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The AYCL Blog

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

Transforming Consumers into Contributors

January 28, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Ratings and reviews have a profound impact on purchasing behavior. Consumers will pay up to 99% more for a five-star rated product than one with only four stars. And 84% of people say they trust user reviews over critics.

“Ratings and reviews should be part of your engagement and social strategy, regardless of whether you’re selling a product or providing content or providing experiences,” says Erin Malone, author of Designing Social Interfaces.

Your ultimate goal is to provide useful, credible content. You do that by making sure that your reviewers have actually experienced the product or service that they’re reviewing. By letting other users rate the reviews themselves for usefulness. And by using the information you get from all sides to create a better experience for everyone.

“The more people engage with your site, the more personalized their experience should be. That’s their reward for giving you content for free,” says Erin.

Adapted from “Designing for Ratings and Reviews,” Erin Malone' virtial seminar.

Watch Adam Connor's Preview: Design Studio - Building Design Consensus Early in Your Process

January 26, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Design reviews can result in conflicting lists of stakeholder feedback and out-of-scope ideas about what the design should be. Bruised egos, longer timelines, and higher budgets are often par for the course. But Adam Connor knows a better way.

Watch this and before long you’ll be running faster among a team of happy people — and you’ll all be building better products, too.


January 22, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Gamification is the UX strategy du jour, but as an attempt to boost profits, it routinely fails. If it doesn’t add lasting value or a real sense of achievement, it’s meaningless.

Users want more than a slew of badges that have no intrinsic value. They want tangible, real rewards for their actions and achievements.

So, when you’re considering adding gamification features, ask yourself, “Are the rewards I’m offering contextual, relevant, and valuable?” If your answer is yes, you’re more likely to connect with users in a way that will entice them to return frequently and continue engaging with your content.

Adapted from: “What Video Games Teach Us About UX,” a Virtual Seminar by Steph Hay.

Writing Mighty Microcopy

January 15, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Consider these bits of ubiquitous microcopy: tweet, like, poke, friend, share, and follow.


Would sending 140 characters of wit, wisdom, information, and insight be as much fun if you just hit “send?” Can you really “like” a post about someone’s lost cat?
Des Traynor says, “Words and interface give context to the actions that your users will take, and the relationships that form.” The way you describe core components of your product can have a huge impact on whether it succeeds or fails.


Microcopy matters. Labels influence relationships, and language drives behavior. A little something to remember the next time you’re writing instructional content, assistive text, button labels, and text field labels.


Adapted from: “Microcopy that Strengthens Your Design’s Experience,” a Virtual Seminar by Des Traynor.

New to the library - Sharing our Stories: Designing and Reviewing UX Portfolios, a presentation by Ian Fenn

January 13, 2016
by Adam Churchill

Portfolio required: two words that fill UX designers with dread, regardless of their experience. We're often experts at sharing our users stories, but find it difficult to share our own. Like them or not, UX portfolios are here to stay. They're a vital part of the recruitment process. The right one can get you the interview - and your dream job. In Sharing our Stories: Designing and Reviewing UX Portfolios, Ian Fenn shows you how designing your UX portfolio can actually change your life.

Ian teaches you to:

  • Discover how designing a UX portfolio can actually change your life
  • Represent your experience and value
  • Overcome common constraints in telling your story
  • Know what to look for when you conduct a portfolio review

Improve your UX portfolio today, with your All You Can Learn subscription.

Mobile Site or Native App? That’s the Question.

January 11, 2016
by Adam Churchill

There’s no question we should be designing for mobile. But you might be asking yourself if you should build a mobile website, native app, or even both.

For Delta, their mobile website offers customers the ability to do some simple tasks on the go like checking if their flight is on time. But their native app takes it one step farther.

“Customer’s can see their SkyMiles, check in for their flight, track baggage, and even change flights,” says Nate Schutta. Delta’s native app gives customers a personalized experience because they’re already logged into their account. “It knows me, so it can tell me when my flights are coming up. I can go see details. I can see my boarding pass.”

The question you need to ask is “what kind of mobile experience do our customers need?” Then go design for that, whether for a native app, mobile website, or both.

Adapted from: “Choosing Which Mobile Experience to Build,” a presentation at UXIM 2014 by Nate Schutta.

Watch Jeff Gothelf's Preview: Remote Teams

December 29, 2015
by Adam Churchill

Generations, technologies, cultures, and organizational goals all influence whether team members can work remotely — and to what degree. Some companies are beginning to dabble with this shift. Others are fully remote. How do they design together — and successfully — from afar? According to Jeff Gothelf, it all comes down to communication. Using 9 specific tactics and a host of Lean methods, Jeff discovered how to design effectively with teams sitting half a world away.

In this video, Jeff will show you how he maintains team cohesion, builds trust with colleagues and clients, and takes advantage of tools that improve long-distance collaboration.

New to the library: Design Systems: From Project Done to Product Sustained, a presentation by Nathan Curtis

December 20, 2015
by Adam Churchill

In this presentation, Nathan Curtis shows you how design systems can be organized and sustained over time. Effective design systems allow teams to converge and unify efforts across products, understand the needs of product teams, and seek feedback. You'll learn how to communicate the value of developing a living design system in your organization—one that responds to the needs of teams and encourages designers to contribute, document, and sustain the product.

  • Manage and support a sustainable design system
  • Align team interests across products
  • Inspire designers to share their work

Nathan gives you concrete tips and techniques for how to organize and structure your library as a tool to effectively communicate priorities to other teams.

Need your entire team to see this amazing talk? Take advantage of the All You Can Learn Library team pricing.

Would Working Remotely Work for You?

December 18, 2015
by Adam Churchill

In 2014, remote job postings increased by 26% over 2013. If you’re not among the ranks of workers who can clock in while wearing their bathrobes, that could change in the near future. Are you suited to the life? Not everybody is.

People who do best in remote working situations tend to share similar characteristics. They prefer to work independently. They’re highly motivated and self-disciplined, trustworthy and responsible. They don’t need someone else to give them a task list.

Happy remote workers thrive in results-driven environments. They don’t want to be chained to their laptop from 9–5 when they do their best work before dawn or after midnight. If the most important thing is that they deliver their work on time, why should it matter when they do their work? Or how many hours a day it takes?

If everything above sounds like you, and you’re lucky enough to have an employer that’s willing to let you work remotely, give it a try.

Adapted from Do Great Work From Anywhere, a Virtual Seminar by Scott Berkun.

The Most Watched UX Presentations in the All You Can Learn Library - November

December 17, 2015
by Adam Churchill

Here are the most watched recordings from the All You Can Learn Library over the past 30 days.

Modern Layouts - Getting Out of Our Ruts, with Jen Simmons

Coding Prototypes, Even if You’ve Never Tried, with Nate Schutta

Teaching UX, with Fred Beecher

Designing for Rating & Reviews, with Erin Malone

Get at these and hundreds more with your subscription to the All You Can Learn Library.