The UX Researcher's Mindset

Stepping into a researcher’s mindset can be overwhelming for some individuals. There aren’t any firm rules for achieving this; however, by building your own researcher’s mindset, you can ensure that your findings are valid and reliable. This article aims to answer any questions you may have about the researcher’s mindset, helping you achieve success in this field.

How do you move into the mindset of a skillful UX researcher?

There is a time for exploring and a time to focus. When you’re ready to move on to creating real documentation and assets, focusing on the end goal is paramount.

First, you need to think about the interview process. Interviewing different users and clients can be customized to meet the tone and mannerisms of the individual, but this does take quite some time to master.

There are a few things you need to be thinking about when cultivating a researcher’s mindset when asking questions.

Is a repeatable and verifiable process being followed?

A detailed process is necessary in order to ask the right questions; if this is not done, it cannot be repeated and loses its authority as a valid resource. 

Are you confident that the questions you’re asking are right?

You need to ask the right questions to be a great researcher. This means unbiased, neutral questions that will give you the factual information needed for the UX research.

Are the questions staying on target?

It is not uncommon for answers to take a turn down a different route, and it often derails the interview process. Make sure this doesn't happen by steering the questions in the way that will most benefit your research.           

It may be necessary to give the participants room to answer or talk through their thinking. If the question doesn’t give the participant room to talk about the real issues, they may go on a tangent, and you can then understand the real issues they face. As a result, you can reevaluate your questions to address them better.

What’s more, feedback is key. It’s often a waiting game while the clients fill it out, so patience is always important, especially when the results come in and the research can be seen in full.

After all of this has been done, you now need to look at the feedback and see what can be improved when questions are concerned for next time.

User research is not a new invention

It’s no surprise for you to learn that user research and how we conduct user research are not new. It began to gain traction in the early ’90s when Don Norman, working at Apple, came up with the term ‘user experience. He predicted that by 2050 there would be over 100 million UX professionals. And with the UX industry growing by the day, this prediction doesn't look far off.

Research can be carried out in many different ways. Which is the right way?

The way you carry out research is done in a contextual manner by viewing the way users and clients interact with their environment and the decisions they make.
You might have a step-by-step approach to performing research. However, many people often wonder if you need to perform every step during the process.

One thing you should know is that research is not a linear process. Some steps need to be done again if there is an error or an anomaly; being flexible with your methods can be useful when the interview doesn’t go as planned or the participants respond unexpectedly.

Become an expert in UX research and the subject you need to research

All the best UX researchers know everything there is to know regarding UX research. This includes becoming extremely familiar with the subject that’s being researched so the best questions can be asked to users and clients.

Sometimes you need to take a step back from a subject and look at it from a different angle. This will allow you to research, ask questions, and perform your duties more objectively, providing more reliable research than if you had not done this.

However, this isn’t all you need to do to adopt a researcher's mindset. It would help if you also thought of things outside of research. Problems are likely to arise, and you need to find a solution for all of them without them affecting your research. At the end of the day, you are there to give your users and clients a voice of how they believe things to be and come to a conclusion about how things are and what can be done to improve the UX design.

To wrap up

Although there is not just a single approach to performing user and client research, by adopting a researcher’s mindset, you can create a repeatable and reliable process to ask the right questions and come up with the right results for your research. 

Are you in need of seasoned UX designers? If so, contact us today.


The Value of Anthropology in UX Research and UX Design

If you haven’t come across anthropology before, it’s simply the study of what makes us humans, human. For a long time, the science of anthropology has been connected to the world of academia. Those specializing in it tend to progress to jobs in universities and community colleges. However, things are changing.

There has been a noticeable shift in the last couple of decades as anthropologists use their skill sets outside of higher education. For example, business and organizational anthropology, medical anthropology, government policy, and NGOs (non-government organizations).

Different goals can be achieved by integrating anthropologists into these industries, such as action-oriented, result-oriented, and life improvement. And if we dig a little deeper, we can see that these skills can help improve.

  1. The quality of care and life in healthcare
  2. Enhance sustainability
  3. Improve equality, problem-solving, and overall quality in policymaking
  4. Increases individuals and communities’ lives in some aspects

How Anthropology is growing and influencing UX designs

To start, we can determine some key similarities between UX research and how anthropologists are trained. Let’s look at how information is collected, for example. This typically consists of differently structured interviews, surveys, focus groups, participant behavior, and transcription.

Alongside this, it can be noted that the main skills learned from anthropology can be transferred to leading roles in the UX industry. These types of skills include.

