log

User eXperience and Product Design, Cross-Channel experience,Experience Strategy

About Me

You can trust me to do the UX for you!

Why to hire me?

Because I know what users need! I’m an expert (M.Sc.) in UX (User eXperience) and Product Design.
Experience strategist, senior Usability Expert, observer, researcher, and examiner. I’m a constructive criticizer – you‘ll always know what I think and together we will improve your product!

My Calling

When I was about 16 years old I read an article about cars' ergonomics in a youth journal. Ever since, I knew that human-technology interface, usability, user-experience (call it whatever you like) was my vocation. My name is Shay Ben-Barak, and although I've been doing it for a while now, I'm still all enthusiastic about experience and product design.

My Know How

In the last 15 years I've been deeply involved in the design of user experience for products that were targeted for diverse users and technical platforms. I led projects from the early inventive stages of understanding the users' needs, throughout the process of concept design, detailed interaction design, and also guided the phases of visual design and coding of the product. I'm familiar with mobile devices, native applications (Windows and others) and with web applications. I have experience both with consumer apps and with complex systems (e.g. financial, medical, and C4I systems). I've been hired by all kinds of organizations - from small startup companies to government and international corporations.

I have a master's degree (M.Sc.) in cognitive science from the Technion. It means that I know a great deal about human perception, about skills and how they are being acquired, about learning processes, and about human information processing. My master thesis is about Mental Models, and it was published in chapter 5 in this book.

I'm a UX mentor at Google Campus TLV. It is a pro bono publico activity of mentoring startups and entrepreneurs in their initial steps towards their very first UX prototype.

SERVICES

From hands-on screen layout design and UX specifications documents, to evaluation and experience strategy plans. All services are provided in a full collaboration with decision makers - you know your users and their needs, and I know how to make products that will exceed their expectations.

Strategy & Brainstorm

Joining and guiding your team of designers, product owners, and decision makers in the process of designing the long-term cross-channel experience with your product or service.

Design

Design of products and services that satisfy the users' needs, suit their workflows, and are fun to use. The project is done in a tight collaboration with product managers and decision makers, and the final deliverables can vary from wireframes prototype or functional demo to detailed specification document.

Visual Design

Great visual design is an important part of the experience, and it must be done by superior professionals. Therefore, I have established ongoing business relationships with top-level visual designers that can give a perfect "final touch" to your product. I can offer the “full package” and take responsibility for the visual designers’ work and deliverables, but I can also work with your company designer, or with your preferred studio.

Evaluation

From fast and compact heuristic evaluation to full-scale usability testing. The evaluation of an existing interface or a prototype shall point out usability challenges, and the report will also include optional solutions.

Vision

Design for a purpose, establish a robust experience strategy, design productive and joyful interaction that also looks great. Always test and constructively criticize your ideas and design.

UXD Process

A User eXperience project requires tight collaboration with product owners and decision makers, and in many cases the list of required features and functions is revisited and being refined as usage scenarios are being reviled and made clear. The typical path is shown in the next figure, but in many cases it is not a linear process as testing and validation results call for changes and updates of previous phases’ outputs.

Tested



Design for a purpose

I observe users and study their work environment, their behavior, and their typical workflows. When I cannot do that due to project constraints, I try to that by interviewing agents who know the users and work with them on a daily basis. When that is not possible either, I synthetically script and analyze potential behavior and expectation. My aim is to elicit what are the users’ needs (rather than their wishes) in order to achieve design for a purpose.

When I understand the users’ tasks, their required workflows, and their expectations, it time for conceptual design of the experience; time to think about devices and platforms and to develop the navigation model, the orientation aids, and the application dialogue style. This is also where creativity and innovation are playing an important part, with care, though, since users usually tend to feel at ease in a familiar environment. The secret is to wisely balance workflow support with cool interaction and familiar tools, with up-to-date layout and visual design.

Test

The best practice of usability testing is often neglected, which is a shame as many software products hit the market before they are ready. There is no second chance for first impression, so test your product! Testing means to test the product with typical users on a typical usage scenario and to study their performance. Testing is not interviewing and not asking users what they think; you actually need to observe them struggle with your product and notice where they get stuck and where (and if) they are delighted.

