• It’s an experience that’s been around since the mid 80s, but technology always seemed to hold it back.
  • Get Usability Review done of your website/app from just $10 (60% off)*.
  • Get UXness mobile app and read articles on the go.
  • If your are starting learning about Usability and user experience design then these books may be really helpful in your learning. rds.

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A Many a times Companies spend lot of money, efforts, resources etc. in designing and developing a good product with high expectations to generate new business, better conversions, high sales, increasing revisiting of customers etc. but fail to achieve those goals. There is a correlation between product success and its Usability. Are your users able to use it? Is your product satisfying all user needs? All these questions actually define success. We conduct mobile app/ website Usability review and identify Usability related issues and provide suggestions to improve them.

Why Usability review

A Usability review is where an expert goes through your interface looking for usability, experience problems, areas of improvement and makes recommendations on how to fix them. We inspect your site or application based on the industry best practices and principles to come up with finding on which you can take action on. 

We evaluate your site or application based on the usability heuristics and give them severity level which helps you take better decision which things to be addressed/fix first. 

We give you the report contains detailed findings and recommended solutions for improving the usability & experience of your site/application which will helps you achieve business goals.

For more information: Write to us: uxness@gmail.com

7 Must-Read User Experience Books for Designers

The development Momentum of the UX industry turns into a gusher in recent years, more and more young people want to get into the industry. However, they don't know much about user experience design. How to be a good user experience designer?

Gorky once said that books are the ladder of human progress. If you want to be a qualified designer, why not make use of the books to progress your design? Of course, there are thousands of user experience books, which one should you choose? According to different design problems, I carefully selected seven user experience books in 2017 for you.

1. Mobile Interface Design

Mobile Interaction Design by Matt Jones & Gary Marsden
This book was written before the occurrence of iPhone. Although the theory of mobile interface design is a little bit old, its worth reading. Case study and research problem make it become the ideal choice for student and beginner. It provides perfect technology for designers to create an effective mobile application, and existing mobile interaction design help designers to avoid the trap. 

2. Design Process

A Project Guide to UX Design by Russ Unger, Carolyn Chandler

This book is similar to a user experience textbooks. It introduces in more details about user experience design process from the initial user research to the final project. From the UX designers perspective, this is just a theoretical overview of user experience design. From the details, it includes project management, the client interaction, design, exploitation and test. It deserves to be read if you want a good user experience book.

3. Design Methods

101 Design Methods by Vijay Kumar

According to process, the design methods are divided into five parts in this book. Determine the project, understand the situation, know users, analyze and propose a framework, final product. Every design method has a case in this book. If you want to master a set of design method, this book can help you.

4. Design Principle

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper

This book is an interaction design guidelines of digital products and system. It introduces the process, principle and methods of interaction design comprehensively. The interaction design process and methods of this book contribute to understanding the interaction, which is between user and products. And then design more competitive products. This book is different form other user experience books, it divided into three parts, and this part mainly introduces design principle.

5. Design Philosophy

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

This book describes many cases in our daily life and help us find the key to solve the problem. Product design ignores the users real requirement in certain situations, even violate the principle of cognitive science. This book emphasizes user-centered design philosophy, reminding designers dont ignore some necessary factors when you pay attention to the design of beauty. As for products, safe to use is the key to competing.

6. User Experience Elements

The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett

From the moment User experience elements issued, it became an important reference for UX designers and interaction designers, and defines the core principle of user-centered. If you want to learn more about user experience elements, this book will be a good choice.

7. Measuring the User Experience

Measuring the User Experience by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert

Index will make you in trouble if you are not a statistician. The Index is very important for understanding the usability of your website or product. This book introduces the best ways of collecting, analysis and present data, so that you can measure and improve the user experience design. Here are many examples and detailed points in the book, and its easy to digest. Its a good reference for autodidacts.

Here is an old Chinese saying, read hundreds of times, and you will find the meaning. Actually, if you read a book several times, you will know the meaning of the nature. Weather you are new UX designer or advanced UX designer, as long as you read the best user experience books carefully. I believe that you must be an excellent designer in 2017.

Email: zhaoxiaoyu315@gmail.com

Designing a Chatbot - UX process

(Image Source: Christos)

In today's era companies transitioning from app based or web based interfaces to 'Conversation based platforms' (Chatbots). Chatbots are a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. Chatbots are not new invention, history of chatbots can be found during 1950-60s when Alan Turing & Joseph Weizenbaum contemplated the concept of computers communicating like humans do with experiments like the Turing Test and the invention of the first chatterbot program, Eliza. 

