2018 in Review: Readers’ Top Articles

We’re wrapping up 2018 with a look back at the most popular topics of the year. Whether building a dashboard, trying empathy mapping, or discovering a new UX book, many UX Booth readers used 2018 to add skills to their repertoire and advance their careers.

Catch up on what you’ve missed before we kick off 2019.

Dashboards are about understanding. How is your organization doing? How are you doing? Meeting your goals? Anything need your attention?

It is not a data report. No spreadsheet tables, no complicated charts, nothing that distracts from the fundamental questions of how things are going and does anything need attention. And it also is not a business intelligence canvas. This isn’t about manipulating data and massaging it into multiple, drillable, deep-dive-able visual analytics. Dashboards are minimally interactive, not systems for drilling over and over.

This story is not unique or limited to enterprise software systems. New digital products, services, and IT projects ranging from internally built websites and mobile apps to purchased content and asset management systems are failures. Why? Among the various culprits, poorly defined requirements are often cited as a main reason. Incomplete, inaccurate, or missed (don’t forget non-existent) requirements increase the likelihood of a project failing to meet budget, deadlines, performance, and user expectations. Properly documenting requirements can help set your project up for success.

Empathy is a critical part of human-centered design. There are endless conversations about its importance in user experience work, but few focus on how to help others achieve it. As researchers, when we experience a user’s struggle first hand, feel the frustration, and hear their words, we can’t help but empathize. But behind every UX’er is a team, a client, or a company CEO that wasn’t there. They don’t understand the users wants and needs. It is our job to help them–but how? Try empathy mapping.

User interviews are just one aspect of conducting user research but often can yield more high-quality insights than any other research method. Interviews provide a wealth of qualitative information – thoughts, feelings, frustrations, anecdotes, and much more – about a certain task or situation that you can’t necessarily glean from a data set or a research report.

It may be cliché, but it is true—the little things really do matter. Micro-interactions are such an integral part of everyday digital life that they usually go unnoticed until they prove to have massive repercussions on a site’s conversion rate.

Most of us perceive prototyping as a tool we use to iterate towards a final product. That means anything we add to the prototype has to be practical. We will need to get agreement for it, and it will have to be something we can build on the agreed technology stack. There is just no point in prototyping something that isn’t practical or will never get approved.

Within the user experience community, there’s been an increasing push toward finding individuals whose skill sets extend beyond those of a typical UX designer. Specifically, businesses are looking for leaders who can carry a project from initial design to front-end development.

These leaders are called full-stack UXers. But when it comes to filling this in-demand position, there’s not a lot of clarity about what qualifications a full-stack UXer should bring to the table – or how to find them.

Each year, the IA Summit (now the IA Conference) features talks and workshops from some of the best in information architecture, UX, and content strategy. This year’s schedule featured experts such as Abby Covert, Dan Klyn, Jared Spool, and Peter Morville. The extraordinary lineup also provides a great list of recently published UX books. Check out one or more to get prepared for this year’s summit.

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