Experience Strategy

Products begin with the technology that makes them possible. Years ago, the introduction of a new technology was all that you needed to go to market. What mattered was that you could do something others couldn't. Later, when technology became easy to copy, you had to have more features in order to boost a product. Nowadays, consumers are sophisticated enough to seek the experience rather than complex features.

Consumers and professionals expect to be able to act upon a product or a service seamlessly, across multiple channels, and what counts is the overall experience they are going through while satisfying their needs. If you are only focused on requirements and features, you'll end up with an unsatisfactory experience.

You must form your
Experience Strategy

You must deal with the whole consumption cycle: from encountering and getting to know a product, through the embracing or buying experience, to the actual consumption of the product or service and the ongoing experience. You must realize that each of these sub-experiences can begin on one channel and move to another - it is the era of cross-channel experience.

Blog

There are so many blogs about User eXperience and product design out there; most of them are in English. My blog is usually in Hebrew, but there are English posts, as well. I’m doing an effort to be genuine, to bring intelligent examples and how-to advice, while also explaining the reason beyond it. You are most welcome to read and to comment.

UX is not only digital

Two minutes project

This is something I prepared when I was 16 or 17 years old. Only years later I’ve come to realize that it is actually a UX project and one with a lesson to learn.

The problem was the mess we got around the salt-shaker after feeding it with a teaspoon, and I’ve saved it by bending the teaspoon to fit with the salt-shaker opening (see the picture for before and after). Simple, isn’t it? Why bother with writing about it? And anyway, we could use a funnel to feel the shaker.

Glass

Well, you could have, but that’s exactly the point – with the bent teaspoon the process is much more efficient and precise, but the user need not learn anything new or to use any additional tool; they get to keep the very same workflow they are already accustomed to with an improved tool that supports them in achieving much better results.

Same workflow, same habit, but with a suitable tool – better achievements in less time! Two-minute UX project with a lesson to learn. Done.

New Rating Model

Two minutes project

You all know this. You buy a product or use a service and you are asked to rate your experience. If you are kind enough, you are rating some feedback questions on a scale of one to five. In some cases the sellers / providers already gave up on the 10 or 15 questions and they kindly ask you to quickly rate only three experience-values with 1 to 5 stars.

What about a different approach to experience rating?
We can still ask the user to place three or four stars according to their judgment, but manifest wider semantic meaning, by showing that by selecting one “best value” other related values with close enough meaning are being selected as well (yet, the selection of the related values is – of course – weaker). See the demo below and try it. In this way we can both communicate back to the user each selection and its meaning and enrich (or at least sharpen) the feedback data – all without asking too much additional interaction from the user, and with a fun and engaging, game-like, user interface. I do believe it will take another moment; it will encourage the user to revisit their response and think about it for another second; I don’t think it’s bad.

Typewriter

Great-grandpa and I at the old typewriter

מקלדות ומה אפשר ללמוד מהן על אסטרטגית מוצר ועל חוויית משתמש

אנחנו יודעים שתסדיר ה-QWERTY במקלדת הלטינית נולד מאילוץ טכני – הוא תוכנן כך שאותיות המופיעות בשפה בשכיחות גבוהה זו ליד זו, יהיו רחוקות זו מזו במקלדת. ראיתם פעם מכונות כתיבה ישנה? לכל אות יש זרוע, שכאשר לוחצים על המקש, היא עולה להטביע את צורת האות על הדף ונופלת חזרה למקום. אם הזרוע הסמוכה מתחילה לעלות, לפני שהזרוע הקודמת נפלה חזרה למקום, הן עלולות להתפס זו בזו. סידור ה-QWERTY נועד כדי להפחית את השכיחות לארוע כזה.

