Monday, March 20, 2006

User Experience is about providing Strategic Design

High quality products that exceed user's expectations will always be winners in the marketplace. In order to produce these products, the right team needs to be in place to make it happen. One of the members of that team should have user experience (UX) expertise. A UX designer will focus on the strategic concepts, keep it cohesive and contribute to the design as the product matures.

Read Why UX Should Matter to Software Companies
By Pabini Gabriel-Petit

Sunday, March 05, 2006

And the Acadamy Award goes too...

I rely on others to pull off the finishing touches of a design, a design that will go nowhere without their input. I am capable of deciding the architecture, importance of information and the layout of pages that lie consistently from page to page, but without a visual designer my ideas would fall flat. I am an expert at understanding the needs of users while accomplishing business objectives, but I couldn't sell the design at all without the help of a visionary with style.

I am watching the Academy Awards tonight and I desire to be so much more than I am. I really am just the technical support team who needs the the actors to breathe life into the still forms.

Read the article at UX Magazine to better understand how these discipline work together and rely on one another to get it right.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Recommendation and Rating Engines

I am researching recommender and rating systems for two clients at the same time for completely different reasons. One client wants to be able to be at a single or list of products or categories and recommend similiar or logical cross selling opportunities. The other client wants to be able to allow a user to define a setting that is ok and then give the user alternate settings that are algorithmically similiar but possibly superior to the original settings.

Here are some things I have run into while taking a quick look on the web.
(Common terminology: Recommendation Engine, Recommender Engine, Collaborative Filtering)

If you are trying to get targeted recommendations and cross selling products these two products are interesting to look at:
SUGGEST Karypis lab at the Univ. of MN (like Amazon's, "You might also like" engine)

If you are trying to build a user defined rating of products or services take a look at:
CoFE IIS Research Group of Oregon State(like Yahoo's news article ranking system)

Often companies will combine these two technologies to allow users to refine the products and services recommended to them.

For example: A baker views flour and sugar and is recommended yeast, flavorings and preservatives. Let's say the baker is an all natural baker and can rate the preservatives as something he would never use.

To see a site that uses both go to
The home page has recommendations based on user ratings. If you click on a specific artist or album you will see a list of Similar Music. This site uses a content based recommendation engine from Loomia.