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
In May and November of 2018, I traveled to Norway to do user research. I don’t have any depth of experience with Norwegian culture. What follows is my outsider’s view and interpretation. I doubt it’s the whole story.
I tried hard to understand my surprising findings by chatting with Scandinavian friends and by researching cultural norms, but there are always limitations in how much an outsider can truly understand.
I still have more questions than answers.
Continue reading No! We’re Not All Just the Same
I remember a graduate student once asking me if she should continue on to a PhD program after completing her master’s degree. I asked her what she thought the benefits were to getting a PhD; she responded that having a PhD would put her on a faster track into management.
Her thinking was driven by a common and faulty assumption held by many—that eventually, to progress in your career as a UX professional, you have to become a manager.
The truth is, there are many career paths for UX professionals, including many leadership roles that don’t require managing people. In fact, organizations typically need a balance of managers and high-ranking individual contributors (meaning not managing people) to tackle varying leadership responsibilities that require different skill sets.
Continue reading So you want to be a UX manager?
My story of discovering, first-hand, how important psychological safety is to teams pinning their innovation hopes on frameworks like design thinking.
I sat up from the exercise mat I was lying on and pushed myself off the gym floor. I hustled over to the window sill where my jacket, water bottle, and phone sat. I anxiously fumbled to unlock my phone and to tap the rewind button on the audio book, Dare to Lead, I was listening to so I could hear the last part once more.
The author, Brené Brown, was reciting a thought she always imparts to the leadership teams she coaches at the very start of their engagements.
Continue reading Somewhere Between Vulnerability and Design Thinking
You think you’re just like everyone else. You think your thoughts, opinions, values, and habits are just the same as other people. Psychology calls this the false consensus bias1 because we assume much more commonality than reality warrants.
False consensus bias contributes to making bad decisions when we design software.
Alan Cooper noted this type of bias while wondering why otherwise smart, talented people often created such crappy software. He invented the persona-based design methodology to help facilitate insight into a product’s users and remove the designer’s bias. He wrote about the method in his seminal 1998 book, The Inmates are Running the Asylum.2
Continue reading Do You Know Your Users?
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
At the time of this writing, a search for UX design jobs on job finder Glassdoor reveals almost 20,000 open positions in the United States alone. By another source, the number is 24,000, with a 22% projected growth rate in the next ten years.
Salaries vary between USD$60,000 to $127,000 annually, with the median salary for 2017 being $77,000. With a significant spike year-to-year, the median salary in 2018 is $93,000 in the States, with the coasts offering the highest paying positions.
Onward Search provides a useful overview of the UX design job market in infographic format.
Continue reading UX Design Careers in 2018 and Beyond: The Future of the UX Designer
This article investigates content recommender systems. Because Netflix is probably the best known recommendation system and numerous articles have been published about their system, I will concentrate on their content recommendation mechanism as representative of the type.
I will show that the Netflix mechanism contains characteristics of updated theories of emotion—mainly constructed emotions theory—but it still lacks several essential components.
The lack of these components can explain some inaccuracies in Netflix recommendations and can suggest broader implications.
Continue reading Content Recommendations and the Creation of Emotions
I am a firm believer that success starts with the statement of work (SOW). An appropriate and attainable SOW determines whether my team of UX designers and researchers get the time and activities we require to fully understand a client’s needs and fashion a suitable solution.
Regrettably, we often work within overly prescriptive SOWs that dictate a solution before we have a chance to understand the problem. One reason projects are poorly scoped is our clients’ discomfort with ambiguity. Clients understandably want to know what they are getting for their investment: Who will be on the team? What will they deliver? How will they deliver it? How long will it take?
Continue reading Trusting the Process
Back in the mid-90s, as the personal computer was booming, I was just your fairly average tween with a Skip-It™. I spent my summers in the California sunshine counting: 100, 208, 300, 986, always aching to get to 1,000. While my parents worked long past sunset, I played on the sidewalk of my parents’ company, Design Matters. Before it was a podcast, Design Matters—one of the first agencies in the San Francisco Bay area—was my personal experience with design. My parents were early web designers who rode the dot-com boom back when the area was still ripe with possibility.
This sounds idyllic, but I’m here to tell you from a child’s perspective: It was many long nights for my parents, and there were waves of regular tension. Although their success did come, it was far from certain, and it certainly wasn’t easy. I overheard many unpleasant conversations as my parents grappled with all the messy stuff that comes with building a ragtag team in a field that was neither well understood nor yet defined.
Continue reading Biased by Design