Focus on Usage Maturity: Part II

by:   |  Posted on

Meet Users Where They Are, Draw Them Deeper In

If we want users to remain our users, we ought to entice them deeper into our design ecosystem.

Attempts to extend or expand users’ usage, frequently results in designs complicated by added features, and functions. My user experience research has informed digital and physical designs often with an emphasis on correcting the usability of such complexities. Users interact with the things we design at varying levels of usage maturity. Usage maturity is a measure of users’ comfort and familiarity with, and degree of use of a product, process, or place. 

Continue reading Focus on Usage Maturity: Part II

Focus on Usage Maturity: Part I

by:   |  Posted on

Designing for All Users by Starting at the Beginning

Far too often, products are designed to meet the needs of the typical user. As a user experience researcher, I’m always cautious about defining the “typical user” for any of the digital or physical products I work on. My UX research has included work on business processes, websites, services, software platforms, digital games, physical products,  and physical properties.

I prefer to use a usage maturity matrix and design to meet the range of functional priorities of our users.

  • Usage maturity is a measure of users’ comfort and familiarity with and degree of use of a product.
  • A usage maturity matrix defines the functional priorities at each level of usage maturity.
  • The matrix lists beginning, proficient, and advanced level functional priorities and can expand to include novice and expert levels to account for greater complexity.
Continue reading Focus on Usage Maturity: Part I

How to Improve the User Journey on Your Website

by:   |  Posted on

From the moment a user lands on your website until they either leave or convert into a customer, a series of steps lead them from one point to another. Buyer personas represent your typical customer and help address pain points your customers have as well as predicting actions specific audiences might take. About 63 percent of marketers use buyer personas when creating content.

From my experience, here are some steps to help improve your user’s journey once you develop your target audience’s unique buyer persona.

Continue reading How to Improve the User Journey on Your Website

Designing for Meaningful Social Interactions

by:   |  Posted on

The age of cheap “like”-hunting needs to come to an end. It all started innocently enough with likes and tweets. Then in a few years, we suddenly ended up with governments scoring people and masses manipulated into meaningless activities to generate more ad revenue.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Now the time has come for us—designers, working on digital products—to step up our game and act like real gatekeepers.

Continue reading Designing for Meaningful Social Interactions

Where Do Design and Business Strategy Meet? Design Thinking

by:   |  Posted on

Design is a logical art. It’s the thought process behind the first mark on a page. It’s empathy applied systematically. It’s creative through abductive reasoning.

In other words, designers are no strangers to strategy. Yet even designers themselves forget that the world of design is much larger than mockups and prototypes. This “capital D” conception of design is often referred to as “design thinking,” a problem-solving framework that can be applied across any number of problem domains and at any scale.

Continue reading Where Do Design and Business Strategy Meet? Design Thinking

How to Create a Smart Home Product People Actually Want to Use

by:   |  Posted on

For all the hype around the Internet of Things, most people are still content to control their homes manually. A recent Gartner survey found that they don’t mind getting up to adjust the temperature or turn off the lights, and 58 percent of respondents actually prefer the idea of standalone devices to connected ones.

If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. If having a connected home makes life easier, why are consumers so skeptical? Who wouldn’t want to control their lights or blinds right from the couch?

IoT’s UX issue

The trouble is that not all household IoT devices make consumers’ lives easier. Before the smart home of the future can become the standard, that needs to change.

Continue reading How to Create a Smart Home Product People Actually Want to Use

UX Writing: The Case for User-Centric Language

by:   |  Posted on

If I asked you what is one of the biggest problems on websites today, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t say it has anything to do with words.

But what if I told you it does?

Let’s talk about user-centric language.

One research group describes the usability problems that result from something as simple as using the wrong words on websites:

“Writers often use the language they are most familiar with when describing offerings on websites, without realizing that those terms are unknown to their readers. Unfortunately, site visitors often don’t understand those company- or industry-specific words and phrases.”

In fact, a repeated challenge on websites is that words (“terminology”) and even how the content is organized (“content structure”) reflects the organization’s internal understanding of their own products and services, rather than an external user’s understanding of that company’s products and services.

This problem happens frequently, rearing its ugly head when:

  • companies use feature-laden language to describe their products and services instead of talking about how these products and features benefit customers;
  • websites use nomenclature on navigation menus that’s recognized by internal audiences but not external ones; and
  • navigation menus use an audience-based navigation scheme—confusing, because not all users on your website know or realize what audience they fall into—rather than a task-based one.

When there’s limited time to do UX research, examining the language on your website can be a last priority. But no website—or digital product—can meet its goals without considering whether the language in its interface is user-centric.

Continue reading UX Writing: The Case for User-Centric Language

Now That We’ve Captcha’d Your Attention…

by:   |  Posted on

[Article edited on May 31, 2018, to clarify that PlayCaptcha and Funcaptcha are separate solutions, unrelated to each other.]

The other night I listened to my friend swear his way through the online purchasing process for concert tickets. He knew who he wanted to see, how many tickets he wanted, and his budget. All was going well until he got to a point in the journey that kept tripping him up, and the longer it went on the more frustrated he became.

As UX practitioners, these are the types of experiences we try to avoid; we would never knowingly place an obstacle in a user journey that would cause such frustration. In the end, he managed to purchase the tickets but not without some undue stress caused by not being able to read the distorted text in a plain old captcha.

Continue reading Now That We’ve Captcha’d Your Attention…

Changing Minds

A Conceptual Framework for Relational Cognition by:   |  Posted on

Changing Minds - A Conceptual Framework For Relational Cognition - Clifton EvansAs you are reading this, how many times will you check your phone for a text, an email, a shared link, or photo? Some of these moments of attention will be based on alerts, but how many are habitual, simply checking the device for potential updates?

Our minds are continually looking to continue earlier conversations or to start new ones. We have sometimes dozens of ongoing conversations, not to mention the long list of open tabs and draft emails containing trains of thought we intend to follow up on.

We are living in a continual shift of focus, and this article aims to provide some understanding on how our minds are adapting to constant changes in train of thought.

Continue reading Changing Minds

Unveiling the Specifics of ‘Unsubscribe’ for Email Marketers

by:   |  Posted on

Email unsubscribe is one of the most dreadful things for any email marketer. After all the hard work you put into a campaign, it is particularly annoying to get your emails unsubscribed.

According to Mailjet, if your unsubscribe rate is below 1%, you are said to be within the industry norm. However, emails sent to new lists—to subscribers who have not received an email from you before—are not included in this calculation because they usually have more unsubscribes. Your industry also influences the number of unsubscribes you get. An agreeable unsubscribe rate is below 0.5%, and you should work on creating better emails if your unsubscribe rate exceeds that.

Continue reading Unveiling the Specifics of ‘Unsubscribe’ for Email Marketers