  1. Quantitative research skills (as surveys mentioned above, focus groups, etc.)
  2. Great communication and presentational skills
  3. The ability to learn independently
  4. Amazing listening skills to understand all stakeholder's needs and wants
  5. Able to navigate ambiguity
  6. Building good business relationships with everyone involved in the industry and users
  7. Undergoing high levels of research
  8. Identifying how culture, ideas, beliefs, and motivations impact decisions
  9. Having a holistic worldview
  10. Knowing how social systems play a role

Top 3 ways that show how anthropology can enhance UX design and research

1. An approach centered around humans 

Although we’ve already mentioned a few of the skills that achieve these above, other features assist in a human-oriented approach. For instance, a clear understanding is that humans behave differently, and their motives aren’t always straightforward, with many layers involved in the process.

2. Methodologies used 

Research gathering and observations are crucial elements of UX research. Anthropologists are adept at asking the right questions during research, whether through interviews, surveys, or other sources. Reviewing the data collected is just as important. Therefore, many in the anthropology field are trained to identify step-by-step processes, find issues, and determine what’s missing from the research. This is followed by triangulating results and testing new users to confirm that their theory is proven.

3. The ability to adapt 

By doing so, many things can be achieved. Creative solutions can be used to tackle problems, patterns in behavior can be identified, group analysis can run smoothly without complications (as group sessions are common in academia), and more.

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Unearthing the Discovery Phase in UX Research

“Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.” Alexander Graham Bell

Discovery Phase in UX Research

Discovery Phase in UX Research is one of the first quintessential steps in the User Experience Journey.  During this phase, the UX Researcher partakes in uncovering the fundamental and preliminary aspects, such as initiating conversational meetings to understand and develop rapport with the associated stakeholders in a preeminence way. This engagement process will help contribute to a successful UX design implementation product.

Let’s unearth how and why this phase is an important part of the UX Research journey.

What is Discovery Phase in UX Research?

To begin working on the UX Design of any commodity/product, whether as a new launch or enhancing an existing feature as a UX researcher, we should first lay the foundational base to the UX Research Roadmap, which is often referred to as Discovery Phase.

Definition

“Discovery phase is a preliminary phase in the UX-design process that involves researching the problem space, framing the problem(s) to be solved, and gathering enough evidence and initial direction on what to do next. Discoveries do not involve testing hypotheses or solutions.”

Prepping up

To begin with, as a UX researcher, one has to gain insights into the current scenario and the project's strengths and weaknesses. This is done by initiating communications with the stakeholders. The next process to perform would be identifying and mapping key stakeholders. This is followed by recruiting and scheduling research interview sessions. Next, UX researchers dive further to read/learn the subject matter of the related project documentation and vital user data information.

What Happens Next?

Once the groundwork is readily set, there would be one high-level Discovery session conducted by the UX Researchers with a core group of members. That would include Client team members such as Project Managers, Architects, IT team members, Business Stakeholders, and end users. This is to understand the main objective and get the ball rolling. The high-level agenda comprises-

  • Team Introductions
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Project scope
  • Formalities
  • User requirements
  • Observations
  • Justification for the work
  • Deadlines
  • Constraints (Budget, Technical tools, Company guidelines)
  • Attaining key contacts list
  • Questionnaires
  • Additional cardinal features

Discovery Phase’s Analytical Approach

Analytically, being a part of the qualitative research method Discovery phase provides insights into the user's behavioral and attitudinal perspectives, observations about tools, and other related activities. Once the analyzed information results are mapped and documented accurately, the UX Research team will start working on the next steps.

By brainstorming, prioritizing, selecting, and shortlisting the core features, this analytical approach helps execute the UX Research & Design process by

Fundamental Checkpoints in Discovery Phase

Listed below are basic fundamental checkpoints that are most commonly followed in a typical UX Discovery Phase scenario:

  1. Study / Read / Understand
  2. Identification / Classification
  3. Recruitment
  4. Scheduling User Interviews
  5. Building Rapport
  6. Observations
  7. Gaining Insights
  8. Consolidated Analysis
  9. Planning UX Strategy
  10. Next Research Phase Journey

Additional Prerequisites:

  • Run Contextual Inquiry
  • Understanding the target audience
  • Competitive Analysis - Comparing with other companies/organizations
  • Investigate user experience hypotheses
  • Assumption Mapping - Validate initial user experience assumptions

(Resource reference - Bootcamp.uxdesign.cc/ux)

What Next?

