User Experience has a long history of being measurable and showing return on investment (ROI). This has even been true when ROI is often tricky to measure itself. A recent seminar we gave on the ROI of User Centered Design (archive available for playback) revealed some ROI of UX statistics that should be of value to anyone needing to justify the business case for UX. Highlights from the seminar and more are found in the infographic, Making a Strong Business case for the ROI of UX:
You’re on a project team. The team has just formed, so you haven’t done any user research, but various internal stakeholders already strongly feel they know what the solution should be. They’re wrong, of course, but how can you dissuade them from believing in their assumptions and ideas? You could protest, stressing the need for up-front user research, but that would generate thrash.
You could wait until you’ve prototyped something, then have the stakeholders watch usability testing with users, but the time that would take would likely be too much of an investment—especially given how early in the development cycle it is and how little there is to go on.
This week Laura Klein talks about Predictive Personas, an interesting way of looking at what the actual role of personas should be. She says that traditionally we ask “If I interviewed a user, would this persona describe her?” when we should be asking “If I found a person like this, would she become a user?”
A predictive persona is a tool that allows you to validate whether you can accurately identify somebody who will become a customer, which is an incredibly useful thing to be able to do when you’re looking for new users or designing for current ones. If you can create a predictive persona, it means you truly know not just what your users are like, but the exact factors that make it likely that a person will become and remain a happy customer. In theory, personas should let us better understand our real users, spread that knowledge throughout the entire company, and help everybody on the team make smarter, more human-centred product decisions.
In actuality, most people spend most of their time on Web sites and apps other than those our organizations have created, and we may not know much about what those experiences are really like. However, your organization can map the customer journey.
There is no one right way to map a customer journey. Journey mapping can mean defining an ideal path that we’d like customers to take. Sometimes it means seeking a more nuanced understanding of what people do on a Web site. Less often, we look at an experience globally, mapping touch points for a product or brand, both online and offline.
Sign up forms are the trickiest web pages to design. Including and excluding certain form elements affects the conversion rate. The designer’s job is to figure out which elements they should include or exclude.
Confirm Password Fields Lower Conversion Rate
Many think the confirm password field is necessary to include when creating a password. This is because a password field masks the user’s input. If users mistype their password, they won’t recognize it. The confirm password catches typos by prompting users to type their password twice.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
At the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) we frequently organize something called “Method Mondays,” a regular one-hour meeting series in which the team members share, practice, and test different methods to support our design work.
Here are the five most-effective methods we’ve found thus far.
UX Designers — know this: culture affects an individual’s perception of usability. As obvious as it may seem, many UX Designers fall victim to the impression that users are culturally homogenous (from the same background). Such an assumption can prove to be detrimental to the success of even the most effective UX Design efforts.
Understanding this concept may require UX Designers to take a step back and reevaluate what makes a product or design usable. Contemporary and generally accepted practices, as they are taught in the United States, may not be applicable in other countries. This is due to the effect of culture on the perception of usability.
In both architectural design and UX design, the hypothesis is that a user has an end goal in mind. For both the architect and the UX designer, their job is to design an enjoyable experience for the user while keeping business objectives in mind.
A simple journey getting from Point A to Point B needs to be balanced with understated exposure to other possible routes. For example:
A family of five drives to a commercial shopping mall on a Sunday to buy groceries at the supermarket for the week. Dad is driving. He follows the signage to the parking garage. He notes the nearest lift lobby to the supermarket and finds a parking lot near it. He knows that a lot is open because the parking lot status indicator is shining green. Mom wheels the stroller up the ramp to the lobby and little Lucy presses the elevator button, which is designed to be at a universally friendly height. The family takes the elevator up to the third floor where the supermarket is.
Many insightful and useful things to report on this week. Starting with some great research results from Jared Spool in Fast Path to a Great UX: Increased Exposure Hours. He talks about exposing your entire team (not just UX analysts) to user research.
[Exposure hours are] the number of hours each team member is exposed directly to real users interacting with the team’s designs or the team’s competitor’s designs. There is a direct correlation between this exposure and the improvements we see in the designs that team produces.
Each team member has to be exposed directly to the users themselves. Teams that have dedicated user research professionals, who watch the users, then in turn, report the results through documents or videos, don’t deliver the same benefits. It’s from the direct exposure to the users that we see the improvements in the design.
The teams with the best results were those that kept up the research on an ongoing basis. It seems that six weeks was the bare minimum for a two-hour exposure dose.
For years, the “home” button has provided a compass rose, the north star, a navigator’s ability to regroup to the familiar comfort of the homepage no matter how deep into a website we’ve gone. As users become more fluent in navigating the intricacies of the Web however, having a prominent home button is becoming an unnecessary navigation crutch — a visual obstacle that web designers increasingly eschew.
Because primary navigation represents a series of choices that we’re asking users to make, it’s important to only offer the most important content categories as options. By culling the home button from this list, the decision-making process is simplified and we are able to provide an improved user experience.
In an increasingly tech-savvy population, the home button is irrelevant to users who easily navigate the average website without it. Reserving it a space in your sites’ primary navigation when the same functionality exists elsewhere is a waste of valuable real estate.