It is likely that at some point a client or team member will have heard a new TED talk or podcast or a blog post like this one and throw out some mesmerizingly-sexy new UX design term you missed while you were busy, you know, working.

Don’t Panic. Don’t bat an eye, but also don’t let them glaze over (I’ll be the first to admit guilt of that). There are some cool ideas out there. Here are a few favorites of the high-level variety that I’ve heard recently.

Macro/Micro UX:
I think this is a fairly useful construct for the time being. As I understand it, the Macro view is the role of UX more to the business as a whole – what some may call UX Strategy (or just Strategy…) a BA, Product Owner, etc. The focus is more on defining the user’s and business’ problems and turning those into goals, hypotheses, and strategies. The Micro deals with execution – UI, micro-interactions, context. The nuts and bolts, where magic is made.

So, macro = building the right thing, micro = building it right.

For More: Listen to the UX Podcast with Simon Norris

Inclusive Design:
Get on board, people. It’s 2016. No UX blog post would be complete without the oft-cited mantra, you are not your user. There are people with handicaps, people who don’t identify with a binary gender system, grew up differently than you, speak other languages. The list goes on. This goes for the workplace, too. Not just our products. Be considerate of others.

For More: Sara Leren and Denise Jacobs are a good place to start

Zero UI / Anticipatory Design / Agentive Design:
These all feel like they were cut from the Ubiquitous Computing cloth woven at Xerox PARC in the late 80s, but with a dash of Big Brother. The idea is to minimize the traditional screen-as-interface as much as possible by using machine learning and AI to be more predictive and intelligent. Google Now is a common example. There are pros and cons and not everyone is a believer, but for my part, I want my phone to tell me if I’m out of toilet paper
before it becomes an issue. A toilet tissue issue.

For More: The list is endless.

Calm Technology / Respectful Design:
This I came across in a recent UX Podcast (If you’re a listener, you’ve probably noticed a trend) featuring Amber Case, who may win the award for the most interesting job title. She is a Cyborg Anthropologist. The idea is subtle in a this-is-really-important way: feedback systems (notifications, alerts, A/V cues in general) need a lot of UX love with regards to context and respect for our normal, human-to-human social lives. Our devices shouldn’t embarrass us or interrupt us. Also cut from the Ubiquitous cloth, this one you should spend more time reading about.

For More: The Calm Tech website is a start. For a deeper dive read some of Mark Weisman and John Seeley Brown’s words.

The Lightning List:

The Bathtub Curve:
A concept from reliability engineering. Failure Rate is on the Y-axis. Time is X. For any new tech, early failures are likely, drop over time, then start to rise again as systems become outdated, forming a nice bathtub shape. Love it. Thanks, Bill Nye.

Pirate Metrics:
AARRR! Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, Referral. Always deliver it appropriately when spoken aloud.

Highest Paid Person in the room (On-site?). Regardless, they will typically decide whether your design lives or dies. Treat them with respect.

Return on Mobility:
Yes, this is a real thing people say.

Design frameworks and concepts are fun. And useful. Have fun with them. Invent your own. I’d love to learn about it. At the end of the day, though, remember our job is very simple: make good stuff and leave the world better than you found it.

If you have suggestions, please, share in the comments. Whac-a-Mole is a game best played with friends.

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