Posts Tagged ‘ux’

17
Dec
2014

UX Tip of the Week: Meet Bob

by Maite Rodriguez

 

From the developers to creatives to business people, how to get everyone to finally understand the what UX is really about.

 

Let’s get started.

 

I would like to introduce you to Bob.

 

He will be our “user” for today.

 

 

Bob = User

 

For starters, you should always make it clear it is all about the “user” aka Bob.

 

Period.

 

If this is not absolutely clear from the beginning, then there is no point in reading the rest of this …..

 

Ta!

 

 

Stop using the term “user” to the team. These “users” are people with feelings like Bob. Try to use the persona’s name that the UX team meticulously researched and created for the brief.

 

Personas are there for a reason….

 

If you have to, frame a photo of your persona, let’s say Bob, and place it next to everyone’s computer as a daily reminder.

 

 

Let’s make this abundantly clear, people are not “stupid” or “slow” or “lazy”.

 

If your “users” do not understand the design, it is 99.999999999999%everyone’s fault involved in the project.

 

One team, One accountability.

 

 

If you are not there to defend the “user” … then who will? If there is no one representing Bob, then there is no UX.

 

 

Do not resort to the easiest tech solution. I know, it’s hard…

 

Mo’ work, mo’ problems.

 

But, if it’s for the “user” aka Bob’s best interest sometimes we all have to make sacrifices. As that great kung fu fighter once said in that kung fu movie:

 

“Take the hard righteous path than the easy wrong one to save the kingdom.”

 

 

UX is not like paint. We can’t just slab some paint on a chipped wall and call it a day. It is much more than that, so much more.

Here’s in on little insider secret…. UX doesn’t really exist.

 

UX is just a easy term that is used to group a whole lot of things that would take too much time to explain in one simple job title.

 

 

So, if you just take one thing from all of this, remember:

 

Every code written, every interaction made, every word read, every visual seen, the “user” should always be taken into consideration.

 

So, today I will rename the term “user” to “people” because it is all about the people’s experience…. Bob’s experience.

 

Until next week….

Ta!

 

10
Dec
2014

UX Tip of the Week: Post-its

by Maite Rodriguez

The Magic of Post-its

 

 

Post-its, Post-its, Post-its, Post-its, Post-its evuuuuurrryyyyy where..

 

All you need is a pen, wall space and post-its for your inner genius to come through.

 

When should you resort to post-its you ask?

 

  • Feeling overwhelmed with all the initial research and don’t know where to start….. post-it

  • Creating a christmas shopping list that you still haven’t started …. post-it

  • Need to do a feature analysis for a competitive website… post-it

  • Takings note at a meeting… post-it

  • Preparing a plan for action… post-it

  • Can’t decide where to eat for lunch…. post-it

  • Weighing the pros and cons of anything really… post-it

  • Need to prioritise and MOSCOW your project… post-it

  • Explaining to you co-worker how to get to Dirty Burger… post it

  • Trying to understanding foreign concepts (aka not related to UX) …..post it!

 

See! I challenge you to find a moment when the post-it can’t work its magic.

 

 

Until next week…..

 

 

 

4
Dec
2014

UX tip of the week: Competitive analysis for mobile navigation

by Sinem Erdemli

We started the week with user testing on an e-commerce site. It was all good until we asked people to find something, they had no idea how to work the side navigation.

And that was a surprise. 

tumblr_ltnymfq4NX1qen75u

It was obvious that users were struggling with it and it wasn’t a batch of those users who can’t work anything and have no idea what’s going on. There’s a limit to how much you can blame users.

The question in hand was obvious, one we had been pondering on for a while:

How might we get the benefits of a a mega nav on mobile?

So we went back to the office and got our post-its out. (Keep your eyes peeled for our next post on why post-its are king)

It was time to take a step back and clear our muddy heads. 

The game plan

1- List out relevant websites that have a similar issue (in our case it was squeezing mega nav content into mobile navigation)

2- Collect screenshots, the more you have the more ideas you can “steal” nope not that.. borrow

3- Break down the screens into it’s components. This is where the mighty post-it comes to play. 

4-List out Pros and Cons for each. Identify your favourites.

