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Dr. Susan Weinschenk On How To Get People To Do Stuff, Pt. 1

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:

1.) Seven Drivers of Motivation: "Some are more powerful than others"

"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."

2.) Strongest Driver for Online (One-Directional) Conversations

Dr. Weinschenk proposes these important questions for web designers to consider when creating content that will convert users into buyers, "Who is it that you're trying to get to do stuff? What is it that they want to do? So the website example, they're coming to the website for a reason. What is their reason for coming? What is your reason, what do you want them to do and what is the reason for that as the owner of the website? Because often those things don't match." She used an apartment finding website as an example to detail how the seven drivers can influence the browser to register information with the website. She explains how there is always a moment when the user is on a certain page and it is then up to the web designer to have the right information on this page; it seems to follow the right place, right time principle.

3.) The Usefulness of the 30 Day Free Trial

"In general it is a good idea, there are a lot of reasons it would be a good idea. For example, reciprocity, right? You're giving me something for free and therefore I will feel, unconsciously, somewhat indebted to you to do something about it, to do something with it. But that only works if I consider it valuable, right? I think what happens is that some people sign up for thirty day trials but they don't really want it," Dr. Weinschenk said. Sometimes a thirty day trial can be effective but for users it is mostly just a “going through the motions” type of thought and something they may not remember signing up for later. Social validation, "to do what other people are doing", Weinschenk explains is one of several ways that a thirty day trial can be effective. Let people know how many other people have used the product in the trial version. Another reason people may like thirty day trials is for the sense of progress. They are learning the product. It is important for the web designer to remind users that they have downloaded the product, and how many days they have left -- offer sessions to get people to more fully use the trial.

4.) Online Evangelists: Help Get the Word Out!

The biggest driver of motivation to get people to evangelize about your website or topic is the need to belong. Once people feel a connection to your brand and notice that other people feel the same way, then it is possible for them to make everyone else aware of the satisfaction they have in dealing with your business or website. The excitement of the evangelist is also important, how one conveys emotion about a brand. She also noted that people like to pass along new ideas and brands because it makes them feel "smart" or "savvy".The MC team learned a wealth of knowledge in the pre-show interview and the presentation only added to the wealth. After the show followed a book signing and allowed guests to further discuss what they learned with Dr. Susan WeinschenkThe Los Angeles web design community sure had a lot to learn and apply after this informational session with Dr. Susan Weinschenk. Many thanks to the LA UX Meetup, Santa Barbara UX Meetup and the UX Book Club of Los Angelesfor hosting Dr. Weinschenk. Also thanks to the venue hosts at Cross Campus in Santa Monica.If you would like to learn more about the 7 drivers of motivation be sure to check out Dr. Susan Weinschenk's new book "How to Get People to Do Stuff". This is her latest book and base for the night's presentation but it is one of several other great books she has written, give them all a read! Check out our recap of Susan's presentation (PART 2).

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Ask A Pro: User Experience (UX) Strategy For Lean Startups

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.

The components of the Lean Startup Methodology were:

1. Start with an idea > then build2. Build the product > test it and get data back3. Learn > cycle aroundKeeping 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.

Part One: Product Discovery

1. Why User Experience for online startups is crucial2. Aligning product vision with business goals3. The exploration of a minimum viable productJaime 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.

Part Two: Product Market Fit

"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!

Taken from eventbrite.comJaime Russell Levy (see Wikipedia article and LinkedIn profile) has been a pioneer for over 20 years in the creation of innovative browsing and non-linear storytelling experiences for products and services distributed on disk media, mobile devices, the Web and iTV. These days she runs a User Experience Strategy and Design practice in Los Angeles called JLR Interactive that caters to "lean" startups, helping them transform their business concepts into sustainable and scalable online solutions.Throughout her career, Jaime has been a part-time college professor, for 7 years at NYU ITP and is currently teaching User Experience Design at UCLA Extension in the Fall/Spring quarters.Do you work in the field of User Experience? What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below.

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A Lesson In Localization With Huge Los Angeles

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.

Step 1

"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.

Step 2

"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.

Step 3

After becoming familiar with Chinese design trends; the team hopped on a plane to China and met with scientists in the laboratories. "It's almost like asking them to give you a tour of their digital life," said Todd Lefet, "we tried to make it observational." The team had moderators between themselves and the scientists to clear up any language issues. The hands-on research allowed the team to see how a person in China usually behaves in terms of navigating the web. "They do want everything upfront and that included from general shopping to shopping on the Sigma-Aldrich site," said Kate Pendley. In the realm of e-commerce Chinese users are more comfortable with websites stating all possible product information."Navigation, information architecture are super important considerations when you go into a different culture," said Kate Pendley. An important factor was the layout of the page, as Americans scan left to right, Chinese users fixate in the inverse of Western users and scan in more circular patterns.

