What's with UX in Higher Education? (IWMW conference 2014)


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Slides from plenary session at the UK web managers conference, IWMW14. Presented at University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, 17 July 2014. Audience comments on Twitter tagged #iwmw14 #p6

Advertised in the conference programme (http://iwmw.org/iwmw2014/programme/) as "Marketing is Dead, Long Live UX!" I evolved the focus somewhat during writing. Hence the new title.

A transcript is available on my blog:

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  • I’d say yes to all 3.
  • But let’s go back a little. For those of you wondering what all this UX stuff is about, a bit of an explanation.

    I like these two quotes which I think illustrate the value of having a UX vision. Particularly Jared’s as the flag can and indeed should be moved on the horizon from time to time, as new research causes you to refine your view or when your environment changes.
  • Jakob Nielsen’s diagram pulls together utility, usability, desirability and brand.
  • WHAT ABOUT SCALE? The product is:
    The software
    The website
    The service - library or matriculation or accommodation – similar scenarios to the Spool example?
    A degree at Edinburgh
  • What's with UX in Higher Education? (IWMW conference 2014)

    1. 1. "Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple." -Woody Guthrie
    2. 2. “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Thomas Edison
    3. 3. Hello I’m Neil Allison @usabilityed #iwmw14 #P6
    4. 4. The University Website Programme • 2006: Established at Edinburgh as a project – To “Roll out the CMS” • 2008: Embedded as a programme – Managing the CMS – Focus on web publishers’ skills • 2012: Website & process enhancement – User experience, analytics & website appraisal – New CMS devt, focus on web publisher experience
    5. 5. The University of Edinburgh website • 250,000 web pages – 50,000+ published with central CMS – Around 700 supported CMS users • 5 million unique external visitors in 2012 – To the pages we monitor
    6. 6. • Communication and engagement has been a common thread throughout my career… <Insert something catchy and insightful here>
    7. 7. “The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.” - ISO 9241 definition of usability
    8. 8. • Imagine for a moment you’re a classroom teacher. How do you know how you’re doing?
    9. 9. A few metrics for a teacher… • % who did their homework • % who brought everything they needed to class • Average noise level • Did the class enjoy themselves? • How many kids did I need to sanction? • % of required content covered • Topic test scores • End of year exam scores
    10. 10. • Are all these metrics equally important? • Is there different emphasis in different schools? • Even within the same school, do all teachers measure themselves the same way? • And how do your metrics align with those of the headteacher? For the school? For each pupil? – Your head would say they want students to enjoy your lessons, but how would they know? And if results were good, would they even care? • It’s a lot like this for us as website and service managers in devolved organisations.
    11. 11. • I presented at last year’s Chartered Institute of Marketing Higher Ed conference: “Marketing is Dead, Long Live UX”. – Went well, I thought… • At first I intended a repeat for this conference, but as I thought more about you all as a group of web professionals, and the state of our profession in our sector I realised I wanted to say something slightly different. – So apologies for the last minute title change…
    12. 12. Marketing is dead… What’s with UX in HE?
    13. 13. Job ads • Lots of jobs in UX out there. The growth in demand is phenominal
    14. 14. • But we’re not seeing the same in higher ed
    15. 15. • As I went looking on jobs.ac.uk for a shot to illustrate my point, typical! A new position advertised. (Kudos to Oxford) • But this is only the second explicit job I’ve ever seen. • Both relatively junior, both focusing on interface design.
    16. 16. “I'm wondering out loud how many HEI's in the UK have positions directly responsible for improving the user experience… …the usual mix of adverts for web developers and web content editors, but nothing related to UX or IA. This is in stark contrast to private sector companies, who are recruiting UX consultants like there's no tomorrow...” Dan Jackson (UCL) Email to Jisc web managers list