Setting standards in the Post-Discovery phase, we are now well prepared with a clear vision for the future UX Research Process. We can begin the next phase in the Research phase series with great tenacity- The Empathy phase.

To learn more about the process of in-depth investigative Discovery Phase and other important phases in UX Research, please reach out to our dedicated UX Research Professionals at Radiant Digital.

 


Empathy That Goes Beyond User Experience Research

Empathy is an important human attribute to have in your personal and professional lives. But how does empathy work? And why is empathy a vital part of any user experience research?

In this blog, we explore what it means to incorporate empathy into your business life and how you can use empathy to become a better User Experience Researcher.

What is Empathy?

In practice, empathy can take many forms. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that empathy is the “action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”

Empathy is about understanding the people around you and responding with emotional intelligence. It is something that you can practice every day and never truly master because empathy will differ with every person you interact with. While it is important to bring empathy to your personal life, it is equally important to understand the role empathy can play in business environments.

Empathy in User Experience Research is All About

Empathy is a big part of User Experience Research because it is about seeing the problems and experiences through the eyes of the users’. It is not easy to accomplish, but if done correctly, this approach can produce extremely valuable information about your users. This data can then be used to help design teams make decisions that are informed by their product users’ needs, likes and dislikes.

When you operate with empathy at the forefront of your mind, you can dig deeper, learn more, and derive more valuable insights. The idea is not to simply solve a need; empathy in user experience is about fully enhancing user lives by taking away unnecessary barriers.

For example, you are building a website, and a quarter of your users are students who are dyslexic. How should you approach your UX design? Instead of designing a standard website and adding an extra font to cater to people with dyslexia, you should design with accessibility in mind right from the beginning.

Consider a range of options like the text to speech, speech recognition, and spell checker. Use your empathy skills to see from the perspectives of dyslexic people and see how your website can be improved to accommodate everyone.

How Can Empathy Enhance Our Daily Lives?

Empathy has tremendous power to enhance our daily lives. With empathy, we can connect to others at a deeper level and understand a variety of perspectives. We can relate to each other with more honesty and learn to be less judgemental. Some people learn empathy from an early age, and it becomes more than just a character trait; it is an integral part of who they are.

Empathy is powerful, and therefore it needs to be treated with caution. As with most things, it is all about balance. You need to have a healthy amount of empathy for those around you, but you also need to take care of yourself, or you will suffer from empathy burnout and fatigue.

If empathy doesn't come naturally to you, there are plenty of ways to develop your empathetic side. In an article by Clair Cain Miller in the New York Times, Miller suggested a number of ways people can improve their empathy:

  • Talk to New People: Instead of staring at your phone, start conversations with strangers while waiting in line, while on a train, or at the grocery store. Fully and actively listen. Be curious about people with different backgrounds than you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Get Involved With a Shared Cause: We are more alike than different. Volunteer and get involved with something that is close to your heart. In doing so, you will not only help yourself, but you will also learn about yourself and your capacity for empathy. Learn about all the different people involved in making a difference and join in.
  • Admit Your Biases: We all have biases. They are an innate aspect of our human nature. Acknowledge your biases and move forward with curiosity while actively working on avoiding making conclusions about people, places, and things around you through mental shortcuts.

Takeaways

You can learn plenty from making empathy a significant part of your daily business life. A team aware of the power of empathy will more often than not be able to work better together and create products that address real consumer issues.

Who knows? If you want to have a long and fruitful career in User Experience Research, you have to work on your empathy skills all the time actively. If empathy doesn’t come naturally, you can always test Claire Cain Miller’s suggestions and see what happens.

Ultimately, working on empathy beyond user experience research will make you more aware and appreciative of others. This will improve the way you live your life and the way you do your work. Why not give it a try?

To learn more about how empathy informs user experience research, please contact our UX experts.


Understand the Role of UX Personas in Digital Design

In the world of UX and design, a ‘Persona’ is the embodiment of a particular user type. If you work in user experience, you may want to create personas based on the research you’ve done into your customer base to understand who uses your service or product and who might use it in the future.

By creating personas, you will be able to understand your user’s experiences, desires, goals, and behaviors. In this blog, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about personas in design and how you can create your own engaging personas.


Personas in Design Thinking

As a designer, it can be quite easy sometimes to forget the big picture. You might become so consumed by the minutiae that you lose focus on the user. And the user is the most important part of any design process. How are you solving your users’ problems? How are you making their lives easier? What is the next step on the user journey?

These are the kinds of questions you can answer when you start creating personas. A persona will provide you with meaningful archetypes that will help you formulate your design development process. Then you can start asking the right questions and make the most of your customer base.

