UX from 30,000ft
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UX from 30,000ft

A Guide to User Experience for Software Engineers and Developers

About the Book

HCI is one of the most important aspects of computer science and application development, and UX is a mostly applied sub-domain of HCI; this is especially the case when that application development is focused on providing humans with access to the program functionality. But this is not the only concern of UX, indeed for many, it is the augmentation of the interactive processes and behaviours of the human in an attempt to deal with an ever more contemplated world that is the focus. This augmentation does not take the form of artificial intelligence or even cybernetics, but by enabling us to interact with computer systems more effectively, to understand the information that they are processing, and to allow us to focus more completely on the intellectual challenges; as opposed to those which are merely administrative or banal. 

For many of you, this will be your first exposure to the wider discipline of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX). Some of you may have already experienced some basic UX work as part of the software engineering lifecycle, however, this text takes a far more in-depth look at the tools, techniques, and knowledge you need to understand the user experience within software engineering.

It is worth noting that while this text is more in-depth than those to which you may already have been exposed, it is by no means intended to teach you everything you need to know about human-facing software engineering. Indeed, entire undergraduate degrees are built around the subject of human factors and ergonomics and you should not confuse this high-level overview of the domain with the knowledge you would acquire in an undergraduate degree programme. This said the aim of this text is to give you, the reader, the tools, techniques, and mindset necessary to competently approach your first user testing and user experience job. The text is designed from a practical perspective and will enable you to take a junior role in a user experience department, or usability company, and will provide you with the overall knowledge to communicate with others and make sensible suggestions regarding UX work. Further, it will give you a basis for future self-study within the UX domain or the broader human factors world.

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About the Author

Simon Harper
Simon Harper

I am an experimental Computer Scientist working in Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems as well as being a Reader in Human Computer Interaction (Computer Science), an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Scientist awarded for contributions to HCI, and Research Lead for the Interaction Analysis and Modelling Laboritory at the University of Manchester. I work in Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems. My particular interest is in Assistive Technologies (AT) in the domain of Accessibility with specific regard to profound blindness and visual disability. My work is centred around understanding, predicting, and influencing a user’s interactions and flow through interfaces and information, while taking into account neurophysiological, cognitive, behavioural, perceptual, and technological factors. My contributions lay in the development of adaptive user models of extreme users and/or extreme environments. I have been working in Assistive technology for Accessibility for over 15 years.

I have delivered invited talks to the Manchester Informatics Human Behaviour Network (2014), Loughborough University HCI ‘GuruLecture’ (2014 and 2013), the Technical Superior Insitute, LaSIGE, Lisbon, Portugal (2012); Informatika Fakultatea, UPV-EHU, Spain (2011); Fujitsu Labs Europe (2010); IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory (2009); and keynoted the WebMedia conference (2008); and a Cafe Scientifique talk in 2015. I am also a recipient of the ACM Doug Engelbart prize (2000), the ADDW IBM Research prize (2005), the Microsoft Web Accessibility Judges Award at the W4A (2008), and the Best Paper Award at W4A (2010). My last book ‘Web Accessibility: A Foundation for Research’ has for two years ranked in the Amazon - Human Computer Interaction top 40, and in the top 10 for six months after it’s publication. 