5- Sketch out the flow for each, find out how the users are lead to a particular Product Listing Page. How soon do they see the content? 

6- Compare flows. Visually comparing the flows let you highlight differences at a glance, it helps understanding (and communicating!) what works and what doesn’t. 

flow

6.a- If you can, go out and test the few examples with people, see if any alternative stands out, find out what people think. 

7-Show this to any stakeholder, it may be the client, it may be the designers, the dev team.. Talk about the issues users has, show the comparisons, think about what’s possible what needs more exploration..

8- Identify what you like, what can be done, with a little help from the favourite features list- and try it out. 

Taking a step back and looking around is useful. You clear your head, benchmark yourself among others and get to spend some play time.  Try it, you’ll feel better. 

Until next week, 

Ta. 

28
Nov
2014

UX Tip of the Week: Guerilla Testing

by Maite Rodriguez

What we learned this week:

Guerilla Testing

How to approach people and lower your chances of being rejected.

 

 

Do

  • Choose a location where people in your target audience are likely to convene. In our case it was a Co-op working space.
  • Go right at the end of lunch time when people have finished their food and are more likely to crave sweets.
  • Bring candy, brownies, cookies… get creative and place it next to your working space. Try to avoid being creepy. A fan to blow the smel may help catch their attention. Kidding!
  • Smile and ask if they have time to spare. (The amount of time you will be user testing)
  • If they say no let them walk away. No begging.
  • If they say yes, game on.
  • When you ask them the pre-screening questions and find out they are not your target user, its okay to cut the testing short.
  • Take notes. Voice recorder, video recorder or just a plain old note pad.
  • ASK PERMISSION before you do a voice or video recording!
  • During the testing. Watch, Listen, and ask follow up questions like:
    1. Why?
    2. What did you expect to see?
    3. How did that make you feel?
  • After 3 users it starts getting tiring.
  • Go home.
  • Next day, review notes and find the trends.

 

 

Don’t

  • Just show up with nothing prepared and wing it.
  • Lie and tell them it will take them 2 minutes when it will actually be 10.
  • User test anyone who is willing to talk to you.
  • Invade their personal space once they are close enough.
  • Creepily stare them down as they walk towards you.

 

http://giphy.com/gifs/black-and-white-smile-horror-XQLcriSh7za0w

 

The end

 

 

28
Oct
2014

Haller App Launch

by Joe Dollar-Smirnov

Red Badger in collaboration with Haller and Pearlfisher designed and built a web based app for the charity Haller. Our primary users for this app are Kenyan based, rural farmers who live a life far removed from the abundance of our comfortable western home comforts.

 

 

Haller bring life changing but basic civilised facilities to communities. The construction of reservoirs, wells, sanitisation, medical centres and learning facilities are all just a part of the work carried out by dedicated Haller recruits both on the ground in Kenya and in the UK. Led by renowned environmental expert Rene Haller, education and dissemination of agricultural knowledge is a big part of their work. Through education, Haller help local communities build sustainable futures.

The Haller app is a constant, on demand source of this information and an alternative way to reach further afield. Red Badger spent time in Africa working directly with the farmers to ensure the final product was focussed on their goals, accessible and understandable. Some of the users we were targeting had very little or no experience of using applications or websites so intuitive interactions were essential. We could not rely on any existing knowledge or experience of conventions.

The app has now launched and to mark the occasion Pearl Fisher have created this fantastic video that tells the story. To get the full background on Red Badgers involvement in the app, how we approached the research, workshops and testing there are a series of blog posts below.

Farmer Training Research

Africa Road Trip: Day Zero

Africa Road Trip: Day one and two

Africa Road Trip: The workshops begin

Africa Road Trip: The challenges for app design and development

UX Testing in Africa – Summary

 

8
Aug
2014

The Design Sprint at Red Badger

by Sinem Erdemli

At Red Badger, we typically start projects by gathering insights and working out initial concepts. This allows us to understand the users, identify a scope for the project with clients and prepare design assets for development. Also known as ‘sprint zero’, it is an intensive week of absorbing as much as possible and coming up with a plan with the client working with us. 

