There’s loads of good stuff in here, but I really like the idea of a ‘nomenclature audit’:

Every now and then, check your terms for clarity too. Make a list of the buttons and navigation links on your site to make sure they’re consistent. Some people call this a nomenclature audit. Here are some examples from Basecamp:

  • Log in
  • Sign up today
  • Sign in
  • Edit my identity
  • Edit your info
  • Settings
  • Sign out

Right away, you can see which ones are too similar. They’re using both “Log in” and “Sign in,” so I’d suggest cutting the “Log in” language to simplify. You can also see that they’re having a trouble deciding if the reader is “you” or “me.” I usually go with “you” to avoid the confusion, but you could also cut the pronouns and possessive adjectives.

The terms you choose are a style choice; it’s not about right and wrong. But you should be consistent and match the language your users relate to. If you call something “notifications” in one place, call them “notifications” everywhere. That will help you reduce cognitive load on your readers and save money on translations too.

I didn’t think I’d have to be making arguments about print versus Web in 2014 but print culture is so deeply embedded in our culture that the influence of visual / graphical design thinking is still clearly present in many webpage designs. What lies behind a lot of this is a philosophy of control. Organizations want to control their image, their message. They want to present to the world a face (homepage) that is beautiful. They want to brand themselves with visual markers. They believe they have a passive audience that is waiting patiently to consume messages from them. They secretly think they are a hip gallery and that waiting outside are eager customers bursting to get in and gaze at the majesty of the organization.

[Via Aled]

We forget to UX our own UX.

Who is your design’s consumer? What is their goal? Why are they doing it? And how are you going to help them fulfill that goal?

Having a UX department or UX title does not mean you are practicing UX. To achieve an exemplary user experience, coordination must be achieved among multiple disciplines, including product management, development, marketing, content, customer service, graphic design, and interaction design. In other words, everyone is responsible for looking out for the user. Take users’ needs into account during every step of the product lifecycle, by keeping your users at the center of your design efforts.

An orchestrated approach across many disciplines and stakeholders must be achieved to create a truly effective user experience and for the company to thrive. For a product to be truly successful, user-centered design must complement (or even drive) business objectives.

Robin Christopherson (@usa2day) points out that many of us are only temporarily able-bodied. I’ve seen this to be true. At any given moment, we could be juggling multiple tasks that take an eye or an ear or a finger away. We could be exhausted or sick or stressed. Our need for an accessible web might last a minute, an hour, a day, or the rest of our lives.

We never know. We never know who. We never know when.

“So to build trust, make things mandatory or don’t ask at all.”

The sad truth the Harvard and Western Electric researchers discovered came to be known as The Hawthorne Effect, a form of observation bias. Simply knowing that they’re being measured changes peoples’ behavior, skewing attempts to gather actionable data.

The beauty of this hoax is that it works with any scenario limited to less than a few thousand permutations, and on any service that lets you mark posts or accounts private. Want to prove the Oscars are rigged? Your local school board election? Apple’s stock price? Go nuts!