It is common for designers to start creating functional personas during the second phase, the ‘Define’ phase. In this phase of the design process, designers can synthesize their research from the first phase and start progressing with their large perspective on the end product. Using personas is one method that can allow designers to move easily from the ‘Define’ phase to the ‘Ideation’ phase. The personas will be the link and allow ideation sessions to be more focused and productive.

Different Perspectives on Personas

1.    Goal-Directed Personas

This perspective is pretty straightforward because it’s also about what your users want. “What will the typical user want to do with my product?” That’s the key question you want to be asking yourself if you’re interested in a goal-directed persona.

The objective of a goal-directed persona is to take a close look at the process and the workflow that your user is likely to use to achieve their goals. This perspective can help you discover whether there are design elements that hinder the overall flow of interacting with your product or service. This perspective helps you get right down to the nitty gritty and examine what really matters to your users.

Goal-directed personas are largely inspired by American software designer and programmer Alan Cooper who is recognized as the “Father of Visual Basic.”

2.    Engaging Personas

Approaching personas from an engaging perspective is about the ability of stories to produce connection, insight, and understanding. Humans have a great capacity for empathy when we are presented with a story. Through stores, it is possible to create vivid descriptions of fictitious people, things, and ideas.

The purpose of the engaging perspective is to use stories to help designers move beyond generic stereotypes and allow them to envision real personas interacting with their product, service, or site.

If you are struggling to understand a particular persona, you can adopt an engaging perspective to try to feel more connected with them.

3.    Fictional Personas

The fictional persona is about using your past experiences with your customer base to create a picture of what a typical user looks like today. This process will be based on assumptions, data, and personal experience. As a result, these kinds of personas can be quite flawed and may show you exactly what not to do. They can be used as an initial sketch and, after more research and data collection, can adapt over time.

4.    Role-Based Personas

A role-based perspective on personas is another way to help you focus on behavior. The personas that result from a role-based perspective are often driven by data from qualitative and quantitative sources.

Renowned computer researcher Jonathan Grudin and UX expert Tamara Adlin are both keen advocates of this approach to creating personas. By thinking about the roles users typically play in real life, designers can better understand their own roles. This perspective will also help teams make design decisions that encompass a variety of roles.

Steps to Creating Engaging Personas and Scenarios

  1. Collect targeted and relevant data
  2. Form a hypothesis
  3. Make sure everyone accepts the hypothesis
  4. Establish a number of personas
  5. Build and describe your personas
  6. Prepare situations for your personas
  7. Get acceptance from your organization
  8. Spread the knowledge
  9. Create valuable scenarios for your personas
  10. Make continuous ongoing adjustments

These few basic steps will help you create engaging personas that further your ideas and help you improve your design process. Each step is about getting to know your users and allowing your team to form a good idea of your audience.

Using Personas to Improve Design

Learning and exploring how personas function within design and UX will let you know how to get the most out of your team and your ideas. As well as engaging with the four different perspectives on personas and seeing where your view fits in, it’s worth following the steps we’ve laid out to help you create your personas and scenarios.

Please get in touch with our UX experts to learn more about the importance of personas in design and UX research.


The Absolute Amalgamation of Service Design and UX Research

UX Research and Service Design are both essential elements of the design process. In many ways, they are closely connected, especially regarding personnel, expertise, and resources. However, there are also a few key differences that separate UX research from service design.

These differences and similarities are worth exploring, especially for those interested in UX design and process development. So, let’s take a closer look

The Differences between UX Research and Service Design

1.    Focus and Scale

UX research is very targeted and is often focused on providing granular insights. These pointed insights are then used to improve a specific experience or enhance a specific set of interactions. Service design is slightly more large-scale and is not as focused on the minute design details.

Focus and scale can change from one organization to the next, but in general, UX research is more focused and smaller in scale than the general and large-scale purpose of service design.

2.    Research Goal

The research goals of UX research and service design are often different. Service designers usually focus on researching larger, more significant and have a broader range of factors to consider. Whereas UX researchers often need to apply a higher level of specificity in their research and look to solve more granular issues.

3.    Craft

UX researchers and service designers leverage their crafts in different ways. In general, service designers take what they’ve learned during their research and use that information to sketch and prototype early concepts.

On the other hand, UX researchers are more focused on crafting ways to share insights across the organization and use their research to inform cross-departmental collaboration. UX researchers might use reports, scripts, and newsletters to communicate their senses to include the valuable details they’ve discovered during the investigation.

