UX (User Experience)

The subjective quality of the user’s motivations and feelings towards the interactions with a product.

  • Static Analysis of UX

    It seems possible to generate all states of a purely functional UI so that it can be analyzed and audited.

  • Neglected UX

    Parts of the user experience that are not quite broken, but subtly in incongruous. For example, they might have elements that use slightly different styles, UI patterns, or fell out of sync with the product. The neglected UX within an app tends to add up over time (UX entropy) before it is noticeable enough to become a high priority. Addressing the issues with neglected UX tends to take a lot of time and is rarely apparent to others.

  • It Is Easier to Confirm Something Is True Than to Recall past Events

    When asking questions about things that happened in the past, it is significantly easier for someone to confirm whether something is true or not rather than retracing a series of past events.

  • People Judge the Quality of a Product by Whatever Is Visible

    The user’s evaluation of the quality of a product is not separate from the aesthetics. This is especially important for products that are not observable by the user e.g. software or infrastructure. They can’t physically inspect the quality and rely on other signals as a proxy—the website, UX, documentation, etc. This isn’t strictly logical (you can simultaneously have a beautiful website and a terrible product), but an important factor nonetheless.

  • UXR

    User experience research (UXR) is a function that works with users and analyzing data to learn about and test ideas. This serves as a way to avoid common biases when building products and making decisions (e.g. confirmation bias, availability bias, etc) by talking to real people outside of an organization.

  • Delightful UX Is a G-Statement

    Having a delightful UX (user experience) is obviously good, yet not provable. Attempts to apply a formalization like conversion, net promoter score, or other metric usually fails to directly observe the effect of good (or bad) user experience. In that way, UX is a G-statement that we all intuitively know to be true.

  • No Straight Line Hierarchies

    When organizing the information architecture for a website of applications, there should be no straight line hierarchies. This happens when there is a hierarchy of items, but one of the categories only contains a single item. This is confusing to users and unnecessarily adds another layer for users to traverse.

  • Consistency Is Potency

    The more consistent something is, the more potent it becomes. It might sound boring to do, hear, and say the same things over and over again, but it leads to better results. Said another way, it’s difficult to get anything of value by being inconsistent.

  • Conway’s Law

    A company tends to design systems that mirror their communication structure e.g. ‘shipping the org’. You can see this in large scale software where the UX feels clunky, compartmentalized when it ought to work together as a unit.

  • Improving Tail Latency Improves Reliability, UX, and Sales

    Focusing on continuously improving p99.9 latency (long tail latency) not only improves overall latency, it necessitates more reliable systems, better user experience, and enables more enterprise sales who tend to want contractual obligations around p50 latency.

  • Deriving User Flows and Optimal Path to Goals from Events

    By analyzing frontend analytics events we can derive the ‘hot paths’–sequences of actions users often take. If we also know the user’s goals we can then calculate the state space and optimal path (e.g. A* pathfinding). With that we can calculate the frequency in which users choose an optimal path.

  • Notion as a Text Editor Is Quirky

    Notion is a popular wiki that I started using more seriously recently. Looking at Notion through the lens a text editor (the predominant way users create content) reveals a number of quirks.