experience design, Innovation unConference, UI, unConference, user experience, UX

unConference Session: Solution Design: The Hidden Side of UX

Baz – Above the
 @joebaz & Richard
Branfield – Fresh Tilled

Richard Branfield (@freshtilledsoil) and Joe Baz (@joebaz)
conversation covered a lot of ground around UX (user experience) and UI (user
interface). Ready? Let’s go:
How do you
know what to put into a UX?
schools of thought:
1. Data research – personal development & user
2. Steve Jobs – screw the customer; I know what
I want to build
truth is something in between and varies by project. Apple does do a lot of research and testing.
research, customer/user interviews: The
goal is to get past the lies people tell. Learn to identify and get past the
red herrings. For
example, one assignment involved a platform that matches people with personal
trainers. The story users told started out as, “I want to get fit, healthy,
etc.” The truth turned out to be, “I’m lonely and need a companion, support, and
Use the “5 whys” Approach – Pretend
you’re a five-year-old. When someone answers your question, ask, “Why?” When
they answer that why, ask again, “Why?” Keep going until you get to the truth
(or they punch you out).
that people need different experiences based on their needs and mindset. Not everyone
wants one-click. It works for Amazon, but you don’t want it for filing your
Research vs. Intuition – either
way, you have to look at facts. The design solution – need to see how things
are performing. Usability testing – see how it’s being used. 
UX Design
Studies (BJ FOGG)
is no “best practice” methodology – just get your ideas out of your head so you
can get people talking and dig down to the depth of the real user experience.
vs “witch doctor” of UX – how do you keep the peace and get things done?
at the hard data of what the customers want. Make UX a first-class citizen.
(Google and Apple are doing this – raising the bar.) You need to find ways to
negotiate and integrate all the team members. Coach the unfamiliar through the
process and educate them on and benefits, but back up your
“opinions” with data so you don’t get into the “he said/she said” situation.
as a group, but also meet one-on-one – you can get a lot more information and
also reach solutions more quickly and give everyone a chance to contribute to
the final solution. Ask the questions and drill-down one issue at a time. Then bring everything back to the larger group.
·    -Identify the problem
·    -Clearly state the hypothesis
·    -Validate the hypothesis 
UX – user experience (process or solution) –
strategy  (ex: 1-click process)
UI – user interface (navigation, visual
elements) – execution (ex: 1-click button)
How do you meet customer requirements across
redesign of entire product?
that are lacking in user experience strategy have to start there – step back and first
say, “What are we trying to do here? What’s the vision for the company?” This requires gathering within the context of the bigger picture – you need to know what the point is.
on the stage of the idea or feature, you could get feedback from existing
customers OR if at an earlier stage (hardly any customers) – go with the
hypothesis-driven approach. Don’t just blindly follow a competitor. You don’t
know if they are doing it right – it’s better to talk to customers. That’s a culture
you want to encourage and nurture.
on your team can contribute to the UX effort.
Cloud &
SaaS – now since they are experiential in nature, does that add more value to UX?
In the 90’s you built from the bottom up: exp infrastructure (data base, app, and then UI
NOW experience leads the way. You can build in the cloud where most of the infrastructure exists, and you can focus on the experience and then figure out
what platform you want to put it on. This is an executive function (vs. marketing) –
it’s a “What are we trying to create?” question.
Mobile: How
do you strike a balance between using current interaction methods and doing
something new?
Use MAYA – Most Advanced Yet Acceptable.
have certain expectations as a foundation of the experience. You need to find
out what your audience’s basic expectations are and then you can push the
needle just a little bit (UI, new process, etc). Maybe just test with a small
segment of a customer base before a full release.
because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better. You need to make sure the UX has depth and isn’t just a surface treatment. The
expectation set by the visual layer must be met by the functional experience
that lives beneath that.
Note: the people who make quantum leaps
based on “instincts” usually have great market knowledge – they’ve put in their
10K hours and their “intuition” is actually based on experience.
approach – just build something and get it out so you can collect user data. Use
paper and pen!
Balsalmiq, Mockups, POP App Factory, Omnigraffle, Keynote (with Keynotopia),
the sketches or prototypes to customers. Be the computer, and have customers tap
where they want to go and show them the next screen. You get much better
feedback if you actually show them vs. just describing it. Walk-throughs are
very valuable. Get your proof points.
How do you
know when you have to update?
yourself – have you solved the problem? You have an inventory of identified
problems and then monitor whether you’ve solved them. If and when
you get by that stage and you’ve proven your hypotheses, now look at how to optimize (via split testing, etc) based on customer satisfaction, revenue,
profitability, etc.
to your customers – always. If you hear the same complaints over and over – you
need to optimize.
Use Google
Analytics to see what parts of the app people are using.
·     Watch behaviors not page views. Take advantage of GA custom variables –
segment the audience. Buyer or admin might have different experience than
lower level users. If bugs go unreported, that’s an indication
that no one is using that feature.
We’re still
designing UX as desktop first and later mobile, tablet, etc. Will we ever get
to a point where all versions of UX are designed simultaneously?
we replace OS software with Web software it will become more consistent. The
experiences and expectations will change with the environment from large screen
to smartphone, etc.

Desktops/laptops vs. tablets vs. phones
It used
to always start with desktop and then a mobile. Now, within the code, we can create a separate but consistent experience that
accommodates the display screen. The browser triggers which version gets used.
Once code base that accommodates not only re-sizing, but re-flowing
information, only showing certain information, etc.
out of the mindset of delivering pages, but delivering content “pieces” and web
services – optimize for the user need.
start with mobile and then scale up – mobile approach is more effective and
efficient. It gets you focused on what you really need vs. “everything but the
kitchen sink.”
Remember to be
cautious about best practices – focus on your
audience. Differentiate
your UX so that you can stand out in the market. 
Jamie Wallace helps clients create resonant brands,
standout content, and loyalty-inspiring customer experiences a
Suddenly Marketing. And, she makes
sure they have fun doing it.

Twitter: @suddenlyjamie

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