We’re irrational. People like Dan Ariely and Daniel Gilbert have convinced us of that. Irrationality affects us in our roles as entrepreneurs, product managers, designers and developers. And it affects our colleagues too It can lead us to make make poor business decisions and deliver failed user experiences.
I did this talk for a meeting of the SA UX forum. It looks at three patterns of irrationality: loss aversion, the Ikea effect and the identifiable victim effect, and how to work around them to get the best from yourself and your team.
Flow helped MXit create MXit 6: a stylish and easy-to-use new version of their mobile phone software across three types of handset. The project delivered a 25% increase in daily registrations in the first month, to over 60 000 registrations per day.
Delivering a great user experience across the widest range of handsets is key to our strategy. Flow has been an essential part of the process for us. – Juan Du Toit, Head of International Business Development and Marketing.
The Brief: Design a new user experience for MXit on Java, Blackberry and Android devices.
MXit is Africa’s largest mobile social network. It earned this position by offering cost-effective access to messaging, gaming and information services on more than 3000 models of handsets, which include low-end feature handsets.
But the minimalist approach that gave the platform such broad reach tended to make MXit hard to understand for first-time users, and less appealing on smartphones.
So Flow was asked to help create a new vision for MXit, called MXit 6, The aim being to improve the user experience and make it more appealing to more users on more devices.
What we did: Research, concept design and detailed interaction design in an agile software development process.
Usability testing on the existing product showed that Read more
Registering for a site using Facebook connect, or connecting an app to your Twitter account, asks such scary questions that you could be forgiven for backing out of the process.
Zynga wants complete control of your Twitter account. Does that feel safe to you?
Gowalla wants to access your private Facebook data while you sleep. Spooky.
We’ve seen it in usability tests and we feel it as users. It’s too scary and unless the motivation is sky high. And we ain’t playing.
“Launch and learn” is a great way to tune innovative, digital products to customer needs. But at worst, I’ve seen “launch and learn” used as an excuse for lazy, dysfunctional teams to launch ill-thought-out products that don’t provide customer value. And then listen in all the wrong ways.
Digital teams can behave in strange ways. Designing software can do that to you. To highlight how launch and learn can go wrong, let’s try a thought experiment…
If the Johannesburg’s rail link had been launched by a digital team
Johannesburg’s airport rail link, the Gautrain, was launched in 2010 before it was finished. But they did a pretty good job. I was happy to put up with the unfinished stations because they provided something essentially valuable to me from the start: fast transport with no traffic jams.
But if the Gautrain had been rolled out in the style of many a digital innovation, the process might have looked something more like this:
Version 1.0 Beta
Open the tracks between Rhodesfield and Marlborough, two small stations. Don’t run any trains. Let customers walk between the two stations.
User opinion: Read more
Originally posted on memeburn.com
What is design? Most people will answer that question by pointing to a designed object – the iPhone, for example. Now that’s good design! The Mini Cooper. London’s famous map of the Tube. Anything ever built by Norman Foster. That’s design, right?
Wrong. Design is not the object, but the process that created that object. It’s a process that is part creativity, part method. A process that takes a lot of time, much instructive failure and a great deal of thinking. And thinking is something that looks a lot like Doing Nothing At All.
Amazing: The only adjective that counts
It’s very hard to explain this to a client. The Silicon Cape is beavering away right now, making software and websites and iPhone apps. Just do me a design! I need to show my investors something by next Tuesday, and we’re launching before the end of the month. You guys have designed stuff before, right?
Yes, we have designed stuff before. So we know that if you just take assumptions and preconceptions and bundle them up in the first format that crosses your mind, you might churn out something decent, but you’re never going to make something amazing. And given how much stuff is out there, and how little attention people have left to give to it, amazing is the only adjective that counts.
If you want to make something amazing, you have to be prepared to do the following:
Originally published on Memeburn.com
South African websites repeatedly make basic usability mistakes. The results: frustrated customers, negative brand impact, reduced online sales, and poor return on investment for the whole web project.
The best advice for making an impact online is to Zig when others Zag. Stand out. Be amazing. Give a shit.
But if you work for a South African corporation, I’m sure you’ll feel much more comfortable following the herd. So here are five instructions for making sure your ecommerce site delivers industry-standard quantities of pain and frustration.
1. Let the programmers write the copy
Here’s an error message Flow discovered during a usability test for MWEB. If you choose the wrong kind of password, you get a message that says:
This kind of language is fine for programmers, but there are a lot of people who might want to buy an internet connection but are not sure what the word “alphanumeric” means.
So how about, “Please make sure there are both letters and numbers in the password you choose, to improve your online security.” Surely more people will understand what that means?
2. Help users to lose their work (and their tempers)
Sketching is an essential tool for innovation. If you don’t explore new ideas effectively and cheaply at the start of a project, you risk expensive failures. At the fifth SA|UX forum Cape Town meet-up, we had some great presentations about the subject.
An overview of my intro presentation
My talk covered the essentials of sketching for innovation: I’ve guest blogged it over on the 20Four labs blog.
We had a talk from Microsoft’s, Kath Roderick about Blend3 Sketchflow. I have to say – the tool really looks like it has merit.
- It’s primarily focussed on making fairly robust, clickable prototypes, so it may, be a bit more fiddly than a very early stage skecthing tool like Balsamiq. But it seems to make it easy to do a lot of the things that usually take ages during UX design.
- You can do data binding – to import sample data quickly into scrolly boxes.
- And you can make re-usable elements, like, say a universal navbar, and put them onto each page with ease.
- It also shows you your prototype pages as a network diagram rather than as a list (like say Fireworks or Dreamweaver does), which I think will make pages easier to find, organise and remember.
- Sketchflow lets you package up your prototype so you can put it on a website, and not worry about how to share the prototype. And the packaging mechanism includes a feedback tool so stakeholders can annotate and comment on it in their own time. Very clever.
Finally, we had a brilliant talk from Dennis Williams about how to make and use sketches even though you “can’t draw.”
Dennis presents at the SA|UX forum
Cape Town’s UX community is growing well. We had a turnout of more than 50 people.