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2018-04-26T17:15:44.475Z
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In this week’s article, I examine the skills needed to build an ideal UX team.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Some of you may know that during the past 16 years, we’ve been researching what makes the ideal UX team. One of our early results is that roles don’t matter, skills do. It doesn’t matter if a team has an interaction designer or information architect. It does matter that interaction design and information architecture skills are present amongst the team.

Teams with the right skills are more likely to produce great user experiences. Teams missing the right skills are very unlikely to produce anything exciting or delightful. (Of course, we can’t say ‘never.’ Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often. But, if I’m staffing a team, I want to do so in a way that will have the best odds, no?)

Read the article: Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?

Does your team have the right skills? Let us know below.

In this week’s article I discuss how design studios have the power to change your organization for the better.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We can see the day-to-day chaotic hustle-bustle of our projects. Yet, it’s hard to see the change we’re creating in our organizations. When we take a step back, we can see we’re growing our co-workers’ understanding of what UX design really is and how it helps our organization stay competitive.

Design studios (and their close sibling, design critiques) are a powerful tool in growing that understanding. They surface how smart design gets done, bury the make-it-pretty myths, and establish a common language for solving tough customer problems the competition isn’t addressing.

That’s the kind of change we can get behind.

Read the article: Design Studios, When Done Well, Change Organizations For The Better

Do you use design studios to positively impact your team’s design process? Share your thoughts with us below.

In this week’s article I expand on my analysis of the Net Promoter Score.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a somewhat controversial analysis of Net Promoter Score, a business metric employed in many organizations. Many who were critical of my article stated they thought I should’ve provided a replacement for their beloved instrument, if I was going to tell them they can’t use it any more. While there is no replacement for the numeric score, there is a way to get value out of the survey used to collect the Net Promoter Score data.

Keep in mind that this method for getting value from an NPS survey isn’t easy. As you’ll read, it involves a series of difficult steps.

However, it’s not rocket science either. (NASA has been a client of ours and they’ve confirmed, it’s not rocket science. They have very strict definitions and this does not match that.)

Read the article: Get A Better UX Metric From Your NPS Survey Data.

How much value are you placing on your Net Promoter Score? Share your experience with us below.

In this week’s article, I discuss effective ways to identify, support, and develop design managers into design leaders within an organization.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Just having a person appointed as design manager won’t get the organization great designs. Design leaders have to emerge for that to happen. Those leaders have to formulate a vision of what great design could be for that organization. And they have to gain followers among their peers throughout the organization, and support from the executive team.”

Read the article: How Designers Turn Into Design Leaders.

Do you have your own methods for cultivating design leadership? Let us know below.

This week’s article examines the ways UX designers develop their craft and the importance of self-learning.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Conventional educational programs use a Sage on the Stage approach, where a smart person stands in front of a classroom pouring facts and raw knowledge into students’ brains. Despite considerable evidence that this approach rarely works, schools still try to teach new skills this way. This is part of the reason why fresh graduates we hire aren’t prepared for the work ahead of them.

People learn best when they take charge of their education. Some people learn well by reading a comprehensive book. For others, books don’t work at all, but they learn when they hear someone explain the concepts and techniques. Everyone has their own way of learning. A good school needs to adapt its learning options for each individual student.

Read the article: Teaching UX Designers to Always Be Learning

How do you learn best? Tell us about it below.

Design influences behavior by guiding and motivating people to do something, to take an action, or, by contrast, slowing them down. Some design choices create unintended negative experiences by creating a type of friction for the user: a complicated checkout process, an even more complicated password retrieval workflow.

Alternatively, we create a more positive brand of friction when we slow customers down with details for securing passwords, or reminders that educate them about the consequences of a decision, such as deleting information from a system.

Understanding this balance, the flow of the customer experience, the relationship between the design and content, informs the choices we make.

When we spot moments in our design that encourage flow in areas, and less friction, we can improve the experience, as well as the comprehension of the content and information our designs convey.

We uncover opportunities in testing, in customer journeys, and service blueprints. By understanding the behaviors that our designs encourage, we design better experiences, create trust, and successfully convey information.

