Great products (and teams) often have a set of principles upon which ideas and decisions are weighed before they are even tested, let alone implemented. In the spirit of that, I’d like to lay out some of the principles upon which the notion of UXcellence is built.
Make it practical
While I enjoy a good romp through theory, history, and philosophy as much as the next person, I learn best when there is a practical way to apply what I’ve learned. To that end, as much as possible, every post will either have exercises to practice the idea or additional resources. My hope is that upon reading a post, my readers will be able to either immediately apply the ideas or explore them further.
- Links to explore further
- Pragmatic exercises
- Real world examples
Everything can be improved
We’re humans making things. The things we make will have plenty of flaws. Even if we manage to test and polish all of the major problems out of a product, best practices will change, different types of people will use it, and newer features will change the optimal paths.
The printing press has been around for nearly 600 years, and we’re still improving the way we make and print books. The web has been around for a little over 20 years. It’s still an early technology, and things change so rapidly that we must be in a constant state of learning to keep up.
Always be learning
I will be the first to admit that I am not the expert on anything. Part of the reason I’m creating this site is to teach myself. As such, I will constantly try to pull in, talk to, and link to experts elsewhere. If you create or find something you think would be relevant here, let me know and I’ll happily share it.
Criticism should be constructive
Godzilla has it easy. It doesn’t take much to tear things down. Building something up? That takes time, thought, and effort. We can learn from both failure and success. Sometimes products need to be torn down, so they can be rebuilt better or rethought. What’s broken? How can we fix it? What doesn’t work the way we expected? How can we smooth it? In cases where we must focus on the negative, it should be in the light of how to fix or improve it.
Focus on the positive
There’s enough negativity and trolling in the world. Conflict breeds attention and drama draws a crowd, but at what cost? As much as I’d love to see this site succeed, I don’t want to succeed at the cost of dignity. Even the best products have weaknesses (see above), but conversely even the worst products have strengths. What works? And how can we make it better?
There’s more to user experience than X
A great user experience doesn’t spring forth fully formed from the User Experience team or leader. Every aspect of the company, product, and organization influences that final experience. Designers conceive interactions and flows, engineers make them work, sales people introduce them to customers, and customer service reps help them when they inevitably encounter a problem. Every part of that is a link in the experience chain, and if any link fails, the chain will break.
I’m open to suggestions
This project is an experiment. I have lots of ideas, and I hope to test them out over time. If something doesn’t work or you have suggestions for how to improve, I’m all ears.