As an advocate for Lean methodology, I was excited to read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. While the concepts are similar to those illustrated in The Toyota Way or general Lean/Six Sigma methodology, Eric Ries brings the concepts of Lean from a software application perspective.
A few of the select ideas shared throughout the book:
- “Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is waste”
- “A solid process lays the foundation for a healthy culture, one where ideas are evaluated by merit and not by job title.”
- “Measure productivity according to validated learning, not in terms of the production of new features.”
- “Waiting too long to release can lead to the ultimate waste: making something that nobody want’s.”
- “Shortcuts taking in product quality, design, or infrastructure today may wind up slowing a company down tomorrow.
- “Get out of the building and start learning”
With the goal of always trying to improve our processes, this week, for the first time, I tried out desirability testing using the Desirability Toolkit from Microsoft and I have to say, I was very impressed with this research tool.
When I was at Meijer, we created UI specs. for everything. This practice was very time consuming and tedious, but when it came to passing the project over the fence to our development team, they had all of the information they could ever want. This is about the same time that the Lean UX movement was really taking off.
When I left Meijer, I looked forward to ditching old school UI specs./waterfall process in favor of a fast-pased agile environment. That is exactly what happened, instead of passing UI specs. to the development team, we provide them with prototypes to reference when programming. The beauty of this process is that it is extremely fast; we can meet with users to test the interface in the morning, make any required updates and send it to development in the afternoon to program. This process would have taken days if UI specs. were written.
After using this process for awhile, we started to notice something; as the complexity of the interfaces increased, and believe me health care seems seems to have a lot more complexity than e-commerce, the number of questions from the development team became grew and grew to the point where we were spending a lot of time answering questions rather than designing – questions that probably would have been answered in a UI spec. We started making more annotations on our prototypes and creating more support documents.
I so badly wanted to stop creating UI specs. and jump on the Lean UX bandwagon that I stopped realizing the value of what we were doing. Every process has it’s pros and cons and every company is different. We need to be flexible and adaptable enough to realize what works and doesn’t work for the particular situation and develop a process that works for the environment we are in.
Surveys might seem like a quick way to gather consumer data, but anyone who has ever spend time designing a survey knows that there is a lot of work involved in asking the right questions and making sure your responses are unbiased.
In the next few posts, I will give some pointers on survey development starting with rating scales.
Most of us have probably been exposed to the two common rating scales: Likert (LICK-ert) and Semantic Differential Scales. While these scales are great for research projects, a poorly constructed rating scale will do more harm than good.
I am sitting on sofa looking out the window waiting for a pizza to be delivered. The web site said that it would take 60 min and now it has been 66 min. The weather is really bad, but 60 minutes seems like a long time for a pizza to be deliver. Maybe the weather was factored into the 60 min, but then again maybe not. Maybe I should call, but if it really is the weather, I don’t want to sound like a jerk asking where my pizza is.
In an article from Psychology Today, researchers have found that relaxed shoppers spend more money.
When we are relaxed our brain does not perceive a threat allowing us to think at an abstract level about products and services. For example, when shopping for a luxury car, a relaxed person might think about how comfortable they will be on a long road trip or how amazing their favorite CD will sound. The not so relaxed person is probably thinking about how much is that luxury audio system going to cost and do they really need it.
The next time you are trying to sell someone a product or a service, remember that their emotional brain has already formed a response and your goal is to stop their prefrontal cortex cortex from using logic to override their initial emotional brain.
Amazing presentation from Will Evens – A Socio-Cybernetic Model for Designer Leadership in the User Experience Community
A study from a Nielsen Group shows that 62% of the time users visit a site with a pre-determined goal. This can be broken down further to show that 35% of visits were to look for a particular type of product (without a specific product in mind) and 27% of visits were to look at a specific product. The rest of the time we are browsing, looking for promotions, or searching for inspiration.
This actually makes a lot of sense; think about how many times you’ve went to Home Depot’s web site just to see what it was all about. While, I’m sure that everyone would agree, we should make it as easy as possible for users to find the products or information that they want. Marketing people seem to have a very hard time with this concept, they have been trained to get the users attention, they want to sell you something or have you sign up for something or let you know about a super awesome promotion. This isn’t necessarily bad, until it gets in the way of the user completing their primary task, you know the one they came to your site for.