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  • Writer's pictureJakob Nielsen

UX News Roundup for August 28

UX Wisdom in Live Design Review

37signals sets an unparalleled standard in the small software vendor sphere, especially in UX. They've dared to share a live design review, offering us a rare, unfiltered look into the process, awkward screen-sharing moments and all. Let's be clear: Perfection is a myth, especially in initial designs. What matters is the final product's usability. Kudos to 37signals for this candid educational treasure. Very illuminating to hear these world-class experts articulate UX principles while discussing the usability and simplicity of alternate solutions to the design problem at hand:

Design Challenges for India's Huge Population

🇮🇳 India is big and immensely varied. We all know this intellectually, but here’s a nice map that compares the populations of the various “smaller” regions of India to entire, big countries from the rest of the world. UX implication? Think of designing a website to serve Germany, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, and rather a bunch more places. Not an easy job.

#India now accounts for the second-largest number of subscribers to my email newsletter. The growth of UX in India is astounding. (Pakistan and Bangladesh have been growing rapidly during the last two years and one year, respectively, but are still nowhere near India in UX maturity and scale, even after adjusting for population size. #Globalization 🌍)

Structuring User Research Teams for Efficacy

Alfonso de la Nuez (my all-time favorite UX executive), shares an oldie, but goodie: how to structure a user-research team for speedy execution of studies so that you can collect customer insights on a weekly basis:

🌐 My Expanding Digital Footprint: X (Twitter) and Instagram

👉 (X: @UXtigersdotcom)

👉 (Instagram: @UXtigers)

The Instagram account is interesting for showing an overview of my curated AI-generated images in a single place, for a sense of my style, which actually is somewhat unified despite my lack of a Jakob-branding-rulebook. (I just pick what I like to visualize each post.) ‘Gram is less good at guiding you to the articles you want to spend time on, due to Instagram’s refusal to play well with others on the Internet and allow links from each image to its associated article.

The Power of Repetition in Evangelizing User Research

🔁 As a fan of Kate Kerr, I was happy to see her interviewed as a “human of user research.” She presents an interesting argument in favor of repetition (something we usually aim to avoid): repeating user research findings to #stakeholders in different ways (hopefully, when the same insight comes up in a new study, rather than literally repeating the same thing, which does get annoying):

Iterative Design of UX-Researcher Resumes

♻️ Crafting the Ideal UX Researcher Resume 📝 A step-by-step guide by Nikki Anderson-Stanier shows you the power of iterative design in crafting a compelling resume:

Very useful, especially the iterative design steps from a terrible resume to a good one. (As a #microcontent connoisseur, I particularly like her showing and analyzing the iterative design of individual bullet points.) The one piece of advice I would add is to highlight how you use AI tools to improve your own productivity and the quality of the resulting designs. (You won’t deserve a UX job next year unless you’re highly skilled in integrating AI into the design process.) My advice for AI in UX #portfolios:

The Intriguing Intersection of Robotics and Daily Life

Not about UX, but about robotics which is another exciting technology frontier that’s about to explode into more areas of our lives and businesses. “They did surgery on an egg.” Check out this mesmerizing surgical robot demo:

Leveraging AI in UX Job Interviews

Patrick Neeman shows how ChatGPT provides an excellent answer to the perennial interview question for UX job candidates: "As a designer, tell me about a time you had to explain to a product manager what had value if they pushed back. How did you do it?" (I am sure it would provide an equally excellent answer if you swapped “designer” out with “user researcher” or “UX writer.”) Traditional UX interview questions are probably dead. My advice for hiring in the age of generative AI:

Tutoring vs. AI in Academic Integrity

Adrian Wooldridge has a suggestion to overcome “cheating” by university students using AI for their assignments: turn to the tutoring system used by Oxford and Cambridge for the last 150 years, where each student meets weekly on a 1-on-1 basis to discuss that week’s essay with a don. Yes, this will reveal if the student employed AI without understanding what it did. Similar probing should work in UX interviews. But 1-on-1 weekly tutoring doesn’t scale past super-elite universities with very small student populations relative to the faculty. On the other hand, next-generation AI will likely support 1-on-1 tutoring — possibly at all levels of education, but definitely in K-12. In any case, interesting analysis by Wooldridge:

AI's Disruptive Impact on Customer Service

More data shows that AI leads to huge productivity gains in business while simultaneously improving quality: ChatGPT 4 was used to generate “management” responses to customer reviews or complaints about hotels in Turkey that had been posted on Tripadvisor. The AI responses were rated as better than responses written by human hotel executives both for positive and negative customer comments. AI responses were rated favorably for handling a complaint effectively and for the measures the business “intends to implement” in order to prevent the reoccurrence of the failure in the future. (I put ”intends” in quotes because it’s just the AI saying so, not an actual manager from that hotel.)

Higher quality from AI than from humans, in terms of appeasing dissatisfied customers. And much higher productivity, because ChatGPT generated each response in less than a minute, whereas it took an average of 37 minutes to manually write a response to such complaints. I view it as a dark design pattern to use AI to appease customers and pretend that management will take action if no human were to read the complaints. We don’t know how hotels will implement this type of customer service system, but there’s a risk of underhanded behavior.

Personal Storytelling

Nancy Duarte is the world’s leading expert on making presentations compelling. In this 57-second video she shares a tip to cultivate a “bank of personal stories” (both inspirational stories and warning stories) that you can rapidly pull out when the need arises in a meeting. While Nancy targets her advice at executives, it’s equally valid for UX professionals for whom storytelling is a major strategy in making UX findings memorable and persuasive.

AI-Images — Now with Text

🌟 Introducing Ideogram, a groundbreaking #GenerativeAI platform specifically tailored for 🎨 Image Generation fused with Typography 📝. While "typography" might be a generous term—given the somewhat unpredictable choice of typefaces—the platform nails the integration of text in a way that's far ahead of the curve 📈.

I put Ideogram to the test with two of my all-time favorite UX slogans 💬. Although the results didn't quite match up to the masterpieces I had one of the world’s best designers create for me in my past life, they're remarkably promising for a first-gen offering 🌱. Remember, the AI we experience today sets the baseline for future advancements 🚀; it's only going to get better from here. (I like the quote that today’s AI is the worst we’ll see for the rest of our lives.)

What impressed me most was Ideogram's inherent focus on usability, already making it easier to use than many of its AI-generated image counterpart services 🤖. And no, I didn't advise them; my endorsement is purely a nod to the importance of integrating solid UX into AI technologies 🛠️. Keep an eye on Ideogram 👀—they're one to watch in the coming months! 🗓️

That’s it for this week’s UX news roundup!


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