CX Insights

The Best UX Articles of March 2015

5 min read

It has been a while since of these monthly round-ups, and for that we can only apologise! We hope this month’s version more than makes up for that as you sit indoors, sheltering from the torrential spring rain outside… (maybe that’s just Amsterdam).

With so much quality content out there, we take one more look back at March 2015. 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:

  • Witness the battle for the customer interface
  • Learn about the future of text communication
  • Check out Rocky’s first 90 days as a UX designer
  • Learn why testing should be part of the design
  • See how we are entering the age of context

In no particular order:

1.The Battle Is For The Customer Interface

The Battle Is For The Customer Interface by Tom Goodwin, published on TechCrunch.

  • “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”

Historically companies have all been about providing products and services in exchange for capital. This simple system has formed the backbone of our societal economies for millennia.

The internet age has turned the traditional system on it’s head. A new niche has been forged of companies providing no tangible, physical product or service – the interface layer.

Tom provides a breakdown of this rather simple revolution. Detailing how companies like Uber, Skyscanner, and Airbnb sit at the forefront of their respective industries – competing with traditional big players. Uber doesn’t need taxis to compete with the taxi companies, Skyscanner doesn’t need aeroplanes, and Airbnb doesn’t need houses. They just provide the means to an end. An end that that has these traditional economies quivering in their boots.

2. Futures of text

Futures of text by Jonathan Libov, published on Whoops

  • When the weather is bad I take a bus to work. I’m forever grateful to the person at the bus stop who informed me that you can text New York’s MTA service to find out exactly where the bus is and when it’s going to arrive. Sure, an app that put the bus on a map would be more rich in information, but when I got to texting Bus Time I thought, “Thank god I don’t need to download another f—— app for this.”

As the smartphone rose to ubiquity, the incumbent king of communication remained unwavering in defeat. Text chat, IMing, and all it’s other forms rose to prominence in the early 90s. Beginning in the IRC channels of old, maturing through AIM, MSN and a multitude of other instant messaging clients, whilst forming a symbiotic relationship with the fledgling mobile phone. It took no time at all for texting to become the dominant form of communication.

Yet, as the smartphone waltzed into the frame, the technology evangelists heralded a new age for communication. The 2001: A Space Odyssey dream was real. Increased processing power and new technologies finally meant we could have a personal PA in our pocket, one controlled through the power of voice.

Yet Siri, Google Now, Cortana, and whatever else is still a pain in the a**. Still text remains dominant and still text fulfills its job to a tee. Jonathan’s article is hugely interesting here, detailing how the nuances of an ‘old’ form of communication remain ever relevant in an age of over complication.

3. Into the Age of Context

[Into the Age of Context][ by Christian Hernandez published on Medium.

  • “I spent most of my early career proclaiming that “This!” was the “year of mobile”. The year of mobile was actually 2007 when the iPhone launched and accelerated a revolution around mobile computing. As The Economist recently put it “Just eight years later Apple’s iPhone exemplifies the early 21st century’s defining technology.”

    It’s not a question of whether Smartphones have become our primary computing interaction device, it’s a question of by how much relative to other interaction mediums.”

These days, it is hard to escape the cacophony of mobile-orientated buzzwords and design ideologies. Rightly so, the smartphone has led a revolution in mobile computing. Each of us have a supercomputer in our pocket, an unfathomable idea just 20 years ago.

Yet in this mobile age, the focus isn’t so much on the physical item itself, but on what it enables us to do. It has ushered in an era of contextual processing. Our smartphones, smartwatches, and smartcars react and adapt to us and our environment. Providing us with real time updates, prompts and notifications of our real world processes.

This is a dawn of a new age, and one of which Christian does a great job in educating us on.

4. What if testing was a part of the design

What if testing was a part of the design by Sandijs Ruluks, published on Froont.

  • “Testing can give a lot of insights and data if done right, but also there are plenty of ways to screw it up.

    First of all, testing and gathering data is not a replacement for decision-making. ”

As internet industry booms, so does the prevalence of new working methods. Structures such as waterfall and iterative development ideologies are essential to the smooth running of working teams – in and out of the software engineering profession.

Sandijs throws up one such development ideology – implementing testing as key part of the product rather than just a footnote in the development process. An interesting question and an interesting article.

5. My first 90 Days as a UX Designer

My first 90 Days as a UX Designer by Rocky Roark published on Betterment.

  • One thing that is different from my previous job is the amount of research that you have to do when it comes to UI/UX

For some of us, it’s been awhile since we’ve felt that magic of entering a new industry, especially one so exciting as is the case for UX.

It is refreshing to hear the thoughts of a new comrade in the industry. Hearing how the industry stands from a fresh point of view.

A certain recommendation, that may just rekindle some of that magic for you.

Oliver McGough
Passionate UX Designer and Marketer.