Today Chatbots are disrupting the overall world. Many platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Telegram etc. has given their platforms available & open for chatbots integration which has given major shift in customer's interacting with the Companies and their Products. 

Today I wanted to share Chatbot design process which I have synthesized based upon my experience on designing a Chatbot. My main goal from this article is to spread awareness about 'How to design a Chatbot', 'What steps to be taken in designing a Chatbot' from a UX Designer's point of view. I am open for recommendations & suggestions to improve my process.

Chatbot Design Process

Lets see each step in more detail,

1. Scope & Requirements 

  • Why Chatbot! Understand context of a chatbot
  • List features or offerings your chatbot going to offer
  • Be specific and limit your offerings
  • Platform to launch chatbot

2.  Identify Inputs

  • Every goal in a Chatbot interaction can be divided in to logical steps (conversations).
  • Primary ways a Chatbot gets input,
    • From user (queries, info from users – text or voice)
    • From device (device sensors like geo-location etc.)
    • From intelligence systems (Insights from user’s historic data)

3. Understand Chatbot UI elements

There are multiple platforms like Facebook, twitter, telegram, WeChat etc. who support chatbots. https://developers.facebook.com/docs/messenger-platform/send-messages/templates

4. Craft First Interaction

  • Making familiar with key expectation (key offerings)
  • Giving users hint or guide user in further conversation building
  • Provide call to actions 
  • Provide default actions

5. Build Conversations & Intelligence

  • Think from user’s point of view, in how many ways they can ask for a particular requirement?
  • Feel of a ‘Human’ 
  • Personality of a Chabot
  • Tackle missing or ambiguous inputs
  • Small talks
  • Intelligence – for recommending, suggesting and analyzing user’s context, motives and expectation
  • Keep record of user’s previous interactions, their choices, queries, messages, demographics

6. Testing

  • Usability testing of Chatbots
  • Get screen recording of user’s interaction and analyze 
  • Test in different platforms – Mobile and Web both

About Author

Abhishek Jain
User Experience Designer & Researcher

5 Experience Goals That UX Designers Should Set

User experience design plays an important role in product design process. But what is good user experience on earth? Is there any criterion? The following 5 user experience goals, listed in a logical order, may help you to find the right direction of user experience design ASAP and make you an excellent UX designer.

Goal 1: “I got what I need”

To give users what they need is the first goal of user experience design. Before using a product, people are mostly concerned about “whether it is useful?” “Will this product solve my problems?” So a product should meet the functional demands of users first (not only those existed demands, but also potential ones). Doing user research is a good way to find out users’ demands, but objectively, it’s hard to measure users’ needs precisely, even if it was huge company which has advanced user survey technologies.

For example, Facebook at the beginning didn’t take “making friends with strangers (say, a friend’s friend)” seriously as they believed that people only have curiosities on their surroundings; social network is essentially “a game among acquaintances”. However the data show that most of users like to expand their circles by adding strangers as their friends. Now social platform also contributes a lot to companies and brands who want more influence online. They put money and energy on operating an official page to promote their products. All of these are unexpected demands for the early designers. Thus, collecting users’ feedback constantly and make use of data or other materials to follow your users’ activities is also a key to meet users’ demands. If UX designers don’t give users what they want, the users will give a shit.

get in to shoes of user

Goal 2: “Don’t make me think”

“Will I get what I want in a most simple, direct and quick way?” It would be better if you “Don’t make me think”.

The top-download games in app store are always those like “Don't Tap the White Tile”, which people can play without brains. This shows the laziness nature of human beings. But laziness is also an important drive of technology development. As a UX designer, we have no reason to go against it unless we want to make products that are “anti-human”.

How to design to give users what they want in the easiest way? First UX designers should be a mastery of the user stories & scenario of products. Which are important things that users pay much attention to? Which are secondary? How to simplify the operations by taking advantage of users’ habits? As to user interface, whether the flat design method should be adopted to enable users to get most information at the first sight. Besides, the usability of products also depends on the design tools you choose. A complicated-to-use prototype/wireframe tool is a bad design itself, so how can we make good UI or product prototype with it?

