19 Most Interesting Articles and Interviews of 2015

2015 has been a year of fascinating UX trends, insights and innovations, showing the diversity and expressing the constant changes in the digital world. But before we say goodbye to 2015, it’s time for a recap. In the past year I came across some awesome UX articles and tips, and here are 19 of them.  

 1. 6 Simple Steps to Improve User Experience

In this great article, Justin Zalewski looks at six key ways for you to improve your user experience immediately. He starts by listing the things important to users, and then elaborates on how we can optimize each one. He discusses, among other things, the importance of speed for the 21st century user. One of the ways to improve speed, being a very important component in the overall user experience, is to optimize images. Zalewski recommends that we make sure we’re not making your visitors download a gigantic image that’s only being used as a tiny thumbnail.  

2. From Words To Action: Turning UX Into ROI

In this Forbes article, Peeter Kivestu explains how to turn UX feedback into measurements that can be used to optimize ROI. The emphasis is on asking the right questions, in order to get actionable data. My takeaway is that UX data should be sourced from as close to the user as possible, in order to turn it around and increase ROI.  

3. 3 Things That Will Change User Experience Design in 2015

In this article, Saul Gurdus looks at three key trends that will impact the landscape for UX in 2015. From power shifts to lean thinking – there are some interesting and innovative ideas there. It’s interesting to read it now, as the year comes to an end, and see which of the listed innovations really made a difference.  

4. Google Ventures’ 6 Step Design Process: How We Revamped Our Entire Product in Less than a Week

This interesting blog post was written by Bastiaan Janmaat and Mike Dorsey – co-founders of DataFox, a predictive intelligence company reinventing the way investors, analysts, and business development professionals research and track technology companies. In the article, the two examine Google Ventures’ 6 Step Design Process, which they both took part in designing, and its role in a recent product overhaul. They’re biggest dilemma, they say, was time, being their scarcest resource. When you’re building a complex technology, how do you prioritize between laying the foundation (the back end) and packaging it delightfully (the front end)? How do you quickly define what you are building next and make sure that everyone is on the same page. 320

5. 3 Exercises to Sharpen Your UX Skills

Jennifer Winter writes in this article about 3 simple exercises to sharpen and improve your UX skills. She uses simple elements and methods, such as a whiteboard or pen and paper (Remember those?), in order to bring out the best of your UX abilities in no-time. The exercises’ main goals are to solve different UX problems, illustrating the UX process, understanding your UX team better, etc. This article best shows the use of every-day, non-digital equipment, in order to face the problems and challenges of UX and improve your UX skills.  

6.  4 UX Mistakes Killing Your Product (and how to fix them)

This article, also written by Jerry Cao, lays out a list of 4 UX mistakes people make, which put their product at risk, even if it’s the best product in the market. After listing the different possible UX mistakes, Cao provides solutions to each and every one of them, giving the developers a chance to make their UX great, so that their great products will not flunk. What I found especially important about this article, is how it encourages UX designers to focus on practicality rather than theory, reminding that creating great UX must be based on actual experiences.  

7. The Death of the Death of Books

“The death of books?” Not so fast… This article, by MG Siegler, explores that idea that books (remember those things? Made of paper…) might not be “dying out” as quickly as we thought, or at all. Over the past few years, digital book sales have actually dropped fairly significantly, after emerging into our lives, threatening to completely replace the idea of hard copy. This unexpected occurrence could be attributed to the experience readers have when they read and actual book. Looks like the convenience of e-readers might not be enough to push books out of bookstores just yet.  

8. 5 UX Mistakes that Make Users Feel Stupid

Adam Fairhead answers several questions in this article, which UX designers ask themselves every now-and-then. In every solution he notes, he makes an effort to explain the logic behind a certain way of thinking, in order to show that the intuitive way of thinking doesn’t always mean making the right choice. My favorite part of the article was to find out that clever interfaces don’t necessarily mean better interfaces and that boring doesn’t always mean bad when it comes to user experience design.