Join Stephen at the 2018 UXI Conference in his Visually Making Sense of Complex Information workshop and explore how you can communicate complex ideas through design.

How we perceive information, absorb and make sense out of it, is influenced by a myriad of factors, from typeface and size to iconography, presentation, and context. Our brains seek out patterns and narratives. We make visual associations that are based on our experiences, and that influence how we understand what we see. In 2018, it should come as no surprise that our attention and awareness is hackable.

So, how do we design interactions and display complex visual information in ways that help people make sense out of what they are seeing? Stephen Andersonrecommends that we begin by understanding how people experience design. Explore the space between the lines of your designs, and consider the associations both intended and unintended that your choices create.

Content, data and information, and design are mutually dependent upon each other to convey meaning and message successfully. Content might be king, but design and presentation share its reign. Even when we look to old school media, how we interact and absorb a book, for example, is influenced by the typeface and layout.

Join Stephen at the 2018 UXI Conference in his Visually Making Sense of Complex Information workshop and explore how you can communicate complex ideas through design.

Storytelling is an essential form of human communication. You likely have a favorite story, and it’s probably something really memorable. The more that story is told and retold, the further it travels and the more influence it gains. A good story can be infectious. Stories can also come from unexpected places. LaiYee Ho is the Head of Research at Wink and joins us for this podcast. Early in Wink’s research practice one story in particular resonated with the team that was uncovered during an in-home visit, the story of Dominic and Donna. That story spread throughout the organization and fundamentally changed the way Wink approached their products. Also on the podcast is Whitney Quesenbery, the author of Storytelling for User Experience. She shares her insights about Wink’s discovery and how storytelling can be one of the most powerful research tools.

Improve The Stories You Tell

In this week’s article Leah Buley discusses how to spot a UX team-of-one in job listings.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

This may point to a lack of awareness about the processes and people involved in user experience work. Some user experience professionals do include graphic design in their arsenal of tools, but many do not. You can still be a user experience designer even if you just stop at wireframes, but user experience generalists–which most teams of one are–are sometimes called upon to do a bit of visual design as well. To get a sense of what your colleagues do and don’t know about user experience, take them out to lunch and have a casual conversation. UX teams of one sometimes have to be diplomatic, informed, and well-meaning meddlers.

Read the article: A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

Have you seen a UX team-of-one description listed somewhere?  Share your thoughts with us below.

In this week’s article, Jim Kalbach outlines four key recommendations for successful remote design teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are numerous benefits to remote work: flexibility and better work-life balance for employees, and wider talent pools and reduced costs for employers, to name a few.

But what about remote design? Surely, designers won’t be required to work in distributed contexts. After all, our work is highly visual in nature. We need to be able to draw and point and gesture. We’re meant to work shoulder-to-shoulder.

…With a little forethought, remote design can be as productive as working in person.

Read the article: Effective Remote Design.

How has your company taken steps to improve its remote design implementation and collaboration? Share your thoughts with us below.

Hello,

This week is your last chance to register for the best UX event of 2018.

UX Immersion:Interactions in ​Newport Beach, ​CA​, March​ 5—7. Aside from it being the best conference experience you’ll have this year, here’s​ six other reasons to​​​ register today:

  • Two Day-long Workshops: Choose two fantastic interactive workshops to practice new techniques and strengthen your design skills.
  • One Day of Featured Talks: Hear the latest ideas and techniques around UX from our team of experts plus a new keynote from me.
  • Complete Conference Materials: You’ll get PDFs for every session and workshop.
  • Exclusive Slack Team: You’ll get an invitation to join the Slack team dedicated to ​UX Immersion, to connect with speakers and other attendees.
  • 30 Days of Premium Access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library: Start your UX learning before you even get to ​UX Immersion. You’ll have access to over ​300​ virtual seminars and conference recordings.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Groups, and Receptions with your peers:​ ​Plenty to eat and drink, including breakfast every day. While you eat, meet UX practitioners who, just like yourself, face the same challenges and are discovering new solutions.

What are you waiting for? Register now for the event that will forever change the way you design.

​I’m excited to s​ee you in ​Newport Beach next week.

