I'm posting a new palette each month for 2015—one more month to go! This is November's palette. It was inspired by the photograph below.
Egoless UX is the right way to do UX.
It's so obvious it's a cliche, but it can be hard to put into practice; I struggle with it myself even though I experience the benefits of an egoless UX practice every day.
Egoless UX means you're the ultimate collaborator with your team, your organization, and each of your users. It means giving up ownership of the work — which wasn't really yours to begin with — and instead becoming its most ardent champion. It means being willing to fix things that don't seem broken. It means pushing back not when you think you're right, but when you can prove you're right.
Most of all, it means not taking your work — or feedback about it — personally. You're not a fine artist, and your work is not you.
Try it. Get feedback and criticism from all quarters. Take it in, hear it, evaluate it, and act on it. The sting of criticism will be bearable when you see how much better your work is because of it. In fact, egoless UX is downright liberating.
First study philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, critical reasoning, statistics, writing, architecture. Become a student of human nature. Practice empathy. Learn a little code.
Then study UX.
My brother and I stopped by a Microsoft booth at a mall yesterday. As a longtime Windows guy, he was eager to have me check out the new Surface devices. We played with both a Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. They seemed nice enough, but one thing bugged me about the Surface Book: its screen wiggled visibly when touched. It wobbled. It jiggled, even when touched lightly.
A little later we found ourselves in an Apple store checking out the new iPad Pro. The first one we encountered was connected to its keyboard, a similar configuration as the Surface Book we'd seen earlier. As I touched the screen on the iPad, not much happened. I mean, things happened on screen, but the screen itself remained stable. Any movement was almost imperceptible, even when I prodded it. It felt firm. I found this surprising since the iPad Pro's screen is larger than the Surface Book's, and its keyboard — which in other regards seems inferior — is smaller.
I'm not going to wade into the whole tired Mac vs. PC thing. The Surface is a nice device, and Windows 10 looks sharp, so if that's your bag, go for it.
That said, if you're going to design a tablet-cum-laptop, a device that not only accepts but encourages touch, then the screen really shouldn't wiggle when you do just that. It really shouldn't.
I wonder if any Surface Book users have found this frustrating? Oh, yes, I guess some have.
Reading an otherwise excellent UX article today, I got tripped up on this line:
"Remember, mobile users are on the go, they're in transit, and your design should support and respect this."
"Mobile" more accurately refers to the type of device — phone or tablet — not location or ambulatory status. In fact, the mobile user is just as likely to be surfing on a couch as walking down a busy street.
The context that matters, then, is not where the app or website is used, but how the app or website is to be used.
For example, it's safe to assume that a fitness app is more likely to be used on-the-go, whereas an app that streams video is not. Both apps are still defined as mobile because they live on a mobile device, but the use case for each is quite different. Assuming that the video app should be bound by the same constraints as the fitness app is problematic and overly limiting.
There are, of course, apps and websites intended for both on-the-go and sedentary use; these should support the most restrictive context.