Illustration of a man and a woman wearing a face mask
Illustration of a man and a woman wearing a face mask
Image Credit — Bany_MM

Where to start with 2020? Well, after two years trying to get a fledgeling business off the ground, the last thing I needed for UXcentric was a mass pandemic. Yet in some ways, it’s been the making of the business.

In the face of global change and uncertainty, one thing remained constant — people still have needs and problems that require solutions. In some cases, those problems evolved while others changed radically.

We help and collaborate with businesses to provide innovative and intuitive product experiences.

Believe in yourself

I feel very fortunate that UXcentric has had its strongest year ever while COVID-19 has…

Image of evaluators giving an opinion on a product during an evaluation
Image of evaluators giving an opinion on a product during an evaluation

Heuristics are a well established and accepted list of UX principles used to assess how well a user interface has been designed for its intended purpose.

“They are called ‘heuristics’ because they are broad rules of thumb and not specific usability guidelines.”

They have been in use for many years by UX practitioners and were more formally authored in the ’90s by Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Milich. They have been recently updated with minor changes and are as relevant now as they were then.

A heuristic evaluation is what happens when an expert, or set of experts, reviews a product…

Image of a dictionary showing the definition of ‘Heuristic’, pronounced Hyoo-ris-tik, and is from the Greek for ‘find’
Image of a dictionary showing the definition of ‘Heuristic’, pronounced Hyoo-ris-tik, and is from the Greek for ‘find’

Heuristics are a well established and accepted list of UX principles used to assess how well a user interface has been designed for its intended purpose.

“They are called ‘heuristics’ because they are broad rules of thumb and not specific usability guidelines.”

They have been in use for many years by UX practitioners and were more formally authored in the ’90s by Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Milich. They have been recently updated with minor changes and are as relevant now as they were then.

A heuristic evaluation is what happens when an expert, or set of experts, reviews a product…

A mobile phone user with success message for an app, demonstrating a key aspect of gamification
A mobile phone user with success message for an app, demonstrating a key aspect of gamification

Honestly, this is the first time selecting the topic has been a little bit of a struggle for the A-Z of UX. It could have been ‘grouping’ or ‘Gestalt’, but where’s the fun in that!

Let’s talk about gamification and how that can be utilised to enhance user experience.

Originally coined in the noughties, it’s still relevant as a design technique to incentivise users to complete what they might consider boring and mundane tasks.

What is gamification?

At some point, we’ve all had to do things we didn’t want to or found no fun in. Back in the day, it was homework. …

Forms are a core part of our digital life. Whether it’s registering for an account, buying a present or making an appointment, we will need to fill a form to do so.

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It’s very easy to annoy the user with requests for unnecessary information, difficult questions [1], a convoluted workflow or unintuitive ways to provide their data.

They can have very serious consequences when done poorly. A study found that of people completing a ‘living wills’ form to indicate what to do if they were left in a persistent vegetative state, 41% gave contradictory instructions. …

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User research is a crucial part of Human Centred Design. It helps you to identify customer needs & problems, which help to define the correct user requirements. There are lots of techniques available, each with their own pros and cons, which are suited to different needs.

This piece is an overview of what is out there, what to consider and where and when you apply them.

Your first task however is to identify what questions you are trying to answer. For example:

  • Who are your users?
  • What are their behaviours, goals, motivations, pain points, barriers and needs?
  • What assumptions have…

Lady holding an iPad with an error message saying that something has gone wrong, and to try again in a few minutes…!
Lady holding an iPad with an error message saying that something has gone wrong, and to try again in a few minutes…!

Let’s be fair, people make mistakes all the time. It’s human!

The impact of the error is often dependent on the situation. Hitting the wrong character to mis-spell a word might be a minor irritation. Selecting the wrong button setting into motion a critical and irreversible action can send you into meltdown!

We can also assume that if an error CAN be made, it WILL happen at some point. As such, unless it can be designed out, a plan is required for how to handle the user experience of the aforementioned error.

Errors can be categorised into many forms, but…

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A couple of things have baffled me recently, provoking thoughts about the principle of discoverability.

Firstly, Instagram. We recently joined to market UXcentric to prospective customers. To showcase visually what we do, what we like and where we are.

Most people I know who use it say that as a user experience it’s pretty good. All was fine for me too, snapping from my smartphone or tablet. Albeit the iPad version is a blown-up iPhone, rather than a dedicated tablet experience (but that’s another story).

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Consistency is fundamental to good UX design. It helps users learn and predict what’s going to happen. It builds confidence from users in the things we create. I’ll look at the benefits of consistent design and the key things to consider.

What is consistency?

Consistency in UX design is the extent to which we maintain a consistent way of communicating with our user. Lines of communication are made easier when the design components we use maintain the same appearance, meaning and functionality. This enables users to learn and understand what we are trying to say more easily.

For example, if our interface includes…

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What is UX Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is an excellent way to enhance your market knowledge and help focus the direction of your user experience and product offering.

Unless you’ve found a niche or gap in the market, there are competitors to learn from. That’s not to say you should copy what you find. Great benchmarking is as much discerning what NOT to do, as well as acquiring information on how to improve.

How can I do it?

The two main techniques to consider:

  • Competitor Analysis: Compare yourself to the competition. What do they offer? What do they do well and not so well? Do they offer a great user experience?

Darren Wilson

UX Designer @ UXcentric www.uxcentric.co.uk

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