Glass

האם מסוכן לשוחח בטלפון בעת הנהיגה ואיך זה קשור למשקפי גוגל

  • שיחה בטלפון בזמן נהיגה היא מסוכנת, אבל אפשר לשפר את היכולת הזו ולהפחית את הסיכון. נהגים מנוסים גם יודעים להעריך את תנאי הנהיגה ולהחליט אם לקיים שיחה או לדחות אותה.
  • נהגים צעירים לוקים בהערכת יתר בנוגע ליכולות שלהם וכשהם משוחחים בטלפון, בזמן הנהיגה, הם מסכנים את עצמם ואת הסביבה!
  • משקפי גוגל עשויים לצור עומס לא מבוקר על מערכת הקשב האנושית ולכן הם עשויים להכשיל משתמשים לא מיומנים. זהו איננו המוצר הבא של ההמונים, אבל יש לו שימושים מאוד מגניבים עבור מקצוענים.

ראיון רדיו: חוויית משתמש ליזמים

חשבתם שחוויית משתמש היא עוד שלב בפרויקט?
חישבו שוב!

...סטרטאפים רבים, נקלעים לאפקט איקאה, כשהם קופצים לשלבי הפיתוח של המוצר מבלי להשלים את השלבים שצריכים לבוא לפני הפיתוח, וכך הם מתמקדים למעשה בפתרון ולא בבעיה. איך להמנע מכשל כזה ועוד הרבה קישורים שמשלימים את הראיון – במאמר המלא.

Bowling

Gamification (מישחוּק)

מישחוּק וכמה מילים על playfulness

התחום של gamification (מישחוּק) עושה עכשיו הרבה רעש ב"תעשייה" והוא קנה לו הרבה נאמנים. היישום העיקרי (ולמיטב הבנתי היחיד) של מישחוק הוא לטובת יצירת מעורבות (engagement) או לשימורהּ. המנגנון העקרוני הוא פשוט וכמעט שאיננו משתנה ממשחק למשחק: המשתמש מרוויח נקודות במשחק ואח"כ עולה רמה (level) או מקבל אותות (badges) מסוגים שונים ויש גם לוחות דירוג בין משתתפים במשחק (leaderboards). מה שלא תמיד פשוט הוא בחירת נושא (theme) ראוי למשחק והכיוונון הנכון של הפרמטרים.

בקהילה האקדמית אין הסכמה על כך שיש יתרון למנגנונים של gamification לאורך זמן. יש חוקרים רבים שסבורים ששימוש במנגנוני מישחוק דווקא פוגע בהנעה הפנימית (intrinsic motivation) של המשתמש לטווח הרחוק, במקרה הגרוע; או במקרה הטוב לא משפיע לכאן או לכאן.

Cube

סיפור על קובייה שלא היה בה צורך

הדרישה שקיבלנו היתה לצור חוויית משתמש תלת-מימדית. לא עזרו כל השגותינו, על כך שהמסך הוא שטוח (הא!הא! שטוח כן, לא תלת מימדי) ושאיכות התגובה שלו למגע לא מן המשובחות, שקשה עד לא-סביר למדל התנהגויות במרחב תלת-מימדי בתנאים כאלה ושמשתמשים בכלל לא זקוקים לחווייה תלת ממדית מגניבה; בוודאי שלא זקוקים לזה כל עוד לא התמודדנו באומץ עם בניית מודל ניווט סביר בתפריטי המכשיר. למרות הכל, דרשו במפגיע: תנו לנו חוויית תלת-מימד!

איך לקצר את יום העבודה

מקיצור יום העבודה (או לפחות קצת התייעלות) ועד לאפיון נכון של התראות באפליקציות

נתחיל מהסוף. אתם כותבים קוד או הצעת מחיר, מרכיבים סקיצה חדשה או מסמך; לא משנה מה – נכנס דוא"ל חדש, אתם עוברים לבדוק אותו. במקרה הטוב אתם מסיימים את המשפט קודם, במקרה הגרוע, זה עולה לכם על המסך במין אנימציה, לוכד את תשומת הלב שלכם, וקוטע לכם את חוט המחשבה. אני כבר לא מדבר על זה שהרשתות החברתיות למיניהן פתוחות בדפדפן או בטלפון וגם הן בתורן מכניסות התראות והודעות. יש לזה מחיר וזה יקר.

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