Involving users is a critical part of any experience design process. One key method to collect great qualitative insights is contextual inquiry or contextual interviews.

While quite a lot has been written about contextual interviews, one critical but often overlooked aspect is the master and apprentice model, which helps define how to conduct such interviews.

Interview the users in their ‘natural environment’ to preserve context and to observe usage.

Create a relationship between the user and the designer that follows the master and apprentice model:

“Who is the master? The user is.
Who is the apprentice? The designer is.”

As part of a new project we’re working on, I prepared an accessibility cheatsheet to get the team started…

We will be compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508.

  • Section 508 lays out accessibility standards required in the US and is documented on the US Access Board.
  • WCAG lays out accessibility standards developed through the W3C — as such, it is a more internationally recognised standard. The original WCAG 1.0 standard has been superseded by the newer WCAG 2.0 standard.

While they are broadly similar, there’s a few differences between Section 508 and WCAG.

WCAG 2.0 is a more complete and thorough standard than Section 508 as outlined in a…

#1 – The feature prioritisation fallacy

When basing design decisions such as how to prioritise features on sparse user research, you will find it challenging to stick to good design principles such as the 80/20 rule.

Let us assume that:

  • the product has a defined number of features.
  • the product has only relevant features and that completely superfluous features have been removed already (Yes! We’re that good).
  • the 80/20 rule applies to the significance of set of features, because it pretty much always does.

Where do we go from here?

Because you’re following a good design process, you will be talking to your users, listening to…

At Digital Science, we organise the work of our central UX team into UX project work and UX excellence work. Excellence work covers a wide range of activities, such as UX reviews, UX talks, UX days, UX newsletters, and many more. These activities are aimed at engaging our portfolio companies on topics such as prototyping, accessibility, metrics, etc.

Most recently, we’ve decided to share our library of excellent books about UX, design, process & methods by listing them on the wiki and hopefully increasing usage of that valuable resource.

I’ve also decided to share this list of UX books below…

photo from the Guardian

I was 9 years at the time. Standing in the living room, watching the evening news in passing my young brain captured the significance of what the broadcaster said: “The wall is now open — people can travel freely”. I will never forget that moment, even though it may be blurry. I remember my parents going to the demonstrations only days earlier, joining a million people on the streets of Berlin.

Now here I am, living in London. My wife is Chinese, my kids go to an English school, and I have friends from all over the world. My best…

Sven Laqua

Head of User Experience at Digital Science, dad & daydreamer, PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, ex UCL Teaching Fellow on Interaction Design

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