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UX is about surfacing insights and designing products based on user behavior; it includes user research and interface design. We document emerging practices for tech and how UX elements shape behavior
What are the key challenges preventing wide adoption of decentralized technologies and how can we solve them? Find out in our new research report.
Working in decentralization? Help us map out the common user patterns and challenges.
With so many new decentralized tools emerging lately, we're asking ourselves what the challenges across the board are.
I’ve been enjoying the videos from AI Now, an exploration of artificial intelligence and ethics hosted by the U.S. White House and NYU’s Information Law Institute. Co-chairs Kate Crawford and Simply Secure co-founder Meredith Whittaker put together a program focused on issues of social inequality, labor, and ethics in artificial intelligence. AI inspiration Looking at the program through a UX design lens, there were abundant design opportunities to make AI systems more effective, transparent, and fair.
Web browsers are utility software; they are designed to work for all people. Not only must their features meet the needs of average members of a population, they must also work for people with special needs. As Firefox says on its mobile accessibility features page, the browser has been "designed to meet the needs of the broadest population possible," but "sometimes that is not enough." In particular, software that is built for everyone can too often leave people with specific security or privacy needs at risk.
Visual design makes for compelling software; learn about color and how to choose a persuasive color scheme.
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: how the user moves from one screen to another. Example wireframes taken from GoodUI.org. Both show the same content organized with two different structures, but the left wireframe is better because it discloses choices rather than keeping them hidden.
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.
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, tech elites use a multitude of oft-parodied services like Wag to find dog walkers and Rinse to have their laundry done.
This look at UX design decisions from WhatsApp’s 2016 end-to-end encryption update shares lessons for designers and developers.
Software communicates its values via its user experience (UX) by making some actions easy and others harder. For example, mobile apps can be configured to automatically opt users in to location sharing, and require people to dig through multiple layers of menus to opt out. This design choice reflects the developer's belief that it's ok to collect location data about users without asking their permission. But this is just one example; values are encoded in software in many ways beyond default settings.
Messaging with friends and colleagues is rewarding – but sharing contact information is awkward. Many people want to preserve their privacy by carefully controlling who gets their contact information, and choose not to broadcast their email address or phone number via a public Facebook or Twitter profile. Instead, they choose to strategically share their contact info. It's awkward to navigate the social and UX challenges in this sharing. Looking at how WeChat and LinkedIn handle this problem exposes two different kinds of awkwardness: mechanics of sharing and social agreement about what permissions you get as a result.
It can be hard to communicate about security-related features with users who aren't already security experts. From word choice to the level of detail included, it's easy to overwhelm people with information, leave them scared, or bore them to indifference. For many applications, one major challenge is finding the right place to communicate. Empty states – screens in your app where there is no actual content to display – are a great opportunity for this communication, in part because they frequently occur when the user is first starting out.
Style guides specify the look and feel of how a company or team communicates with the outside word. Styleguides.io collects examples of website visual standards that maintain a consistent online presence. Brand guidelines typically focus on how logos are treated, while style guides are more extensive – including not only look and feel, but also interactive behavior, such as the alerts and form templates in the U.S. Web Design Standards.
Users of the Facebook iPhone app were recently surprised by a new feature offering to “Add the last link you copied?” into a status update. Many people did not expect to see a complete URL that they had put onto the clipboard from another app, without explicitly involving Facebook. Christian Frichot discusses iOS security concerns with this feature, but I also consider this to be a UX design failure. Copying a link in Safari (left) makes it appear in Facebook (right).
Here are tips for UX copywriting to explain how your technology works and reduce the need for additional user support.
Thank you to everyone contributing to the Simply Secure Slack channel. If you’re interested in joining, email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation. I’m especially eager to get more UX people in privacy and security involved, so spread the world. Here are some highlights from our recent Slack conversations. Sharing the Rationale for UX Decisions Check out Gabriel Tomescu’s The Anatomy of a Credit Card Form sharing the Wave design team’s process for arriving at an elegant, easy-to-use form.
This is the third and final installment in the series on Lessons from Architecture School: Lessons for IoT Security. You can also read the first and second installments, or download the presentation. Thank you to the audience at Solid Conference for good questions and lively discussion. Homes Are More Than Houses Shop houses are a type of vernacular architecture built throughout Southeast Asia. Vernacular architecture is built using folk knowledge and local customs, typically without the use of an architect.