CX Insights

The Best UX Articles of March 2014

5 min read

Spring is finally here!. The Amsterdam tress are in bloom, and the weather is at a heady 20 degrees. Who said global warming was all doom and gloom..? Being so spoilt with the weather, you could be forgiven for missing out on the vast array of UX content at your disposal. Worry not.

With so much quality content out there, we take one more look back at March 2014. We’ve compiled the 5 best articles from March we feel are interesting, invaluable or otherwise a must read for anyone with an interest in UX.

From last month’s top 5 UX articles, you’ll:

  • Discover which common UX mistakes are killing your designs
  • See Washing Machines redefined for men
  • Learn why more, better, faster is the mantra for UX design for startups
  • Take note of why Paper Prototyping is a waste of time (& paper)
  • See why Notifications are a UX anti-pattern

In no particular order:

1. Common UX Mistakes That Are Killing Your Design

Common UX Mistakes That Are Killing Your Design by Sufyan bin Uzayr, published on noupe.

  • “When it comes to product design and user experience, many companies are heads-down in the process. A good design is achieved due to a combination of multiple factors, such as the hard-work of the designers and the supportive collaboration across multiple teams within the firm. However, more often than not, many UX design projects suffer from some common mistakes. ”

Mistakes. We all make them. Whether it be bad teachings or lack of teachings at all, minimising or erasing them completely is part and parcel of the job.

Sufyan offers us a rundown of 4 the most common. From generalizations, to that blurred line between UI and UX which refuses to budge. A short but informative read (with a hilarious image to boot!)

2. Washing Machine for Men – Redefining washing machine user interface

Washing Machine for Men – Redefining washing machine user interface by Peter Fabor, published on Medium.

  • “I’ve been living in 6 different places for last 2 years. Everywhere I’ve had to use a washing machine and it’s been a pain!

    “58 % of British men can’t use a washing machine properly because they find the household appliance confusing.”

    We are living in the age of self-driving cars, yet more than half of the men doesn’t know how to use washing machine?.”

Household appliances are some of the most confusing objects around. In an industry where ‘more features’ is often the main selling point, intuitiveness is lost. Specifically user experience. I always enjoy seeing UX applied to the ‘real world’, and Peter does just that.

Tantalizingly titled ‘Washing Machine for Men’ (don’t worry girls, we know you sometimes have issues too, you’re just less cumbersome than us), Peter sets about removing all of those ‘useless’ features. Replacing them with a simple step-by-step process. Manufacturers take note.

Peter has also provided an excellent followup – ‘Hack your Washing Machine’ showing how you can avoid the impossible wait for manufacturers to catch up and just fix the issue yourself!

3. More, better, faster: UX design for startups

More, better, faster: UX design for startups by Stefan Klocek published on Cooper.

  • “Startups don’t have capital to burn or luxurious schedules for big-design-up-front. But unless your idea is by-and-for-engineers, design isn’t something you want to skip on your way to market.

    For a startup, design may mean the difference between simply shipping, and taking the market by storm. But with tight budgets, and aggressive timelines, how to include design and get the best value for the investment?”

To many, UX may seem like a premium commodity. Out of the reach of lowly companies – something that only the big players dare invest in and can afford. That’s not quite the case. Ux is for everyone. It is essential for everyone.

Stefan offers up some excellent tactics to ensure your startup doesn’t suffer from a lack of design in an environment where finances are tight.

4. Paper prototyping is a waste of time

Paper prototyping is a waste of time by Jake Knapp, published on Medium.

  • “Paper prototypes are the macaroni artwork of software development:

    Has a small child ever showed you artwork made from dried macaroni, glue, and construction paper? No matter what kind of mess you’re looking at, you always give the little tyke credit for trying, right?

    “You’re so creative! Great effort!”

    I’ve got bad news: If you’re using paper prototypes to test a new feature or product, you’re probably asking for the same kind of treatment.”

It’s not all too often we see pasta compared to UX principles. Many see paper prototyping as a staple of the industry. they would be right. It’s where the majority, if not all, of our projects start.

Jake’s sobering article attempts to ensure we don’t take this too far however. Paper can only work up to a point, and he explains why right here.

5. Notifications are a UX Anti-Pattern

Notifications are a UX Anti-Pattern by Stephen Conn, published on Medium.

  • “Let’s kill notifications that exist to addict and set each other free from the never-ending arms race of cheap con games to compete for user attention.

    We set out to build software to help communities we are passionate about, to solve their problems; what a travesty it would be if we allow ourselves to become the designers of ever-more-sophisticated ad-serving slot machines.”

We’re affected by that nagging feeling daily. Checking out Facebook to see if those little icons in the top right corner have their tint of red. Notifications have become a part of our daily online experience. If it isn’t Facebook, it’s our emails, our chat client, our games.

Stephen unleashes a tirade, explaining how notifications serve only to trap our users. To break immersion and experience in preference of a cheap distraction. A worthy read.

Oliver McGough
Passionate UX Designer and Marketer.