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Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, Tog, and colleagues: usability advocates offering evidence-based user experience (UX) research, training, consulting.

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Johnson & Johnson’s Intranet Consolidation and Roadmap

Summary: Johnson & Johnson’s redesigned intranet centralizes company news and digital-workplace tools on a single platform. Its intranet roadmap focused on problems to solve to improve productivity and boost the intranet’s perception.

Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest healthcare company. Its intranet, Home, supports a global workforce of over 135,000 employees. The goal of its recent redesign was to better unite the digital-workplace ecosystem and drive a one-stop experience for employees.

Johnson & Johnson's employee experience map.
Home is a launching point for finding information and accessing other tools in Johnson & Johnson’s digital-workplace ecosystem.
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5 Facilitation Principles for Both UX Workshops and User Tests

Summary: Both UX workshops and usability tests benefit when facilitators are focused on goals, follow a meeting guide yet are open to improvisation, encourage participants to act, and don’t talk too much.

UX designers often profess they have strengths in facilitating UX workshops, but weaknesses in conducting research. On the flipside, many UX researchers feel unprepared for facilitating UX workshops but have command over a multitude of user-research methods.

The truth is that facilitating workshops and moderating user tests are not so different: you can transfer your facilitation skills from one to the other. This article discusses 5 facilitation techniques that can be applied in both settings.

Differences Between UX Workshops and User Tests

At their core, UX workshops and user tests are quite different; a few of the major differences are summarized in the table below.

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UX-Maturity Stage 4: Structured

Summary: An organization recognizes the value of UX and has semisystematic UX-related methodology that is widespread, but with varying degrees of effectiveness and efficiency.

This article describes stage 4 in the six-stage NN/g UX-maturity model. Get an idea of your organization’s UX maturity by taking a short quiz (10 minutes or less).

Stage-4 organizations recognize the value of UX and have one or more established UX teams. Leadership usually supports UX and sometimes even incorporates it into high-level strategies and initiatives.

Design is widely understood across the organization and there is an established, iterative human-centered–design process. User research is conducted throughout the entire product lifecycle.

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Growing in Your UX Career: Study Guide

Summary: Unsure where to start? Use this collection of links to articles, videos, and a free report for advice to grow in your user experience career.

UX practitioners come from different backgrounds, yet there are specific skills and responsibilities deemed as crucial in the industry today. Here’s a compilation of NN/g’s most useful articles and videos about growing in your UX career. We also share a free report based on research studies carried out with 722 UX professionals around the world. Within each section, the resources are in recommended reading order.

UX Careers: An Overview

This compilation is a collection of resources geared toward existing UX practitioners and those considering a career transition into UX. It’s meant to help you with career-related questions such as which path to choose within UX or what to include in a research or design portfolio. 

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DesignOps: Study Guide

Summary: Unsure where to start? Use this collection of links to our articles and videos to learn about the components of DesignOps and get started implementing DesignOps activities.

DesignOps: An Overview

Definition: DesignOps refers to the orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.

Our DesignOps framework has 3 core areas:

  1. How we work together: How teams organize and align around shared responsibilities, establish effective measures for collaboration, and enable employee development
  2. How we get our work done: How teams use processes to achieve consistent design quality, establish repositories for knowledge sharing and efficiencies, and effectively prioritize projects
  3. How our work creates impact: How teams measure design work, share and reward team success, and enable others — even those outside of the team — to learn and use design and research activities
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5 Prioritization Methods in UX Roadmapping

Summary: The best prioritization method depends on project context, team culture, and success criteria.

Prioritizing work into a roadmap can be daunting for UX practitioners. Prioritization methods base these important decisions on objective, relevant criteria instead of subjective opinions.

This article outlines 5 methods for prioritizing work into a UX roadmap:

  1. Impact–effort matrix 
  2. Feasibility, desirability, and viability scorecard
  3. RICE method
  4. MoSCoW analysis 
  5. Kano model

These prioritization methods can be used to prioritize a variety of “items,” ranging from research questions, user segments, and features to ideas, and tasks. This article focuses on using these methods within the context of roadmapping—prioritizing problems that need to be solved into a strategic timeline. 

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Recruiting and Screening Candidates for User Research Projects

Summary: Know the inherent biases in your recruiting process and avoid them in order to recruit study participants that are representative for your target audience.

Recruiting participants for research studies is a difficult task: you have to attract interested participants, schedule times to meet for the study, remind them to come to the study, and then hope that they do, in fact, remember to come to their scheduled session. To make matters worse, sometimes participants who do show up are not good candidates for the study because they simply do not have relevant life experiences to contribute meaningful feedback or insights, even with their best efforts. Suboptimal study participants negatively affect the quality of your research and of your design decisions.

Screening surveys (also known as “screeners”) are questionnaires that gather information about candidate participants’ experiences to:

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Campbell’s Law: The Dark Side of Metric Fixation

Summary: When organizations optimize metrics at the cost of all else, they expose themselves to metric corruption. Ultimately, as the Facebook scandal illustrates, they may fail their users and their business goals.

One of the most misquoted sayings in business is “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. This statement (and its variations) is often meant to say that, to improve something, we need a precise metric that captures it and that should be tracked in order to understand if our efforts to improve it are effective. 

It is interesting that this “quote” is actually the complete opposite of the original, which was: 

“It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.” — W. Edwards Deming (The New Economics).

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How Many Participants for a UX Interview?

Summary: In the early stages of a UX-design project, recruit enough people to gain an in-depth understanding of users’ experiences and needs. The number of people needed for an interview study is often smaller than you think.

