common, everyday barriers cited by the people I interviewed.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Equivalent Experiences: What Are They?

If you spend enough time interacting with digital accessibility practitioners, you may encounter the phrase “equivalent experience.” This saying concisely sums up a lot of the philosophy behind accessibility work.

Our industry tends to place a lot of focus on how, often at the expense of why. For accessibility-related concerns, it is vital to learn about the history, and lived experiences of disabled people as a context for understanding the need for design and code created with access in mind.

This is the first of two articles on the topic of equivalency, and how it relates to digital accessibility. It will help us define what an equivalent experience is. Once we have a common understanding established, I’ll then discuss how to go about implementing equivalent experiences for common accessibility-related issues.

Read the article (9 min read)

Good Practices

Intercom

Intercom

Product Judgment: How some people can repeatedly create product success

Let’s talk about that trickiest of subjects: Product Judgment.

Also known as Product Intuition or Product Instinct or Product Taste, it is the idea that you can use your own judgment to (1) accurately predict what your customers need, want and value, and (2) design and ship the right solution for them. Here, I will tackle some of the common questions around it:

  • Does it exist? What exactly is it? 
  • Who has it? Who doesn’t? 
  • Who thinks they have it but don’t? 
  • Is it natural or learned? How do I get it?

Product Judgment is a tricky subject because any time someone working in a Product role has their judgment questioned, the natural reaction can often be to take it personally, to infer that the person critiquing is challenging their ability to do a good job. How can you be good at Product if you don’t have strong Product Judgment? 

Read the article (9 min read)
NN Group

NN Group

DesignOps Maturity: Low in Most Organizations

Summary: In a survey of 557 design and UX practitioners, organizations only did 22% of recommended DesignOps efforts, did not have DesignOps-dedicated roles, and had low DesignOps maturity overall.

Design Operations (DesignOps) refers to the to the orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.

In order to understand how DesignOps efforts are understood, prioritized, and implemented across organizations, we asked 557 UX and design professionals in a variety of industries about the following:

  • The presence or absence of DesignOps-related activities and artifacts across design teams
  • The presence or absence of DesignOps roles
  • The extent to which DesignOps is valued or understood at their organization

The DesignOps Framework

Our DesignOps framework has 3 core areas:

Read the article (7 min read)
UX Collective

UX Collective

Avoiding the new-manager syndrome in design

Photo by Renata Fraga
“Dear younger me,

You finally scored that promotion you’ve been looking for, right?

You’re now a manager.

I’m really excited for you; this is the first step of something big. Make sure to celebrate this promotion with your loved ones. Yep, go ahead and get drunk tonight; you don’t need to act professional all the time.

Now that you are a manager, things will start to change. Probably not in the way you’re expecting, though… You’re such a dreamer, aren’t you?

Let me tell you a few things that I wish someone had told me when I became a manager for the first time.

Read the article (2 min read)

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