Brian Essex, Ph.D. User Researcher

Articles

person using the zSpace 3-D device.

The UX of Digital 3-D Interaction

People are already familiar with 2-D digital experiences. We interact with flat screens every day, ranging from smartphones and desktop computers to smart watches and televisions. Some experiences on flat screens, such as video games and movies, simulate depth, but the experience is fundamentally flat; images are shown on a two-dimensional plane. For most of… Read more

a cartoon drawing of a man using an app in-store as an example digital shopping

Brick & Mortar Meets Digital Shopping

The retail environment is evolving rapidly. Increasingly, retail stores are leveraging smartphone apps and other digital technology to enhance in-store experiences and to nudge users towards buying products. While this space is challenging to design for, research methods based on observation and analysis of human behavior can help any product team better understand their opportunities.… Read more

Virtual Reality User Research: Q & A

Last week, I attended the SeaVR conference in Bellevue, Washington, with fellow Blinker Ross Bohner. We were there to talk to the Virtual Reality (VR) community about the importance of optimizing the user experience of virtual reality hardware and software. We had a lot of great conversations and now would like to provide some answers… Read more

You CAN Design For Both Trust & Conversions

Have you ever agreed to something online without fully understanding all the ramifications of what you agreed to? Recently at Blink we made an online purchase without understanding all of the terms and conditions. We bought 200 attractive, customized mugs for our office, however, there was one unrecognized flaw: After putting them in the dishwasher,… Read more

3 Essential Components of Persuasive Design

In the projects we work on here at Blink, our clients have specific actions that they would like their users to take on their website or app. For example, one goal might be for a user to download software from a website, while another might be to complete a registration form. In talking to research… Read more

Fundamental Dimensions of Contrast

Designers know that using contrast is an effective way to direct attention to a specific design element. But what makes it so effective? Recently at Blink in one of our weekly knowledge shares I shared some research from neuroscience and cognitive psychology that helps answer this question. Certain dimensions of contrast are particularly effective at… Read more

Breaking Through the Fourth Wall at PAX Prime

As soon as I was let through the doors into the PAX Prime expo hall, I headed straight for the Oculus Rift booth. I had tried virtual reality before, but not for more than ten years, and I couldn’t wait to see whether the experience lived up to the hype. I managed to make it… Read more

Focus on What Users Do, Not What They Say

One way to learn more about how your users respond to your design is to ask them their opinions during a usability test, but a good researcher observes more than just what they say. Read more

Six Evidence-Driven Best Practices for Game Websites

As a user researcher here at Blink UX, I’ve spent some time assessing and testing websites for the game industry. Game websites have a variety of audiences with unique goals, but the most notable ones are these: Support the brand or brands of the games and their manufacturers or creators. Attract new users to games… Read more