It’s been an eventful year in user testing, and as always at this time of year, we’re looking back at the ground we covered and the ideas we talked about.
Below, we’ve listed the top 10 articles from 2019 that were read and shared by our community. From UX design tips, to analyses of popular sites, art history, inspiration, and ground-breaking research, there’s a variety of user experience topics here.
To our readers, thanks for our best user testing year yet, and happy 2020!
1. Banking on bad UX: Finance website designs are failing gens Y & Z
In this surgical examination of bad UX, we explore why modern financial website design struggles to convert generations Y & Z. Timely, thorough, and a little incendiary, this post proved to be a hit within the UX community.
When your UX is harder to read than Moby Dick, you have a problem. That problem directly correlates to a difficult future of being unable to attract and retain future sources of income, i.e. millennials and zoomers.
But we offer a path forward in a helpful mnemonic: T.E.S.T. Transparency, Experiential, Sustainability, and Teaching.
So if you’re curious why traditional banking websites and apps tend to make you sick, or are an employee who wants to save your company’s reputation, understand TEST and put it into practice.
2. UX Wars: Top 5 Democratic presidential nominee candidate websites
One of our most shared articles tapped into a very understudied aspect of UX: political candidate websites.
This July installment of our already popular UX Wars series blazed a quantitative and qualitative path for future political candidate sites to learn from. The key takeaways to consider: make the donation flow as simple as possible, but don’t spam; make the UX feed into the person’s identity; and for the love of our country, don’t use MobilizeAmerica.
If you want to learn more about this little-known but extremely important user experience, or just want to keep consuming as much political writing as you can, give this UX War a careful read!
3. Gamification in mobile app UX: TryMyUI’s favorites
In this list of TryMyUI’s personal favorite gamified mobile UX, we had employees give us some examples of gamification that they really enjoy.
The results all indicate the same thing: tasks or interfaces that could very easily have been boring or uninspired are made engaging and fun to use. Easy to use is the goal of all UX, but fun to use is what makes a UX excel, especially for mobile.
Take a look at our favorite examples and learn what you can do with your own mobile UX design!
4. UX and user-centric design at SXSW 2019
Back in March, our two co-founders traveled to SXSW in a year where the festival really expanded their ambition beyond film and music. UX and user-centric design abounded at the conference, featuring the user experience in many cutting-edge fields. What else can user testing do?
Rit, one of our co-founders, joined usability analyst Craig Tomlin to discuss findings from a dataset of over 100,000 usability tests.
Read more about what else we learned!
5. UX Wars: Allbirds vs Greats
Coming late in 2018, and not earlier enough to make our most-read list of that year, is another top-notch UX War. Two brands, two storefronts, and two great user experiences, all things considered.
We love this particular UX War as it’s the perfect e-commerce competitive usability study example. Both Allbirds and Greats have great websites with a similar demographic and feature everything you want your online store to have. So how can you go that extra inch to be the best of your industry?
Read it and find out! Also, we admit no bias when we say that one of these brands’ products (the victor) makes a regular appearance around the office. It was purchased long after the post, so… it’s just that great of a user experience and product.
6. You X Art: Diego Velázquez watches you watching him paint
The pilot of a new blog series, You X, sought to inspire great UX design by sharing stories and drawing insights from other disciplines.
In You x Art, we get inspiration from the 17th century Spanish master Diego Velázquez and his 1656 masterpiece Las Meninas. Like a great UX designer, Velázquez knew his audience (the royal court), knew his industry (Baroque era portraiture), and knew how to make the experience of viewing his work rewarding for those who spent time looking into it.
Find out how you can design your own timeless masterpiece, or just get ready for bar trivia this week!
7. UXspresso with Spiralyze: The curse of knowledge
For the third entry in our UXspresso series, we spoke with Gajan Retnasaba, head of conversion at Spiralyze. He told us about a common phenomenon that they encountered with usability testing: the curse of knowledge.
When your team is filled with experts, as it probably should be, you can begin to forget what users don’t find intuitive or obvious. This makes UX testing especially difficult. It’s nobody’s fault, of course, but in the article, Gajan does suggest a few ways to combat the curse plaguing even the best teams.
Learn how to rid yourself of the curse!
8. Ready Researcher One: A guide to quantitative UX research & user testing
A lot of people get the idea that usability testing is a qualitative exercise. And while they aren’t wrong, we wrote this resourceful guide for those that want to gnaw on the quantitative bones of their qualitative flesh.
Weird metaphor, maybe, but as we outline in this guide to all things quantitative, our platform does offer sophisticated and key quantitative user testing metrics to buoy, support, and direct your qualitative analysis. It’s also more than just a feature overview, diving into the reasons and uses of different industry standards you will come into contact with.
If you want to up your usability testing game, this guide will get you there!
9. You X Horror: Designing the death drive with Junji Ito
Design is all about the psychology of the user – so when Junji Ito, the acclaimed manga artist, wants to disturb and horrify the user, what can we learn from him?
The second in the You X series was a Halloween special all about getting into the mind of your user. Junji Ito utilizes his medium to give users (readers) an experience they can’t get from any other medium. He couples this with known psychological impulses and a deep sense of empathy.
The result is an equally disturbing and inspirational read!
10. A case study in competitive usability testing (Part 1)
A great entry for our collection of usability testing resources, this 2-part case study outlined a step-by-step process for running usability tests on your competitor. User testing rivals is a great way to uncover not only how you can improve your own UX directly, but also understand what target customers expect within your industry.
Specifically in part 1, we’re talking about the considerations for setting up your study: time, scale, depth, bias, script writing, etc. It’s anchored by a real study (like in UX Wars) we ran on Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
It’s so fleshed-out, in fact, that you should absolutely give it a read and refer to it as a step-by-step guide for your own competitive usability testing.
Want more? Check out our top user testing stories of 2018!