The Similarities between UX Research and Service Design

1.    Mission

Ultimately, the mission of a UX researcher and service designer is the same: to create an excellent experience for users. In this sense, there is a great degree of overlap between the two departments. Both UX research and service design are ambassadors for end users. They are paying attention to users' needs, desires, and expectations and ensuring they are acted upon by the company.

Daily, both departments will interact with users to learn more about the user experience and use their feedback to inform future UX developments. A UX researcher and a service designer play a role in deciding the next move for how the organization serves its users.

2.    Methods

While not precisely the same, there are many transferable methods from UX research to service design. Both can leverage collaborative canvas and workspace tools like Miro or Mural to workshop ideas, understand concepts and communicate within a team. The specific tools used may differ from one organization to another; both the foundational methods of communication, delivery, and collaboration are remarkably similar.

3.    Qualitative Skills

The last fundamental similarity between UX research and service design worth mentioning is the common qualitative skills. Individuals in both departments must be good at deep reasoning, empathetic thinking, pattern recognition, and listening. Indeed, there is an overlapping foundation that means that the skills required to do the job will always be quite similar.

Service designers often transition into UX research and vice-versa because these common qualitative skills, honed over time, are equally valuable and applicable across both departments. While the level of rigor and accuracy applied by UX researchers to qualitative studies may be slightly more intense, the practical steps and skills are ultimately very similar.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now know how UX research and service design interact, overlap, and dissect. While the two differ in important ways, there are a number of common skills, methods, and goals between the two. Moreover, there is a large degree of overlap between the kind of people that become researchers and designers.

In some ways, UX research is just one element of service design. As a result, both roles and departments can work well in tandem. Both methods of work enable design and research teams to find actionable insights and start working towards real solutions. The key to getting the most out of the research and design process is to pay attention to the granular details and keep the users at the center of everything.

To learn more about UX research and service design, please get in touch with our UX experts.


Listboxes vs. Dropdown Lists

Listboxes and dropdown lists are neat UI tools that enable users to select options. They have been used across websites and designs for many years, and they are one of the easiest ways to facilitate online navigation.

Listboxes show the options right away and support multi-selection. On the other hand, dropdown lists require a click-to-see chance and usually only support single-selection. In this blog, we’ll be exploring the debate between listboxes and dropdown lists, and we will try to help you understand which option is suitable for you.

Dropdown Lists

In its most basic form, a dropdown list consists of four main parties: a container box, a downward-pointing arrow button, a list of items, and an identifying label. Undoubtedly, you will have come across dropdown lists while browsing a variety of websites.

Users can click on the downward-facing arrow button, which will reveal a list of items. Users can then select just one option from this list. It is a simple mechanic that has nevertheless become a staple of many websites, especially those requiring information inputs, filling out forms, and item selection.

As with listboxes, users can scroll depending on how many items are revealed when the options have been clicked on and expanded. With a dropdown list, the selected option continues to be visible in a container box while the other list items are hidden until you click on the down-arrow. Following on from this functionality, when a user selects an item or clicks outside of the section, the dropdown list will close.

Listboxes

A listbox contains only three main parts: a container box, a list of items, and a label. Users must click on the items within the container box to select one or many items from the list. Most listboxes have a scroll functionality, but this will depend on how many items are contained within the list and the available, viewable area.

Occasionally, listboxes will include checkboxes. This checkbox tool clearly shows that a user can access a multi-select functionality. If there is further complexity, listboxes can also be designed to resize and expand, and users will be able to reorder the list of items.

In general, there are four main types of listboxes that can be distinguished by how they allow selection:

  • Single-select list boxes - Users must select only one item from a list of options.
  • Multiselect list boxes - Users can select or deselect one or multiple items. They can do so by holding down the Command, Shift, or Control key while clicking on these items.
  • Multiselect listboxes with checkboxes - This listbox has checkboxes to emphasize the multi-select functionality.
  • Dual, multi-select listboxes - With this listbox, users can see available options in one listbox on the left and their selected items in another listbox on the right. Then users can add and remove items with a simple touch of a button.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Dropdown Lists

Dropdown lists are one of the most common UI tools, more so than listboxes, because they take up a small amount of screen space but can still contain a number of options.

Advantages

  • They are the familiar option. Don’t underestimate the value of habit and familiarity when thinking about digital UX.
  • Allows you to set defaults and prioritize certain options over others. With a dropdown list, you can downplay alternatives and ensure users can select the best option.

