Spotlight on Experience: July Edition

Here's what caught our attention in the month of July.

Can you believe it's the last month of summer? Time flies when you're having fun — or when you're tracking the latest trends in designs and UX! From Apple and IBM’s new partnerships to Airbnb’s new design to continued discussions about wearable tech, July brought a lot of interesting stories for us to talk about. Here’s a list of what caught our attention in July.

Why Airbnb’s Redesign Is All About People, Not Places by Cliff Kuang, Wired

Airbnb’s new redesign got a lot of flak and some notoriety, mainly for its interesting choice in logo. (We'll let you form your own opinions on that one — but we can't deny that it inspired some genius riffs, including the puppy here!) With so much press about the logo, the changes to Airbnb's web and mobile experiences were somewhat overlooked. This article argues that many of the changes, from deemphasizing rental homes to highlighting the Airbnb community by adding additional avenues to discover places to visit, emphasize people (not properties) and attempt to deliver exactly the information that will match user expectations.

Apple's Partnership With IBM Is About The Victory Of Design Over Data by Anthony Wing Kosner, Forbes

The deal of the year between Apple and IBM made big waves as the two came together in a deal targeting enterprise customers. As Kosner points out, the deal seems more important to IBM than to Apple — and that signifies a win for design. IBM has the data analytics capabilities and Apple, at least for now, is still the reigning king of technology design and UX. IBM has realized it needs Apple’s understanding of user experience and design solutions to continue competing in the evolving enterprise space.

Is wearable tech wearing thin in the enterprise? by Mike Wheatley, Silicon Angle

We continue to be enthralled by the discussion around wearable tech, especially as it relates to enterprise. So, we were quite intrigued by this article that questions whether this untapped trend has already seen its last day. We're not so sure about that — but there's a lot we do agree with. For a wearable device to succeed, designers and developers must get past the “if we build it, they will come” mentality. Wearables need to consider user needs and expectations, and they need to have a distinct purpose — especially in the workplace. We still think we'll get there.

Why Design, Not Technology, Inspires the Future by Adam Levene, Wired Innovation Insights

Levene argues that design, not technology, is the true leader of innovation. He points out that design isn't just a buzzword but a robust business differentiator, with "design-centric" companies growing more over the past decade than those that are not. Despite that, technology still gets most of the accolades for driving companies forward. We like Levene's point that design deserves more credit than it gets.

How UX impacts a company’s financial performance [study], AGBeat

Speaking of the importance of UX to business, here's an article about the financial impact UX can have on a company. The article starts with a statistic — from a book first published in 1988! — that showed that every $1 a company invests in UX will yield $2 to $100 in return. It then focuses on a 2006 experiment that involved investing in UX-driven companies — and seeing returns more impressive than the major stock indices. We'd love to see a more current study that could provide even better ammunition to those urging their companies to invest in UX.

What made your list this month? Let us know in the comments below, or @EchoUser on Twitter, to keep the conversations going!