MinneWebCon 2015 Notes

Steve Krug (keynote)

  • Steve talks about dispelling the myth that too much time and resources required to do usability tests.
  • 10-minute live demo usability test of a website. Asked a participant from the audience. Steve acted as facilitator.
  • Try scheduling usability tests once every month. Frequency matters. It simplifies recruitment since everybody knows when the scheduled tests will be.
  • Only need 3 people as participants.
  • Invite as many people to observe the test. Devs, stakeholders, decision-makers, etc. Get good snacks for motivational purposes. 🙂
  • Don’t get caught up in writing huge reports. If all key people show up to the test, then an email summary is sufficient.
  • You are going to see lots of easy problems to fix as well as a few serious problems. It is easy to get caught up in solving for the quick fixes. Instead, focus on solving the serious problems.
  • At the end of test, ask user to list their top three usability problems. This will help guide decision on priority of fixes.
  • Tweaking is better than full scale redesigns.
  • Good reads: Letting Go of the Words, Moderator’s Survival Guide

Behavioral Insights for a Better Web (Emily McAuliffe, Trystan Hansen, Steven Bayer)

  • Operant Conditioning (Rewards, Punishment)
  • Examples: Write or Die, LinkedIn, Khan Academy (progress bars, checklists), Slot machines (variable rewards)
  • Use gamification techniques
  • Reward types : Hunt, Tribe, Self (from the book titled Hooked by Nir Eyal)
  • Decision paralysis — less choice has more conversion, more choice has more engagement
  • Decoy effect — Show a choice for users that you know they will not find appealing. This will give users the impression that the other choices are much better.
  • Scarcity effect — “Limited time only”, invitation-only. This gives users impression that the product is more valuable than it really is.
  • Anchoring effect — The middle is most effective. List position.
  • Social Proof — We tend to copy others when we are not the experts. Based on a book by Cialdini titled Social Proof.
  • Peer review — eg. Amazon trusted reviews. People tend to feel better about purchases when someone trusted has given positive reviews about a product.
  • Peak end rule — Nail the starts and ends, hit the middle with positive peaks. People remember positive user experiences if you follow this rule.
  • Deliver NOW — people like instant gratification ( eg. Amazon Dash), load quickly, make decisions easy, only gather info you need, let people try before requiring account, get products to people as quickly as possible.
  • Speak the users language (priming, nostalgia, recency, repetition).
  • Use simple words versus complex words, short sentences.
  • Use good fonts for readability.
  • Go to www.behavior.mn to learn more.

Getting past “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen” — Learning to design collaboratively (Mahtab Rezai)

  • Collaboration is not consensus. This is a mistake that many teams run into.
  • Collaboration is not the same as being collaborative.
  • Collaboration is messy. This expectation needs to be delivered at the beginning of projects.
  • Shared understanding — agree on what we are doing.
  • Expertise — from different disciplines should be part of the project team (right from the beginning, not the middle, not the end).
  • Shared framework. Everybody needs to understand the process.
  • Delivery — how to go from concept to deliverable.
  • Final outcome
  • Collaboration Killers
  • Non participating power. If a key decision-maker is not participating, and suddenly tells the team what to do, this derails the design process.
  • Unequal power/power plays. If a developer knowingly withholds information or puts forth false information, then it can be very demoralizing to the design process.
  • Politics
  • Blame (finger pointing culture)
  • Set expectations early to allow teams to fail, and thus find solutions to those problems discovered. Design is an iterative process (not cookie-cutter).
  • Rules (be present, allow for work in a group and alone, be accountable, speak the same language, practice, practice, practice)

The Mobile Content Mandate (Karen McGrane)

  • You don’t get to decide which device people use to access your content: they do. Today, more people access the internet via mobile devices than on traditional computers. In the US today, more than one-third of people who browse the internet on their mobile phone say that’s the only way they go online — for teens and young adults, those numbers are even higher. It’s time to stop avoiding the issue by saying “no one will ever want to do that on mobile.” Chances are, someone already wants to.
  • Stop creating silos for your content. eg. Mobile-version vs Desktop version.
  • All your content should be found and available for all devices and platforms.
  • The same content should be written in chunks (ranging from small/digestible all the way up to long-form).
  • Images/photos should be available in all types of cropped sizes.
  • Responsive web design can be used to surface the right content to the right screen sizes and devices.

Teach Them Well: Applying Key Principles of Learning To Design (Victor Yocco)

  • On boarding process, FAQs, help center
  • Learners need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. Eg. Card sorting, usability testing, crowdsourcing.
  • Learners prefer self direction when learning new things. Eg. Provide content in customizable chunks, provide guidance, frequent saving and picking back up, allow users to choose where they start.
  • Lynda.com is a good example of a learning site.
  • Learners build on prior experiences. Eg. Understand your users, give users personalized experiences, scaffold users with less experience.
  • Learners need to learn quickly — in real life situations
  • Learners interest in learning is centered on problem solving. Eg. Show how learning is relevant, Consider when and why users need instruction, Contextual help.
  • Learners motivation to learn are intrinsic as well as extrinsic. External lights the fire. Internal keeps it burning.
  • Intrinsic. Eg. Use challenging tasks, curiosity, authentic simulation. Showing the user that they are making progress fuels intrinsic motivation.
  • Search Google for Andragogy to learn more.

Including Developers In Design (Matt Edwards)

  • Key takeaway is that designers should involve developers in their process right from the beginning.
  • It is not sufficient to create prototypes, wireframes, use-cases and then simply hand it off to the developers to implement.
  • Front-end developers are also into UX. Allow them to become part of the creative process.
  • Ideally, UX should be done by everyone in the organization. Wait. Won’t that make UX designers obsolete? No, because the role of the UX Designer is that of the UX facilitator and advocate. That makes you very valuable to the organization.
  • Henry Dreyfuss (famous industrial designer) was quoted that he preferred a very close working relationship with his engineers.

Drowning in Data: Living Through a Content Inventory with an Information Hoarder (Gianna Lapin Pfister)

  • People have a tendency to keep unneeded stuff. eg. information, documents, photos.
  • Gianna has a tendency to not delete photos of her kids. 🙂
  • Content inventory spreadsheet with column labelled Keep/Discard. The information hoarder will put “Keep” as the answer for “all” the site content.
  • Do not really delete, but rather archive (for those that are truly undecided).
  • Hard drives are cheap now.
  • Retention schedules should be ideally shorter, rather than longer (unless dictated legally).
  • Mayo Clinic Personas help guide the content owners to think about information that they should keep.