One common question I get when teaching User Interviews, a full-day course at our UX Conference, is how many people do I need to interview? Unfortunately, there isn’t a golden number. In this article, I’ll highlight some factors that will help you decide.

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The Golden Ratio and User-Interface Design

Summary: Although traditionally used in art and architecture, the golden ratio can be referenced to design aesthetically pleasing interfaces.

Proportional systems are based on ratios and have been used for centuries in architecture and art. The golden ratio was first mentioned as early as about 500 BC by Phidias, Plato, and then Euclid. It is fair to assume that this ratio has been discovered several times throughout history — hence its many names, including golden mean, golden ratio, golden section, divine proportion (coined by Leonardo Da Vinci) and the Greek symbol φ. 

The exact mathematical definition is as follows (according to Wikipedia):

Golden ratio: Two quantities a and b (a>b) are in the golden ratio φ if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities:

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Context Methods: Study Guide

Summary: Unsure where to start? Use this collection of links to our articles and videos to learn about ethnographic methods like field studies and diary studies — methods that help you learn about your user’s context.

Context methods (such as field and diary studies) provide insights about a users’ real-life environment and behaviors and shed light on how products are used in a natural context. 

Here’s a list of NN/g’s most useful introductory articles and videos about context methods (field studies and diary studies), as well as some related topics. Within each section, the resources are in recommended reading order.

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UX-Maturity Stage 3: Emergent

Summary: A company’s UX efforts at this stage are functional and promising, but inconsistent and inefficient.

This article describes stage 3 in the six-stage NN/g UX-maturity model. Get an idea of your organization’s UX maturity by taking a short quiz (10 minutes or less).

Stage-3 organizations see more UX work happening across more teams than stage-1 and stage-2 organizations, but efforts are generally low-budget, unstable, and do not align to any organization-wide strategy.

A limited number of UX-specific roles exists, but it’s not nearly enough and they are left to function without centralized UX resources and frameworks. Understanding of UX value varies across teams and user-centered methods are applied inconsistently.

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How to Handle Category Outliers in Your IA

Summary: Users’ mental models of concept categories are far less strict than you might expect. Consider keeping small numbers of outlier pages within their larger parent category, rather than creating unnecessary subcategories.

If you’ve worked on building the information architecture for a website or app, you’ve probably encountered some items that were a bit tricky. It might be that they had several natural homes (polyhierarchy) or they fitted loosely into a single category. You’ve probably wondered how to handle this situation, asking yourself if you should create some specific subcategories for these odd items or just put them in the categories that they sort of belong to. You might have even thought about it in terms of how “strict” or “logical” your categorization needs to be. 

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Prioritize Quantitative Data with the Pareto Principle

Summary: Prioritize the 20% of your website or app responsible for 80% of a critical metric to generate substantial improvements for less effort.

Imagine this: after dozens of meetings with your company's legal, marketing, and engineering departments, you finally have access to an analytics tool. Congratulations! There is a rush of excitement as the UX team dreams of conducting A/B testing on design improvements or (finally) convincing skeptical stakeholders with quantitative user data.

A few months pass and that initial excitement turns into dismay — there are so many pages, reports, and metrics to consider. The scope and robustness of analytics tools can mire any design team with information overloadand analysis paralysis. What can UX professionals do when confronted with so much quantitative data? Consider using the Pareto Principle.

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Remote Usability Testing: Study Guide

Summary: Unsure where to start? Use this collection of links to our articles and videos to learn about conducting user testing remotely.

In a remote usability testing session, the researcher and participant are not in the same physical location. This differs from traditional usability testing, in which the researcher and participant would meet in person.

Here’s a list of NN/g’s most useful introductory articles and videos about remote usability testing. Within each section, the resources are in recommended reading order.

For hands-on training, check out our full-day course on Remote User Research.

Moderated vs. Unmoderated

There are two types of remote usability testing: moderated and unmoderated.

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9 Ways to Encourage Employee Sharing and Engagement on an Intranet

Summary: Keysight Technologies uses features such as comments, executive question-and-answer forums, and monthly photo contests to encourage employee-generated content and sharing on the intranet.

Keysight Technologies has over 13,900 employees in 31 countries. Its new intranet, Keysight Pulse, is the center of the company’s digital workplace and one of the 10 winners of our 2021 Intranet Design Annual award.

Encouraging Employee Feedback, Content, and Questions

When the corporate-communications team at Keysight Technologies redesigned the intranet, one of the main goals was to create a strong sense of community among employees across all company locations. To support this vision for engagement, Pulse offers 9 ways for employees to connect and share with each other on the intranet:

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Online Shoppers Take Note of Socially Conscious Retailers

Summary: Ecommerce brands that demonstrate their efforts toward social causes stand out to customers who hold similar values.

With so many options online, consumers are beginning to compare retailers based on factors that go beyond products and price. In a recent study of ecommerce websites, we noticed an increase in the number of ecommerce sites that showcased the organization’s values and its meaningful efforts toward causes that consumers care about. Participants in our study noticed as well. Many of them commented positively about those companies that demonstrated values aligned with their own.

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How to Write a Mission Statement for a UX Team: A Case Study in Design Operations

Summary: Create a team mission statement collaboratively with your team. Make sure everybody understands what a mission statement is and abstract the core purpose and value of your team by identifying themes in stories of value about your team.

For many UX, design, or DesignOps teams — especially those actively attempting to grow or establish their presence, scale their influence, or increase their level of UX maturity — a formalized team mission statement can promote internal alignment and external recognition of the team’s focus and value within the larger organization. Even though having a shared mission is generally accepted as valuable, generating a mission statement can feel a little abstract for teams unfamiliar with the process.

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