ux-ted-talks

5 UX talks every UX Designer must watch

The field of UX can get very vast, especially in this era of proliferation of technology. Newer technologies and devices bring in newer ways of user interaction. These newer methods of interactions can bring new challenges to UX design. Hence, it’s important to keep refreshing our understanding of UX.

One good medium of accomplishing this is videos. Especially on YouTube where you can save time by playing it at 1.25 – 2X the speed. I came across a bunch of videos that helped me understand what UX designing is really all about.

While these vids are more likely to appeal to beginners, I think even experts can take a lot from them.

1. WHITNEY HESS: Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX

A lot of useful information, tips and examples packed beautifully into a 5 minute vid. Whitney Hess is a Professional Certified Coach who helps Businesses and professionals make their products easy and pleasurable to use. In this talk she shares her top 10 principles that she uses in all of her engagements. For a quick read here they are

1. Stay out of people’s way
2. Create a hierarchy that meets people’s needs
3. Limit distractions
4. Provide strong information scent
5. Provide signposts and cues
6. Provide context
7. Use constraints appropriately
8. Make actions reversible
9. Provide feedback
10. Make a good first impression

2.Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier

Sheena Iyengar is the author of the book “The Art of Choosing” and a world renowned expert on the subject of choice. She has done a lot of research in the area of why choices are made and what needs to be done to choose better. In this talk she talks about how we can enable users to make decisions more easily . A lot of useful material especially when it comes to Information Architecture.

Here’s a quick summary of her key points

  1. Cut – Reduce options
  2. Concretize – Make the results seem real
  3. Categorize – Highlight variety while simplifying information through categories
  4. Condition for complexity  – Gradually increase complexity

3. Microinteractions: Design with Details

Dan Saffer is currently VP of Product at Mayfield Robotics. He has also authored multiple books about interaction design. In this talk he explains how microinteractions help enhance user experience.

Though microinteractions have been around for a long time, the term is relatively new. Microinteractions are tiny components that serve one purpose and one purpose only. Famous examples of micro interactions include the “Like” button by facebook, AOL’s “You’ve got mail etc.

According to Dan, Microinteractions are made up of four main elements that can be tweaked to make the experience as optimised as possible. Here’s the list of the four elements

  1. Trigger – There are two main types of triggers, Manual and System
  2. Rules – What activities fall within the scope of a microinteraction and how they are handled
  3. Feedback – When, where and how the feedback should be provided
  4. Loops and modes – Modes are different settings for different contexts, loops use elements like listeners to track behaviour and prompt microinteractions accordingly

4. The First Secret of Great Design

Tony Fadell has been Senior Vice President of Apple’s iPod Division, before starting Nest Labs which was later acquired by Google. In this TED talk, Tony explains why people develop habits and how these habitual traits can be opportunities to find problems with UX. He also explains how designers can create a mindset that help find these “invisible problems” and thus create a delightful user experience.

Here’s the three main tips he suggest

  1. Look broader – Don’t only look at a problem, but also elements around it. What steps occur before or after in the process instead of just the problematic steps
  2. Look closer – The devil is in the detail, this is very true when it comes to UX design. Tiny elements are often overlooked, though they might be causing the most trouble.
  3. Think Younger – Challenge conventional concepts to find fresh solutions. Things that held true even a few years back might not be valid in today’s technological context

5. Great design should empower, amuse and delight


Aral Balkan demonstrates a beautiful app that leverages an Xbox kinect that helps create a sense of natural interaction. It allows him to simply grab screenshots from his TV and set it in the phone to share or tweet.

The beauty of the video is how excited people got, only because the method of interaction was natural, something all UX needs to be moving towards.

So these were my list of favorite videos, feel free to share yours in the comments.

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