 

Project Brief

We were approached to design and develop a multichannel touch screen that would go in a retail store. Unlike most e-commerce projects, this one didn’t want more sale conversion or higher profits. The goal was to improve in-store experience and increase customer engagement. Handed over a presentation as the project brief we could almost see the open-ended solution sea in front of us. Just as we were daydreaming about virtual shopping assistants, personalised product recommendations, we were hit by the expected launch date and resource plan allowing only 4 weeks of development and an expected launch in 6 weeks. This was going to be a very short pilot project with possibly many to come. We needed a tangible starting point to validate the concept and iterate as quickly as possible. 

 

Our Approach

We decided to run a design sprint to kickstart the project. We wanted to come up with a concept we could test and validate before our developer joined the team. 

The design sprint is an intensive week-long process of problem solving. Google Ventures runs Design Sprints for their portfolio companies to be able to make fast and predictable product design decisions. It doesn’t matter if the product/service is brand new, or is looking for a make-over; the whole point of a design sprint is to explore the problem in hand and come up with testable solutions quickly.  

The design sprint combines design thinking principles with the lean methodology. Based on iterations and fast paced decision making and prototyping, the outcomes try to find the sweet spot between the three forces desirability (user), availability (technology), and the viability (marketplace/project scope). 

The one hour planning meeting quickly turned into rapid sketching sessions and before we knew it we were already busy sketching out our ideas.

 

Day 1 

designsprint1

We started with the project brief and went through any material we had available. We looked into the best examples of multichannel implementations in-store, discussed the results from previous user research on customers and mapped out a high level user journey. By the end of the day we had defining keywords for the experience, dozens of bookmarked examples and the rough sketches of our Crazy Eights sketching session.

 

Day 2

designsprint3

We spent the morning working on the sketches and refining the user journey. The official kickoff with our clients was in the afternoon, which would let us get an initial feedback on everything we had and the direction we were taking.

 

Day 3

By Day 3, we had quite a few sketches so we started to put in a digital format. To get initial feedback on some of our assumptions we used the projector in the office to see how the other Badgers reacted. We grabbed a few developers by the kettle and asked if any of the elements might cause headaches when it came it implementation. UX and Design worked closely at this stage, the transition from sketch to wireframe and then to design was almost at lightning speed. 

 

Day 4

designsprint4

Day 4 was testing day. We had been itching for some feedback to see if our assumptions were somewhat valid. We went over the wireframes before it was ready for testing. We mocked up a prototype by sticking an iPad and the homepage design on a piece of cardboard and went out for some user testing. 

 

Day 5

designsprint5

By Day 5, the meeting room looked more like a ‘war room’ than anything. We iterated on the wireframes for the 4th time based on the user tests and flagged our technical requirements.

We had a clickable prototype that linked all screens for our first progress meeting. The meeting went well with positive feedback. Having a clickable prototype helped us discuss features that would have potential development risks. 

By the end of the week we had enough information from users, the client and developers to put together a backlog of epics and list our technical requirements. The overall impact of the design sprint is still to be seen but for now it’s fair to say that it will stick with the Badgers for a while.

 

14
Jul
2014

Red Badger at the Financial Times Creative Summit

by Joe Dollar-Smirnov

financial_times

The tone was set from the moment we arrived at the FT for the 2 day creative summit. A cheerful and friendly security guard welcomed us and issued our name badges.

“Yes young man, take a seat and someone will be down to collect you” I havn’t been called young man, since… I was a young man. A few glances around reception and it is clear that we are not the only early arrivals keen to get stuck in to some creative conundrums.

Accents and faces from all over the world. Surely enough, the summit brought together some seriously impressive talent from home and away. BBC, Google, MIT, FT China were just a few of the represented organisations.

The brainchild of the Product Management Director for FT.com and organised by the smart chap who brought us the BBC’s The Apprentice. The Creative Summit event was designed to illicit the most creative and innovative ideas from the attendees through 2 days of intense creative thinking, discussion, design and development. Various ‘unconference’ activities and organised, bite sized friend-making and networking sessions allowed everyone in the room to move around and get to know a few people. Backgrounds acknowledged, expectations exchanged and breakfast pastries devoured we were ready to start understanding the big problems the newspaper industry is facing. And even better, consider some solutions.

