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The Best UX Articles of August 2014


So yea, summer happened – apparently. Already August seems an age away as the wind and weather returns to that downward slope. If you were too engrossed in summer to realise the year is 2/3 over, join the gang. No worries though, a catch up is on hand.

With so much quality content out there, we take one more look back at August 2014. We’ve compiled the 5 best articles from August we feel are interesting, invaluable or otherwise a must read for anyone with an interest in UX.

From last month’s top 5 UX articles, you’ll:

  • Discover what you could learn from just two Usability Tests
  • Get started on your own Online User Experience Curriculum
  • Check out an Ultimate List of UX Design and Development Resources
  • Learn How To Apply Psychological Principles To Your Design
  • See what it takes to design behind the scenes at Foursquare

In no particular order:

1. Designing the New Foursquare

Designing the new Foursquare by Sam Brown[https://medium.com/@sambrown], published on Medium.

  • “Earlier this year we sat down as a company and looked at all the amazing pieces of technology we had built. Foursquare then had two distinct use-cases?—?keeping up and meeting up with friends, and finding places to go?—?and we’d tried just about every way possible to have them live together in a complementary way.

    We came to the conclusion that there were millions of people that want a better and more personalized search experience than currently exists, but are averse to check-ins and location sharing.”

Foursquare recently undertook a large scale relaunch. Moving away from the badges and majorships that made them so popular, to a recommendation app more akin to yelp. Like, or dislike, it cannot be denyed that this proved a huge undertaking. An undertaken we can learn much from.

Sam Brown shows us just what it takes to design a blockbuster app. Taking us behind the scenes at Foursquare, we witness the journey from wireframe, through mockups, to the final product. This article provides us with an invaluable glimpse into what it takes to design and create mobile apps, or anything, at the highest level.

2. The Ultimate List of UX Design and Development Resources

The Ultimate List of UX Design and Development Resources by Brian Studwell, published on Code Fellows.

  • “Before, during, and after my time in the [Front-End UX Design & Development Accelerator](https://www.codefellows.org/front-end-ux-design-and-development-accelerator), I kept a detailed list of my favorite books, infographics, websites, and articles.

    For my fellow web developers, here are some great resources to have in your back pocket as you design and develop beautiful user experiences:”

Brian reveals his secrets in this detailed list of design and development resources. With more than enough content to last a lifetime, Brian’s list provides any eager Developer the essentials for getting to grips with UX, and vice versa.

3. How To Apply Psychological Principles To Boost Your Conversion Rate

How To Apply Psychological Principles To Boost Your Conversion Rate by Thomas Smale published on crazyegg.

  • “Conversion optimization is about increasing the likelihood that a user will perform an action you wish them to take.

    Your user needs to make a decision, and you wish to influence this decision.

    Understanding the psychology that governs human behavior can help inform our strategies for influencing this decision.”

Having a personal interest in psychology, I’m probably bias in my preference for this article.

However, psychology has a huge role to play in user experience. The quirks and tricks contained within let us shape experience for our user. To better bend and shape their emotions.

Thus Thomas’ article provides a great introduction to those designers lacking the psychological touch, or a nice rehash for those that do. In any case, it is always fascinating how our brains can be convinced in subliminable ways!

4. Usability Testing: What you can learn from just two tests

[Usability Testing: What you can learn from just two tests]http://www.dtelepathy.com/blog/design/usability-testing-website-methods) by Eric Levitch, published on Betterment.

  • “Usability testing is, quite simply, one of the most vital steps in product design. Observing a user’s behavior with an early prototype (or live product for that matter) is invaluable in the lean startup model of build-measure-learn.”

Time, money, no participants.. excuses for neglected UX.

Taking lean UX to another level, Eric shows us how just two usability tests can provide adequate results to improve usability. How testing just two people can prove that changes need to be made.

No more excuses for skimping on usability testing, give it a read.

5. User Experience Design: A Curriculum of Online Resources

User Experience Design: A Curriculum of Online Resources by Julia D, published on sliderule.

  • A curriculum of UX Design courses, videos and resources from across the internet, organized into a logical sequence that a beginner can follow.

Ok, so I may be cheating a tad here. Not quite an article, but a beautiful piece of content regardless.

Julia puts together piece of content I’m rather envious over. Not over its creation – thats a whole lot of work, and massive kudos to her – but I wish I had access to such a stunning online resource when my UX passion was in its infancy.

This course utilises blog articles and other online resources to guide you through the various elements of UX design. Exploring everything from UCD and Personas, to Visual Design. The depth of content is truly breathtaking, supposedly encompassing 112+ hours.

I’d wholly recommended taking a took.

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