We’re starting with some questions. How many people think their product is comfortable and easy to use? Apparently not many.
The first slide is an intro to UX : user experience. This is the overall experience of a person using a product. It’s not an exact science. Users are different.
But what’s the difference between UX and UI? Well, UI is about visual design, colours, layout and typography. It’S about how aesthetically pleasing an application is. UX is how easy it is to use. It involves interaction design, scenarios, user research. Obviously having UI and UX is a good idea. Usability is also not the same as UX. Usability is about learnability, efficiency, learnability, error prevention. UX should be able to measure satisfaction and enjoyment.
The hardest part for Greta was to convince people that UX is important. Bad UX impacts your business. If you look at app store ratings, you can see what people think of bad UX. And people are more likely to leave a bad comment than a good one. That can become a vicious cycle.
Bad UX impacts your website as well – you get worse search engine ratings, fewer clicks and fewer people likely to choose your product. She’s giving us an example of where you need multiple clicks to find out product details.
Now there’s a tank on the screen! The point is, even if you have a niche product, you can’t justify bad UX. You’ll spend time writing docs, doing support and teaching people. And you may have a competitor – people will use that instead.
Next question: who has UX designers in their team (had to move hands away from keyboard to raise my hand ). When Greta met her first UX designer, she was hooked and enjoyed learning about it. At a next job, she was working on a very complicated and specific product. UX was needed – but they didn’t have a designer. Of course, the easy answer is to get one, but that’s not always easy. You need to convince people, find people and also find the competence to hire the right person.
To compensate for not having a UX designer, Greta started to get familiar with UI/UX guidelines: reading the style guides, looking at the Microsoft design principles page, doing online courses. And then she started finding bugs. That got her into trouble: “you weren’t hired for this”. She changed her approach – she didn’t put them in as bugs, but as change requests (funny how our brains can be tricked, eh?!). With these change requests, she started small (simple UI checks), moved onto product usability and testing workflows. Workflows are a way to check whether users are in full control: can they go back, cancel, see how much is left to do? She also analysed user data. She watched mouse movement recording – one user moved the mouse for 10 minutes and clicked nothing. Was this person looking this long for a function?
Another thing she added requests on is waiting time. Apparently, for younger people, waiting for longer than 5 seconds is equivalent to pain!
To improve UX from the outset, they introduced paper prototyping. By moving things around, it’s easier to discuss and come to an agreement. She also used paint to move areas on screenshots in the application to see what they then looked like. That let her have mocks for her change requests.
Her next step was to create usability labs. In the lab, 2 options are prepared for discussion. Based on questions, the team evaluate the options (it doesn’t take long). Present the results to the team – and remember that you shouldn’t be upset if your idea isn’t selected!
To gain information, you should track user activity. Mouseflow is a tool that can help with that. You can find patterns and position the most important actions in the best place.
Greta also reminds us to question new features. It took a while for her to be invited to design reviews, and it made a difference! Being involved in early stages is the right time for this activity.
To increase awareness, they introduced a UI/UX hall of shame/fame. Use examples of other products that you use daily and hate (it’s important to not shame your own products for this exercise). Use good examples of your own products – and add examples from your own products that need changing to be made better.
I’m enjoying how much of this talk is patterns we know from testing too. Her current slide is to grow a little UX person in every developer. I like that idea.
It’s also important to do all this in a fun way. Using funny analogies and cats and human interaction is going to be important.
To sum up, it’s important to not get complacent about your application. Keep questioning. And even when you do get a UX person on your team – keep it a team activity. UX has a direct impact, and everyone should be involved.