Tips & Advice

We Need This ASAP: ending unrealistic deadlines

unrealistic deadlines

“We need this ASAP.”

There is no doubt in my mind you’ve heard this at least once, twice, or six hundred times. Your client, boss or other stakeholder says this has got to be done now, immediately. And in most cases, the team members just shrug their shoulders and roll with it.

But rolling with it is not only counterproductive, it’s dangerous.

You’re not doing anyone a favor by agreeing to something you know can’t be done — and you are most definitely


Tips & Advice

What’s the fastest way to evaluate e-commerce UX? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 08)

Not a week goes by where someone doesn’t ask me if there’s a “faster way” to find UX issues than by doing a UX Audit. Designers and developers are almost always operating under ridiculous time constraints imposed by people who have no idea how long it actually takes to do that work, so I completely get it.

Part of the panic inherent in the question, though, is based on an assumption. An assumption that conducting a UX Audit — and calling it that — means that this will automatically be a long-term


Tips & Advice

What Can I Do To Stop Scope Creep? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 07)

“Hey, can we squeeze one more thing into this sprint?”

If you recognize that statement, then today’s episode of Tuesdays with Joe is for you. Of all the topics I’m asked about on a weekly basis, scope creep is the one that never fails to show up — almost daily.

Organizations often approach project requirements and scoping as a “set it and forget it” proposition: we figured all this out, here’s the list of stuff we have to do and build, GO!

The expectation is that with the hard work of deciding


Tips & Advice

Aren’t Requirements and Specifications the SAME THING? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 06)

Here’s a question for you:

Would you build a house without first knowing how many rooms it should have?

Of course not.

Here’s another:

What would you do when, 3 months after construction starts, your spouse insists you need another bedroom?

You’d be stuck, of course.

You’d be scrambling to figure out a way to minimize the amount of work you have to undo (and redo). You’d be hoping for some miracle to give you the time, budget and people to take on the additional work.

And get it done on the


Tips & Advice

What do I ask users when my time with them is really short? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 05)

In a perfect world, you’d be able to spend a week or two with a large number of users, digging deep into their obstacles and challenges.

In a perfect world, you’d have the time to examine every facet of use and the contexts they operate in, leaving no stone unturned.

But you and I don’t live in a perfect world, do we?

What really happens is — if we do get any face time at all with users — the time we have to operate in is minimal. Of the questions


Tips & Advice

Aren’t Site Maps and IA Models really the same thing? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 04)

I’ve encountered an untold number of situations where, upon asking a project team to show me their planned Information Architecture (IA), they show me a Site Map instead.

I politely point out that this isn’t an IA model.

The team looks back at me, confused, and they ask the question I already know is coming: “But aren’t they the same thing?”

Nope. But I completely understand why they believe this. And I explain the difference like this:

That confusion isn’t new, partly because people on the UX/IA side of the fence do


Tips & Advice

How do I convince managers that upfront UX is necessary? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 03)

This week’s question is one I hear from many of you, almost daily:

How can I introduce the idea of upfront UX work and planning, in a way that my managers will actually consider it?

We humans are naturally resistant to anything new. Whether it’s because we’re unfamiliar with the topic at hand or are just uncomfortable with change, we’re comfortable sticking with what we know.

Your product owners, managers and even your fellow team members are no different. It’s hard for them to let go of the ways they’ve


Tips & Advice

The Fast (and Easy) Way to Uncover User Needs

UX improvement for big sites and systems begs equally big questions. And in B2B or Enterprise environments, the level of complexity inherent in the tool and its use makes it hard to know where to start. What’s more, when it comes to figuring out user needs, there are hundreds of potential questions you can ask.


In the majority of B2B and Enterprise circumstances, however, reality dictates that no one has the time to ask (or answer) all of them. When time and budgets


Tips & Advice

The Right (and Wrong) Way to Wireframe

I need to start with what I’m sure will appear to be a painfully obvious question:

What is a wireframe?

I ask it because on a weekly basis I see things that are called wireframes, but, in fact, are not wireframes. And as such, they’re not really helping their creators move things forward and answer questions of proposed features and functionality. Here are few things that tell you whether you’re looking at a wireframe (or not):

  • If you’re using any color aside from blue to indicate hyperlinks, it’s not a wireframe.
  • If you’re using real images, it’s not

Tips & Advice

[ Video ] The Long Wow: Delivering Great UX with Every Update (3 Critical UX Questions, Part 7 of 7)

Designing and building products that deliver valuable UX is certainly a tall task. And most teams breathe a sigh of relief once the product launches and that mountain of effort is at long last receding into the sunset.

But in truth, as you’ll see in this final installment of our video series, the hard work of delivering value to people has only begun:

We’ve moved the mountain and gotten this thing to launch. But how do we make sure it remains valuable, meaningful and useful to people? How do we make sure it remains


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