2020 was a hard year. It drove home something I’ve always known but had been taking for granted: good UX Design relies on an environment, process and team that support good UX Design. If the environment, process and team aren’t quite in place, I would argue that it’s the job of the UX Designer to speak up and take part in shaping them.

This is a big and challenging task. Especially if you’re an introvert and a maker rather than a manager at heart. I recently stumbled across this quote in an article about Eddie van Halen:

“If it’s your passion and it’s from the heart, you just keep playing, playing, and playing and eventually somebody’s gonna notice.”

Not true in UX Design and probably not even true in the music industry. Eventually, someone might not notice and you would have played your heart out to an empty stage or an audience who just doesn’t get it. …

When it comes to gathering customer feedback, I’m not a fan of surveys. I prefer one-on-one interviews, where it’s possible to ask people to tell their story in their own words and for me to look them in the eye, to see that flicker of confusion, uncertainty or irritation as they share their experiences. I want to see what their office space, home space or workspace looks like and how often they are interrupted, by bosses, children, emails, phone calls and colleagues.

I want to see how an idea or service or product fits into their life and how small…

Despite all that has been written and blogged and said and vented about on this topic, there still seems to be a misunderstanding of the disciplines of UX Design and UI Design in the world. I’ve engaged on the topic with many people over many years and by now I usually steer clear of it, but a few recent experiences highlighted the unintentional harm that can be done because of this misunderstanding. And so, I felt I needed to re-engage.

Where UX Design and UI Design fit into the design process

LinkedIn is littered with job ads for UX-slash-UI Designers and it drives UX Designers nuts! It wastes people’s time when they apply for a position that doesn’t match their experience and skill set. It creates unnecessary friction in the workplace when people expect UI Designers to do what UX Designers are trained to do, and vice versa. It annoys experienced UX Designers and UI Designers that the roles are referred to interchangeably because they are completely different.

I’m going to repeat this because people seem to feel uncomfortable saying it: UX Design and UI Design are completely different.

If you…

As UX designers, we tend to fall in love with beautiful infographics and pretty data visualisations. We replace words with icons, sentences with doughnut charts and paragraphs with dashboards. Sometimes, this is to the detriment of the people that we are designing for. I have two rules when it comes to making decisions about visualisations.

From: The Humane Interface, by Jef Raskin (Copyright © 2000)

When I started out doing User Experience design, one of the first books I read was “The Humane Interface” by Jef Raskin. Here’s what he had to say about designers and icons:

Icons seduce designers into looking for a representation, model or analog… On occasions…this is a design error. A bibliographic database application designer asked me to comment on the quality of his team’s choice of icons. I responded that most people who use bibliographies can read and that therefore words might be preferred.

The power of a good visual as that it can convey a relatively complex piece of…

I recently started working on an app designed for field salespeople. These are folks who spend a lot of time on the road, a lot of time on their phones, who interact with people face-to-face a lot (and mostly enjoy it) and who are driven by *blank goes here*. What drives these people? What motivates them? (What drives any of us?) Speaking to my colleagues at the business — those working in sales and marketing and product design themselves — has brought me many answers to the question. They say salespeople are driven by sales targets and commission, or just…

A bit of venting, comparing a corporate to a non-corporate environment

Just keep asking WHY?

I’ve been doing User Experience design for a long time now, and I’ve noticed over and over again that enterprise software and tools generally suck. It’s usually clunky, buggy, incredibly hard to learn to use, full of strange language and just plain ugly.

Why is this? Is the answer that the people who buy the software aren’t the ones using it? Is it because they just don’t care about the people who are forced to use it? Is it because commercially acceptable software is just too expensive? Is it quite the opposite: corporates have invested so much money in their…

Financial product onboarding experiences are omnichannel. By nature. Despite this, banks often focus on single-channel experiences, where customers hypothetically discover, explore and sign up for a new account, card or service on a single digital device. Designing an onboarding experience with a single channel in mind, is a valiant thing to do, but by not considering the other channels that your customers will naturally switch to as they progress, (other people, call centre agents, paper forms, apps and web portals), and what might go wrong in those channels, you are designing a broken experience. By nature.

The story

(Note: South…

Carien Moolman

I’m an experience designer in the lovely Cape Town, South Africa. I believe that well-designed customer experiences make the world a better place.

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