9. Google vs. Yahoo: Quick UI/UX Lessons

This article, written by Speider Schneider, shows a comparison between two websites that know a thing or two about user experience and user interface: Google and Yahoo. The two explain some ideas from the user experience design point of view on each website, and give practical advice based on them.   For example, they mention Google’s “Google Doodle,” pointing out that their UX is “fun,” while Yahoo keeps its classic homepage, giving its users a familiar zone. It was truly fascinating to get a glimpse of the way two of the world’s top companies handle their ux.  

10. Want to Improve User Experience? Try Writing a Fairy Tale

In this article, David Zax introduces us to Jessica Lawrence of New York Tech Meetup and tells her story of fairy tale user experience improvement. I don’t want to spoil the magic here, so I’ll let you read the rest, but just know it is truly a beautiful and inspiring story!  

11. How to Hook Users with Habit-Forming UX Design

This article, written by Nir Eyal, focuses on several different methods that aim to make your users hooked on your UX design. The main idea of this approach is to get your users to use your platform on a daily basis, so it would become a habit. I found it interesting that Eyal emphasizes the idea of habit-forming UX design as a significant factor in order to keep your users hooked.  

12. Touch-Free Interactions as an Innovative Approach to Audience Engagement

Human-computer interaction via human machine interface (HMI)—using touch-sensing devices, such as keyboards, buttons, sliders and touchpads—is something we have been accustomed to since the beginning of the computer era. Today, touch-free technologies are gaining more and more attention, taking user experience to a completely new level of engagement. Thanks to Microsoft Kinect and Apple’s motion coprocessors, touchless interaction through body gesture recognition has been introduced to multiple industries, bringing in a fresh perspective on the human–computer interaction paradigm and resulting in productive ideas and unique user experiences.  

13. Prove Yourself Wrong for Great UX

This article by Joel Marsh is about how data and user experience must go hand in hand in order to improve your product. It is not merely a hypothetical post, as it combines ideas with practical tips on how to get to that perfect combination. Most of the tips are based on developing a new way of UX thinking, for example, by trying to find problems in your own work. I found Joel Marsh’s honesty about the hardships of great user experience and the importance of embracing and understanding them – extremely refreshing.  

14. How The Disney World ‘Magic Band’ Is Leading Disney To The Frontier Of User Experience

One of the biggest UX revelations of the year was the Disney World Magic Band. Maybe it was because they feared going high tech would “spoil the magic,” but phones were never a part of the Disney Parks experience. That is, until 2013, when Disney announced the Disney World Magic Band. By the time the Disney World Magic Band was launched in 2014, this one small piece of wearable technology immediately transported Disney World Resort to the forefront of user experience. 189

15. 10 Ways to Improve Your UX Presentations

This article, written by “UX for the Masses,” discusses an important part of a UXer’s job, not often discussed: presentations. Every UX professional has to present their designs, research findings, conduct usability testing results, etc. Although UXers focus on the digital world, they must have presenting skills to use in the real-world. In order to improve your UX presentations, the article lists 10 ways to do so. For example, trying to inspire and entertain, focusing on a clear message, including videos and many more great tips.  

16. How Restaurants Can Serve Up the Best User Experience

Amelia Bernier’s article looks at the restaurant experience, and in particular, how to incorporate mobile experiences into the restaurant experience in order to turn first-time visitors into regulars. She mentions that customers crave optimized paths to accomplish any task, and provides tips for restaurants to turn first-time visitors into regulars, using great UX.  

17. 5 Reasons User Experience is More Important in 2015 Than Ever Before

In Kristina Cisnero’s article, she looks at the growing importance of UX for digital marketing. From the optimization of landing pages to a more personalized experience for the user, Cisnero makes a strong case for the future of UX. It’s interesting to read this again now, and see if anything has changed, as we’re facing the 2016.  

18. Now and Later User Experience Design

In this Lawson Kurtz article, he outlines the “now” and “later” user experience design strategies that focus on users short term and long term needs. “Later” design may be difficult for many of us to understand, but Kurtz’s article helps us all get a better understanding of the idea, which is being compared to long term parenting concerns, as opposed to short term happiness, from a child eating a candy.

19. How To Create a Minimalist Site People Won’t Hate

Jerry Cao writes here about the developing trend of minimalist websites designs that became rather popular among UX designers. The article names the advantages that come with minimalist websites design, which make the user experience significantly better. Cao also presents a simple guide to help you implement this designing concept  
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com