What’s Hot for UX?

There appears to have been a slight upsurge in recent months of companies looking for User Experience (UX) people in New Zealand. But taking a peek at the advertised jobs you could be left scratching your head when faced with the diversity of job descriptions and increasingly bizarre skill-sets expected of the ever-malleable and super-human

Good Onya!

On Friday night I was the proud recipient of an ONYA – awarded to this website for ‘Best content (personal)’. The other finalists in the category were Alison Green of  WebWeaver for  The Gathering Archives, and Jared Gulian for  Moon over Martinborough. Sorry guys! What makes the ONYAs  so special is that the  judging panel

Tap Dancing on Paper

When it comes to creating a user experience specification for a website, it\’s usually a straight forward exercise. You create wireframe diagrams and show the web pages in different states. But how do you specify user interactions for a touch-screen that\’s ever-changing, highly interactive and has unpredictable curious creatures influencing the user navigation? This was

Tsunami of Confusion

The information graphics created to inform people on the Samoan tsunami about to hit New Zealand didn’t send a clear message.

When disaster hits it spreads on the internet like wildfire. But the information graphics the public are served up are next to useless for making an informed decision on whether or not you’re in imminent danger.

Yesterday morning I arrived at work, opened Twitter and found out about the shocking Samoan earthquake – my contacts on the social networking site said the tsunami was heading toward New Zealand and would be here within hours.

So we’ve heard this before – a tsunami is on the way – don’t panic (yet). Do some quick research – so how big is it? 10cm or 10metres? Where will it hit? Should I phone home and warn the family?

The main New Zealand news websites gave conflicting information and seemed at least an hour behind the news on Twitter. Who could I trust? I found a lot of misleading information and hype from both the public and officials.

So I turned to the New Zealand, Australian and US government websites for the facts – they’d be accurate and up to date right?

Tabatha the Service Design Goddess

Business owners, service delivery managers, business analysts and user experience consultants could learn a lot from tacky reality TV shows like ‘Tabatha’s Salon Takeover’.

Photo Credit: Mitch Haaseth, Bravo

Photo Credit: Mitch Haaseth, Bravo

The straight-talking Ozzie, Tabatha Coffey lends her sound advice and styling expertise to help make over America one salon at a time in this new series (Friday’s, 9.30pm on TV3).

In the vein of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Tabatha cleans up failing businesses with a keen eye for the customer experience and broken business processes.

Her formula is simple…

  • For a day she observes the business.
  • She then sends in some mystery customers to gauge their experience.
  • She feeds her observations back to the business owners and staff.
  • She then fixes the broken parts of the business process (in last Fridays show, a phone-book sized staff instruction manual was painfully shredded).
  • Next she hones in on the staff through up-skilling, and gives those who are failing a chance to learn and improve.

What I also like is that she allows staff to have more freedom over how they work, so long as the business benefits and the customer experience is improved.

Later she returns to check if her action plan has worked. She checks the financial performance of the business, staff morale and customer satisfaction.

As a viewer we are enraptured by the sharp-shooting and frank honesty of Tabatha’s whirlwind analysis. It’s all so obvious! We baulk at the abject stupidity of the business owners (usually in tears after Tabatha’s biting analysis), and at the amazing ignorance of the staff who treat their customers as if they are an annoyance and/or a chance to experiment with scissors and hair dye.

But some of us shouldn’t feel so smug at watching these poor people be frazzled and fried in public.

Power to the People!

A presentation from my archives – many of the points made in these slides are still relevant today. Extracts from a workshop at GOVIS 2007. This one-day intensive workshop taught attendees how to incorporate user goals and agency needs into the web design process. Workshop presenters: Zef Fugaz, Bob Medcalf, Elyssa Timmer. Feedback from the