Re: Should More Banks Acquire UX Design Firms?

Rami Tabbah - October 28th, 2014

I read Joel Oxman's article titled "Should More Banks Acquire UX Design Firms?" where he commented on Capital One's acquisition of Adaptive Path.

Joel made a very interesting point wondering why legacy service-oriented enterprises such as financial institutions, healthcare, transportation failed their customers in digital experiences while the airline industry made strides in offering engaging user experiences. 

He attributed the financial services industry hesitation and slow response to "the lack of understanding and appreciation by financial institutions for the financial return on investment they can expect from improving the digital customer experience." He also said that "Banking executives will need both the intel and bravado necessary to respond to emerging challenges and affect broad changes."

Stuctured Ideation Toolbox

Rami Tabbah - October 16th, 2014

I will be presenting on Tuesday - November 11, 2014 at the 61st Silicon Halton Meetup at the Halton Hills Public Library, Georgetown - 7:00 pm.

If you create product requirements with your clients, this session will empower you with methods to create new ideas including fun ones such as games.

Reflections on Capital One’s Acquisition of Adaptive Path

Rami Tabbah - October 10th, 2014

I started to follow Jesse James Garrett when he published "The Elements of User Experience" diagram in 2000. His concepts were revolutionary because they looked at the design as a layering exercise that bring structure and order at the time design was transitioning from a guideline and pattern rich Windows environment to a very unstructured Web which lacked these patterns and clear guidelines.

It was great addition to the user experience community when Garrett founded Adaptive Path in 2001 with a focus on building a better web. Later they went beyond the Web and focused on other aspects of user experience. Adaptive Path started at a time when user experience was mainly about usability research. Windows did not allow for creative work other than splash screens and web sites were basic. Adaptive Path used a structured web design process with a focus on the creative side in the form of Design Studio and that was a great contribution at the time. Since then, Adaptive Path grew and became a renowned UX consulting firm that helped businesses such as NPR, Flickr, Harvard Business Review, Twitter, Airbnb.

On October 2, 2014, Garrett announced that Capital One acquired Adaptive Path and wrote:

The Future of the Internet of Things - Scott Jenson's Takeaways for UXers

Rami Tabbah - June 1st, 2014

The Internet of Things is now a reality: blue tooth car kits, home automation, home network cameras, smart doorbells, Google Glass, and more is on its way. Some government are realizing its potential. David Cameron announced in March that the UK government will increase the budget for technology firms to work on 'internet of things' devices.

On May 1st, 2014, I attended the Closing Keynote of CHI 2014 by Scott Jenson, Product Strategist at Google. He spoke about the conditions that will allow the User Experience of the Internet of things to succeed and made the case for a free and open service that allows every device to talk to every other device

The Benefits of Institutionalized Usability

Rami Tabbah - November 7th, 2011

Large organizations cannot fully benefit from usability unless it becomes part of their culture and the business focus becomes on what the customer will be able to do, rather than the functionality the organization is ready to offer.

This requires a deep change of culture where multi-disciplinary teams that include usability specialists are around the table when deciding on products’ direction and strategy. This also means developing corporate standards, integrating usability in the delivery framework, making usability an integral part of process design and usability metrics part of the overall quality metrics. Ideally, this will lead to more realistic and meaningful benchmarks that will impact the organizations’ strategy. Only then decision makers will be able to maximize the benefits from usability.

Top 10 Barriers to User Experience Effectiveness in Large Organizations

Rami Tabbah - October 6th, 2011

Many organizations have user experience teams or hire consultants. However, user experience is not always a success and many organizations are unable to benefit from the full potential and power of usability and cognitive ergonomics.

I define usability as the tools, processes and methodologies that help engineer user interfaces and measure their success. Cognitive ergonomics is the underlying science behind usability. User experience is a mix of usability, art, branding and marketing that mainly focuses on emotions. If the usability and cognitive ergonomics elements are not dominant in user experience, the results can only be described as random.

SmartBird: Design Principles in Action

Rami Tabbah - July 26th, 2011

Watching the steps that led to the success of the design of SmartBird was a delight. What drew my attention is how they designed flexible wings by virtually mimicking the bones of a real bird. This reminded me of an important design principle: compatibility with the real world. The more the designer could match the "real world" bird, the more real the SmartBird could function.

