How I stay healthy and keep my work focus in Covid times

By |2021-02-21T10:13:43-05:00February 21st, 2021|Covid-19|

After no travel or in-person research during the initial Covid-19 lockdowns from March until June of 2020, I was excited to start traveling and conducting in-person UX research again, albeit in a more limited Covid-safer way. The research and the travel from July until October ...

Evolving Best Practices For Doing In-Person UX Research During Covid-19

By |2021-02-21T10:14:32-05:00July 26th, 2020|Covid-19, User Research|

Last week, I talked about why I made the decision to accept in-person UX research again even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now in part two, after two weeks of in-person research, I'll go through my first pass at best practices for conducting individual research sessions in the hope that ...

Yes, I’ve again starting doing in-person UX research in the age of Covid-19

By |2021-02-21T10:14:32-05:00July 23rd, 2020|Covid-19, User Research|

I’ve read several people’s posts over the past few months saying that no user researcher should do in-person user research until such time as the Covid-19 pandemic has ended. That remote research fully covers all needs until then. That researchers should make a choice not ...

When will it be time to resume in-person UX research?

By |2021-02-21T10:14:32-05:00May 4th, 2020|Covid-19, User Research|

As with probably most of my UX peers around the world, I’ve been working remotely and social distancing because of Covid-19 for about seven weeks now. In that time, I’ve felt very lucky, having managed to go entirely remote without more than perhaps a 10% ...

UX for Good: Research, evaluation and strategy for low-cost or no-cost —just ask!

By |2020-12-04T09:01:40-05:00December 2nd, 2019|Advocating for UX, Consulting, Freelancing, UX Adventure|

The offer: Will work for low cost or no cost to do good Effectively immediately, I will offer up any time that I don’t have regular rate UX work to work where it would otherwise be unaffordable to bring on someone of my seniority. If you ...

Is it better to be an employee or a freelancer in a recession?

By |2020-12-04T09:01:40-05:00September 23rd, 2019|Freelancing, UX Career|

It was June of 2008 and I was a research director, working in-house at K12.com. I had gotten in my head that maybe it was time to go freelance and after giving it a lot of thought, I decided that the decision was the logical ...

What’s it like to live and work in the DC area as a UX professional?

By |2020-12-04T09:01:40-05:00September 16th, 2019|Consulting, Freelancing, Government, UX Career|

I represent the fifth generation of my family to live in Maryland and have spent about 35 years of my life here in the state. For the past 15 of those years, I’ve lived in the DC suburbs of Silver Spring in Montgomery County, solidly ...

In-person and remote interactions are not equal

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00September 12th, 2019|User Research|

Before saying anything else, I want to be clear that I’m biased. I love in-person interactions with people. Whether it’s user research or just working with colleagues, I’ll go the extra mile or two or a thousand (really!) to get in-person face time. There is a ...

Think about more than just your users: Practice nice UX

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00March 4th, 2019|Advocating for UX, User Research, UX Career|

As user experience professionals, we’re a passionate lot. We care deeply about the user – the customers that we design for. We look for meaning. We feel empathy, sometimes painfully so. But in our drive to help those users have meaningful interactions with the products ...

What does it mean to do an accessibility audit?

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00February 24th, 2019|Accessibility, Heuristic/Expert Review, User Research|

I got a request recently to price out an accessibility audit of a several thousand-page site. The expectation seemed to be that the entirety of the site would be reviewed in some fashion and then the site would be certified in some way to be ...

Appropriate expectations –> Happy stakeholders –> Successful usability testing

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00April 30th, 2018|Consulting, User Research|

When I do usability testing, particularly with teams that have not been involved in the process before, I often find myself providing a mini lesson about what usability testing is (and is not!), how the process is going to work, and what they’re going to ...

Maintain your routines to avoid work-travel stress

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00April 17th, 2018|Consulting, Freelancing|

A family member recently voiced concern about all the traveling that I have been doing. He told me the stress of all the travel seemed unsustainable in the long term, and he couldn’t imagine that I would be able to continue doing so much business ...

