UX : Who the Hell does what? (part 1)

UX who does what?

I’ve been a UX practitioner, evangelist and campaigner for over a decade now and it’s often been an up hill struggle to make more traditional management teams accept its critical importance and competitive advantage, however, in the last year or two I’ve watched it’s acceptance accelerate at an amazing pace, propelled by business case after business case (though I’d argue that common sense should require no business case).

But now that everyone seems to recognise the importance of UX, we hit the next hurdle: We’re seeing a lot of confusion over UX roles: who does what, where the UX expert’s responsibilities (and skills) start and end and which UX job title this comes under, and this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, leading to confusion from the employer as to what type of practitioner they need and confusion from the practitioner as to how they should title their skills. It doesn’t help the recruiters in the middle either, as they have to match two together correctly some how.

Below is a list of just some of the more common UX role titles that I hear thrown around in the market place at the moment, and a rough description of their responsibilities. Continue reading


Why user-centric UX is so important

“User-Centric” is not a buzzword. Its really important. It should seem obvious that making your digital experience as empathetic to your user’s needs as possible will result in the greatest business goal conversions, be that sales, signups, awareness or something else…but mostly sales 😉

If you get it right you’ll leave your competitors in the dust. Of course if your competitors get it right they’ll leave you in the dust. However there are a lot digital experiences out there that still don’t take a user-centric approach, so a significant window of opportunity remains.

Naturally you should employ UX best practices to deliver this, but good UX is not to be confused with a good user-centric solution.

Good UX ensures you deliver your solution in an intuitive and simple manner, removing inconvenience and inefficiency from the experience, distilling it to it’s essence and rationalising it’s capabilities. Continue reading


BBC announce new iPlayer

Being heavily involved in the IPTV sector we have to say that the continual improvements in the BBC’s iPlayer are very welcome. They are in a unique non-profit requirement position to make products which are simply excellent and not constrained by insane client deadlines, unrealistic budgets or any sort of commercial RoI requirement. Bundle this with the BBC’s approach to using the best people and technology partners in the industry to produce their visionary solutions and what you have is an incredible recipe for world leading, technically excellent solutions. This alone is reason enough for paying your TV licence fee.

The new player which was announced today, will have a number of improvements including:

Simple

  • Cleaner user experience, with three discovery areas
  • –Sliding drawers: Featured, For you, Most popular, Friends
    –TV Channels: TV listings page, showing what’s on now
    –Categories: browse by genre and sub-genre

  • Separate TV & Radio
  • –No longer grouped together, easier to browse
    –Radio console
    –Pop-up console runs while you browse

  • Channel-hop whilst watching live
  • –Quick links in viewing window, one-click to flip between channels

  • BBC iPlayer Desktop
  • –Download favourites in advance to save time
    –Easier to watch favourite programmes offline

  • Improved viewing experience
  • –Fewer buttons
    –Larger screen
    –Higher quality video

Personal

  • Favourites
  • –Tell BBC iPlayer what you like, and it will line programmes up in a convenient playlist
    –New programmes, expiring programmes and unwatched programmes are flagged so it’s easier to keep track

  • Improved recommendations based on what you watch and listen to
  • –Stored in local cookies, or via BBC iD
    –Families can log in through separate IDs: individual experiences through the same machine
    –Improved programme alerts delivered via email, so you don’t miss a thing

  • Roam with BBC iD
  • –Log in to store preferences, so you pick up where you left off on another computer

  • Customisable EPG
  • –List your favourite channels and stations

Connected

  • Connect with Facebook
  • –Post content directly to your wall to recommend and share with friends

  • Sync with Twitter
  • –Auto-tweet to recommend and pass links to friends

  • Live chat with friends using Windows Live Messenger
  • –Log in to Windows Live Messenger through BBC iPlayer
    –Forward links to others online: watch on-demand at the same time
    –Comment live on programmes as they air


New London Flash User Group…sort of

I’m a reasonably regular attendee of many of the community events and user groups. I believe firmly that the uniquely strong community spirit that exists in the Flash world is one of it’s great strengths. I know I would never have been as successful a Flash Platform developer as I am without the selfless help and advise I received over the years from countless friends and colleagues.
And that spirit is contagious. I now give back to the community myself through things like going on to forums and answering as many questions as I have time for, attending user groups and running community events like PokerCoder.com. This all helps raise the general level of expertise within the industry and is good for all of us.
I recently discovered a London Flash user group based in South Bank University run by a very nice guy called David Wright: The London Flash Developers and Designers user group. It’s a stone’s throw from Elephant and Castle tube station. It has around 350 signed up members – though obviously not all of them turn up 😉 and it’s actually been around for quite a long time. Continue reading