Table of Contents

    • Preamble
      • Text Structure
      • Secondary ‘Text’
      • AI Assistance
  • Part I: Introducing the User Experience
    • 1. Be Curious, Be Critical!
      • 1.1 Being Critical
      • 1.2 Being Curious
      • 1.3 Summary
    • 2. What is UX?
      • 2.1 HCI Foundations
      • 2.2 UX Emergence
      • 2.3 The Importance of UX
      • 2.4 Modern UX
      • 2.5 Summary
    • 3. UXD and Visual Design
      • 3.1 User Experience (UX) and User Experience Design (UXD)
      • 3.2 Design Systems and Languages
      • 3.3 Interaction Design
      • 3.4 Zero UI and Coversational Interfaces
      • 3.5 Summary
  • Part II: Designing the User Experience
    • 4. People are Complicated!
      • 4.1 UX is Everywhere
      • 4.2 People & Computers
      • 4.3 Input and Control
      • 4.4 Summary
    • 5. Practical Ethics
      • 5.1 The Need for Ethical Approaches
      • 5.2 Subjects or Participants?
      • 5.3 Keeping Us Honest
      • 5.4 Practical Ethical Procedures
      • 5.5 Potted Principles of Practical Ethical Procedures
      • 5.6 Summary
    • 6. Gathering User Requirements
      • 6.1 What is Requirements Analysis?
      • 6.2 Digital Phenotyping
      • 6.3 User Centred Design
      • 6.4 What Information Do I Need?
      • 6.5 How Do I Get ‘The Information That I Need’?
      • 6.6 Summary
    • 7. Modelling Requirements
      • 7.1 Informal Methods
      • 7.2 Semi-Formal Methods
      • 7.3 Formal Methods
      • 7.4 Summary
  • Part III: Building the User Experience
    • 8. Developing for UX
      • 8.1 UX Development
      • 8.2 Development Methodologies and Lifecycles
      • 8.3 Methodologies More Suited to the UX Process
      • 8.4 Separation of Concerns
      • 8.5 Interface Frameworks and the GUI
      • 8.6 Windows Toolkits
      • 8.7 Summary
    • 9. Prototyping and Rapid Application Development
      • 9.1 Prototyping
      • 9.2 The Fidelity Spectrum
      • 9.3 Prototypes in Software Engineering
      • 9.4 Users, Commissioners, Engineers!
      • 9.5 Rapid Application Development
      • 9.6 Summary
    • 10. Principles of Effective Experience (Accessibility)
      • 10.1 Effective, effectual, accessible
      • 10.2 Barriers to Effectual Use
      • 10.3 Technical Accessibility Issues
      • 10.4 Potted Principles of Effectual User Experience
      • 10.5 Summary
    • 11. Principles of Efficient Experience (Usability)
      • 11.1 The Xerox ‘Star’
      • 11.2 Universal Design and Design for All!
      • 11.3 Usability Models
      • 11.4 Collated Usability Principles, Guidelines, and Rules
      • 11.5 Potted Principles of Efficient User Experience
      • 11.6 Summary
    • 12. Principles of Affective Experience (Emotion)
      • 12.1 Visceral, Behavioural, and Reflective
      • 12.2 Narrative Art and Visual Aesthetics
      • 12.3 Visual Attention
      • 12.4 Collated Affective Concepts and Touch-points
      • 12.5 Potted Principles of Affective User Experience
      • 12.6 Summary
    • 13. Principles of Engagement (Digital Umami)
      • 13.1 Group Dynamics
      • 13.2 Funology
      • 13.3 Gamification
      • 13.4 Collated Concepts of Engagement
      • 13.5 Potted Principles of Dynamic User Experience
      • 13.6 Summary
  • Part IV: Validating the User Experience
    • 14. User Evaluation
      • 14.1 Expert Evaluation via the Audit
      • 14.2 Qualitative (Fieldwork) Methods
      • 14.3 Quantitative & Hybrid Methods
      • 14.4 Tools of the Trade
      • 14.5 Summary
    • 15. Human-in-the-Loop Systems and Digital Phenotyping
      • 15.1 Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) Systems
      • 15.2 Digital Phenotyping
      • 15.3 Summary
    • 16. Evaluation Analysis
      • 16.1 Scientific Bedrock
      • 16.2 Evaluation Design and Analysis
      • 16.3 A Note on Statistics & How To Use & Interpret
      • 16.4 Caveat
      • 16.5 Summary
  • Part V: In Real Life
    • 17. In Real Life
      • 17.1 Realistic, Practical, Pragmatic, and Sloppy!
      • 17.2 Expect Imperfection
      • 17.3 Commissioning Constraints
      • 17.4 Information Requirements
      • 17.5 Limitations
      • 17.6 Available Skills
      • 17.7 Optimism
      • 17.8 Summary
    • 18. Final Thoughts
      • 18.1 Design
      • 18.2 Development
      • 18.3 Validation
      • 18.4 As Practically Applied
      • 18.5 Final Thoughts
  • Appendices
    • Appendix: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in UX
      • The Collision of Two Opposing Ideologies
      • Perception of the User Experience
      • The Discussion and Framing of Science in the User Experience
      • The Conceptualisation of Theoretical and Empirical User Experience
      • Rhetoric, Argumentation, and the User Experience
      • Values, and the Intangible Nature of the User Experience
      • The ZAMM Narrative Enhances the User Experience
    • Appendix: Defining UX
    • Appendix: Defining Accessibility
    • Appendix: Ethics Annex
    • Thanks…
    • References
    • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

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