The relationship between usability and accessibility.

Rami Tabbah - October 27th, 2006, updated June 10th 2009

Usability leads to accessibility and vice versa

The essence of accessibility is to offer comparable access to disabled users.

From developers’ perspective, accessibility at the code level allows the disabled to "access" content and therefore makes it usable. Therefore, accessibility leads to usability.

In our experience, this statement is only partially true and becomes not valid when it comes to complex designs and flash or interactive sites.

How to select a good color contrast

Rami Tabbah - 20 February 2009

qIn page design, it is very important to have a good contrast between the foreground and the background colors.

As a rule, the difference in “gray values” between foreground and
background colors should be greater than 67%

Steps to measure the contrast:
  1. Take a screen shot of your screen
  2. Take it to an image manipulation program
  3. Convert to grayscale
  4. Compare the gray values of text and background

Designing for the soul

Rami Tabbah - February 17th 2009

"The name cognition, as used to label a very active field of inquiry in contemporary psychology, is itself quit old. It was first used by  St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1244) when he divided the study of behavior into two broad divisions: cognitive, meaning how we know the world, and affect, which was meant to encompass feelings and emotions. Today's definition of cognition is as broad as that of Aquinas." (The Handbook of Psychology)

The adventures of Daniel Pink and the creativity of Sir Ken Robinson

Rami Tabbah - October 4th 2008

I attended a talk by Daniel Pink at Rotman School of Management on September 30, 2008. The topic was titled: "Career Secrets No One Ever Told You". Dan presented his new book: "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need".

Macro Usability

Rami Tabbah - April 17th 2008

Usability principles and criteria apply to more than designing user interfaces and interactiv systems. They apply to how people use buildings and many specialized in designing signs and space. I want to introduce the concept of Macro Usability. Not sure if anyone introduced this term, but I haven't seen it so far in literature, not in ACM Digital Library anyways.

To me, Macro Usability is the usability principles applied to absolutely everything. Like user interfaces and buildings, communities, cities, tax systems, company structures, political systems, and every other system we interact with has to adhere to the usability principles and be evaluated based on usability criteria. The reason is simple: we are humans and we use our the same cognitive senses we user to interact with user interfaces to interact with all other systems we are exposed to.

From Multi pointer interfaces to Surface Computing

Ergonaute, September 7th, 2006, updated June 7th, 2007

This video demonstrates a revolution in interaction. Instead of using a mouse, the user can use his hands and more importantly, all his fingers... Watch...

... and that video shows how Microsoft built on the idea.

ProjectWorld * BusinessAnalystWorld Toronto – 2006

Ergonaute - May 10th, 2006

Ergonaute will be presenting at

ProjectWorld * BusinessAnalystWorld
Toronto – 2006
On May 11th, 2006 at 1:15
Metro Convenstion Centre

Title: How to map requirements to a usable user interface

In order to have a usable and effective user interface, it is essential to capture real user requirements and scenarios of use. We will introduce a method that allows capturing, structuring, modeling and finally mapping these requirements to a user interface.

* Learn how to capture real user requirements.

* Discover a method that transforms user requirements to a usable, effective and successful user interface.

* Discover how usability is seamlessly integrated in this process.

Rami Tabbah, M.Eng , Managing Director, Ergonaute Consulting

We will also offer a 1 day workshop on the same subject on June 26th,2006

Ajax can help detect Where a user clicks


Ergonaute - March 3rd, 2006

Eye tracking systems have been used for years to detect where a user looks on the screen. This has been used in the Stanford Poynter Project.

Matching this information with where users actually click is very useful. Read how Ajax has been used in Plotting the exact X/Y coordinates of clicks on a page. Very interesting results.

Vendors need lessons in usability

Despite decades of ‘upgrades’, much high-tech office equipment remains woefully difficult to operate.

Kelvyn Taylor- IT Week 13 Feb 2006

Ergonomics and usability are two topics that should be very closely linked. Yet, when you look at much of the technology in a modern IT-rich office, you realise that although a lot of it might be plastered with the stickers that signify regulatory approval of one sort or another, in terms of ergonomics and usability the kit might as well have been designed for a 12-fingered, two-headed, seven-eyed inhabitant of some remote planet.