This week we start off the UXD Inspired Reads list with a long look at product roadmaps. Author Ariel Verber does a great job of encapsulating the quality and consistency issues succinctly that Roadmap First teams may ignore. Have you worked on a project like this? How can you learn to avoid these types of patterns and stop the cycle before it begins? Well worth a discussion amongst all members of a design, development, and product teams. Next we continue with a look at great UX lessons from the Nielsen Norman Group. Aiming for incremental wins can be more positive that one may think, not everything can be refined as quickly as we may want. The next piece discusses the rebuilding of Slack.com. What is interesting in this piece is how their team worked through specific refinements such as the CSS to achieve incremental victories that have a larger usability effects. YouTube has also gone through a redesign effort where nuance of control, passed on to the user, makes for a significantly better viewing experience, no matte the device. Here again, small refinements lead to incremental victories that can be measured.
Distracted driving is a growing problem in the United States as more Americans are using their smartphones whilst driving. Of course this behavior is anything but smart, but despite all the risks and warnings, accidents and fatalities stemming from distracted driving are both rising. Many marketing efforts such as AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign highlight the benefits and dangers of distracted driving. The KRACK wifi hack garnered a lot of news and coverage last week. There are ways of protecting your network, but remember that the risks are more prevalent only when using an open WiFi network. Protecting your data is important, and as in-browser miners are becoming more common, there many ways in which to protect yourself online.
Lastly we look at a new survey covering ageism and the masked fears of older tech workers. The best way to fight this fear is to adopt a mantra of “Always Be Learning”. The internet is full of resources, tutorials, videos to help learn new skills. One such skill could be learning how to build a replica of a Star Wars Armored Transport like one “casual” fan did in Ohio, or perhaps something more constructive like the re-forestation work in Iceland. This last piece shows the barren terrain of Iceland, which was once full of forests.
Have a great week.
1. The Problem With “Roadmap First” Teams
“It is great for team spirit, as there are many tasks and the end-of-the-year checklist would show we’ve done a lot. But it tells nothing about user satisfaction, and even after 50 completed tasks there’s still a high chance that the users are not happy at all. For example, the core feature could be buggy, the UX could be inconsistent, or the site could take too much to load. When that happens, roadmap driven teams won’t just say “hold it guys, our product loads really slow and many users get frustrated. Let’s take the next two months to improve our past releases”. Instead, if there is no easy fix, they move to the next task and continue the development process as planned… They would say “It’s not perfect, but it works. Right now we have more important things — we have to deliver feature A by December”. New features will keep coming all the time, and this kind of team would keep chasing them. Their products will usually end up being fully functional products that nobody likes to use.”
2. UX Lessons I Wish I Learned In School
“Good companies adopt software-development cultures that embrace iteration and refinement. Don’t fret if you don’t get all of your ideas implemented now. Aim for incremental change. If the usability needle moves in the right direction, even if slowly, count each tick as a win.”
3. Rebuilding Slack.com
“A redesign powered by CSS Grid and optimized for performance and accessibility.”
4. Youtube’s Redesign Makes It Easier To Watch All The Videos
“Take the mobile app. The new version trades all those red borders for clean white lines, making thumbnails and videos the only things you’ll notice in the app. You can speed up or slow down a video—previously a desktop-only feature—and double-tap on the screen to rewind or fast forward. If you watch a vertical video, which is totally allowed because vertical video is fine and you shouldn’t listen to anyone who says otherwise, YouTube will finally show it properly. No letterboxes, no bars, just a phone-filling vertical video. Even if you don’t watch in full screen, the player shifts to fit whatever size video you’re watching, instead of locking you into that 16:9 space. The new design recognizes that people make and watch lots of videos lots of different ways, and gives YouTube users as much control as possible.”
5. Smartphones Are Killing Americans, But Nobody’s Counting
“Amid a historic spike in U.S. traffic fatalities, federal data on the danger of distracted driving are getting worse.”
6. Wi-Fi Security Has Been Breached, Say Researchers
“Researchers revealed details of a new exploit called KRACK that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi security to let attackers eavesdrop on traffic between computers and wireless access points. The exploit, as first reported by Ars Technica, takes advantage of several key management vulnerabilities in the WPA2 security protocol, the popular authentication scheme used to protect personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks.”
7. Here’s What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From The KRACK Wifi Vulnerability
“But first, let’s clarify what an attacker can and cannot do using the KRACK vulnerability. The attacker can intercept some of the traffic between your device and your router. If traffic is encrypted properly using HTTPS, an attacker can’t look at this traffic. Attackers can’t obtain your Wi-Fi password using this vulnerability. They can just look at your unencrypted traffic if they know what they’re doing. With some devices, attackers can also perform packet injection and do some nasty things. This vulnerability is like sharing the same WiFi network in a coffee shop or airport.”
8. 41 Percent Of Android Phones Are Vulnerable To ‘Devastating’ Wi-Fi Attack
“Every Wi-Fi device affected by some variant of attack.”
9. Google Chrome May Add A Permission To Stop In-Browser Cryptocurrency Miners
“Google Chrome engineers are considering adding a special browser permission that will thwart the rising trend of in-browser cryptocurrency miners.”
10. The Internet Is Rife With In-Browser Miners And It’s Getting Worse Each Day
“Ever since mid-September, when Coinhive launched and the whole cryptojacking frenzy started, the Internet has gone crazy with in-browser cryptocurrency miners, and new sites that offer similar services are popping up on a weekly basis.”
11. 43% Of Tech Workers Fear Losing Their Jobs Due To Age
“Nearly half of workers in the technology field fear losing their jobs because of their age, according to survey from Indeed.com. 18% of respondents ‘worry about it all the time.'”
12. ‘Star Wars’ Replica Makes Waves; Lulu The Dog Leaves The CIA
“Nick Meyer, who built the four-legged All Terrain Armored Transport, told cleveland.com that he enjoys “Star Wars” but he’s not a fanatic. Of course not.”
13. Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?
“The country lost most of its trees more than a thousand years ago, when Viking settlers took their axes to the forests that covered one-quarter of the countryside. Now Icelanders would like to get some of those forests back, to improve and stabilize the country’s harsh soils, help agriculture and fight climate change.”