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.
Los Angeles Web Design Community Learns UX With Eric Reiss
Dr. Susan Weinschenk On How To Get People To Do Stuff, Pt. 2
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:
1.) The Power of Stories
"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.
2.) Tricks of the Mind
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."
This portion was a nice lesson on the different parts of the brain and how they affect behavior. Humans all have three basic instincts: food, sex, and danger, and in order to motivate people to do things; these instincts can be tapped in finding different ways to reach people at a level in which we all share these basic human instincts.
4.) Carrots and Sticks
This motivating factor is based on rewards. She uses an example of how a casino gives rewards to winners, but not every time. She warns, however, that of the seven motivators this is the weakest one, "It's probably one of the less powerful techniques that I am talking about...use some of these other things, the power of stories, instincts." She also warns that one should not use punishment because that only discourages, "It's one of the least effective things you can do," she said. Rewards are much more beneficial and are more effective in getting more of a behavior than punishment..
5.) The Need to Belong
"We have an inherent need to belong to a group. We want to be social. We want to belong to groups. We are social animals," Dr. Weinschenk said following a nice display in which she invited seven members from the audience to participate. Each member had a different percussion instrument. At first the sound was the very dissonant but as the group members looked around at each other, the sounds became more synchronous. This is tied to getting people to do stuff through the need to connect. People want to trust each other and the best way to get someone to trust is you is for you to first show them that you trust them. Once trust is established it gives companies and clients the chance to maintain a relationship which can continually improve business.
6.) The Desire of Mastery
This motivator refers to how people like to learn new skills and gain knowledge of new practices. This is a way to motivate people because it allows them to grow and reach new heights and will ultimately benefit them. Clients will become more loyal to your products and services once they see they are progressing in their skills and knowledge with a product. Achieving and learning new things establishes a sense of pride that allows people to brag and talk more about your company.
The easiest way to create a new habit is to anchor to an existing habit explained Dr. Weinshcenk. New habits can form in less than a week by using this anchoring technique. Breaking things into small steps is important to getting people to develop new habits.The 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!For Part 1 of 2, the Susan Weinschenk INTERVIEW click here.
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).
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.
"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.
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:
- Long-Term Orientation
- Power Distance
- Uncertainty Avoidance
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