Jared

Hello,

This is your last chance to save some money when you register at the lowest rate for the 
UX Immersion: Interactions in Portland, OR, MAY 1 – 3. 

Aside from saving hundreds of your dollars here​ are a few more reasons to register for the best UX event of 2017:

  • Two Day-long Workshops: Choose two fantastic interactive workshops to practice new techniques and strengthen your design skills.
  • One Day of Featured Talks: Hear the latest ideas and techniques around UX from our team of experts plus a new keynote from me.
  • Complete Conference Materials: You’ll get PDFs for every session and workshop.
  • Exclusive Slack Team: You’ll get an invitation to join the Slack team dedicated to UX Immersion: Interactions, to connect with speakers and other attendees.
  • 30 Days of Premium Access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library: Start your UX learning before you even get to UX Immersion: Interactions. You’ll have access to over 290 virtual seminars and conference recordings.
  • Recordings of the Featured Talks:  Post conference you’ll have access to all the Featured Talks for you and your team as part of your All You Can Learn Library access.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Groups, and Receptions with your peers: Plenty to eat and drink, including breakfast every day. While you eat, meet UX practitioners who, just like yourself, face the same challenges and are discovering new solutions.

What are you waiting for?...

In this week’s article, I discuss the implications of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and why it shouldn’t be used.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

One of the crazier things about the Net Promoter Score is how it’s calculated. The inputs come from a simple survey. Respondents are asked a single question: How likely are you to recommend [COMPANY] to a friend or colleague? On an eleven-point scale, with zero marked as Not At All Likely and 10 marked as Extremely Likely, respondents pick a number. (In later versions of the survey, Fred Reichheld suggested people ask a subsequent question about why they gave it that score. We’ll address that second question in a moment.)

Any normal statistician would just report on the mean of all the scores they collected from respondents. For reasons never fully explained, NPS doesn’t like the mean average of the numbers they receive.

While NPS won’t help you, there are measures that give you solid insight on what’s happening with your design. Kate Rutter will help you find them in her fantastic full-day UX Immersion: Interactions workshop, Measure What Matters: Crafting UX Success Metrics. Take advantage of that 2017 training budget and sign up today.

Check out the details of Kate’s workshop.

Read the article: Net Promoter Score Considered Harmful (and What UX Professionals Can Do About It)

 

How does your team feel about NPS?  Share your thoughts with us below.

In this week’s article Melissa Perri talks about good product strategy.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Product Strategy is a system of achievable goals and visions that work together to align the team around desirable outcomes for both the business and your customers.

Product Strategy emerges from experimentation towards a goal. Initiatives around features, products, and platforms are proven this way. Those KPIs, OKRs, and other metrics you are setting for your teams are part of the Product Strategy. But, they cannot create a successful strategy on their own.

Read the article: What is Good Product Strategy?

What do you think makes a product strategy successful? Share with us below.

We gather data to determine the direction and assess the value of what we create. Every business, and client, has a specific approach to the way they define success. How many subscribers do you have? What is the customer retention rate? How many unique visits, and downloads? What is the time on site, the bounce rate? How are your WAUs, DAUs, and MAUs? (Weekly, Daily, and Monthly Average Users.) How do you define engagement?

We make critical decisions around content, design, and product development that are informed in part by metrics. But what do metrics tell us about the success or failure of a product, the user experience, or design? What metrics should we rely on?

Unfortunately, user experience designers rarely hold sway over determining what metrics matter, but they may be able to shift the conversation around how teams determine metrics for success to evaluate product designs and usage.

The quantitative data that we collect often drives important product decisions, but numbers garnered from out-of-the-box solutions like Google Analytics often generate arbitrary data points that don’t really tell us much. Metrics paint only part of the picture: the what, and not the why. For the why to happen, we need qualitative measures. We need the narrative behind the numbers to establish and track metrics that provide true insight into the user experience, the value, and the outcome of what we create.

 

You need to start making measurement part of your design practice. To do that you’ll want to spend a day in the amazing

In this week’s article I discuss how to capture key UX metrics.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

Teams often start with the metrics that come out of the box. Tools like Google Analytics come with metrics that have important sounding names, like Unique Visitors, Bounce Rate, and Time on Page. However, most teams quickly realize these metrics don’t actually track anything that’s meaningful to the users’ experience.

