In 5 Unconventional UX Training Resources, we focused on specific techniques such sketching and prototypes. In this post, we show how to learn UX design focusing on psychology, research, and concepts such as software localization.
Learn UX Design Resource #1: Design Psychology
A great way to learn UX design is to delve into the psychology that informs how users think, act, and react. Midori Nediger’s article, Design Psychology: 10 Essential Experimental Principles, is directly on point with an explanation of principles such as:
- Von Restorff effect—When presented with multiple objects, people are likely to remember the item that differs from the others.
- Dual-coding theory—The idea that presenting information verbally and visually helps users create an accurate mental model for that information.
- The principle of closure which “states that we tend to fill in gaps between elements to perceive incomplete objects as being whole.”
Again, studying human psychology and perception is an effective way to learn UX design. Read the article and leverage these experimental principles to enhance the impact of your designs.
Learn UX Design Resource #2: Research
Early in UX Research Is Essential to Product Success author Apurvo Ghosh refers to generative and evaluative research. As the term implies, evaluative research focuses on assessing an existing product or design. In contrast:
Generative user research is key and should constitute a full-fledged discovery phase, during which you can discover and analyze users’ behavior, needs, and motivations to contribute context and insights to product strategy and design.
This distinction is critical yet often overlooked by stakeholders, product owners, and even UXers who are increasingly under pressure to deliver a great design in record speed. Often, UXers are encouraged to skip “time-consuming research,” and just crank out a design.
For those who are under such pressure but also need to learn UX design and research, Ghosh provides a brief tutorial of several research methods that can often be completed quickly:
- Lean UX
- Guerrilla research
- Minimum viable research
- Heuristic evaluation
- Expert review
- Hypothetical persona
Reach Ghosh’s article to learn how to apply these research methods to your design projects.
Learn UX Design Resource #3: Scenarios
UX guru Jared Spool makes a persuasive case for scenarios in When It Comes To Personas, The Real Value Is In The Scenarios. He opens with a clever quote by Kim Goodwin: “Personas without scenarios are like characters with no plot.” She’s right, of course, as is Spool when he cites the risk of developing personas without accompanying scenarios. The personas end up on the shelf.
Spool lays out a formula for creating useful scenarios that bring personas to life:
- Identify a dominant story through research by spending “deep hanging out time” with users as one UX research team did by spending considerable time with airline passengers in the terminal.
- Recognize that a great story leads to a great scenario. In the airline passenger example, the current story focused on Taré, a stressed traveler with special dietary needs and no time to eat between flights due to a tight connection. The future scenario included an app that allowed the passenger to pre-order a meal that would be ready for pickup at the departure gate.
- It’s possible to create a robust scenario without a detailed persona. In Spool’s example, the UX team does not know the persona’s age, gender, or nationality or even the final destination. The persona itself is not interesting: “Yet, the story has everything we need to make passengers in Taré’s situation much less stressful.”
- A second story adds contrast. For the same airline project, the UX team observed a different pattern related to family travel. In this story, the persona is Neshar who is traveling with a spouse, a mobility-challenged in-law, and an infant. Each passenger is allowed two carry-ons, but the baby does not have a ticket. Can the baby bring two carry-ons, or is the baby considered a carry-on? What paperwork will Neshar need for the baby to pass through security? One through security, where can Neshar stock up on wipes and diapers? As in the first scenario, the UX team does know much about the persona. What team does have, however, is a rich story about the challenges of flying with two parents, a baby, and an in-law with limited mobility.
Study Spool’s article to learn how to craft meaningful scenarios based on UX research. It’s a great way to learn UX Design or, rather, this critical part of the UX design process.
Learn UX Design Resource #4: Conversion Centered Design (CCD)
Landing pages and conversion are nothing new. As describe by the author, however, Conversion Centered Design, offers a useful way to learn UX design. While designers often focus on solving user-oriented problems, solving business-oriented problems is equally important. The intent is not to criticize designers or even to shift attention away from addressing the user’s needs.
The goal is simply to broaden and deepen each UX designer’s perspective: “As with all things design CCD is a hybrid between art (the visual, UX and content design) and a science (the measuring and analysing of the results).”
For example, CCD incudes basic design principles such as contrast and use of white space. CCD also draws on basic concepts in psychology such as urgency and scarcity.
CCD is not a radical idea. Rather, it merges design and science, art and psychology. Study the principles in this article to learn UX design and how to apply these principles in a business setting.
Learn UX Design Resource #5: Translation vs. Localization
In this two-minute video Nielsen Norman Group’s Lexie Martin clearly distinguishes translation and localization. Translation converts content from one language into another language while localization makes a site culturally relevant and appropriate. It requires a deep level of adaption to the target locale. For example, visitors to starbucks.com in Japan see a dramatically different site than users based in the U.S.
When designing for users outside your home country, don’t guess. Start with the Nielsen Norman video and study the culture of the target region or country to grasp how best to adapt your designs.