Articles by Aaron Marcus

Photo of Aaron MarcusAaron Marcus, president of Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc., and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of User Experience Magazine, is a pioneer of user experience, publisher of eight books and more than 300 articles, and lead designer/analyst of four mobile concept designs that combine persuasion theory with information design and user-centered design. The Money Machine has won an award and was deemed best in the category of financial systems in an international design competition sponsored by the International Institute for Information Design, Vienna.

Underground Diagrams (Book Review)

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A review of Underground Maps Unravelled and Vignelli Transit Maps.  An analysis of the design issues that challenge today’s professionals.  [Read More]

On the Edge: Beyond UX in Western Science Fiction

Asian sci-fi is inspired by classic Western novels as well as native literary traditions. Chinese, Indian, and Japanese approaches reveal creations based on different cultures. [Read More]

Two Museums of Future UX Design (Book Review)

Closeup of space toys from the book cover

A review of Art of Imagination: 20th Century Visions of Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy by Frank M. Robinson, Robert Weinberg and Randy Broecker and Future Toys: Robots, Astronauts, Spaceships, Ray Guns by Antoni Emchowicz and Paul Nunnelely [Read More]

Diagramming: Making the Invisible Visible 
(Book Review)

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A review of Designing Diagrams: Making Information Accessible through Design by Jan Gauguin.
One recent and five classic books about diagramming, the visual depiction of structures and processes that help us to understand and to interact with complex information. [Read More]

Back to the Future: UX in the Past 100 Years of Science Fiction

Robot from a sci-fi film

If you want to look into the future of UX design, take a close look at the science fiction movies of the last 100 years. [Read More]

The Money Machine

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User-centered design. persusive theory, and mobile technology assist in designing a financial application that promotes positive change in behaviors. [Read More]

Graphic Design: Two Views
 (Book Review)

A review of Graphic Design: A New History by Stephen J. Eskilson and Graphic Design Solutions by Robin Landa
Two books that make a significant contribution to understanding the history, breadth, and depth of the profession of graphic design. [Read More]

On the Edge: Gaming the User Experience

Game design often seems to turn usability principles upside down: traditional, information-oriented design values the standards of usability, usefulness, and appeal, but game developers start from the other direction and work back. [Read More]

On the Edge: Branding the User Experience

Branding establishes and maintains people’s identification with and “loyalty” to people, companies, products, and services and likely this focus on branding may increase in prevalence. [Read More]

UX Storytelling (Book Review)

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A review of Storytelling for User Experience by Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks and UX Storytellers: Connecting the Dots Edited by Jan Jursa, Stephen Köver, & Jutta Grünewald. A [Read More]

Book Review: Do’s and Don’ts of Information Graphics

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A review of The Wall Street Guide to Information Graphics: The Do's and Don'ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures by Dona M. Wong. Guide to creating information graphics that are usable, useful, and appealing, especially in the business and advertising world. [Read More]

Shaker Design: Out of this World (Book Review)

Book cover - Shaker Design

A review of several books on the Shakers, noting the ways in which they pioneered what we would call today “user-centered design.” [Read More]

Analyze This: A Task Analysis Primer for Web Design

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A deep dive into task analysis: how it is used, and why, too often, we ignore one of the most helpful tools in our toolboxes. [Read More]

User Experience: What? So What? What Now?

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“User Experience” is a phrase that seems to be catching on in many places. But what does it mean? [Read More]

Book Review: Providing Access for All

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This compendium provides intellectual tools for those active in changing the world by making products and services more available to all who could benefit from them. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: User Experience Development: What? So What? Now What?

In this issue, we seek to integrate the worlds of UX and software development in order to create better products, services, and user experiences. [Read More]

The Green Machine: Going Green at Home

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The Green Machine seeks to create a prototype to test whether it makes people reduce their energy consumption, holding significant implications on the use of Smart Grid software. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Greening the User Experience, and Goodbye

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Achieving sustainability, reducing one’s carbon footprint, “going green,” whatever one might call it, has gone from being a peripheral concern supported by a relative few—but dedicated—group of people, to a mainstream issue, talked, videoed, printed, blogged, and Twittered about among the masses on a daily basis…thanks in part to those earlier savants and prophets, but […] [Read More]

Information Graphics: An Eclectic Celebration

Guidebooks on effective visual communication are frequently published for those who have not been exposed to information design and visualization, often obscuring similar publications of decades past. [Read More]

The Classy Classic: Designing the User Interface (Book Review)

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This updated edition of a text about designing user-interfaces is testament to the evolution of these and other related topics the past two decades. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: A Gourmet Meal of Content, Context, and Analysis Awaits You