Disadvantages

  • They can slow users. Sometimes it’s easy to type the information rather than select an option, e.g., birthdates or card expiration dates.
  • They can be overstuffed with options, and this can make scrolling arduous or annoying.
  • They are sometimes easily overlooked because they are compact and discreet.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Listboxes

Advantages

  • Minimal interaction - Listboxes don’t require clicking to reveal options; everything is available, and users only need to scroll to see more.
  • Overview and simple reordering, multi-select, and dual listboxes enable users to control how they want items to be ordered and displayed.
  • Item visibility - With listboxes, you can choose multiple options at once very quickly.

Disadvantages

  • Unfamiliarity - Some users may not instinctively know how listboxes work. For example, they may not know how to choose multiple options if checkboxes aren’t included.
  • Screen space - Listboxes often take up more space than dropdown lists.

Using Listboxes and Dropdown Lists in Your Designs

Hopefully, you now know more about listboxes and dropdown lists and how the two UI tools can help to improve simplicity and overall UX across your website.

When including a listbox or dropdown list on your site, you must always display the options in a logical order. This may mean grouping related items, highlighting specific items, or organizing options in alphabetical order.

Whether you should use listboxes or dropdown lists will depend on your personal preference and the objectives of your digital design. Ultimately, both kinds of lists are useful digital UI tools to help you improve your UX.

 

To learn more about listboxes and dropdown lists and how you can use them to improve your digital designs, get in touch with our UX experts.


UX Accessibility for Video Games

Accessibility in video games has never been more important. As games have become increasingly popular, it's important to remember to design for all of your users. By ignoring accessibility and possible accessibility settings, video game designers risk excluding many players and setting a poor standard. Furthermore, as the years have gone by, the increase in demand for accessibility to video games has become more apparent.

Industry leaders like Microsoft and Sony have developed adaptive controllers to enable gamers of all abilities to play video games in their way. These R&D products are helping shape the landscape of accessibility from a controller standpoint.

So, what can game designers and developers do to help create a more accessible experience from within the game itself?

 

1. Audio Disabilities:
Subtitles are probably the first thing you think about when considering accessible design for people with auditory disabilities. Subtitles are a popular accessibility option, but it is not always a simple solution with games. Sometimes it can be hard to read the subtitles and still interact with the gameplay.

So, subtitles should be large, use simple fonts, and contrast well against all the games' different backgrounds. In addition, the subtitled words need to be condensed and not stretch the whole screen so a user can stay engaged with the game and not have to move their head like a typewriter when trying to read. The words also need to stay on screen long enough for a user to be able to read them, and it should be clear who is speaking when multiple characters are present.

Subtitles should cover all dialogue and sounds a player can hear so the player can understand what is happening, even if they can't hear it immediately. Minecraft is a great example of this, allowing the sounds of in-game events to be indicated with a subtitle and a directional arrow to show you where it's coming from. Ultimately, if a player is hearing impaired, providing audio that enhances and allows the player to enjoy your game is very important.

2. Vision Disabilities:

There are many visual disabilities and impairments that will require accessibility options. One common visual impairment is color blindness. People have either deuteranopia, which affects the perception of green tones, protanopia, which affects red tones, tritanopia, which affects yellow and, to a lesser extent, blue, and the very rare achromatopsia where you see the world in black and white.

Developers can check if their games are readable by testing with color blind players or using free filter tools such as color oracle, which allows you to see static images in all modes of color blindness, or Sim Daltonism, where you can see the world in real-time.

Similarly, game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine provide filters to allow game designers and developers to check these settings as they build the game. The best way to design around this issue is to avoid using color alone when providing information or distinguishing between two different things. Instead, designers should use shapes, symbols, shading, animation, and other visual tricks to make critical parts of the game stand out from one another. Providing key ways to distinguish between different elements in your video game is very important to a player's overall experience.

3. Motor Disabilities:

More and more UX accessibility options have been developed to cater to people with various motor disabilities, such as Microsoft's Adaptive Controller referenced earlier. However, designers and developers can also implement features that help players that don't have access to accessible controllers with their own accessibility options.

For example, users can now fully remap controls to access any mechanic with any button or key. Most console games do not allow this, yet this is the most frequently requested accessibility option from games. Another great design method enables the user to different input methods if the game has fine motor movements such as a mouse or gyro, allowing those options to be turned off and accessed with one control or button.

Furthermore, reducing the number of buttons you use and making it easier to operate the game without needing to hold down or repeatedly tap a button is also a great accessible design option. Providing more granular customization for the player is important. For example, rumble has a huge impact on players with motor disabilities, and thus you should allow the player to change the rumble sensitivity. Lastly, the ability to pause a game is important for motor disabled gamers as they might need to take a break from playing because of fatigue or discomfort.