As many refreshments as you could consume in your wildest dreams kept everyone firing on all cylinders for the entire session. Of course lunch was laid on and an evening meal with an option to work as late as we like if we thought that was a good idea.

Camera people were filming the creativity and taking photos along the way. It was obvious that this was of massive importance to the Financial Times and is a clear sign that their commitment to develop new services will help keep their nose ahead of the competition and remain forward looking regarding interesting ways to engage with readers old and new.

We got to meet and work with some very interesting people from all levels of some very interesting organisations. Leaders within the FT took a very active role in the event and spent time walking the room sitting down and understanding the concepts that were coming out of the summit.

The Badgers split to join two different teams. I joined a team that consisted of a serial startup Chief Exec with a history in financial risk management, an FT Developer and an FT Marketing exec who were both able to be our insight for the 2 days providing not only valuable ideas but also key information regarding the typical FT users, marketing insights and future aspirations for the company. One of my biggest personal challenges of the 2 days was adapting to working with very different people very quickly. You can not take part in a project like this without throwing yourself in to it completely and that means that you have to avoid dancing around any conflicts and face them head on. A heated debate over UCD and heavy umming and ahhing over our numerous and constant stream of ideas kept me on my toes. It also proved a great testing ground for one of our key philosophies of collaboration. Externalising ideas and working as a team proved to be an essential contributor towards our winning idea.

financial times creative summit

Through gratuitous use of post-its, plasticine, pipe cleaners and morning pastries we worked on an initial brain dump of ideas around 6 core issues / problems the FT have that range from introducing new readers to the publication through to new ways to monetise and increase subscriptions. They had varying levels of grandiosity with the most ambitious not dissimilar to how to be a better Google. There was no shortage of inspiration and challenge.

At the end of day one, teams took turns standing up and explaining their loose concepts. Some teams worked into the night, fortunately the Badgers went home to get their beauty sleep. The final day was more about refining the ideas and contrary to my initial thoughts was not as hectic as I imagined. We all had a common goal that we were charging towards. The grand finale consisted of a pitch on stage with a 3 min deadline. Ideas were judged by some heavy hitters from FT.com. Namely, the Editor, CIO and the Director of Analytics.

financial times creative summit

Winners

Both the teams Red Badger were part of won 2 of the 4 commendations for their great work. The top 2 overall winning concepts went in to production, well deserved as well. I look forward to seeing how the new products develop and go to market.

ft creative summit

The 2 winning entries that we were part of were commended for:

Innovative Reader Experience

“Which re-imagined the way stories could be constructed (or deconstructed) for time poor younger readers who want the quick facts and analysis.” This team included our very own Imran Sulemanji and Maite Rodriguez.

Best Social

“A creative way to gain FT profile and reputation and engage with others through FT content.”

This was one of the most interesting creative summits I have been to. For the sheer mix of people, breadth of problems to solve and the level of involvement from internal stakeholders. I am glad that we had the opportunity to take a role in it and spread some of the Red Badger process, enthusiasm and creativity.

endofday

6
May
2014

UX Testing in Kenya – Summary

by Joe Dollar-Smirnov

creative workshop

It is now some time since we arrived back in Blighty after an amazing trip away demoing and testing the new Haller app, designed and built in collaboration with Pearlfisher.

After consolidating our data we have some key findings that we would like to share. The top line is that the app was received very well indeed. As suspected, most people do not have smart phones (but 99.5% of people DO have a feature phone). Community leaders, on the other hand do tend to have smart phones.

In the end we spoke to around 60 people in total over the 2 week period. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to measure the level of perceived usability of the app that has allowed the team to understand where the focus needs to be made during the coming weeks and beyond.

Current tech landscape

Most of the community farmers under the Haller outreach program in and around Mombasa do not regularly access the internet. In fact, most of them had never accessed the internet. The tea and coffee farmers, however, based north of Nairobi had more exposure. These are some of the websites visited by a minority that came out of our discussions. Yahoo, Google, Skype and Facebook were all scoring high on the mentions among internet users followed by a small selection of localised websites relating directly to their area of business such as farming, tea and coffee regulatory bodies and government websites.