Sure, the Bounce Rate, which supposes to measure whether someone leaves the site immediately or stays, sounds like something important about how people interact with design. (I say ‘supposes to measure’ because it only does so if the site has been correctly instrumented and that, it turns out, rarely happens.) Did the person who left the site do so because they were confused and gave up? Or was it because the site did exactly what it was supposed to and they were happily moving along in their adventure?

A high Bounce Rate might be ‘bad’ (and warrant being lowered) or the same rate might be ‘good’ (and warrant doing more of the same). We can’t tell which from this number.

Bounce rate isn’t the only culprit in the out-of-the-box metrics. All of them are.

Read the article: UX Metrics: Identify Trackable Footprints and Avoid the Woozles

How does your team utilize UX metrics?  Share your thoughts with us below.

What are user scenarios and why are the useful? To begin, they are based on real data, a firm understanding of your customers and their habits. With a scenario, we take that data and inject it with life. We can imagine, given a specific set of criteria that is based on what we know about our customers, how they might behave in a situation with our products.

Scenarios can help teams reach the brass ring of team alignment. Teams visualize potential problems better by using them. And more importantly, scenarios help product managers understand product requirements, designers to influence those requirements, and engineers to get a very clear sense of what the requirements are aiming to do.

Scenarios minimize gray areas where teams can fall into confusion about what the product is, how the customer may respond, and what the product goals are.

These days alignment doesn’t extend to just teams, but to all departments, offline and online, across an organizational that touches upon the user’s experience. With scenarios, we can use the power of story to imagine our customer’s future experience with our products, illuminate our intentions, and brings groups together on a shared vision.

In this week’s article Kathleen Barrett examines the ACT, inc. team, and discusses how to use design sprints to explore innovative concepts and diversify products.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Consensus, says Richard Banfield, CEO of Fresh Tilled Soil, is often conflated with democratic vote. “The funny thing is consensus doesn’t improve the quality of the decisions. It allows you to improve the quality of the inputs but not the outputs. We are good at asking for opinions to the point where it stymies our ability to make decisions.” Richard’s company worked with ACT early on to demonstrate how design sprints could help the organization explore new product ideas and solve problems.

Adrienne and her team trained with Fresh Tilled Soil, but before they began, they had to develop a process, a common language, for internal teams to use. Product managers had been using different criteria for evaluating ideas.

The product innovation team at ACT chose a “see one, do one, teach one” approach to design sprints. The team wanted to understand how the model worked first before they could apply it to a problem they wanted to solve. The first step for ACT was a training exercise with Fresh Tilled Soil, before they eventually moved toward adopting sprints on their own.

Read the article: The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” With Design Sprints – Part 1

 

In this week’s article I talk about organizing tasks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Alignment maps are a critical tool during the alignment process. They are representations of the current goals and direction of the project, encompassing the current thinking and recently uncovered details.

These maps become mainstay features of meetings and discussions. Comments are attached with sticky notes. New revisions integrate the latest thinking. They are simultaneously an overview of the strategic approach and a sounding board for the tactical efforts.

Read the article: Pushback is a Poison. Alignment is the Antidote.

How does your team utilize alignment maps? Share your experience with us below.

Integrate Storytelling into Your UX Practices

The stories we tell in our work are drawn from real data, real people. They are not based on fanciful, anecdotal collections of assumptions. We learn about the why of our customer’s behaviors by doing the hard work, like the many varieties of qualitative research we use, including interviews, ethnographic studies, and more.

When we create an effective, data-driven story that encapsulates a certain experience, we can pull members of a team together toward a singular product vision. We can use stories to set up scenarios for teams to problem-solve around and address those pain points that our customers experience along their journey. We can use them to connect the dots between our customer’s experiences and our design challenges.

Get hands-on and creative with the stories you tell and analyze by using personas, journey maps, sketches, cartoons, and storyboards to find your customer insights, and bring teams and stakeholders to agreement with solutions.