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User Experience (UX) Design for the Indie Dev @JulioBarrosThere is a lot of advice out there. Some of it common sense but I dontagree with all of it.
Im not a designerIm also not rich.Dont have experience writing games.
Im an aspiring indie 6S Slide Show iCardSort20 years proffesional dev experienceFelt the need to adapt design advice to my situation.Part workshop part conversation.
Goal as Indie Sustainable business creating products of value.Nothing against games.Dont have a hit driven personality.Want to build apps that enhance peoples lives.
About you • Aspiring indie • Getting started • Engineering is your super powerAssuming you are not marketer, or sales person, or artist, andprobably not a designer
You are not a designer.We hear this all the time. You are a developer not a designer.Can you even draw?
You are not a designer.We need to change this.Great drawing and art skills not a prerequisite.Design is more about problem solving than art.Real world Problem solving is trade offs and optimizations
Optimizing ... • Engineering • Business • Marketing / Sales • Product Manager • Graphic design • UX designWhen we "solve" we are "optimizing" certain factors ...Software - correctness and efficiencyBusiness - proﬁtability, cash ﬂow, etc.Graphic designer - aestheticsUX designer - users experience
UX is your productUsers experience is his perception of your product.No one cares or knows as much as you do.You can not outsource UXYou need to own it.You must own the user experience.
We are all (UX) designers.As Indies, .... We need to start thinking of ourselves as designers.Dont need to compete with professionals just get better.
Why are professionals better? • Experience • Perspective • FocusPractice - Experience, trainingPerspective / Distance - They are not invested in the productTime - They are getting paid for itNotice: Talent not on the list
We can get betterYou may not be great but you can get betterYou have do it skillsBy getting better you will attract better people around you
The Approach • Manage Fear • Develop Vision • Cultivate FeedbackBased on Jared Spool - vision, feedback, culture for corporationsManage Fear - be willing to be wrong, to change and learnDevelop Vision - know what you want for yourself, business andproductCultivate Feedback - listen to but dont do everything you are told
Fearafraid of failure, of success, ...afraid youll build something no one will use or pay you forafraid you are not good enoughafraid person X will ﬁnd out you suck
Fear of being wrongPeople will laughWell be ostracized from the villageThe lions will eat us
Lions Raw (roar) - http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/matthew_norris/4591355259/
Im taking a chanceIm afraid you will laugh at me ... luckily not too many lions AustinMost people... wont notice. Too busy with their own issues.... will forget... will give you credit for tryingThere will be a few haters. No matter what.Do you want to be right or effective?
Cognitive Biases • Survivorship bias • Conﬁrmation bias • Loss aversion • Information bias • Bias blind spot • ~100 others on Wikipediasurvivor - x did y and z happened - what about everyone else that didy?
Blind Men and the ElephantFamous old story.
Schrödingers ElephantWe think were the ones that can see everything clearly.
Schrödingers ElephantBut we have our own biases and blind spots.
Develop Vision & Cultivate FeedbackNow that we are open to learning we address vision and feedback.
Think before you code.Classic advice you always hear.Usually said in a condescending way (I told you so) when you mess up.
Think before you code.Of course you have to think but it is not enough and it is noteverything.Based on waterfallAssumes everything can be ﬁgured out by thinking
WaterfallDesign (Software engineering) advice assumes you have knownknownsMake a plan follow the planAwesome if you are on a cost plus contractWaterfall is risky for an indie - build a product no-one wants.
My interpretation of "Lean"Read - Eric RiesIterative developmentLearn from the smallest possible changesGet to a desirable product as quickly as possibleYou are not AppleFocus on speed not cost
Each StepNo plan survives ﬁrst contact with the enemy/customer.Right or wrong learn from your actionsDo the minimum possible to test your assumptionsThink code test analyze, think code test analyze
Idea generation1. Generate lots of ideas2. Choose the "best" ones3. Present them to someone4. Analyze their feedback
Exercise Write ideas for 2 minute Write 20 ideas without stopping Take a minute to evaluate themFeature or product ideasJudged on quantity not qualityRank your features. You can’t do everything all at once. Forceprioritization.
