A brief 20 minute interview with the owner at Usabilitygeek.com – a usability and user experience blog with well over 60,000 readers per month – and how Justin Mifsud gathered such momentum in such a short space of time. More importantly, the current UX trends he sees today and how the blog is progressing as a lifestyle.  Justin also sits on the expert panel of Smashing Magazine.

Justin and I talk about anything and everything related to UX, often going off on tangents, but ultimately we talk about the exposure of UsabilityGeek, what that means for it’s readers and the progression of it going forward.

Summary

How was Usability Geek born and how has it grown?

Usabilitygeek.com grown within the past 4 years from 20,000 views a month to around 60,000 to 80,000 views a month. It’s much more than numbers though. It started off as a hobby and Justin still tries to keep it as much of a hobby as possible, without it becoming a commercial enterprise.

Justin just finished his degree in computer information systems, specifically usability and there was a lot of material. Surprisingly though, whilst there was a lot of academic material, good academic material at that, when handing over to his development team for insight, there was some trouble in interpretation. This forged the path of Usability Geek which was born from a gap in the market.


What do you attribute your exponential growth to?

Justin attributes it mainly to consistency – both in the frequency of blog posts and the quality. Since the dawn of time, Usability Geek has posted at least 1 blog post a week, sometimes more, but often 1, every Monday.

This one blog post per week has been kept at a specific high standard of quality of which is very high. When Justin introduced guest blog posts, keeping that level of quality was important. Where currently he receives about 6 blog posts offerings per day, of those he will only select one for that week. As a result, only 1 of every 35 are selected ensuring that level of quality is at it’s highest.


Are there any trends that you’re seeing within the marketplace you’re able to share with us?

Every year there are new trends released – for example the ‘usability trends of 2015′ is more often than not a really popular article. But over the course of time, specifically now, the proliferation of mobile and other devices are extremely popular. Gone are the days when we had a .mobi subdomain and with the art of responsive comes a mobile first approach. So the workflow and approach behind this is important; Bootstrap and minimalism is therefore a popular topic and trend. Even the opposite of ‘removing’ elements to account for responsive design but the requirement of higher resolution designs such as 4K now means that design is perhaps more important now than ever. Even so, we’re starting to see a trend of skumorphic to flat to material design within the industry.


What are the most popular articles?

There is a difference between what is most popular and what is Justin’s favourite.

The articles that are the most popular are those that are resource based i.e. top 10 trends in X or the top 10 tools for Y. These aren’t necessarily his favourite but they certainly bring in the traffic! Adversely, Justin’s favourite articles are those that both inspire and cause debate (even controversy). These are those types of articles, for example about agile development or requirements gathering, that inspire the user to research more, setting them on the right track; giving them real purpose.


Listen to the full interview here

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this discussion please feel free to email me at davidleemannheim@gmail.com