4. Cognitive Disabilities:

Many different types of cognitive disabilities require other design solutions within video games. Common cognitive disabilities recognized by video game makers include epilepsy, dyslexia, and learning disabilities.

Some of the key design features implemented to improve the playing experience of people with cognitive disabilities include:

  • Options for how a player perceives your world, such as a Field of View (FOV) slider or Motion Blur slider
  • The ability to turn off quick flashes or regular moving patterns
  • Providing simplified information and objectives to players
  • The ability to turn on navigation cues
  • Access to play tutorials whenever for a quick refresher
  • Implementing pause screens with information that reminds the player what they're doing
  • The ability to pause your game
  • Fully customizable difficulty levels

Customization is Key

Providing options to the player is the key to being inclusive and accessible. Customization options within your setting allow players to have the freedom to enjoy your game in their own way and express who they are. Whether you allow a player to customize how subtitles look, remap controls to their liking, or turn off motion blur because it makes them feel nauseous, customization enables users to unlock an extra layer of potential within your game. From a design perspective, it's a no-brainer!

One of the beautiful elements of video games is that they are interactive entertainment whose potential is dependent on how you approach them. This makes them uniquely different from most other forms of media. Options and customization allow players to tailor their experience and properly immerse themselves in your game. Remember to design for everyone. Test your designs with disabled players in all four categories before shipping your game to ensure the best overall experience for all players.

Want to Learn More About Accessibility in Video Games? 

Awareness of accessibility in video games has grown in recent years thanks to the efforts of a number of organizations, individuals, and advocates. There are many great places, particularly online, where you can learn more about accessibility for video games and keep up to date with recent accessibility developments.

We recommend checking out this Youtube Playlist from the Game Maker's Toolkit that features a number of videos all about video game accessibility.

You should also watch the Video Game Accessibility Awards, which take place annually, and were founded by Able Gamers senior director Steven Spohn and Sony Santa Monica writer and Youtube personality Alanah Pearce. The awards show, which is streamed live on Youtube, is a great place to learn about and recognize the video games that are succeeding with UX accessibility in video games in recent years.

To learn more about UX accessibility for video games, please get in touch with our UX experts.


Cumulative Adaptation: From Business Analyst to UX Researcher

If you want to be successful, you have to be focused on constant evolution and adaptation. If you stand still, you quickly notice your career and role in your team pass you by, and you’ll become expendable.

For business analysts and other professionals in research fields, the ability to adapt and grow is key to sustained success.

The best analysts always find ways to explore their field and broaden their skills in new areas. In this blog, we’ll be discussing cumulative adaptation and the importance of personal growth in the world of UX research.


Are you where you want to be?

Are you heading in the right direction? Would a career change improve your professional development?

For example, would making a career change from UX Researcher to Business Analyst improve your overall prospects. This would not just be a change in your current career path but also an opportunity for broad expansion to acquire new skills and knowledge.

Below we’ve highlighted a few essential insights that can be gleaned from a successful UX Research to a Business Analyst journey. Just as nature makes its transition from one season to another, moving from one role to another can be seamless and important for your overall professional life.

For example, business analysts have an opportunity to take their responsibilities a step further in the role of a UX Researcher. Within the realm of UX, you will get the opportunity to work with cross-functional partners and stakeholders.

Your vital findings are recorded and used to inform UX decisions in the research process. These findings can relate to user feedback, informational and statistical data, process flow, pain points, challenges, and good points. This data can then be a foundational stepping stone to begin a series of research journeys and improve user experience. If you’re interested in playing this role, then UX research might be for you.

Added Advantage

As a business analyst, moving into UX research is a natural next step. Adapting to a role within UX research could deliver actionable perks of surveying and individual interviewing and allow you to discover and explore new research methods. You will often have a broad remit to get involved with various qualitative and quantitative research methods. Then you will be able to use these results to inform and improve your business’s user experience.

Process Flows


There are a few key stages to pay attention to when considering UX research. These include:

  • Discovery
  • Exploratory
  • Foundational
  • Empathy
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Culminate
  • User Persona
  • UX Design

 

Each of these headings covers an essential stage within the overall lifecycle of a UX researcher. Every week you will be dealing with ideating projects, learning about your user personas, and using your insights to empower UX designers. The process should flow seamlessly with input and collaboration from several different teams. The end product will culminate all these simple processes flowing together in harmony.

