My first experience in improvisational comedy was in 1989. I was a freshman at Texas A&M University. Some of the students in the theater department decided to get an improv troupe started and somehow talked me into joining them. In the beginning, I was petrified to perform without a script. Looking back now, I can…

Imagine if you will information architecture as a pimply-faced, malcontent teenager.  IA is eager to express and redefine itself. It wants to be an individual yet accepted by its peers. It is simultaneously aggravated and apathetic about its parents, mentors, and role-models. It is a bit of a mess, but a wonderful, beautiful mess with…

My Android phone died on the train when I was several stops away from my destination. I should have remembered where I was supposed to get off, but, like everyone else, I rely on technology to offload cognitive processes when I should be using my brain. Wait, I thought, I have both my iPad and…

When I was eleven, my parents bought a Mac Plus. It had a tiny monochrome screen, a floppy drive, and 1MB of memory. And it came with something called HyperCard. HyperCard let you make stuff. It had documents called stacks, each a series of cards – similar to PowerPoint today. In addition to graphics and text,…

April 9th, 2013

RE:DESIGN/UXD

Boxes and Arrows offers a discount for April conference

It feels like we are experiencing a fascinating “Powers of 10”-style paradox with experience design and the digital design community — where we’re excitedly pushing beyond interface on many levels — attacking multiple interfaces at once with responsive and adaptive design and seriously embracing the massive world of service design and that broader brand and…

April 9th, 2013

The Shallow Dive

How to Survive When UX Meets Budget Cuts

At a recent job, my department faced large budget cuts. When the dust had cleared, I found I had become a UX group of one. This didn’t come with a corresponding slowdown in work – in fact, following a major rewrite of our call center application, our department was already struggling to keep pace with…

When was the last time you read your resume? Go ahead and give it a look. Read your last job description. It’s impressive, right? Chances are, you emphasize your accomplishments, your ability to create stunning deliverables, and your extensive knowledge of the user experience practice. Now, think back to your last project. But, ignore the…

March 26th, 2013

Site Speed and Usability

The cost of every lagging second, and what you can do about it

Did you know usability tests have shown that the maximum number of seconds a user is willing to wait, on average, before abandoning a web page, is 8.6? If that number surprises you, it should. The study took place in 1994. The bar is exponentially higher now for people involved in website user experience design…

This is an excerpt from the upcoming Android Design Patterns: Interaction Design Solutions for Developers (Wiley, 2013) by Greg Nudelman Anything that slows down customers or gets in their way after they download your app is a bad thing. That includes sign-up/sign-in forms that show up even before potential customers can figure out if the app…

A quote that I stumbled on during grad school stuck with me. From the story of the elder’s box as told by Eber Hampton, it sums up my philosophy of working and teaching: “How many sides do you see?” “One,” I said. He pulled the box towards his chest and turned it so one corner…

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