Don’t make me think

Goal 3: “I really enjoy using it”

Many products have similar functions, which can all meet the users’ needs to some extent. But only few of them are favored by users, why? As a music lover, I go to a concert at least once a month. Among these concerts of any scale, there are some which thrilled me from start to finish. It seems that the design of a music concert has nothing to do with product design, but as I have been immerging in design circle for many years I gradually found that an exciting concert is just like a product offering good user experience, both of them give you the right thing at the right time.

At an evening dinner, the starter is always delicate but of low volume. Gradually, under the influence of some spirits, the main course was served, at this moment the light is warmest and the atmosphere is the best. The ending part is usually made easy. This is a very good example to explain that “UX Designers should have a sense of rhythm (of product)”. When designing video player software, how many “ss” should the “black screen” last to draw the users’ attention, but never make them feel impatient? Why some social platforms only allow its users to access more functions after a period of time? Those are all questions that user experience designers should concern about.

Enjoyable user experience

 Goal 4: Habit is a second nature

“Whether the product is attractive enough for me to use it for a long term?”, and even “becomes part of my life” and “makes me addicted to it”.

In the article “UX/UI Designer Skills Valued by Facebook” I mentioned that one important reason that Facebook became a huge social platform with over 200 million users is that FB knows the mental & psychological needs of users: people win others’ attention on Facebook, which they didn’t get in real life. “Helping people to build a strong connection with external world; enabling them to follow and be followed, these are what a social platform was born for.” A functionally powerful product will no doubt be favored by people. But a product which forms a new habit has immeasurable potential. Electric light, mobile phones, new transportations; Wechat, Whatsapp, these are all among the latter.

 Goal 5: Make users your promoters

“Whether the product is good enough to motivate me to become one of its promoters?”

If a designer set the above 4 user experience goals when designing a product, he would be an excellent designer. The last goal, as far as I can see, is the inherent property of an excellent design: to mobilize its users. As we all know, users are the best spokesmen of your products. Companies may seek help from all kinds of resources to promote their products: KOL, famous blogger, web celebrities. However, none of them is as powerful as users. You may ask: why does product promotion has something to do with designers? If UX designers can build a relationship between the users and potential users, for example, put a “sharing on Twitter” button on the right place, there might be more people will join in (this is a method of most basic level). For another example, users need to cooperate with others when using the product (like game products). In short, to mobilize your users and make them your promoters is also an important user experience goals that good UX designers should set.

UX & Virtual Reality - Designing for interfaces without Screens

Virtual Reality

It’s an experience that’s been around since the mid­ 80s, but technology always seemed to hold it back. The advances in smartphones and related technologies have finally brought the incredible potential of VR within reach. Now, we’re in the midst of a virtual reality revolution. The concept was coined around 1955 and so many years later VR is back in a big way with Oculus, Samsung Gear VR, Project Morpheus, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, OSVR, and other smaller or yet to be announced players. The well-known tech giants Facebook, Google and Microsoft are keenly investing in VR which indirectly proves that it is going to be the game changer of this century.

virtual reality, wearables, technology, VR, UX

What are they trying to do with VR?

It’s really just immersive software. You know how your phone is a tiny screen that you sometimes ignore? Virtual reality is pretty much the opposite. It uses a headset (a big pair of glasses) that fills your entire field of view with an image. You turn your head left, you see left. Turn your head right, you see right. You will be framed inside a virtual world with virtual things with which you can interact, play, design and experience.

virtual reality, virtual projection

The VR Process

Designing for a flat 2D screen versus designing for 3D Virtual Space has its own challenging factors. Achieving the best user experience in VR Devices is the key success of the entire concept. As it is a combination of various factors such as Head Movement Tracker, Eye Tracker, Gesture Capture, Mind Map etc., making all these sync together and binding them perfectly with the design and visuals of your application takes a lot of effort and thought process.  

Who can utilize VRs?

Everyone. Yes, VR Headsets are of 3 categories affordable for all set of people around the world. Every single application that you are using in your mobile phones and computers can be designed for Virtual Reality. There is a big misconception among the people saying that VR is favored only for Game Development, which is totally wrong. Interior Designers, Doctors, Industrial Designers, E-Commerce, Banking and every other random line of business can use Virtual Reality for their work.

