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Want to be a UX expert? Here's advice to get you there

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Bringing user experience skills to the development area can be a challenge. Expert Austin Knight unveils his clever testing idea that might make the entire process a bit simpler.

When it comes to user experience, you need to expect the unexpected. But that's actually harder to manage than you might think.

So, that's where a UX expert comes in to play. Austin Knight, senior UX director at HubSpot, has spent most of his career trying to help companies create products that work well for a wide range of people in the most unexpected of circumstances. Knight's passion is finding a way to make UX truly accessible to everyone, but particularly for developers who need to keep the user in mind with every step.

His latest idea is what he's calling fringe testing. In order to make a product accessible to the widest variety of people, he suggests starting with a very specific target audience -- say a 35-year-old professional -- and then testing it with the extremes on either end. In this case, that might be a child and an older retired person.

By pushing the testing to the "fringes," Knight believes you cut through the noise and are able to clearly see what works for the people on either side as well as the target audience. That UX expert knowledge improves the design of the product, and doesn't require a huge time or financial investment.

To hear more ideas about UX and software development, listen to SearchSoftwareQuality editor Valerie Silverthorne's interview with Knight.

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What radical testing experiments have you tried in order to improve UX?
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Put away the mouse and try to do your typical wokflows with keyboard only.
Pretend that you do not remember anything, and must rely only on the coming cues from the application.

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Interesting, the suggested approach sounds a lot like P.E.R.S.O.N.A. strategy we experimented with: http://automation-beyond.com/2015/11/27/testing-persona/

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