Validation What are you building? Does anyone care? What makes it great?What does this app really do?Where / how will people use it?
Product Deﬁnition Statement "An easy-to-use photo management application for amateur photographers." Apple on iPhoto in the HIGYouve read the HIG right?
Create a story for itUse caseHelps with marketingBase it on product statement without mentioning features or purposeor product till the end.
Draw it outMay not be artists but are all visual thinkers.Drew as children? Did we forget? Dont draw? You mean you dontdraw well. Are you afraid?
How to Draw • Start with a circle. Thats the user. • Draw a squarish shape for everything in the story.Can be- completely abstract- show real objects and their relationships- realistic scene from previous story
Exercise Look at your list. Write a product statement, a story (scene description) and a quick drawing.Answer their questions politely.Dont explain or argue. LISTEN.If they get it completely wrong it is a sign you need to rethink youstatement, story, drawing.
Exercise Share your statement, story or drawing with your neighbor. Listen to their response.Dont explain or argue. LISTEN.
Customer Validation Who are your customers? Can you ﬁnd them? Can you get them interested?personas / usecasesHow do they think?Who is going to use it and why?Act it out
Web devs have it easy • Keywords • Ad words • Test landing pagesAdwords toolsWe dont have access to iTunes search terms.Not to mention the app approval part
Form a UX (support) groupGet together to discuss and examine each others designs and ideas.Like CocoaHeads, NSCoder, Meetup but focused on UX testing andvalidating assumptions.
Design Sketches Its not the tools or even the resulting drawing but the process.How are they going to win using your app?Pick the absolutely most critical features onlyChoose your metaphors (user model)
ExerciseDraw 6 approaches 1 per minute
Generic UX Tips • Dont make the user choose • Dont make them read • Start them off so they cant fail • Expect and tolerate errors • Be polite and helpful • Simplify and focusError messages that help instead of hurt
Choose what works for you.We are told "IB is not a design tool"
What is the purpose of wireframe or mockup?To help you think and to help you communicate.You dont have a client or a team.Sketches are abstract enough to help thinking.Prototypes are concrete enough to gauge experience.Wireframes and mocks can help but IMO are not worth it.
Rough out the UX ﬁrst then come back to making it attractive.
User Testing • Develop test plan • Find participants • Conduct tests • Analyze resultsUser testing as integral part of dev processNot looking for statistical signiﬁcanceShortInformalNot beta testing
Test Plan • What do you want to learn? • What tasks do you want to them to perform? • What do you need logistically?frequency, criticality, readiness,
Participants • Spouse • Friends and coworkers • Associates • Strangerscraigslist,coffee shopsuser groups, clubs, churchforget the NDA
Conducting tests • Get an assistant • Thank and reassure participant • Dont explain or apologize • Ask participant to talk alouddont apologizedont explain.watch and listen.give time but offer encouragement
Beware of • asking about the future. • asking how they would design a feature. • direct questions. • loaded questions. Keep quiet, watch and listen.They want to please you. They are biased.Asking is better than nothing but watching is best.
Wrap up• Thank them for participating• Answer any questions. Ask for thoughts.• Offer them a small gift if you like• Offer to keep them updated on the app
User testing as part of your dev process• Test constantly• Watch and listen
ExerciseUser Test your app (or a competitors)
Graphic Design • Importance • Proximity • Alignment • Contrast • Repetition ... Get an artist.You now have a compelling app, clear vision, decent UX.Good designers have something they can sink their teeth into andknow you are for real.
Still, test the design
5 Second TestQuick ﬁrst impressions test.
What does that make you think of?
Iterate, Iterate, IterateBut dont forget to ... Ship.
Ship “ The perfect is the enemy of the good” - Voltaire “Art is never ﬁnished, only abandoned” - Leonardo Da Vinci “Perfect is overrated. Perfect doesnt scale, either.” - Seth Godin “Real artists ship” - SJThe only thing that matters is traction.Ship half a product not a half assed product - 37SignalsExpect some to love it and some to hate it.
Summary UX is everything Fear,Vision, Feedback Pictures, StoriesIve already won. So have you.
ResourcesAnd many many more ... These will get you started.