How Valuable Is Your Work? Measuring the User Experience

Say you start a project. You’re passionate and you’re intent on becoming knowledgeable on the topic of the project in order to deliver your best execution. Fast-forward, you deliver and your project launches – let’s ignore the iterative cycle – how do you know you’ve succeeded? How do you quantify your effort in said success or failure?

During my talk, I will give you ideas, thoughts and processes that will help you craft your own framework to learn how to quantify your work, to learn how to measure it against the success or failure or any project and to break it down by milestones.

At the end of my presentation you’ll leave the room with one of two thoughts:

A. Eduardo is insane. There is no way anything that he said could be accomplished.

or

B. Eduardo is insane – but I bet I can extend his idea and use it in my day to day to have a more meaningful career and understand how I can be better at what I do.

Whether you leave the room with A or B on your mind, you’ll enjoy the time we spend together.

 

‘Shrink It and Pink It’: Designing Experiences for Women

Women have become the digital mainstream. In the US market, women make up just under half of the online population, but they spend 58 percent of e-commerce dollars. Women are online gamers, shoppers, bloggers, and social media consumers. And yet, we still don’t quite know how to design for them. The immediate impulse when designing for women is to “shrink it and pink it,” meaning products are splashed with the color pink, and content and messaging are dumbed down. But women want what’s relevant to them. They want products and online experiences that are intuitive, not insulting to their intelligence. They want function, not frills.

This session reviews the historical and contemporary landscape of designing for women. We’ll review misguided, yet well-intentioned designs based on assumptions and stereotypes that have flopped. Conversely, some designs, backed by user research, quantitative data, and a genuine understanding of women’s needs, have seen success and fulfilled their customers’ needs. We’ll also look at when gender should factor into your design and when it shouldn’t. Ultimately, when designing for women (or men, or both), you’ll want to get it right.

 

Why We Should NOT Focus on UX

It’s striking how “Nobel prize winning research” seems to indicate how UX design is kind of missing the point. It turns out, we (UX designers) are focusing on the wrong element. It turns out, we shouldnʼt focus on the “experience” part at all.

Particularly interesting, is how it illustrates the profound distinction between experience and memory. It turns out, we all have two selves. One focused on experiences, the other on memory. And they act almost as complete opposites.

So why is this important? Because itʼs our memory-focused self that makes all decisions! Actually, our other self has no vote whatsoever, it turns out.

Implications on UX design are obvious. UX design merely for the sake of creating “great experiences” is pointless. Itʼs stopping prematurely. UX design is important, but not for the X. Like f(x) = y, UX design should be entirely in function of the memories it creates. Because only memories matter.

Not only does this insight add an interesting philosophical layer of reflection to UX design as a whole, it can have a practical impact as well; right down to the color of a button. It’s about designing to create “great memories”.

And there are techniques to do that…

 

Numbers are Our Friends: Information Architects Make the Best Web Analysts

Incorporating numbers and data into your design process is much simpler than you think. IAs and UX designers are already “web analysts”: Our in-depth knowledge of user behavior provides us the ability to glean vital, actionable insights from analytics data that others, such as marketers and business analysts, often miss.

This session will remove mystique around the ‘web analytics’ process and speak to common misconceptions IAs have with this area of practice. Through tips and examples of tactical applications of web analytics data in a ‘UX friendly’ context, we will show that analytics is an efficient tool for gaining rapid insight into user behavior and improving the value of our designs.

We will illustrate ways analytics data can be brought into play with familiar IA and UX processes and provide examples of how metrics extend the life of our early research. We will show how personas help drive search analysis, audience targeting drives useful segmentation, and internal search data informs content strategy. We will demonstrate useful tools and show how easy it can be to access the data you need. Join in as we hear business goals from the audience and generate metrics and insightful data on the spot.

 

From Flab to Fab! Design Secrets for Overweight Interfaces

Some overweight sites are legitimately big-boned — data heavy and dense. Most flabby interfaces, however, are the result of a UX process run amok. Despite everyone’s best intentions, it’s not uncommon for projects to suffer from incomplete requirements, too many stakeholders, poor project management, or — most often — ambitious schedules that don’t provide enough time to iterate, refine, and streamline the design.

