I think of successful UKCS like a solid beam that extends across an organization, that beam is not just floating in the air, rather it’s upheld by six solid pillars. I’ll discuss them now. The first is a capable UKCS team. You have at least adequate coverage in the areas of interaction design, visual design, content strategy, writing, information, architecture and research. Individuals hone their craft and stay current in design and research trends and patterns and refine their methodologies, communication skills and mastery of UKCS tools.
The second is enough people and budget to do the job well are very general. Rule of thumb is one new person for every nine people writing code. Third is executive support. High level management understands what UKCS is and aids it in tangible, effective ways, such as providing leadership and vision related to business goals, granting budget for research, hiring full time people or consultants when needed, having the willingness and ability to change things at the organization to ensure good user experience. The fourth user focused cross-functional team everyone, no matter what their functional group, holds a shared vision for the product or service and its user experience and all strive toward the same vision. They know who the users are, what they need and how they behave. Everyone makes the effort to better understand customers and pivot as needed to make a positive user experience with the development process that teams use include UCS activities effectively not only coding and kuai. Research and design activities are truly part of the process.
Design, thinking and lean both account for UKCS processes, which is helpful. But if the process used is scrum or waterfall to the letter, UX is not part of those processes. So attempting to do iterative design creates great friction. Those development processes can and should be adapted. And finally, six the project schedule predicts and supports iterative design and research, things that are anticipated to be difficult to design or that might need a lot of prototyping and iterations or are important to the customer and the business are placed earlier in the schedule with developers involvement. But before developers start writing code, when all six of these pillars are strong and of the same height, they form a sturdy foundation for UKCS processes and eliminate resistance, making great design possible and easier for everyone if the organization.
Social Media and Gamification
Have you ever looked at how many followers you have and it felt like you’d gotten a new high score? Have you ever been disappointed that the picture you posted didn’t get as many likes as a photo of someone else’s cat? These feelings don’t happen by accident.
Over the past few years, technology has become more social. At the same time, there’s been a trend towards game of buying interactions put together. Those two trends have created a climate where people feel as though their social lives are being scored. There’s a lot of talk in our industry about what exactly gamification means to start. Let’s clarify that gamification in design uses game mechanics to encourage certain behaviors. It sometimes looks like adding badges, achievements and levels to a product that doesn’t usually have those features. It can also be a deeper pattern that completely changes interaction. Gamification can change the mechanics of the system by using unpredictable rewards or by adding competition. Gamification and social media takes a lot of different forms. Popular social media apps usually feature an infinitely scrolling feed that may or may not have anything worth our attention. Variable rewards and unlimited time are powerful game mechanics. If you never know when the payoff will be worth it, you’re more likely to keep playing. Slot machines are the biggest moneymakers in a casino because it’s easy to keep going when you think that maybe, just maybe next time there’s going to be a big reward with social media. Infinite scrolling makes you think that maybe, just maybe, you’ll keep scrolling and find something interesting. Gamification in social media can make you feel like you have to earn more points when a design quantify something like saying how many followers, how many likes or exactly how many reposts you get, there’s pressure to keep that score up.
Suddenly it’s not as important. Who likes what you’re posting? The real important part is how many people like it. We’re learning that gamification in social media is having a large impact on people’s lives. When that impact is more negative than positive, it’s time to change the rules, observe, test, iterate and learn to make sure that you’re playing fairly by the people who use your product.