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What makes Trader Joe’s everyone’s favorite grocery store? It’s a combination of friendly staff, simplified product options and a healthy dose of individuality. By keeping things consistent and putting customers first, Trader Joe’s has designed an unparalleled user experience that keeps people coming back.

Great Products, Readily Available

People come to the grocery store to buy food and Trader Joe’s, affectionately known as TJ’s, has some of the best items you can find with lots of organic options, affordable staples and tasty pre-made meals. Having great products is one of the core reasons that TJ’s has become so popular and is the basis of their store experience. What you’ll also find is that the products you see at TJ’s are mostly the same, meaning you’ll see an identical inventory from Salem, Oregon to Salem, Massachusetts. The only things you might find different are the availability of certain fruits and vegetables or local beers. Like McDonald’s restaurants around the world, you know what you’re going to get at TJ’s and people love that consistency. …

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The impending super-fast 5G network is rapidly coming into fruition across the United States. While other countries like South Korea and Russia have quickly jumped ahead to set up their own networks, the United States remains slightly behind the curve in implementing this new technology. Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile are now making strides with Verizon likely the frontrunner in creating a more widespread network.

We’re about to see a new revolution in the way we interact with technology that has the potential to change our lives. I’ve listed out 3 possible changes, but the list is much longer and we are only beginning to understand the future implications of 5G and how it will improve the consumer experience and businesses alike. …

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ex-CEO Alexander Nix of the now infamous Cambridge Analytica (image from Vox Media Group)

How one company has exposed the dark arts of user research and design.

The recent news about Cambridge Analytica and their efforts in mining data from Facebook users has shed a new light onto the dark side of user research and design. Apart from the continued threat of illegal third-party data theft is the more nascent threat of data misuse. At one point in time, tech companies didn’t really know what to do with the user data they held. Now we’re seeing the other side of the story, which is the fact that companies know exactly what to do with their big data and they are using it to both to our pleasant surprise and ultimate demise. On the more benevolent side, Google is using their data to give you a better search experience and Amazon is using it to help coordinate more efficient deliveries. On the darker side is the evidence of using data and design to lure users into believing and rallying behind false statements. Through user research and the basic concepts of design and psychology, these companies are creating digital experiences to make you take an action like buying a new product or attending an event. …

We’ve all shared the experience of being forced to use an outdated, ugly and entirely frustrating internal product. Clunky time entry applications, overly-customized internal collaborate sites, the learning resources center from hell…you get the picture. The fact of the matter is that internal products get a lot less love than consumer facing products. Business leaders are convinced it doesn’t matter how useful or well-designed the product is because employees will have to use them regardless. The flip side of this story is that designing a great internal product will increase employees’ work efficiency (less errors, more intuitive features, seamless workflows, etc.) …

Why digitizing the pharmacy experience has become absolutely imperative.

Picking up your prescription at your local pharmacy is more often than not a hassle. Chances are, you make a pit stop after work to your pharmacy and surprise…you’re not the only person with the same plan. You wait in line because you have no other choice; it’s not the same experience as buying a Snickers bar because you actually need your prescription. You may need the prescription to survive or for some other reason that can likely boil up to what you’d consider a life necessity.

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The average customer has the same pharmacy prescription pickup routine they did 20 years ago.

How are we still wasting our time with all this waiting and unnecessary pit stops when we have digital solutions to remedy them? I order my Sweetgreens salad on the app, I order my flyfishing reels online at Cabela’s, but I’m still going into my pharmacy to pick up my prescription. My doctor gives me the prescription and I go pick it up just like I did 20 years ago. Looking into this problem it’s clear that even while there are options to buy prescriptions online, customers have been slow to adopt these solutions. …

Three ways to make an absolutely dynamite online portfolio for user experience professionals.

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Portfolios are a big part of finding your next job so make sure you do your research!

For UX designers and user researchers, the importance of a solid online portfolio is well understood. The portfolio often stands as the first thing your potential employer will see. That first impression can make or break your chances of getting the job. To win the hearts and minds of the portfolio reviewer you need to think carefully about how you present yourself.

There are many things to consider in the construction of a portfolio like what projects to show, how many projects to show and if you really do or don’t need a witty About Me section. Tackling these questions requires a multi-faceted approach from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Using user research techniques you can answer those questions with confidence. …

A Look At Sentiment Analysis For User Experience Professionals

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Dear Machine Learning, help me to know thy users and detect how they feel.

The advancement of artificial intelligence has opened new doors into the ways that we use computers to help us detect and categorize online opinions. The power of big data and intelligent machine systems has made room for new tools that can help user experience professionals and marketing professionals alike. Now that we are equipped with such valuable tools we need to better understand their design so that we can make use of them. One particular use of machine intelligence that is quickly gaining traction is the implementation of sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining. Imagine the ability to use a simple algorithm to find out what people think about your product, why they think that about your product, and how strongly they feel about that opinion. …

Discover how Ford Motor Company and others are influencing stakeholders on the importance of UX services.

Empathy is one of those words you see and hear a lot in the field of user experience (UX). Speakers at UX conferences talk endlessly about understanding users through empathy and UX professionals add ‘empathy for users’ on their LinkedIn profiles. But what is empathy and how does one acquire this type of compassion for others? Is it inherent in certain people or can it be trained?

Most UX workers should already have empathy built into their core competencies, but many other employees around you may not have this quality. These are the employees who often do not buy into the need for UX services or simply do not understand what it is that UX workers do. If you yourself are wondering what UX researchers and designers do check out some of these Quora responses. The typical approach of usability testing, writing a report and making a short presentation of your findings will not always work to create the type of empathy for users that we strive for as user experience practitioners. …

How Google’s Data Digging Changed Me For The Better

by Reed Snider

The NSA wants access to our phones, even though they’re unlikely to contain the data goldmine of secret information they hope for. That information about our habits and behavior is held elsewhere, within the data-hoarding companies like Facebook and Google that we use every day. These companies hold a valuable and dynamic digital profile of their users. Far more than just a recent text message, this wealth of information contains data about their habits, likes and dislikes.

But how much does Google really know about you? Do they know what you like to eat and what shows you watch? Well, if you search Google for vegetarian recipes and use a Google Chromecast to watch the latest House of Cards episode, you bet they do. …

A unified effort is essential to a successful business. The many advantages of creating a team that works well together are well understood. However, the measurement of team success on a project is where managers often get stuck. It’s difficult to measure team performance, it involves complex and interrelated sets of variables that are difficult to quantify. Businesses need measurements to evaluate their did-wells and do-betters. Using this information can help in devising new strategies to create more effective work teams for future projects. There are many ways to measure project team performance that can help to ensure future successes.


Reed Snider

UX Researcher and Designer

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