Observing Usability Studies: A Guide for Stakeholders

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00April 9th, 2018|User Research|

One of the most exciting things for me when doing user research is having opportunities to interact with both stakeholders and participants in person. Thus, I gravitate to the kinds of projects where these interactions occur. Most frequently, at least some of the stakeholders who ...

How to moderate usability testing with simultaneous translation

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00January 20th, 2018|Consulting, User Research|

In the decades that I’ve done user research, nearly all of my research has been conducted in English. While I’ve done some research in other countries and with products in other languages, either the product itself was still an English-language product or, when I didn’t ...

Be prepared for the cadence of freelance work

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00November 21st, 2017|Consulting, Freelancing|

Work flow was good… Four weeks ago I was feeling pretty confident about the remainder of 2017. A client had locked in the last week of November for an international usability study and another client sounded reasonably confident that they’d want a large three-part local ...

Want good usability testing data? Make sure that your participants are comfortable!

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00August 2nd, 2017|User Research|

“You created a bad survey!” exclaimed a participant as we started off day 1 of a recent usability study. I tried to explain gently that the web application she was working on wasn’t actually a survey we had created but the product we were testing, ...

Healthy Living: Get fit by treating your body like a work project

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00July 31st, 2017|Consulting, Freelancing, UX Career|

On turning 40 Since my teenage years, I’ve always tried to do some kind of exercise. In those days, I’d go running with my father, go biking on the streets of Baltimore County and go swimming at the pool where I worked as a lifeguard. ...

What Does it Mean to be a Junior or a Senior UX Professional?

By |2020-12-04T09:01:43-05:00July 18th, 2017|UX Career|

It was the end of 1994 and fresh out of college, I was hired for my first UX role as a research consultant. I proudly started out in the workforce as a “human factors engineer.” In today’s parlance, I was neither doing human factors nor ...

Should freelancers respond to RFPs?

By |2020-12-04T09:01:43-05:00June 23rd, 2017|Consulting, Freelancing, UX Career|

For the most part, my user research and evaluation freelance work comes through referrals. That means I spend my business development time on being visible and present in the UX/tech world, and then work comes through either people who know me personally or who refer ...

Top skills for tech are not all about coding: Career success with UX!

By |2020-12-04T09:09:52-05:00May 22nd, 2017|UX Career|

LinkedIn recently published a list of 50 Top Companies in the US and along with that list an inventory of the skills that hiring managers are looking for. As I reviewed the list of skills that were most in demand from the top companies, however, ...

Accessibility: Who tweets about it and what hashtags do they use?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00April 13th, 2017|Accessibility, Social Media|

Earlier this week, I explained how a new client, George Washington University Libraries, provided me with access to data from their tool, Social Feed Manager (SFM), to better understand how user experience hashtags are being used. Check out that prior post about user experience hashtags ...

UX on Twitter: Who tweets, what hashtags do they use, and what should you be doing?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00April 10th, 2017|Social Media|

For many years, whenever I gave talks about UX and social media, I told the audience to use the #UX hashtag when posting UX-related tweets. But this advice was only based on my own anecdotal experiences; I’ve personally used the UX hashtag about 1,450 times ...

Be an employee or be a freelancer but be cautious when it’s full-time work that’s a bit of both

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00April 5th, 2017|Consulting, Freelancing, UX Career|

I often hear from my UX colleagues that they are thinking of going off on their own. They tell me that they’re ready to make the leap to freelancing and think that they have found their first gig – maybe it’s a 3-month contract, or ...

Research Recruitment Fail! Now what?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00April 3rd, 2017|Consulting, User Research|

I largely do user experience (UX) research activities such as usability testing, cognitive walkthroughs, ethnography, interviews and focus groups all centered around how users and potential users would interact with existing, updated and new interfaces. Sessions and activities are typically scheduled to last about an ...