The result: overstuffed, garbled interfaces that try to be all things to all people.

Even if your process has failed, the final product need not be a failure. This session shows how space-saving patterns and a few simple visual design principles can mitigate even the most crowded and confusing interface and make it understandable — even enjoyable — for users. By the end of the session you’ll understand how to apply these techniques to your wireframes or comps, and how to identify problems and opportunities in existing designs.

 

Solving World Problems with UX

We will begin by setting a common language and defining what we mean with the term “user experience.” We will review the example of how Gertrude Bell, the Arab explorer, used UX methods to help shape Arab nations. We will identify the methods she used and map them to methods we use today. We will then review my own attempt at solving world problems by employing the Outcome-Driven Innovation method to define high-level tasks in education.

Beyond the Polar Bear

The BBC’s new Food site (bbc.co.uk/food) is completely rebuilt using principles of domain and data modeling. Domain-driven design breaks down complex subjects into the things people usually think about. With food, it’s stuff like ‘dishes’, ‘ingredients’ and ‘chefs’. The parts of the model inter-relate far more organically than a traditional top-down hierarchy.

A logical domain model makes site navigation mirror the way people explore knowledge. By intersecting across subjects, links themselves become facts, allowing humans and machines to learn through undirected user journeys. This paradigm shift from labeling boxes to taming rich data is a vital skill for the modern IA.

We will show you how to design for a semantic ‘web of data’, using case studies from the BBC’s Food and Natural History products. You’ll learn to unlock the potential of your content, create scalable navigation patterns, achieve simply fabulous SEO and step confidently into the world of open linked data.

We’ll reference Rosenfeld and Morville’s seminal IA tome and discuss what still holds true and what needs new thinking. The next web is here. Stop worrying about the perfect taxonomy, and start worrying about making your content findable, pointable, searchable and sharable.

 

Pig-Faced Orcs: Design Lessons from Old-School Role-playing Games

Can designers learn anything from old-school role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller? Sure!

Designers of all kinds are getting comfortable applying principles of game design to non-game applications. Many of those principles date back to the early days of role-playing games, from Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s first edition of D&D in 1974 to less well-known games like Runequest and Traveller. Game designers have been revisiting these early works and extracting wisdom from them, and I’d like to bring some of those lessons to the user experience community.

In this deliciously nerdy talk, I’ll present user-experience lessons from old-school gaming, including the role of showmanship in constructing an experience, how imperfections and missing pieces can increase engagement, and the difference between sandbox and railroad designs.

 

Your Brain On Graphics: Research-inspired Visual Design

What’s it like to design for today’s audiences? How can you communicate a message most effectively? When you understand how people perceive and process visual information, you’ll be more likely to create effective and usable designs. We’re not talking about graphic design basics, but about working with human cognitive architecture, by leveraging its strengths and accommodating its weaknesses.

In this session, we’ll examine and discuss a variety of principles that are based on imagery and visual learning research. These are principles that can help you design for the human mind. Topics include:

  • How our brain is hard-wired for graphics
  • Ways to manage cognitive load
  • Design is not decoration
  • Take advantage of pre-attentive processing
  • Make visuals cognitively efficient
  • Speak to the emotions
  • Concretize the abstract

 

Content Strategy On a Shoestring Budget

You’ve heard about content strategy. But what is it really? Why is it important? What can it do for your projects or your organization? And how can you do it with a small budget?

Join a content strategist who has incorporated content strategy into projects without blowing the budget or timeline to:

  • Get ideas on how to sell content strategy to your boss or clients
  • Learn how to integrate content strategy into your process without throwing off the schedule
  • Learn how to develop a content strategy document and a content worksheet that maps out the entire site and tracks progress
  • See how to involve developers early in a project to increase ownership across all functions

Because in the end, good content is what brings customers in and keeps them loyal.