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Watch, listen & learn from the world’s best UX experts.

The AYCL Blog

Learn about what’s new, what’s coming, and find blasts from the past.

Taxonomy vs. Navigation

March 4, 2016
by Adam Churchill

The typical response to content sprawl is to make room for it — a cure that’s often worse than the disease. You end up with web pages that look like Times Square and a CMS full of inaccessible and unusable content.

Navigation and taxonomy are both effective tools for tackling unruly content, but understanding the fundamental differences between the two is key.

Taxonomy is a system of classifications that allows you to organize content. It’s the logical layer between your content and the physical structure in the back end. Taxonomy is an abstract, semantic layer of meaning, rigid by nature, and driven by rules. For it to work, categories must be clearly defined, and labeling has to follow the right structure.

Navigation is the physical organization of content, and how you’re presenting it to the user.  It is influenced by taxonomy, and can be changed any time without changing the taxonomy. Faceted navigation is a classic example of taxonomy-driven navigation.


adapted from “Managing Content Sprawl,” a Virtual Seminar by Stephanie Lemieux.

Finding the Perfect Job

February 27, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Life’s too short to spend a single second working at a job that you don’t love. So the next time you’re in the market for a new position, take Amy Jackson’s advice and treat your job search like just another UX project.

“The job search process is like the user experience process. You’re the user. And the end product is the job you’re trying to get,” says Amy. Your first task is to figure out what you (the user) need and want. What’s missing in your current job? What do you hope will be different in your next one? What kind of team do you want to work with?

Next, think of your job interview as a vital information-gathering session. Remember, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to push a little to get the answers you need. What problems are they looking to solve? Are those problems that you’re interested in solving? If not, keep looking.

Watch Stephanie Lemieux's Preview: Managing Content Sprawl

February 23, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Stephanie Lemieux knows that information architecture is more than just navigation or structure. It's how your users find you, understand you, and continue interacting with your company over time. If flexibility in content publishing is a key goal for your team, then it's time to try taxonomy-driven design.

Watch this seminar of you are ready to make your content more meaningful, helpful, and flexible.

Search and Usability

February 15, 2016
by Adam Churchill

In 2002, according to a Pew Internet & American Life report, 52% of all Americans used search engines. By 2012, that figure had leaped to 73%. Shari Thurow refers to search engines as “the third browser.” 

If your image of a search-engine friendly site is a frightening hodgepodge of shoe-horned keywords, Shari wants to change your mind. She says, “A search-engine friendly website is a user-friendly website that can easily be found via commercial search engines, human based search engines such as web directories, and industry or niche websites. And the emphasis is always on the user.”

SEO has a bad reputation. It can feel an awful lot like gaming the system. But when it’s done properly, it makes products, services, and info easier to find before people arrive on your site and after they get there.

adapted from “When Search Meets Web Usability,” a Virtual Seminar by Shari Thurow.

Journey Mapping, UX Strategy, and More—The Most Watched Recordings in the All You Can Learn Library

February 14, 2016
by Adam Churchill

The All You Can Learn Library currently offers you 246 UX recordings. At any given time, some are watched more than others.  Want a peek at the last 30 days?

As always, please let us know what you think.

Bridging the Gap Between Abstract and Concrete

February 12, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Picture a massive pile of LEGO bricks dumped out on a table. Now imagine those same bricks separated, organized by color or size or function. How much easier is it to build when the components you need are right at hand?

Pattern libraries are a great way to start “sorting the pile,” but they don’t always go far enough.

You don’t really see how these things get used. You don’t see these things in context. You don’t see how these basic LEGO blocks combine together to form the final interface.

With atomic design, you can see how the components fit together—how they interact with each other. You can create consistent, cohesive experiences. And ultimately, you end up with a robust system that the client can use in the future, versus a handful of page templates that only work with the current use case.

adapted from “Building Design Systems From Atomic Elements,” a Virtual Seminar by Brad Frost.

Watch Stephen Hay's Preview: Responsive Web Design Workflow

February 10, 2016
by Adam Churchill

For teams who are struggling to design responsively, traditional workflows demand flat design comps, which don't quite jive with a flexible, content-first methodology. Stephen Hay has a practical, 10-step approach to improving your responsive web design workflow. With new ease, you'll go from text content to wireframes, deciding on breakpoints, and creating browser mockups before topping it off with style guidelines. And your team will thank you for it.

Designing for different devices and screen sizes—amid changing budgets, roles, and timelines—doesn't have to be painful. Let Stephen show you.

UIE's Online Event Playlist

February 4, 2016
by Adam Churchill

You asked for it.  Below is the long running playlist we’ve used before our virtual seminars and in other events like the Product Management + User Experience we co-produced with Rosenfeld Media. Some call it a masterpiece. Others an abomination. We blame it all on Jared.

Now that we’ve shared it with you, it will most certainly change. 

Carry on.

Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango
Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones
Broda Ole by Asa
Dancin’ in the Light by Entrain
Easter Island Head by Throat Culture
Surfin’ In Siberia by The Red Elvises
Chambermaid Swing by Parov Stelar
I Can’t Turn You Loose by Otis Redding
L’autre valse d’Amelie by Yann Tiersen
Libertango by Yo-Yo Ma, et al
It Ain’t What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It by Fun Boy Three & Bananarama
My Love by The Bird and the Bee
The Song Remains the Same from The Pickin’ on Series
Pinstripe by Skeewiff
Funky in the Middle by Nickodemus
Alarming Frequency by Steady
The Ticket by Daniel Teper
I Will Survive by The Puppini Sisters
Yachts (A Man Called Adam Mix) by Coco Steel & Lovebomb
Joy by Apollo 100
Mahna, Mahna by Cake
Express Yourself by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Heart of Glass by The Puppini Sisters
My Moon My Man by Feist
Additive Heaven by Rob Kelley 
I’m a Believer by Smash Mouth
Kashmir by William Joseph
Intermission by Ramona Silver
Emotional Rescue by Freedom Dub
Time is Running Out by The Section Quartet
Another Day by Pomplamoose
Sweet Dreams by Emily Browning
Still Alive by Jonathan Coulton
The Peanut Vendor by Stan Kenton
Fools in Love by Inara George
Oliver’s Army by OK Go
Baby Got Back by Jonathan Coulton
A Beautiful Mine by RJD2
Waters of March by Holly Cole
Boogie Drive by Skeewiff

Watch Aaron Gustafson's Preview: Designing Across Devices with Progressive Enhancement

February 2, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Today, there exist sea of design considerations like browsers, accessibility, device compatibility, and responsive or adaptive design. Aaron Gustafson knows how to wrangle all of these elements using progressive enhancement.

If you’re trying to create a better web ­­ and are open to rethinking how you approach designing for any interface, then you need to watch Aaron’s seminar.

Future-Proof Your Content

February 1, 2016
by Adam Churchill

It’s challenging enough to generate content for the current range of platforms and devices. How do you tackle creating content for the ones that haven’t even been invented yet?

“This zombie apocalypse of new devices, interfaces, screen sizes and different ways of interacting with content is not going to stop,” says Karen McGrane, author of “Content Strategy For Mobile.”

Your content creation workflow is the key to surviving the onslaught. It starts with reimagining the content you create. Future-proof content is flexible and dynamic. It’s not locked into a particular format. It’s not tied to what it looks like. It’s tied to what it means.

“That’s what’s going to help us make this leap to these future interfaces...that may not even exist yet.”

adapted from “Content in a Zombie Apocalypse,” a Virtual Seminar by Karen McGrane.