  • Approx 20% of the tea and coffee farmers have an email address and less that 5% of the community farmers
  • Network: Approx 95% of mobile phone owning people we met were on Safaricom
  • This Vodafone owned network has a near monopoly in Kenya thanks to the massive adoption of MPESA
  • Everyone we met with a phone used MPESA
  • Approx 10% of the people we met had 2 phones. These people normally had at least 1 smart phone with Opera Mini. It is not unusual in Kenyan towns and cities to have 2 mobile phones to cover 2 networks, but in the rural areas we were in, it was not common
  • Approx 30% of tea and coffee farmers had a smart phone (internet phone)
  • Less than 10% of the community farmers had a smartphone in the Haller community
  • Weather prediction is still primarily done by looking at the sky, using the seasons as a secondary indicator

Kenyas answer to Silicon Valley and Tech City London is Konza City a development outside Nairobi. There is by no means any doubt that there is a thriving technology scene in Kenya and the enthusiasm for new technology has spread to all areas of rural Kenya. The biggest hurdle, it seems, in preventing the early adoption of technology is infrastructure. For example, some of the farmers we spoke to did not have electricity to charge their own phones themselves, instead they had to take the phones down to the local store and leave them there while they charged. 

ux testing C3 Nokia

  • Opera Mini was the browser on most of the smart phones we saw
  • Radio is a prevalent as a form of communication followed by SMS
  • A few of the groups have used cyber cafes. One of them in particular said he used a cyber cafe on his way to work and on his way home to check Facebook
  • The costs of data on their mobile phones for Safaricom varies depending on the amount you buy but we were told that 100KSH would by 80MB of data. At time of writing 100KSH is about £0.70
  • The speed of the internet varied but it was enough to run the app without any significant slow down
  • The farmers we spoke to had little experience of the app store or google play for downloading apps
  • All the farmers we met were using pay as you go phones. This is the most common route to phone ownership among the farmers and locals we spoke to

Haller currently trains local village leaders who tend to take the knowledge back to their communities and share the information among the people of their villages. This works well in small and tightly knit communities and is the model that must be adopted initially to make sure that the information on the app is shared across their communities. Adoption of smartphones is accelerating and no doubt within a year or 2 the amount of people with smart phones will out weigh those with older feature phones.

While growth in the number of people using a mobile will moderate over the next 5 years, we still expect 130 million new mobile services subscribers every year to 2017. This means an increasing total addressable mobile for development market, uniquely positioned to use the mobile as an alternative to traditional modes of service delivery
mAgri www.gsma.com/magri

There is some additional work going on in the background to bring the app to a releasable standard so we can put it out to market and watch how people use it. At that point we will be shouting about it from the roof tops so keep an eye out for its release and we’ll welcome feedback from all corners of the globe not just the localised part of Kenya we are targeting initially.

Example of one of the farmers playing with the app and making notes about the content!

 

6
May
2014

Ecommerce best of the best UX practices

by Joe Dollar-Smirnov

There are many reports that contain ecommerce best practice guidelines.

Some reports have nearly 1000 individual guidelines in fact and in some cases these best practices conflict. For example, one such recommendation says keep it as simple as possible and breakdown the shopping cart in to steps in order not to confuse the customer. A conflicting recommendation says you should give the customer all the information they need on one page.

Of course each of these have dependencies and will affect the decisions you ultimately make when designing the experience.

Navigating through all the recommendations can be tricky and time consuming so I have collated some of the repeated best practice guidelines that do not conflict with each other. For each item I have included a link to the most relevant article on that subject so you can read more if you have the time.

These best practices augment those already established UX best practices for general UI design. These can be read about in Donald Norman’s Design of Everyday Things and on the Nielsen Norman group website. Those are just 2 of many useful resources for designers.

The only certainty in best practice guidelines is that they will evolve. And rapidly. This is why testing should always be at the top of the list. The rest are in no particular order.

Test

Test different versions of your pages. A-B testing, MVT testing, any testing is better than no testing.

This one is a universal accepted best practice and is essential to ensure we are always looking at the improving the experience for users, building customer loyalty and revenue for our clients.

Benefits
Deliver exactly what works best to the user. Increased sales and customer loyalty.

Read more
Baynard

Button labels

Not ‘submit’ but ‘Go to payment options’. Imagine road signs that direct you off the road in the correct direction (left, right or straight on) but do not tell you where you are going. It doesn’t work. Make sure your button labels relate to the action the user is about to do.