The worldwide economy is suffering greatly. Consequently, many corporate, government, educational, and organizational budgets have become diminished. That situation always affects new product development and, with it, the decisions to undertake a variety of usability and user-experience activities—from ethnographic observations, contextual and task analyses, to usability tests, remote testing, and many other usability evaluation and […] [Read More]

Formally Speaking: Two Guidebooks about Designing Forms

Two books about designing forms, similar in subject matter but contain different approaches to defining problems, providing solutions, and presenting their approach in book design storytelling. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Forms and Usability

This issue of UX explores forms, one of the most ubiquitous but under-noticed areas of usability among technology-oriented interactive communication. Where would we be if we could not log on to our computers or email systems, order products or services, search for data, and compare the results? In some cases, these displays of text, graphics, […] [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Platinum Perspectives on Usability and User Experience

The role of seniors have important implications for the policies and focus of attention for our professional organizations and daily life. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Mobility, Usability, and Transportation: Design a Go-Go

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This issue explores how transportation impacts culture and society and to examine how people interact with vehicles, infrastructure, technologies, security, and finding their way through an environment. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Think Locally, Test Remotely

Remote testing, the special concern of this issue, is increasingly important to usability professionals. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: A Blurring of Boundaries

One hot topic within the user-experience and usability professions, as UX readers understand it, is how we relate to the worlds of marketing, market research, marketing communications, and branding. Almost all of our sister/brother professions—like industrial/product design, user-interface/interaction design, graphic/visual design, and ethnography/social research—have faced a growing blurring of boundaries of profession-definitions, principles, and techniques. […] [Read More]

More than Skin Deep (Book Review)

This book’s focus on accessibility during the entire user-centered design process integrates accessibility throughout product development and provides readers with a readable introduction to incorporating these concerns into daily professional practice. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: The Greening of World Usability

This issue of User Experience introduces 2008 with a rich set of articles from a wide range of real-world perspectives. Rick Starbuck, Washington Mutual Bank, USA, shows us how user-centered design achieves bottom-line business success. Jerrod Larson, University of Washington, USA, analyzes why some companies make poor decisions about software usability. Anu Kankainen, Idean, Finland, […] [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Usability and Medical Systems

This issue of User Experience seeks to drive home the importance of usability, usefulness, and appeal—the full range of user-experience development—for medical systems and for healthcare delivery in general. [Read More]

What a Character! (Book Review)

A review of Characters of the Information and Communication Industry by Richard Bellaver.. An amazing, tumultuous, and awe-inspiring journey that begins with Gutenberg and continues onward to the present day, 500 years later. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Coming Soon to a Screen Near You

This issue’s theme focuses on usability and user-experience issues of interactive and mobile video, informing us about many new technology developments that make headlines in our daily news media. We all have our childhood experiences of viewing television and of using the phone. What happens when these two media are combined, and the experience becomes […] [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Making Ourselves Usable, Useful, and Appealing

We know that our profession is concerned with making products and services more usable, useful, and appealing so that end-users have a better user experience. The same can be said about what we ourselves need to accomplish within our own business environment. We need to learn how to make sure that our clients have a […] [Read More]

Book Review: It’s Show Time!

These guidebooks are for those who have not been exposed to the philosophy, principles, and techniques of information design and information visualization. [Read More]

Editor’s Note: One Day around the World: Good Signs and Future Challenges

In many countries, newspapers and popular magazines report on the latest products and services to reach the marketplace. In these publications, reporters and reviewers comment on whatever they believe promotes sales, marketplace success, and consumer preference. More so than in years past, however, they talk about user-centered design. This media focus mirrors corporate interest. Recently, […] [Read More]

With Access for Many, a New Way to Govern

Could the founders of the United States of America have envisioned what the Internet, telecommunications, and the PC enable in terms of government organization, publications, and the electoral process? Were they alive today, visionaries like Thomas Jefferson might have been keenly interested in technology that influences education and the electoral process, and Benjamin Franklin might […] [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Sonification: Its Time Has Arrived

This issue focuses on sonification. Some usability and user-experience professionals in medicine, health, music, video, the military, and other realms may consider information sonification and sound in the user experience a regular, typical area for consideration. For many other professionals however, sonification remains more exotic than quotidian, mysterious and elusive, even though sound is an […] [Read More]

Editor’s Note: Go East, Young Man or Woman

Having just completed my first year as editor-in-chief, my thoughts turn to the future, but in a special way—eastward—as the theme of this issue looks at usability in Asia. In the 19th century, J. B. Soule, in an Indiana newspaper editorial of 1851, urged entrepreneurial folks in the United States to head westward to seek […] [Read More]