User Error and the UX Implications of Elon Musk’s Brain Implant Ambitions

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00March 28th, 2017|User Research|

I’ve been impressed over the years by how Elon Musk consistently seems to achieve his goals, be it with Tesla, Solar City or Space X, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see his new startup, Neuralink, produce as promised. But that scares me. I’ve spent ...

The UX of Swimming with an Apple Watch: What’s it like and how can it improve?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:33-05:00March 6th, 2017|Heuristic/Expert Review|

As someone immersed in technology both personally and professionally, I was a relative latecomer to smartwatch ownership. I had played with smartwatches, but I always found them too sluggish, not good enough as fitness trackers, not waterproof, or lacking their own data connection, particularly if ...

Should you do UX work in the Federal government when you don’t agree politically?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:33-05:00March 1st, 2017|Advocating for UX, Consulting, Government, UX Career|

For much of my UX career, I’ve been pretty solidly tied to the Washington DC region. While I’ve never committed to any one specific industry, just given the amount of Federal UX work that has been available locally, Federal-related contracts have been responsible for a ...

Recording for Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning: My lessons learned & a glimpse behind the scenes

By |2020-12-04T09:08:33-05:00February 24th, 2017|Consulting, Speaking, Training, UX Career|

Right at the anniversary of my first Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning course, I had the opportunity to head out once again to sunny Carpinteria, California. I got to record two new courses, both focused on a topic near to my heart - being a freelancer! ...

Freelancers Onboarding Freelancers

By |2020-12-04T09:08:33-05:00October 31st, 2016|Consulting, Freelancing, UX Career|

I’ve enjoyed working as a freelancer for the past 8 years and have largely found that I can maintain a workload that matches what can be done by myself and Edie (the second person on my two-person team). Occasionally, however, the workload goes beyond what ...

How to create a culture of accessibility

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00August 30th, 2016|Accessibility, Advocating for UX|

I was recently asked by a UX colleague how he might be able to incorporate accessibility into his company’s organizational culture. Although he felt personally that accessibility was very important and even had the budget to hire staff that was knowledgeable in principles of accessibility, ...

Race and gender as usability testing screening filters?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00June 6th, 2016|Consulting, User Research|

Most qualitative usability testing studies that I do involve the creation of a screener early on in the research process. The screener is the product of a necessary effort to determine not only who specifically the expected users are of a product, but also how ...

UX Magazine – AI Bots and User Research: Adapting Our Methods

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00June 2nd, 2016|Posted elsewhere, Publication, User Research|

Over the years, I’ve heard the same question again and again each time a new type of consumer technology starts trending and becoming part of popular culture: “So,” someone asks, “how is this going to change how you do user research?” I heard this question ...

Aquent Blog – UX Careers and Artificial Intelligence

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00April 1st, 2016|Posted elsewhere, UX Career|

If you have seen “careers” and “artificial intelligence” in the same sentence, it’s likely because there is yet another article wondering whether certain jobs will soon be done faster and more reliably by an intelligent algorithm. Employers who hire UX professionals needn’t worry about their ...

Is bigger better when you’re a freelancer?

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00January 14th, 2016|Consulting, Freelancing, UX Career|

As a user experience (UX) consultant/freelancer with a small business, whenever there is a new project opportunity, I need to decide whether or not to accept the project. I have to think about how well the project fits with the existing skillset and schedule for ...

Please Stop Trying to Explain the Difference Between UX and UI Design

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00September 1st, 2015|UX Career|

No! Yet another [infographic / article / explanation] on what the true difference is between UX and UI design, or between UX and UI development, or between UX design, UI design and UX/UI design. Or between UX development, UI development and UX/UI development. Gah! It ...

Getting close! A UX Careers Handbook Update

By |2020-12-04T09:08:35-05:00July 14th, 2015|UX Career, Writing|

Although I announced that I was writing a UX Careers Handbook in mid-December 2014, it wasn’t until mid-January that I actually started putting the virtual pen to paper and writing the book. I’m excited to say that two weeks ago—five months and 82,000 words later—I ...

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