Jakob Nielsen publishes an Alertbox:

People can use computer systems for years without knowing about features that would be very useful to them. This is true even for productivity applications that people rely on for their livelihood, such as email, word processing, and spreadsheets. In testing intranets, we frequently find that employees are unaware of key enterprise features.

This seems like a paradox, because users would gain substantial benefits — potentially accrued over several years — if only they bothered to spend a few moments looking around the user interface. The ROI seems clear.

However, while users might have a mathematically true ROI from learning more about user interfaces, the ROI might not be so clear from a behavioral standpoint. The problem is that the investment occurs immediately: users must suffer the interaction cost of navigating through obscure parts of the user interface. In contrast, the benefit is deferred: users realize it only in small increments in some undefined future moments when they might use newly discovered features.

And then he provides tips on how to encourage learing. First among them: Fewer features.

Robert Hoekman writes for Smashing Magazine:

Following is my list of 13 beliefs on the value of user experience strategy, design, and designers, one for every year I’d been in the web industry at the time I wrote it in 2012:

Tenet 1:

“User experience is the net sum of every interaction a person has with a company, be it marketing collateral, a customer service call, or the product or service itself. It is affected by the company’s vision and the beliefs it holds and its practices, as well as the service or product’s purpose and the value it holds in a person’s life.”

Read it. I identify myself with all 13 of them.

Robert is the author of Designing the Obvious which is worth a read too.

Via @sixrevisions

Shortly after his “Stop Drawing Dead Fish” video Bret Victor is inspiring us all again.

If you are in the business of building anything for users, you must watch this. For those of you who know her “Creating the passionate users” talk, this is an updated version of the theme.

Via @paveldolezal & @davegreiner

Stefan Klocek writing a good one for the Smashing Magazine:

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a strategy for fixing the broken experience that starts with surface improvements, goes progressively deeper into structural issues and ends with a big organizational shift.

Via The Loop

Brian Groudan on Mozilla UX blog:

I worked closely with Mozilla user experience researchers and designers to rethink how Firefox can better offer “save for later” in the browser.

Overview of the design process phases follows.

Reading Cap Witkins’ essay “Death of the Free Web” I have a though that the once rogue 37signals-ish view, that there should be more web apps build for profit, is going mainstream? It’s about time, I suppose.

We’re discovering that you can’t create that sort of passion with free.

And so we’ve begun searching for and creating services that not only solve problems, but also solve them in a way that puts the customer first. In doing so we’re creating smaller, but more lasting and passionate communities of people that believe not only in the products, but in the vision and principles behind them.

The free web is dead. Good riddance.

Via @janrezac