1. The low-end entry level headset. It’s actually just a fancy smartphone case. You slip your phone into pair of lenses that strap onto your head like a scuba mask, and there you go, you’re into the VR world! You can build these things out of plastic, or even, as Google demoed some years back, Google Cardboard. Samsung has one such model on the market today for $200.

2. The mid-range headset. It’s totally self-contained, like an Oculus Rift or Sony's Project Morpheus, with its own display and probably some headphones. Think of it as a really nice TV or computer monitor for your face. Maybe you plug it into a phone or a PC to play games or watch movies. Oculus which is acquired by Facebook is selling its latest dev kit.

3. The Augmented Reality. It is one step ahead of the Virtual Reality where we are binding the real world visuals with virtual stuffs. Imagine, you walk on the road and you can see the visuals, pins, navigations of the Google Map on your path. Two Big companies, Microsoft with its HoloLens and a headset by Magic Leap are trying to accomplish this concept.

Virtual reality weather updates

UX Principles for designing Virtual Reality

1. Everything Should Be Reactive 
Every interactive object should respond to any casual movement. For example, if something is a button, any casual touch should provoke movement, even if that movement does not result in the button being fully pushed. When this happens, the haptic response of the object coincides with a mental model, allowing people to move their muscles to interact with objects. When designing a button: use a shadow from the hand to indicate where the user’s hand is in relation to button, create a glow from the button that can be reflected on the hand to help understand the relationship, use sound to indicate when the button has been pressed (“click”) 

virtual reality in medical

2. Restrict Motions to Interaction
The display should respond to the user’s movements at all times, without exception. Even in menus, when the game is paused, or during cut scenes, users should be able to look around. Avoiding Simulator Sickness and slowness is the key part of improving the UX in Virtual Reality Applications. Do not instigate any movement without user input. Reduce neck strain with experiences that reward a significant degree of looking around. Try to restrict movement in the periphery.

Virtual reality in healthcare

3. Text and Image Legibility
Bigger, brighter and bold texts should be used to indicate widgets. Images should be realistic and appealing to the user. The mind of the user is going to be entirely mapped into the virtual reality for a prolonged amount of time. Texts should be readable and legible for unstrained viewing of the user. Brighter and vivid the colors are, more involved the users will be.

virtual reality, 3d model

4. Ergonomics
Designing based on how the human body works is an essential to bringing any new interface to life. Our bodies tend to move in arcs, rather than straight lines, so it’s important to compensate by allowing for arcs in 3D space

virtual reality, ergonomics

5. Sound Effects
Sound is an essential aspect of truly immersive VR. Combined with hand tracking and visual feedback, it can be used to create the “illusion” of tactile sensation. It can also be very effective in communicating the success or failure of interactions.

VR, sounds

Google’s Design Guidelines for Virtual Reality

Google has listed some key principles involving physiological and ergonomics  consideration to be noted while designing for Apps that can run on Google Cardboard. They are pretty much straight-forward for the designers to understand. 

1. Using a Reticle
2. UI Depth & Eye Strain
3. Using Constant Velocity
4. Keeping the User Grounded
5. Maintaining Head Tracking
6. Guiding with Light
7. Leveraging Scale
8. Spatial Audio
9. Gaze Cues
10. Make it Beautiful

Google’s Cardboard Guidelines, Best Practices for Designing Oculus Rift

About Author 
With 3 Years of Professional Experience in Design and technology, I have a great passion for UX Design, Usability Testing and User Research. With a formal knowledge of Design Process, I prototype Interactive and Intuitive Designs for Desktops, Mobiles and Wearable Technologies. 

12 Top colleges for M.Des in India

12 Top colleges for M.Des in India

Master of Design (MDes, M.Des. or M.Design) is a postgraduate academic master degree in the field of Design awarded by several academic institutions around the world. Below, providing you a curated list of colleges/institutions awarding design grooming, knowledge and M.Des course.

1. NID - National Institute of Design, offers a 2.5 years M.Des course in Product Design, Furniture Design, Graphic Design, Animation Film Design, Film & Video Communication Design, Exhibition Design, Textile Design, Toy & Game Design, Photography Design, Apparel Design, Transportation Design, Lifestyle Accessory Design, New Media Design, Information Design, Interaction Design, Retail Experience Design, Universal Design, Digital Game Design from its three campuses at Ahmedabad (Main campus), Bangalore (R&D campus) and Gandhinagar (PG campus), India.

