The LA UX Meetup on August 15 was just as much a lesson in psychology as it was an insight into user experiences and web design. The Los Angeles web design community was lucky enough to learn from Dr. Susan Weinschenk as she discussed her new book "How to Get People to Do Stuff".In addition to her Ph.D., Dr. Weinschenk has over 30 years of experience in behavioral psychology. She applies the discipline of neuroscience to figure out what it is that makes people tick and why they make the decisions they do. Clients have sought her help to implement plans of better communication and persuasion with customers. She has researched and written about ways to persuade for websites, presentations and many other mediums. The seven drivers of motivation highlighted at this LA UX Meetup were supported by her examples and inspired the web design community in attendance. Let's take a look at them:
"There's research that shows us that the brain processes information best in story format, people will understand it better, they will remember it longer and they will be most emotionally impacted by the information if it's in story format," Weinschenk begins on her first driver of motivation. She notes that this is something most people are already aware of and goes on to explain the other aspect of power in stories, "We have stories that we tell ourselves, we have self-stories." Self-stories are significant because it is how we communicate ourselves to others. If a company can change an individual's self-story than it has the power to change that individual's behavior or buying process. Her example was illustrated through her story about how she was once a PC person and then converted into an Apple person. Her first purchase was an iPod Nano. That caused a “crack” in her self-story of not being an Apple person. Now she was kind of an Apple person, which led to her purchase of the iPhone. Apple was able to change her self-story by getting her to purchase one product and then to purchase another and more. She concluded by saying she now owns an iPad, Macbook and Mac desktop computer and even an Apple TV.
This second motivator dealt with the unconscious and how we perceive things in daily life. Dr. Weinschenk shared Daniel Kahneman’s categories from his book “Thinking Fast and Slow. There are two types of thinking: 'system one' and 'system two' thinking. "System One thinking is quick, intuitive...effortless," explains Dr. Weinschenk, "that's our normal mode, we walk around all day thinking like this, most of the time." She then showed a video to display the difference between these two systems of thinking. When you are thinking in a system two mode your eyes tend to dilate because of the heavy, more focused thinking. Another insightful note Dr. Weinschenk presented during this portion was "Most mental processing is unconscious."
The LA UX Meetup on August 15 was just as much a lesson in psychology as it was an insight into user experiences and web design. The Los Angeles web design community was lucky enough to learn from Dr. Susan Weinschenk as she discussed her new book "How to Get People to Do Stuff". However, the night was not a shameless plug for her book but instead it was a thorough explanation of her researched and studied seven drivers of motivation. The Media Contour team conducted a pre-show interview with Dr. Weinschenk focusing on user experience and marketing. Here's what the team discovered:
"Really it depends on who are the people, what is the situation, the context and what it is you want them to do," begins Dr. Weinschenk when asked which of the seven drivers is most important in targeting key demographics. She continues by explaining how it is wise to not use all seven of the motivators in one design, "We can start filtering out the ones that probably are not going to be real effective and the ones that are going to be the most powerful."
Technology of the 21st century has connected the world in some pretty unimaginable ways, however, it has not changed each country's individual culture. When developing your website you must keep this in mind. On July 31 members of the Los Angeles web design community received a lesson in localization. Todd Lefelt and Kate Pendley of Huge Los Angeles discussed important considerations for localization and culturally sensitive design."This is about anything from currency convertors to colors to socially appropriate imagery," said Kate Pendley describing the range of elements one must consider when communicating with a global audience. Todd Lefelt added, "Symbols mean different things in different countries." An example shown was 'thumbs up' which carries a different meaning based upon the country you are in.The specific case study presented to the LA web design community was Sigma-Aldrich, a life science technologies and speciality chemicals supply company for laboratories. The goal of their web design team was to create a localized website for the Chinese division of the Sigma-Aldrich website and also create an understandable e-commerce experience to replace the traditional catalog used by the international company.
"Our initial approach to doing the landscape analysis was 'we don't want to go in knowing nothing' obviously we want to educate ourselves as much as possible so we go in with some familiarity about best practice for Chinese design," said Todd Lefelt. The team began by researching popular e-commerce sites in China.
