Userfocus Usability Newsletter, November 2016

Welcome to the November edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!

Message from the Editor

I spend a lot of time working in organisations with dishwashers.

Firms provide these dishwashers to prevent employees wasting time washing their cup after tea or coffee.

But there's a problem unanticipated by the manufacturers of dishwashers who never designed their machines for this context.

When you have a dishwasher at home, you usually know that it's on. Either you turned it on yourself or you can hear it doing its work. But in the hustle and bustle of a corporate kitchen, you can't hear it working. This means people open the dishwasher when it's in the middle of its cycle, mixing their dirty mug with the partly-cleaned ones.

I recently came across a simple and effective solution to this problem. Someone created a sign that one way up reads, "Washing" and the other way up reads "Empty". Simply flipping the sign makes the system status visible.

Check back next month for another life hack from Userfocus. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this month's article.

David Travis

What one UX skill or ability is the most important to master?

User Experience is a multi-disciplinary specialty and that means UX practitioners must master several methods, techniques and skills. Recently — partly as a thought exercise, and partly in an attempt to tap into what might be the essence of user research and design — I wondered if just one skill or ability deserved to stand out from the rest. Here’s how five UX specialists answered that question. Read the article in full: What one UX skill or ability is the most important to master?

From our archives: 60 ways to understand user needs that aren't focus groups or surveys

People new to user research often think of surveys and focus groups as the main ways to get insights into customer needs. Here are 60 alternative ideas you might want to try. Read the article in full: 60 ways to understand user needs that aren't focus groups or surveys.

What we’re reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

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Upcoming user experience training courses

Foundation Certificate in User Experience, Feb 28-Mar 2 2017, London.

Gain the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience in this fun and hands-on training course. You'll practice in all the key areas of UX -- from interviewing your users through to prototyping and usability testing your designs -- while you prepare for and take the exam.

More information about this training course: Foundation Certificate in User Experience.

User Experience quotation of the month

'Ironically, the strength of the often brilliant designers of high-tech products and systems today is also partially responsible for their downfall: since they have so much scientific and engineering expertise, they tend to think that everyone knows as much about technology as they do.' Kim Vicente.

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