The Devastating Effects of a Weak UX Research and User Testing Process

Stumble Upon Social Media Traffic via Mashable

Stumble Upon Social Media Traffic via Mashable

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, StumbleUpon was awesome, it actually drove more traffic than Facebook. Then their UX process failed somewhere. The graph above was featured from a study carried out in the first three weeks of August 2011. It showed StumbleUpon drove more than 50% of social media referral traffic, while Facebook had almost 39% and Youtube, Twitter, Reddit and others had less than 4% each. Driving more traffic than Facebook? Nobody could argue against its throne of awesomeness. (more…)

Dangerous Questions in User Reseach

User Research

User Research

User research is an essential step in the designing of any type of product. The insights that it gives into the needs and behaviors of real end users is invaluable and goes a long way in influencing the direction of any project as well as determining its success. Yet research can be both expensive and time consuming, and money and time are commodities that few projects can afford to waste. Therefore, it is important that when resources are expended on user research, every effort is made to ensure that as much value as possible is gained from it.

An important factor that influences the value of any user research will be the interaction with the user by the researcher, or more specifically, the types of questions that are asked.  People generally like to give their opinions. They also tend to have an inherent desire to please others. Therefore, even the most well intentioned respondent can give misleading responses that are influenced by something as simple as the way a question is framed. This results in lots of feedback which is potentially useless as it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. (more…)

Is modern Marketing more Science or Art?

It’s not a new question. It isn’t even restricted to marketing.  In times of austerity, with widespread cuts to public education and the ever increasing competitive job market for fresh graduates, the debate over the value of arts and humanities degrees vs. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees is a hot topic. You’ve also probably heard about how an individual’s personality is dependent on whether they are right-brain or left-brain dominant. The idea is that a right-brain dominant person is generally more emotional, creative and artsy while a left-brain dominant person is more logical, data-driven and scientific. While this idea has been shown to be a myth, the fact that it is such a commonly held notion is symptomatic of this dichotomy between art and science.

As with most debates, arguments and generally pretty much everything, it’s not all black and white. The modern marketer requires skills that fall into both areas of expertise in order to be successful. Marketing as a discipline can and usually does embrace ideas from both scientific subjects such as psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience; as well as art disciplines such as design, typography and creative writing. (more…)

Disappointing Windows 8 User Test & Expert Usability Review

Watch what happens when you get a Windows user drunk on tequila and take Windows 8 for a test drive. A blunt and hilariously awesome uncensored look at the broken user experience.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’m not sure what the goal of this Windows 8 update was, I love Windows 7 and when you give Windows 7 enough power, it is really good.  In fact, OSX Lion was lacking a couple usability features which Windows 7 provided, that are now available in Mountain Lion. Examples you ask? Cutting and pasting files in finder – shocking ay! As well as pasting a bunch of files in a folder, where the same file name already exists – windows 7 allows you to replace, cancel or keep both by appending a number to the new file – Lion freaks out and gives you the option to replace or cancel. There are plenty more too. I still prefer Windows 7 to Mountain Lion.

I was very curious to check out Windows 8, but after trying it out at a store, reading Jakob Nielsen’s Windows 8 Review and watching this drunk user test of windows embedded below, I’m definitely skipping Windows 8.  (more…)

How to set Google Chrome Omnibox Search back to Google.com in English?

Google’s regional language detection and change system drives me crazy. I live in the Middle East, but don’t speak Arabic. Yet if I install Chrome or use Gmail, Google Drive, Documents, Blogger, Apps or any of Google’s products in the region, it always sends me to the arabic version, with no way for me to switch back to Google.com in English – unless I speak Arabic, which I don’t.

It’s easy to fix though, go to chrome settings from the wrench icon on the top right, then Manage Search Engines. Add a new search engine with the name = Google.com English, keyword = hello and URL = www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%s . Set this as default and you’re good to go. (more…)

How to reset custom contact ringtones back to the default ringtone on Android?

AAGGGGHHHHH! If you set a custom contact ringtone in Android version 4.x – and apparently all other versions, it uses that ringtone for every possible notification from that contact. This includes calling, sms, emails and IM notifications from messaging applications like WhatsApp. Definitely a UX/usability flaw in the Android OS as I need call ringtones to be differentiated from messaging ringtones for obvious reasons. What makes things worse – there is no option to reset the ringtone back to the default ringtone. (more…)

Photography Posing Guides: Sample Poses to Get You Started

DPS Groups of People Posing Guide

DPS Groups of People Posing Guide

Digital Photography School has created a great mini series featuring ‘posing cheat sheets’ for taking pictures of people. When shooting photos of people, it’s useful for them to have a look at the cheat sheets, to pick a pose and visualize the shot. They’ll feel more comfortable and relaxed modeling that awesome pose. (more…)

Mind Blowing Dance

Because dancing is awesome. These are a few dance videos that had every cell in my body wishing they were in sync.

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A Shocking Mobile & Social Media Landscape Difference in 4 Years

We all know mobile and social media has exploded recently, but have you seen any data studies that portray the impact on a global event like the Olympics? Check out this iProspect infographic on Mashable.

Olympics Mobile & Social Media Landscape 2012 by iProspect

Olympics Mobile & Social Media Landscape 2012 by iProspect

Instagram Style Lightroom & Photoshop Filter Presets

Instagram Style Lightroom & Photoshop Filter Presets via Casey Mac Photos

Instagram Style Lightroom & Photoshop Filter Presets via Casey Mac Photos

I love Instagram’s photo filters and wished my camera’s photos could be as cool. Luckily CaseyMac Photos has created all 17 Instagram filters and actions for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. They aren’t free, but well worth the $5 charge.

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