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Differences Between External and In-House UX Research

Over the past couple of years, design as a discipline and more precisely design thinking as a methodology have grabbed the attention of businesses across a wide range of industries. Specifically the human-centeredness of this approach is often lauded as a driver for customer satisfaction and innovation. Thus, more and more companies pay attention to the processes and methodologies that contribute to this increased focus on customers. And at the root of human-centered design is an informed understanding of customers and their needs. Therefore, user experience research is becoming increasingly important as a tool to inform design and business decisions.

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Surviving Information Overload

It has been said ever since the time of the Library of Alexandria, mankind is producing more information than could ever be recorded and properly documented. However, for the longest time, we were facing problems of information scarcity. Old forms of media such as books and scrolls required time-intensive manual labor to reproduce. The high cost of reproduction in combination with very low literacy rates among the people limited the spread of knowledge through printed material. Furthermore, before the invention of telecommunication technology, we relied on couriers and pigeons to transport information, often delaying the decision-making process. …

And I don’t mean applying glitter to our problems

Too often, social work and philanthropy is focused on trying to apply solutions that have worked elsewhere to entirely different contexts. A project is piloted somewhere, and if it is deemed successful, it gets used in a different setting, too often disregarding the socio-cultural nuances that critically affect the outcomes of such projects.

Within large areas of the design professions, there is an ongoing discussion about designers’ “place at the table”. In some cases they refer to design’s increasing importance in strategic consulting, and why VC firms are acquiring design talent. In other cases, the discussion revolves around the role…

Or, why product designers really should understand code

I recently had a conversation with a fellow designer who expressed her frustration regarding her work with her company’s marketing team. She was involved in a larger campaign and had to work directly with members of the marketing team. Not only was she not the happiest about being pulled away from her product-related tasks, she was also not too happy about the constellation of this collaboration. Her main complaint:

“It is so frustrating that so much of what you do everyday is determined by people who have so little understanding of what you do. They just don’t get it.”


One of the primary aspects I mostly appreciate lately is a sense of generosity in sharing knowledge and ideas. Looking back at the first Thankful Thursday post, it was something that stood out to me about each of the three guys, whether it was Tobias sharing his ideas for dotmail, Axel sharing advice and recommending some literature, or Nick sharing advice on my project ideas. And as someone who uses the web, I have come across countless examples for this behavior.

I recently switched to using Brackets, after one of my co-workers recommended it. And despite having tweaked and modified…

The past holiday season, I traveled back to spend time in Savannah, GA. Savannah is where I spent my first 3 years in this country, and that was intrumental in a lot of ways. I learned a lot about myself there, and felt enabled and encouraged to forge my own path, which was a very powerful and liberating experience. As I traveled back this past winter, I actually took the time off and allowed myself to look back at the past couple of years, do an audit of sorts. And it led me to feel a deep appreciation for a…

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How about we don’t think about how to optimize this picture and just appreciate that it’s a gorgeous view?

These days it seems that everybody has groundbreaking ideas that promise to drastically increase your productivity and your success. And after reading a lot of essays, lists of “10 steps successful people do differently” and the likes, I came to the conclusion, that productivity advice has become just like diet tips in women’s magazines. It appears that not only does everybody claim to have found the holy grail that definitely works for you, but it also appears that everybody claims the opposite of the person before him. The sad thing is, I always had this hunch, and was extremely skeptical…

Maybe we should look beyond the person using our product.

I recently came across a brilliant article that posed an interesting question that had me thinking for a while now. In her excellent “My 2013 UXmas Wishlist”, strategy consultant Lis Hubert has a section titled “All I want for UXmas is U”, in which she argues that ux design is lacking a broader definition of “user”. She points out that in ux design practice, work is often produced with a sole focus on the end user, which she believes to be too narrow. And I wholeheartedly agree.

This past summer, I finished my graduate studies…

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Grad school was more than hitting books, high on caffeine (photo: muellermm)

A personal call to not abandon offline college experiences

Disclaimer: This is neither your usual “college is not just learning but also the partying” nor your very serious treatise about the value of networking during your studies. It is me recounting memories from grad schoolol and why I think they would not have happened in one of the recently celebrated MOOC environments.

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to attend a great grad school program. I admit, it had its ups and downs, and it is not the land of milk and honey that the official communication tries to make it seem — towards the end…

Marc Marius Mueller

Designer & Thinker. Specializing in UX and UI design. Lover of music and ethnic food. And dot grid paper.

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