Knowledge Base /

Beginners

Get up to speed on principles and practices for designing trustworthy technology

Respecting Participants in Privacy-related User Studies

I was in Darmstadt for Privacy and Security Week last week to present Simply Secure's work on ethics in user research at HotPETS. You can check out the paper and slides on GitHub.Resources for ethical researchIn 2015, we did a field study that we named Straight Talk: New Yorkers on... (Read more)

Illustrated Quick-start Intro to Wireframing

If you're new to UX design, wireframing is a powerful tool to understand how users experience your software. People with technical backgrounds benefit from wireframing because it forces them to take a step back from their coding mentality. Rather than focusing on the technical architecture, wireframing exposes the user-experience structure:... (Read more)

Model Release: Respectfully Sharing Stories

This post is part of a series explaining our publicly available resources for user research. The previous installment covered how to write screeners to recruit participants. This week, we discuss how to get model releases to share photos from user studies.One approach among manyAt Simply Secure, we strive to balance... (Read more)

Compelling Color

Great user experiences are born through the hard work of professionals with a variety of skills. As illustrated by the UX unicorn we've seen before, there's a lot that goes into what we call "design" or "usability".The skills and responsibilities of an effective UX team. Originally published in Building an... (Read more)

Selecting Research Participants for Privacy and Beyond

A screener is a questionnaire that helps researchers recruit the most appropriate participants for their user study research.Here is an example we used for our mobile messaging study in NYC. Blue Ridge Labs handled the recruiting. Most of this screener's questions are a standard part of how they work with... (Read more)

How to Name Your App

Naming software is hard because the name needs to convey a lot of meaning about what the program does to an unfamiliar audience, and do it all using only a word or short phrase. You want something memorable and easy to say – which becomes more complex when designing with... (Read more)

Chatbots, UX, and Privacy

Chatbots, or conversational programs that simulate interactive human speech patterns, are a hot topic in UX right now. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently claimed that “bots are the new apps”, and that they are the interface of the future for tasks like ordering food and booking transportation. In San Francisco,... (Read more)

When User News Is Bad News: Tactical Advice On User Feedback

When you're putting your heart and soul into designing, building, or improving a piece of software, tuning in to feedback from users can sometimes get you down.Imagine waking up one morning and finding your project is being mentioned on Twitter in a slew of messages like these:Thanks Snapchat. Your app... (Read more)

Contracting Creatives, in Brief

Your team has reached the stage where you need to hire a professional designer. Maybe you want to finally get a great-looking logo, make a website that doesn't look like it was designed in 1996, or create a really compelling video for your Kickstarter campaign. In any case, you know... (Read more)

Users are people too: our talk at Shmoocon

Last week Gus and I gave a talk at Shmoocon in DC. The focus was on helping technologists who don't have experience in human-centered design processes conduct basic research to improve their existing open-source tools. We covered four basic steps that we believe even small or volunteer teams can take:... (Read more)

How to Sketch Storyboards in 10 Minutes: No Drawing Skills Needed

Sketching storyboards – cartoon-like drawings showing how people use technology – is a way to get more, high-quality ideas for product design. Sketches are useful for taking notes during a discussion and for getting a team on the same page. Fine art drawing is difficult for many, but anyone can... (Read more)

Straight Talk: New Yorkers on Privacy

Our research on New Yorkers’ use of mobile messaging offers actionable insights into how to design secure communication tools for a mass audience.

Nostalgia, Trust, and Brand Guidelines

Last week Google unveiled a new logo as part of an updated brand identity. Professional typographic designers were swift to react. Tobias Frere-Jones, designer of Interstate and other widely-used fonts, said "I really hope this 'e' does not become a thing." Beyond professional designers, the New Yorker's Sarah Larson complained... (Read more)