Benefits

Giving user sense of system control, where they are and error prevention. Studies have shown marked increase in people clickthroughs when using this technique.

Read more

Toby Biddle

Guest checkout

Customers who do not shop online with you can be put off by the perception of long and dull registration forms. Allowing people to checkout as ‘Guest’ reduces shopping cart abandonment.

Benefits

Reduces shopping cart abandonment therefore increase in conversion.

Read more

Derek Nelson

Reduce clutter

Many studies have revealed an increase in conversion where shopping carts have removed distractions from the process on the assumption that a user is already committed to buy so you should not give them an easy way to get distracted away from the shopping cart experience.

Benefits

Reduces shopping cart abandonment therefore increase in conversion. Beatiful design.

Read more

Graham Charlton

Reassurance

Security reassurance is not simply displaying a padlock symbol. It can be any number of things to give the user confidence in the store they are using from phone numbers to online assistance. So think brand awareness and clear contact information as well.

Benefits

Brand trust and loyalty. Increased conversion and revenue.

Read more

Spyre Studios

Product images

Rich images are not only great from a design point of view but also tell a story. A picture says 1000 words. Large images that show detail have been shown to increase conversion.

Benefits

Users glean information from large product images that may not be apparent from the product description.

Read more

Amy Schade

Suggested products

If someone is browsing for cheese, perhaps they would like chutney to go with it. Or if a customer has bought a series of fishing related products, are they likely to be interested in the latest fishing reel? Amazon are famous for their product suggestion algorithm.

Benefits

This enhances the experience by suggesting sensible additions to the cart so is useful as well as good for revenue.

Read More

JP Mangalindan

Product ‘findability’

This may sound like an obvious one. If a user can not find a product then how can they buy it? This incorporates clear and clickable categories, searchable products, duplicate categories if required and recently viewed.

Benefits

Customer experience enhanced and therefore revenue.

Read More

Christian Holst

 

This list represents the majority of guidelines that are currently available. They all count towards the ultimate goal for customers – improving the experience and increasing revenue for clients. Having taken all these in to account we must continually test, improve and build on the collective knowledge our industry is building up.

2
Apr
2014

Africa road trip: Day one and two

by Joe Dollar-Smirnov

roadtrip in kenya

Day 1 

Smooth 8 hour flight with some surprisingly palatable morsels served up. They were, in reality, probably, disgusting! – augmented simply with the knowledge that I am soon to be humbled by an altogether less convenient way of life where food does not come from a magic box of tricks all warm and delicious, brought to you on a platter by a shiny person whose mission it is to leave you smiling.

While I’m waiting on the runway for my bus to take me to arrivals I get my wrists slapped by security for taking photos. Tourist moment. 

Taxi driver tells me that everyone has at least 2 phones in Kenya because the coverage isn’t great. Safaricom works in places Airtel doesn’t and vice-versa. Of course because he is a business man it is essential for him to have two phones anyway. 

Maximum security hotel because its next to the Israeli embassy. Lovely room. Hot shower. Sleep. Lala salama. 

Day 2 

Monkey Sunshine Green Tea. What is not to like about that? The coffee is awesome as well.

5 phones, check the charge and try to get on to the wifi network in the hotel to ensure the app is loaded up and ready. The hotel claims to have the fastest internet connection in Nairobi. Does not work at all in my room.

Move to main restaurant area to get 1.2Mbps down and 1.08Mbps up as of writing according to speedtest.net. 

Met my first contact, a photo journalist and Haller person known for her work with NGOs in developing countries who promptly briefed me on what to expect before introducing me to her driver and 2 other chaps, the local minister for agriculture and a freelance journalist for the New York Times, who would be assisting me on my initial few days of research about 160km north of Nairobi, Karatina – the opposite direction to my 3rd destination, Mombasa.

One of those car journeys ensued – one where I was gawping out the window for the most part, where hours breezed by without a thought. 4 hours later and several stop offs in street side towns we arrived armed with our Safaricom sim cards and credit ready for an evening of preparation for (this) tuesday morning. Our first session in a makeshift usability lab somewhere off the beaten track.