Friday, 27 June 2008

Championing the LUV of Design

This has been contributed by Swarupa Manjunatha, an employee of MindTree.

Netdiver Digital Culture Magazine. Yup! That’s it. A one stop shop for all you designers out there.

The website aims to stimulate creativity among all designers by publishing their content for over more than 10 years. It has a range of websites uploaded by individuals as well as organizations.

With news, events and editorials published regularly this website ensures that their target audience is well informed.

So what’s unique about it?
Everything. This website has hit its target audience right. With news, tools, illustrations, portfolios, competitions—yes, you have it all in there. Sometimes, we run around googling and hunting. That ends here. Visit this website and see how you can effectively progress in your daily work.

Most importantly, it keeps you updated about the news and happenings in the design industry worldwide. To keep you posted and in tune with the competition out there, this is it!

Something better on your mind?
In my opinion, Netdiver allows learners as well as professionals to gauge and contribute to the industry here. If you have something better in mind, send us the link. We would love to see what you have to share.

Your access to the website

Friday, 20 June 2008

Affinity Diagrams: Created With Users

What is an affinity diagram?
Affinity diagrams are created while brainstorming. In user experience it focuses on gathering and grouping user feedback. For example, when users think a certain way and in a certain direction, an affinity diagram is created to show this relationship pattern.

Why affinity? Because we seek to find relationships and groups, causing an “affinity” (attraction) towards related content.

A Pictorial Example of the Process:



When is it used?
Affinity diagrams are used during brainstorming sessions where ungrouped content is grouped together systematically.

Talking about the web, affinity diagrams are also most popularly created while analyzing complicated menu structures.

How is it created?
An affinity diagram should and must be created with your users.

Step 1. Brainstorming: Gathering ideas and content together should be the aim here. This is done to create a content dump.

Step 2. Reorganizing: Soon after creating a content dump, this content is reorganized together to make meaningful patterns. Here, things are grouped in front of users during interviews or focus group discussions. This way you can visualize groups of content in front of them.

Step 3. Elimination: Next, information is grouped and analyzed with team members. Users don’t always know what they want. They only provide direction. With project specific needs and requirements, this data can then be analyzed and patterns are created to help group content systemically.

Step 4. Grouping: From the data gathered and with the analysis completed, patterns are grouped and created. With this, the data is converted to information.

Step 5. Presentation: With the results available and the information gathered from users, this diagram is presented to clients to ensure that they have a heads up on the structure created.

Reaching Larger Heights
Affinity diagrams are used by business teams to group large amounts of data. It is also used in the field of user experience. Team members themselves brainstorm and reorganize data which may not provide user centric results.

Moving forward, we must aim to create these diagrams with the help of our users. We should take this opportunity to figure out patterns in the way our users think and behave.

Let’s practice!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Brand Experience in User Experience Design

There is a direct connection between customers’ perception of a company’s brand and the brand experience available through all customer-contact points— both online and offline. Defining, then consistently presenting a brand message increases the likelihood that a company can successfully deliver that message.

The 5 key elements to a customer centric culture by Forester research
- view customer experience as critical to meeting business goals
- share an accurate understanding of customers and their needs
- align company strategies with those customer needs
- support customer experience initiates from the top down
- have common goals across the organization

Some interesting pointers by Steve Baty
- recognizing that both online and offline customer experiences contribute to a brand image
- highlighting the importance of consistency between the customer experience across all touch-points
- working from the premise that an organization engages in a broad, complex set of interactions with its customers, of which the brand experience portrayed through its web sites is only one
- acknowledging the fact that a brand is inherently something we can only influence, not control

Reaching Larger Heights
As user experience designers and analysts, we need to begin working closely with business analysts and clients to provide them with what we know about user experience and in turn learn about brand experience which will help us build a team that satisfies end users with a powerful strategy that is determined by design, branding, and experience.
- make promises that a brand ends up keeping
- convert these brand promises to interaction requirements

Read more at:
Brand Experience in User Experience Design by Steve Baty

Brand Experience and the Web by Dirk Knemeyer

Branding and Usability By Jared M. Spool

Watch more at:
Forrester Research: Delivering A Great Customer Experience

8 Steps to Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

Forrester Research: Customer Experience = Competitive Weapon