"The secondary research really actually evolved from doing the landscape anaylsis," Kate Pendley said, "we started digging into mostly research and academic journals and some business cases coming out of large corporations." This stage allowed the team to take note of trends in which it seemed a number of companies in China follow the same web design principles. Common features of these sites were information-dense pages and different forms of navigation.
Along with the rest of the Los Angeles web design community, the Media Contour team attended the LA User Experience Meetup featuring guest speaker Eric Reiss on the topic of Usability. The team had the opportunity to talk with Reiss before the presentation about his experiences that led him to the industry of Usability. “I wrote a book on information architecture, one thing sort of led to the next and then in 2006 I formed FatDUX with two other friends in Copenhagen and we decided we would be a user experience company,” said Reiss.
Eric Reiss and the FatDUX group not only focus on websites but also usability across all platforms, media, and cultures. “I've never viewed usability, or user experience, as something solely related to online media. My goal has always been to do what is best for the client - online AND offline. But that starts with what is good for the customer. If customers aren't happy, our clients will never reach their own goals.
Two words: online startups. In the past decade entrepreneurs have taken their business ideas to the web and online startups have been on the rise ever since. On August 15, Jaime Russell Levy showed the LA web design community how to successfully implement a User Experience (UX) strategy into their business.
After accomplishing many feats in the field of digital media including the creation of one of the first online magazines (WORD); Jaime Russell Levy shifted her attention to working more personally with clients in the field of user experience. "I started focusing my practice on working for startups, that's where my heart is because you get to work with ideas from the very beginning," Levy explained to the audience.
She reexamined her UX methodology after a client recommend a book called "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries to her. "I listened to the book for a day and a half and of course it changed my world," Jaime Russell Levy stated. She displayed a chart to the LA web design community about the Lean Startup Methodology which caused her to rethink her own "waterfall" methodology.
1. Start with an idea > then build
2. Build the product > test it and get data back
3. Learn > cycle around
Keeping in mind good business strategy; she then developed a definition for user experience strategy. "A formed alignment of an organization's business objectives with a validated understanding of end user's goals," Levy told the audience. She explained that she wants to connect the dots between business strategy and user experience strategy because that is done long before developers start working on a website.
1. Why User Experience for online startups is crucial
2. Aligning product vision with business goals
3. The exploration of a minimum viable product
Jaime Russell Levy took the LA web design community through several business cases to support these three steps in product discovery. "It can be your differentiator," Levy said about the first step in product discovery. "A unique, kick-ass user experience can change the world," she joked before showing a real life example of Airbnb (airbnb.com).
The second and third steps build off the first. The second step refers back to connecting the dots between business and user experience strategy. While the third step included examples for how to verify quantitative research in relation to validating qualitative research.
"What's our competition doing?" Levy asked the audience. It is important to know both your direct and indirect competitors. This helps to determine the real competition. She recommended a Gap Analysis and to look all around the landscape of your industry. Collect data and know how to make it useful. The website audience members used to buy tickets for this event (eventbrite.com) collected data for Jaime Russell Levy to test her hypothesis of who would be interested in learning about the benefits a good user experience.
Overall the evening was filled with laughter and valuable insight that can benefit those in the LA web design community whether a startup or established. Jaime Russell Levy was incredibly entertaining and engaging; not allowing for any dull moments. Many thanks to Jaime Russell Levy and the Coloft venue in Santa Monica for hosting this workshop!
The Los Angeles web design community received another lesson on user experience and interaction design when the IxDA (Interaction Design Association) hosted Dana Chisnell on July 18. Her lecture: Deconstructing Delight: Pleasure, Flow and Meaning took the audience on a journey across the web by displaying websites which embodied the best aspects of her Delight model. It is a framework that she has researched over the last few years and aims to take just usable stuff and turn it into designs that would really get people engaged in meaningful ways. Let's take a look at what members of the Los Angeles web design community learned.
Pleasure is the first step taken to create a website that delights its users. Pleasure anticipates a user's needs and wants, produces a positive effect and uses visual design and voice. Chisnell used popular sites like Swackett.com, TripIt.com and even Virgin America's on plane safety video to show how visual appeal and responsive user interfaces can please users by garnering a reaction.Evidences of pleasure were noted by:
"The hardest part of this is to do it without feeling fake," said Dana Chisnell in regards to designing for pleasure. In other words do not divide the user's attention between the purpose of your website and its aesthetics.