UX South West - No Users, No UX

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User Testing is for all

No users, no UXAli Carmichael@alijcarmichael

1Own your deliveryWork in UX? To enjoy your job, be in control of what you do, and always deliver great work, you need to own your delivery.2@ExperienceSolns

Over the years the job titles of our clients have evolved from being Marketing Manager, to including Head of New Media, E-Commerce Manager, Head of Customer Experience, and Head of Digital Experience.

3Source: Jared Spool @jmspool

Jared Spool did a talk recently, its on Vimeo, and in it he lists all the facets that make up a UX Generalist. Jareds point is that UXers should do all of this, which I disagree with, but if you are working in UX there is so much you can do with a great choice in what you specialise in.


Source: Craig Sullivan @optimiseordieIn addition, Craig Sullivan has a great talk about AB testing and how everyone is doing it wrong. Its on SlideShare. In his talk he lists all the options available to provide insight into your website successes and failures. This is all good stuff, and provides even more options for a career in UX.5Source: Jared Spool @jmspoolA great time to work in UXI agree with Mr Spool when he says, Its a great time to work in UX

6But there is one issue that still prevails, that just doesnt make sense7Sales have dropped!Weve just spent a fortune on a new website design and

Weve recently launched our new website and our sales have dropped

Still, today, in 2014 going into 2015 50% of our incoming enquiries at Experience Solutions are similar to this, Weve recently launched our new website and our sales have dropped8Source: Jared Spool @jmspool

How does that happen? How can that be? With all these methods, tools, and skills available, how come websites still go live with fundamental issues that have a negative impact on the business?9

The wonderful vision we have when working in UX; of delivering projects that are useful, intuitive, and makes users lives easy; can sometimes feel like theyre still a long way off. But it shouldnt be that way.

Im going to talk through 5 actions you need consistently execute to always deliver great UX work105.Challenge assumptions11I know what our customers want5.Challenge assumptionsNot everyone has a background in user experience and even against the best advice, some people cant get past their own conviction.

Theyve often been in the business a long time. They dont need some trendy colleague, who wears jeans and trainers, to suggest that, We really should talk to our customers and find out what they need12

With experience comes tunnel vision. What makes these business professionals really good at their job makes them really crap designers. What experience can do is create a whole bunch of assumptions, but you nor they have any idea that an assumption is being made.13AQA Video

But even experienced UXers will start to make assumptions if theyre not careful. It is easy to assume user behaviour for interactions that experienced web users take for granted. For example, opening and closing new browser window tabs144.Dont guess15Youre supposed to be the User Expert4.Dont guessUX professionals work hard to build up their reputation. Its great when colleagues view the UX Lead as the go-to person for all things User. However, the knock on effect is that the project team, the boss, the client, or the project sponsor, doesnt get it. They rely on you having the User answers.They see no reason why they should invest in any more usability work, especially research, when they have a User expert on the project team.16

It can be a lonely place, especially if youre the one UX resource on the project team. A UX Professionals job is to ask questions, not answer them, but in this scenario the pressure is on to have all the answers. It becomes too easy to reply with an answer.

Dont fall into this trap. Dont get dragged down by others naivety. Because no matter how good you are, not matter how long youve been in the business, user behaviour and expectations change all the time.17Source: Google.com/doodles

In September 2010 Google launched Google Instant18Source: Jared Spool @jmspool

Google instant not only provided possible completed search terms, it also presented the result instantaneously.We were testing websites in December 2010 and our participants were frustrated that the websites we were testing didnt offer this feature. Users dont care about the technology, they just want it to work. You cant exceed expectation without knowing what user expectations are before you design.19

Even when youve had a lot of input, and youre happy that your recommendations have been implemented, users will challenge you.

So stop guessing and ask questions of everything.

203.Remove opinions21Your idea is just another opinion3.Remove opinionsEvery member of the project team has an opinion. As a member of a project team, your idea is just another opinion.

You might be the only one looking at it from a user perspective, but its still just an opinion.22

The problem is that no one has any idea which opinions are right, if any. You might as well be down the local coffee shop talking to strangers about a user journey. Opinions are given from the perception of one individual at that instant moment in time. Hardly cause to make design decisions!23

A UX Wireframer might be asked to map out the pages of a new, one page check out process. A nice brief, but the UX Professional is pretty sure that the bigger problem lies in getting products to the basket. The project team is excited about the new checkout process, but the UXer wants to work on projects that make a real difference, both to users and the business results. However, the argument to work on the Add To Basket process falls on deaf ears.

UXers need to utilise the voice of the user to challenge and validate opinions and decisions. 242.Prioritise UXNumber 2 is to Priorities UX.

It might sound obvious to everyone in this room.252.Prioritise UXWe need to go live before ChristmasThis might sound obvious to a room of UX Professionals, but many of you will be familiar with this topical quote.Why? Why do projects have to go live before Christmas? In most cases, they dont.But a Christmas deliver becomes a priority because someone decided back in September.26Source: www.advanced-web-metrics.comPoor UX results in $53 million lossper month

Whether its Christmas or not, as the launch date approaches, going live soon outweighs any questions about the perfect user experience. More worryingly, going live soon outweighs how well the site will convert users into business.For the sake of an extra couple of weeks or a month in the schedule! Its nuts.

27Source: Brian Clifton, Measuring SuccessPoor UX results in $53 million lossper monthFollowing a bad after sales user experience with Electrolux, Brian Clifton of Measuring Success calculated the impact that poor user experience might be having to the overall Electrolux business. He estimates that the result of a poor user experience is a potential loss of $53 million per month.

Going live with issues in the user journey, even the less priority journey, can have serious implications. So UX Professionals must keep an understanding of the user and the business and continue to challenge the decisions and designs throughout the project. 28End with the end in mindThe second Habit in Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, Begin with the end in mind, but as a UXer you must also End with the end in mind.

Going live might be the focus of everyone else, but UX people care about the user experience. Caring about the user experience is considering the business success. Prioritising UX is obvious but can be really hard work in the real world of projects and business. 291.Be a User Champion30No one here does that1.Be a User ChampionChampion the idea of focusing on users. But even skilled UXers are busy on project work designing wireframes, content, the IA, etc. The issue arises that no one on the project team has a remit to go and speak to users.

Yes, it was discussed in the planning phase. Way back then. But no action was actually taken. No one picked it up. Now it would be really useful.31Source: Nielson Norman Groupmost teams dont conduct user research on a consistent basis, if at all.Nielson Normal Group ran a report on Integrating UX within an Agile method. As part of the research they spoke with Developers, UX designers, Product owners about their agile projects. One finding raised much concern.

Regardless of the known risks, they found that no one was taking ownership of user research.32Source: Neilson Norman GroupUX without User Research is not UXThe Nielson Norman Group study we mentioned concluded that, UX without User Research is not UX.33Do It Yourself

So who owns user research? UX professionals do. Whether your junior, mid, or senior level, you need to pick up tools and do it yourself.This is about owning your deliveries. Being proud of everything you do.

If you work in UX, you are the user champion. Speak to and observe users all the time.34Source: Jared Spool @jmspool

So back to Jared Spools facets of UX. Regardless of which UX skills you specialise in35Source: Jared Spool @jmspool

make sure it includes User Research and, in particular, Usability Testing.

So when youre asked to draw up some wireframes, you can sit down with your friend, or partner, or John in HR. Test competitor sites, test the current site, get insight before you start your work. Then do it again with another couple of people, but include your wireframes in the test.


No one really wants to be a UX Rock Start, but working in UX is about delivering great user experiences.