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions

The night consisted mostly of web design trends in China but the Los Angeles web design community still received a world of knowledge in localization. A great social index system was discussed to highlight the ways countries are culturally different from each other. This system is Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions which include:

  1. Long-Term Orientation
  2. Power Distance
  3. Uncertainty Avoidance
  4. Individualism/Collectivism
  5. Masculinity/Feminity

Some examples mentioned from above were how the Chinese are long-term oriented in their goals and do not require instant gratification that has become so commonplace in the United States. Another significant difference between the U.S. and China was how Chinese culture is more collectivistic. "It's about the group, there's a low emphasis on individuality where in the United States obviously the word is 'I' and 'me' and 'mine'", Pendley explained.The LA web design community had so much to take away from this event. Todd Lefelt and Kate Pendley provided excellent examples of how to prepare oneself for designing in the global sphere and how to follow through. Their teamwork on the Sigma-Aldrich website showcased efficient preliminary research methods, observational research methods used on the ground in China and even gave a lesson on Geert Hofstede. The evening was followed by a Q&A section for the audience to re-sharpen their understanding of the wealth of information presented during the show. Many thanks to Todd Lefelt and Kate Pendley of Huge Los Angeles for sharing their findings with the Los Angeles web design community!

About the Speakers

Todd Lefelt - Managing Director, User Experience

Todd Lefelt is Managing Director, User Experience at Huge Los Angeles. Since joining Huge in 2006, Todd has been instrumental in building the agency's user experience team and helping to define the philosophy and processes applied to user-centric design. In 2010, Todd joined Huge's Los Angeles office, where he has played a key role in the development of the company's West Coast presence. Todd has directed interactive design and research for some of Huge's largest engagements and has worked with clients including Clear Channel, National Geographic, NBC Universal, Samsung, Toyota, and Warner Music Group.

Kate Pendley - Experience Lead

With more than a decade of experience in digital, Kate is an Experience Lead at Huge, where she oversees complex projects and works with clients to drive research and interface design. She is highly skilled in leading projects with engaging features built around solid IA, as well as solving design problems where users need an approachable interface to navigate complex functionality. Prior to joining Huge, Kate worked with a variety of clients including ABC, American Express, At&T, CNN, Disney, Gerber, Microsoft, Taco Bell, Yamaha, and USAID.

About the Host:

Huge is responsible for core digital strategy, marketing and implementation for some of the largest companies and brands in the world. Founded in 1999, the company has evolved a methodology and a culture that combines the most powerful aspects of research, user-centered design, technology and marketing to meet client objectives. The online businesses designed and developed by Huge generate over $12.5 billion in annual revenue and are visited by more than 375 million visitors each month. The company has nearly 500 employees operating out of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, London and Rio de Janeiro. Huge is a part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.www.hugeinc.com

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Los Angeles Web Design Community Takes A Note From Dana Chisnell

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:

  • Smiling
  • Exclamations ("Nice!" or "Got it!")
  • Behaving with infatuation.

"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.


Flow is the second element of Chisnell's Delight model and perhaps showed one of the most powerful examples of the night. The program Ommwriter (essentially a word processor) was the ultimate example of usability for those who want to feel in control. The program looks like a blank page, plays ambient music and keeps the fonts and features limited as a way to fully immerse the user into the writing experience (the precise reason one would be using this product in the first place). Ommwriter showed how a websites flow should be:

  • Immersive,
  • Empowering,
  • Behavioral (automatic)

When designing for flow, Dana Chisnell asked, "Does it give you perspective?" as one of seven questions to answer when creating your website.


In order to create meaning, your brand must be authentic about its intentions; not just throwing on a tagline. Meaning and engagement are interrelated because for a user they can create senses of both pride and passion for those who are brand loyal. About meaning, Dana Chisnell said, "When you're designing for meaning, you're creating and designing with purpose not just at the touch points but through culture, through intent."


For a final and simplified thought on the evening's discussion Chisnell clearly stated that pleasure is visceral, flow is behavioral and meaning wraps up both. After followed a Q&A session for the audience members to ask Chisnell any lingering questions. The Los Angeles web design community was given a night full of lively examples on how to design with delight. Many thanks to Dana Chisnell for sharing her insights with the LA web design community!Dana Chisnell is an independent researcher currently working on usable security and research methods for social media usability. Through her research she has observed study participants to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots, and helped organizations perform usability tests and user research to inform design decisions for products and services. She co-authored the Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition (Wiley, 2008) with Jeff Rubin. Dana also ran a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to research, write, and publish a series of Field Guides to Ensuring Voter Intent.About the hosting group: IxDA Los Angeles organizes bi-monthly events about topics related to interaction design. Our events help expose our local community to informative speakers and fun activities. Various companies host and sponsor events in offices throughout the greater Los Angeles area so that all parts of town have an opportunity to participate. Generally, our events occur mid-week, after business hours. From http://www.ixda.org/local/ixda-los-angeles.Did you find this article useful? Try these blogs out!Los Angeles Web Design Community Learns UX With Eric ReissLos Angeles Web Design Community Helps People Learn LESS and SCSS

