It’s been a terrible, no good, very bad year for most of the world. But that said, it’s still important to reflect on the successes and lessons learned from an otherwise difficult year that we will be able to complain about to our grandchildren indefinitely.

Below, we’ve listed the top 10 articles from 2021 that were read, discussed, and shared by the UX design & research community. From UX tips and tricks to analyses of popular sites, art, inspiration, and ground-breaking research, there’s a variety of user experience topics here.

To our readers, we hope you’re healthy and ready for 2021! Happy New Year!

 

 

10. UX Wars: eHow vs wikiHow

A great entry for our collection of UX wars, this gladiatorial showdown is all about DIY crafting websites eHow and wikiHow.

Let’s be clear from the bungie: this is a fight for second place, behind Pinterest. That said, the similarity of the websites made the DIY death match something of a clone war. The most notable strength one site had over the other was probably out-of-context meme-potential.

But actually, testing such similar UX design is what the best usability testing is all about. Nuanced, slight tweaks that snowball into a proven UX design superiority.

We based our decision on who provided would-be crafters with the most helpful and thorough information, using the quantitative scores to guide us to the areas of important qualitative analysis.

 

katamari damacy, UX, and feature creep

 

9. Feature Creep: How to keep your UX project on track

Can you feel it? The weight of a million features tacked-on to your once simple, beautiful UX design? Get ready to relate with this guest article from Angle Studios that tackles the project-killing menace of feature creep.

For UX designers especially, getting a project manager or stakeholder onboard with usability testing is hard enough. But even after you win that battle, the danger of “Well let’s add this, and then I think users will appreciate that too” rears its ugly head. It’s great for a manager or stakeholder to be so engaged, but also… more features never equates to better usability.

Keep it simple, know when/how to say “no,” and learn how to keep your UX project on track!

 

abstract interpretation of e-commerce ux and seo

 

8. Building better e-commerce UX with 8 proven SEO practices

Keith Coppersmith of Bizzmark Blogs bridges the gap of marketing and UX in this thoughtful approach to e-commerce UX.

UX designers aren’t marketers, but marketers and UX designers are on the same team and have similar goals: make the product seen, make the product usable. Although it is unreasonable to expect UX designers to write actual product descriptions, knowing what the content is going to be, preferably verbatim, will be key in unifying UX with SEO in many key ways.

Start a water-cooler conversation with a marketer today! But first, equip yourself with these UX design and SEO tips.

 

Scare-ousel Ventures banner image from the UX House of Horrors

 

7. 11 guidelines for nightmarish UX design

For three years in a row, we sent users into the worst UX disaster we could possibly muster: The UX House of Horrors.

New trends and fads in web design come and go every year. Plenty are useful for the user experience, but a decent number are also misguided and backwards-facing. It’s always a good idea to take a step back from the design trends of the moment, cast a critical eye on them, and really consider: is this good for our users?

That’s what the UX House of Horrors is all about! Dare to see if you or your company fell for any of these deeply regrettable trends. After you’ve entered the UX House of Horrors yourself, read about the twisted decision-making behind it all!

 

A drone gets ready to take off

 

6. How to user test your Testflight beta app with TryMyUI

TryMyUI is FULL of usability testing insights for products at any stage in development and on virtually any platform.

For Apple devs specifically, testing your Testflight beta app means that you’re setting up Testflight as the interface the test is taking place within, so that’s the target app that users will start with, not your beta app. Beyond that, it’s just like any mobile app usability test!

It’s actually super easy after you understand that basic point. Get started with testing your Tesflight beta app!

 

You x art volume 2 sally mann inspires great ux design

 

5. You X Art vol. II: Forever and ever endeavoring with Sally Mann

Our You X series offers the chance to take a breather from the technical jargon and NNG statistics and recharge your UX mind with some fun inspiration.

In You X Art: Vol. II, we take a dive into the world and work of noted American photographer Sally Mann. Like a great UX designer, Mann users her medium to compel and capture her audience in a way that only photography can.

As Mann writes:

All perception is selection, and all photographs–no matter how objectively journalistic the photographer’s intent–exclude aspects of the moment’s complexity. Photographs economize the truth; they are always moments more or less illusorily abducted from time’s continuum.”

Usability tests, too, are only an economized experience of the user. It’s up to the UX designer to not be discouraged, but instead embrace this reality with great empathy, patience, and want to design, and design well.

 

 

4. Is your website stressing out visitors?

The objective of usability testing is, in so many words, learning how usable your product is. But beyond the relatively artificial environment of usability testing (especially onsite), is your web design stressful for the user?

In this extremely thorough guest contribution from Jolina Landicho, you’ll learn how to ensure that your web design isn’t stressing people out. From color theory, eye-movement patterns, and other dives into human psychology, Jolina sums up the best methods for keeping your design user-friendly and stress-free.

Read more and ask yourself, “is my website stressing out visitors?

 

 

3. Fun for your thumbs: how to design essential mobile game UX

There’s some debate in the UX community on how much overlap there is in video game design and UX design. Guest contributor Luke Smith takes the nuanced approach of talking about the UX of mobile games.

Personalization, UI concerns, and monetization are the names of the game. Luke outlines each of these points in great detail, offering plenty of stats, insights, and examples of what success looks like.

Consider these points, then read another article of ours, gamification of mobile UX, and think about the general idea of fun, especially in the context of video games and UX.

Take a look for yourself to learn how to make your mobile game UX design fun for your user’s thumbs!

 

a cartoon team discusses how to set up a remote usability test with TryMyUI

 

2. How to set up your first remote usability test on TryMyUI

Our most popular tutorial article of the year, this gif-centric guide leads you through the process of creating your first remote usability test with TryMyUI.

In just a few simple steps, you can be getting the user testing data you need to make informed design decisions. From platforms tested, to audience targeting, script-writing, and quantitative data collection, this is the one-stop-shop guide for remote usability testing. Examples and notes on use-cases included!

Setup a 14-day free trial (which includes 5 test results and all platform features), create your own test in minutes, and get your first results within hours.

 

 

1. Measuring the real world impact of UX during a global pandemic

The most topical subject matter possible was, unsurprisingly, our most read and shared article of the year. In it, we examine how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is using TryMyUI to build an efficient flow for Canadian citizens to request financial aid during the pandemic.

There are a lot of attempts in the UX community to apply deeper meaning to the industry, but the COVID-19 relief portal is an actual, real-world example of UX design’s impact on people, not just users. The reaction on Twitter for the portal were resoundingly positive and hopeful.

So if you’re curious what meaningful UX looks like, it isn’t fancy bells or whistles: it’s providing people what they need, when they need it. We are proud to have been a part of their process and commend them on an extraordinary job.


Want more? Check out our top user testing stories of 2019!


 

 

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