            Correlation between the Responsibilities of Business Analysts and UX Researchers

Establish Relationships and Build Towards the Future

The relationships you build as a business analyst can continue to thrive as you transition into a UX researcher role. Moreover, your professional journey can serve as a connecting bridge to build a rapport across departments and stakeholders.

This adaptive approach to professional life is one of the best ways to build toward a brighter future. You can widen your perspective and the perspectives of professionals close to you. This will help on a fundamental human level, but it will also help you improve workflows, research methodologies, and a final product's prospects.

Engage and Explore

If you want to make progress in your professional life, you should always be looking to adapt and evolve. For some people, this may mean making a role transition. There is plenty of overlap between a business analyst and a UX researcher, and a move from one of these roles to another would be natural for many people.

It would help if you always kept an eye out for new opportunities within your field and beyond. Cumulative adaptation is about making the most of these opportunities, learning as much as possible, and using what you’ve learned to become a better professional.

 

To learn more about cumulative adaptation and the world of UX research, please get in touch with our UX experts.


The Importance of Ideation in UX Research

UX research is a vital stage of the design process. In the world of digital design, research can be complex, wide-reaching, and very detailed. So, how do you ensure that your UX research is focused and purposeful? And what role does ideation play in the UX process? In this blog, we’ll answer all these questions and more.

What is Ideation?

Ideation is a creative process used by design departments around the world to allow teams to organically generate new and exciting ideas. There is a popular theory that suggests there are five phases to the “Design Thinking Process.”

As you can see, “Ideate” is the third stage of the design thinking process, following “Define” and preceding “Prototype”. While the “Define” stage is about finding links and patterns of insight to create a meaningful point of view, Ideation is about expanding on this point of view and coming up with workable ideas. Participants in this sort of design process are encouraged to be open-minded and produce as many ideas as possible to address the stated problem. There is no room for judgment at this stage.

The Characteristics of Ideation

Usually, there are three main characteristics to every ideation session:

       1. Ideas are not evaluated:

Freedom to think and speak is critical to the success of an ideation session. This means that all judgment is postponed until a later point in the design process. Ideation is all about getting the creative engine up and running. Too much evaluation can stifle creativity. Therefore it is important for ideation sessions to run free from evaluation.

       2. Collaboration encourages diverse ideas:

The group environment is key. Ideation cannot happen in isolation. In groups, you will be able to come up with a greater number and variety of design ideas. If you have an open group environment then this will allow everyone to share their ideas. This will also help to strengthen team dynamics and instill confidence throughout the group thus improving the chances of success for your designs.

     3. Everything is documented and preserved:

It is important that all ideas are recorded and the entire session is documented in a logical format. It should be easy for you to go back and see what ideas you came up with and how you generated those ideas. This can be done with pen and paper or in some digital format. When you document everything you ensure that no useful ideas will be forgotten. Moreover, if you have these ideas written on a whiteboard during the ideation session this can help to inspire further ideas. While these characteristics are important for a productive ideation session, don’t let them restrict you. Allow for a little flexibility and adapt your sessions to suit the strong points of your team and the focus of your project.

Why is Ideation Important?

Ideation helps to fuel innovation. Everyone is searching for that killer idea, that lightbulb moment. Ideation gives you a better chance of generating interesting and unique ideas because it encourages freedom, collaborative and proactive discussions.

The stronger your ideation stage is, the easier your prototyping and testing stages will be. This is because you will have already considered a wide range of problems and solutions before your product and service even interacts with consumers. Without ideation, a problem statement would merely remain a problem and never advance into anything productive.

When a team of designers set their collective energy and innovation to a problem, ideas can be generated at an extremely fast pace.

Some of the key benefits of using ideation in a design process include:

  • It helps to incorporate different elements of a variety of ideas together to address real user needs
  • It allows the design team to focus on user pain points and find appropriate solutions
  • Helps to refine ideas and combine a variety of perspectives
  • Allows everyone on the design team to spend time thinking creatively and without judgment. It gives the mind the time, space, and environment needed to think outside the box

Using Ideation in Your Design Process

Ideation is often the most exciting stage in a Design Thinking project. This is because during the ‘Ideation Phase’, the aim is to generate a large number of ideas that the team can then filter and cut down into the best, most practical, or most innovative solutions.

This approach is capable of inspiring new and better design solutions and products. There is the freedom to think and experiment and have fun. If you’re about to begin your design process or if you are already in the middle of creating a product, we’d recommend incorporating as much ideation as possible into your workflow. It’s bound to give you great results!

To learn more about the importance of ideation in UX research please get in touch with our UX experts.