2. IISC Bangalore - Indian Institute of Science, Center for Product Design and Manufacturing, Bangalore, India, awards a Master of Design in Product Design and Engineering in a two-year program.

3. IIIT - Kancheepuram Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing Kancheepuram, offers a M.Des course in Electronics, Communication and Mechanical system design.

4. IIT Guwahati - Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India, awards a M.Des degree in a two-year program.

5. IIT Kanpur - Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, awards a M.Des degree in a two-year program.

6. IDC Mumbai - Industrial Design Centre of the Indian Institute of Technology BombayMumbai, Maharashtra, India, awards a Master of Design degree in Industrial Design, Visual CommunicationAnimationInteraction Design, and Mobility and Vehicle Design. All programs require two years of study.

7. IIT Hyderabad - Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India, awards a M.Des degree in a two-year program. 

8. IIIT Jabalpur - Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Jabalpur, India awards a M.Des degree in Product Design, Interaction Design & Visual Communication and also PhD in Design. 

9. IIT Delhi - Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Delhi, India, offers post-graduate programs in M.Des and the admission is through CEED.

10. NIFT - National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, India, offers Master programmes in M.Des (master in design), M.F.M. (Master in Fashion Management) M. FTech. (Master in Fashion Technology)

11. DAIICT - Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology , Gandhinagar, India, awards an M.Des. degree in a two-year program.

12. SoDS - School of Design Studies – UPES Dehradun, Dehradun, India, offers M.Des degrees in (a)Industrial design, (b)Product Design, (c)Interior Design, (d)Transportation Design.

10 Mobile app Design Principles

10 Mobile app Design Principles
These guidelines will help in designing better mobile apps which will improve the overall user experience. Mobile is very powerful device and becoming as an important part of human life. So it is very important to design better, simple and interesting interfaces which helps people in their  life and also bring satisfaction. some basic design principles are mentioned in the context of Mobile application.

1. Avoid designing long Menus in Mobile app.
Long Mobile menus are the result of poor architecture and content grouping of application. It affects the ‘Decision Making’ of a User, also it destroys the importance of main function.  Group the functions properly and show the small menus with less no. of choices. 

Mobile app design guidelines, mobile app design principles, designing for mobile

2. Select the right navigation system for your application 
Navigation is the important aspect of any mobile app because User follows the navigation pattern and finds the information. There are 2 types of navigation system given as follows,

Primary Navigation types 

- Hierarchical (Drill Down)
- Persistent 
- Sequential

Secondary navigation types

- Search
- Index Pages
- Quick Links
- Bread Crumbs
- Embedded Links

3. Web to Mobile transformation should be responsive 
Mobile websites should be responsive to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.

responsive mobile app

4. Take a proper care of Device orientation (Portrait and
Landscape mode)
Users expect landscape view to display more details or information.

mobile screen orientation

5. Limit the number of colors in your color scheme. 
Too many colors in a screen creates screen visually clutter, which results degrade in performance. Presenting a analysis of ‘Seconds (time) to find object’ with respect to ‘Number of colors used’ below,
Mobile app design guidelines, mobile app design principles, designing for mobile

6. Keep the Graphics in Light weight and more focus on creating
clean interfaces 
Heavy Graphics impact both Mobile native app and Mobile websites in following way -  

on App: When very heavy graphics are used in any application it impacts on Mobile OS performance. Resulting application runs in slower manner.

On Mobile websites: Generally mobile websites are accessed through the cellular network (Wireless Network). Cellular connections are not as fast as broadband internet, consider reducing the graphic sizes.

7. Provide an appropriate data entry input UI 
Generally working with the touch screen mobile phones, type of keypad depends upon the data entry input field. While designing the mobile app use the appropriate data entry field. Like: 
           1. Normal text keypad contains alphabets and control keys (space, caps etc.) 
           2. Email ID field should contain ‘@’,  ‘. ’ along with alphabets etc.
           3. Numeric field should contain the ‘Numeric keypad’ etc.

8. While designing Interaction always consider the appropriate
touch target area
Minimum visual size of touch target 4.5mm
Keep common target size 9-10mm (Recommended)

9. Avoid providing the long forms in mobile application and
prefer ‘Selecting’ instead of ‘Typing’.

10. Try to make gestures match the real world metaphors. Too
much gesture interaction on a single screen is also not advisable.
Mobile app gestures