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Los Angeles Web Design Community Learns UX With Eric Reiss

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.”During the presentation Reiss explained how great usability is divided into a physical and psychological component. The physical is Ease of Use or “what I want it to do”; while the psychological is Elegance and Clarity or “what I expect it to do”. Each can be further analyzed through the different elements that support usability:Ease of Use-Functional-Foolproof-Responsive-Convenient-ErgonomicElegance and Clarity-Visible-Understandable-Logical-Consistent-PredictableThroughout the evening Reiss explained in detail each element and provided the audience with images and stories. The examples used for each element were highly relevant and engaging for the audience. Usability examples included problems with websites, car navigation systems and frying pans. The takeaway for the audience was to understand how user experiences happen with anything ranging from everyday items to business tools. “If you don’t solve a problem, you’re going to create a problem,” said Reiss.Eric Reiss is the content strategist and CEO of the FatDUX group, an international user-experience design company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has lectured on design principles at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany and was the former Professor of Usability and Design at the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. He serves on the advisory boards of several institutes and universities in Europe and the United States. His web dogma design philosophy has been adopted by thousands of developers around the world.His latest work Usable Usability: Simple Steps for Making Stuff Better is a guide to help spot and fix usability problems. The book is filled with full-color pictures, guidelines and checklists to help ensure your business has happy customers along with successful products. Techniques for exceeding user’s expectations and improving the overall quality of a user’s experience are highlights of the book and are presented in an easy-to-apply manner which is the cornerstone of Reiss’ philosophy. It is now available on Amazon.com.The night ended with a Q&A session and book signing. The Cross Campus facility in Santa Monica served as a great venue for the event. Eric Reiss is a thought leader in the field of usability and can be followed on Twitter by the username @elreiss.

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Los Angeles Web Design Community Helps People Learn LESS and SCSS

The Media Contour team joined in with other members of the Los Angeles Web Design Community in Downtown Los Angeles for the CSS Preprocessor Madness Meetup event coordinated by Noel Saw and sponsored by Social WDD Meetup group and Oversee.net. The event was featured informative how-tos and hands-on training with front-end developer, Mario Noble, and software engineer, Charles Mata.The event brought in 45 eager Los Angeles web design professionals to learn the basics of LESS and SCSS, a coding format that allows you to process large chunks of CSS data in smaller, easier to manage pieces. Food was served and the attitude was lively and inclusive. All were eager to sink their teeth into learning a new skill and networking with others.Our Lead designer, Luke Swenson, was in attendance and said that “The presentation was a great introduction to CSS Preprocessors and the differences between LESS and SCSS. I can see them coming in handy on fast turn around projects where we sometimes start designing directly in the browser.... and when you need to make several iterations before going to production.”Event Coordinator, Noel Saw, was proud of the turnout for this event and said that these events are for developers of all shapes and sizes, from novice to seasoned veterans. “We try to create a scene that allows everyone to leave with something,” says Mr. Saw. “Some may leave with new information or maybe a lead on a new job.”A healthy degree of competition is held between the members of the groups as well, offering up contests for creative and innovative design within a theme. One of the groups current contests, Photoshop Idol, is giving away a copy of Adobe’s latest Photoshop Creative Suite to the designer that can create the best politically-themed poster idea.[newslettersignup]Also at the LESS/SASS meetup was Adam Bell, who also runs the LAdobe User Group. Adam recently produced a panel called “The Future of Web Design Development” for the Silicon Beach Festival held on July 21-23. The panel drew audiences into the hundreds including freelancers and professionals at-large. “This is the most exciting time for web design in the past decade since the early days of Flash,” says Bell. The conference touched on how HTML5, CSS3, and even Flash will reshape the internet, both on mobile and traditional forms.Los Angeles is one of the biggest hubs in the country and many of the Los Angeles web design community are taking to sites like LinkedIn and Meetup to exchange information and teach each other their skills. The Venice Beach town hall tech conference, “Silicon Beach”, was held this past April and really placed a flag in the ground of what the Los Angeles web design and tech community strives to become.Noel is currently working on the TechjobsLA fair, being held July 21st. The event will host many of the largest Los Angeles web design groups in the city. The event will be held at the Blankspaces facility on the corner of Wilshire and La Brea and will definitely be a great place to check out if looking for work, looking to join in on some great expert panels, or looking for ways to beef up your portfolio and expand your personal brand on the web.For more info on the TechjobsLA Fair go to techjobsla.com or by calling 1-877-311-3374. You may also email Noel for sponsorship information at sponsors@techjobsla.com.Like this article? Check out these other blogs:SilverStripe 3 Excites Website Developers EverywhereHierarchy – 6 Simple Ways To Structure Your WebsiteTechJobsLA-Sponsors-final

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