    17. 17. • Dan was asking pretty much the same question as me when he emailed the list last year. • I was the only person to reply on list. I had a chat with him. He’d had a few more replies that he shared, but in a nutshell nothing much happening. • So rather than ask the question to the list again, I ran a survey
    18. 18. http://bit.ly/uk-he-ux-survey-2014
    19. 19. So… UX in HE • Is there a problem? • Is there an opportunity? • Should we care?
    20. 20. What is UX? User eXperience • “A star to sail your ship by” – Jesse James Garrett – http://bit.ly/TFjryP • “A flag in the sand on the horizon” – Jared Spool – http://bit.ly/TFj4En
    21. 21. Usability, UX & Brand
    22. 22. Usability and UX – a scenario “The customer, looking for a new digital camera, goes to the large electronic retailer’s website. She quickly finds the camera she wants, puts it in the cart, and without incident, pays for it using the option to pick it up at the store that same day. Quick, easy — she is pleased and excited to receive her camera. When she arrives at the store, she initially doesn’t know where to go, as no visual clues present themselves. After a ten-minute wait at the customer service desk, she’s told she’s in the wrong place and needs to find another desk, this one labelled “Online Receiving”. Once she finds that desk, the clerk, who obviously can’t wait for his shift to end, sighs and says the camera she’s purchased is out of stock. She can buy a different camera at this point, but to receive a credit for her original online purchase, she needs to call an 0845 number. She ends up leaving the store without a camera and a charge on her credit card she needs to resolve.” Jared Spool http://bit.ly/1oeExxA Website usability User experience
    23. 23. “Advertising is about getting the customer to love the company. UX is about getting the company to love the customer.” Whitney Hess http://bit.ly/1iXt9bC
    24. 24. • Jakob Nielsen said usability is like cookery. Great analogy. • I’ve spent my career at Edinburgh encouraging colleagues to try making beans on toast. That’s all many of us need, and definitely don’t need a consultant/chef for this.
    25. 25. Everybody is responsible for the user experience. We need to get to a place where UX empathy, curiosity, communication is just part of a basic skills set. Imagine if we were talking about writing. How crazy would it be to expect one person on the team to do all the work when stuff needed writing down?
    26. 26. Motivation • But what’s your motivation? Like Edison said, there’s a lot of perspiration involved? • What’s in it for the developer, the project manager, the marketer? • What’s in it for me as a training and support lead? • My examples on website and CMS enhancement projects
    27. 27. “UX is not sellable” - Lis Hubert “UX is not about being nice to users; it’s about money.” Renato Feijo Talking about wireframes, testing, personas etc is fine in this forum, but to senior managers it’s meaningless. Need to talk about the benefits. Usually money related, but in higher ed, risk aversion is also a motivator.
    28. 28. • Path developed at UoE by maths undergrads to meet their own need. Scrapes data from the DRPS system. Scaled up to school, then multiple schools, now taken on by Information Services to ramp up to whole uni. • But what happened here? Were we lucky to just find a couple of genius designers?
    29. 29. Having a good designer doesn't eliminate the need for a systematic usability process. - Jakob Nielsen http://bit.ly/1lXTO82 Actually, You Might Be Your User - Jared Spool http://bit.ly/1qQFPS2
    30. 30. 1. Accept that what we have is customers. Prioritise them as such.
    31. 31. 2. Appoint people accountable for managing the user experience. Beginning to end, across the silos.
    32. 32. 3. Establish what we want from and for our customers. Share this vision everywhere. And incentivise great UX.
    33. 33. 4. Measure and improve. And measure and improve. Forever.
    34. 34. “…there is no such thing as UX strategy. There is only product strategy.” - Jeff Gothelf http://bit.ly/1iXK91A
    35. 35. So – what’s with UX in HE? • Is UX not a differentiator? • Is the nature of the product is such that customers tolerate poorer UX? • Is it because it’s just too hard?
    36. 36. Thank you Neil.Allison@ed.ac.uk The University of Edinburgh www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme @usabilityed #iwmw14 #P6
    37. 37. Image credits • 1: Woody Guthrie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Guthrie • 2: Thomas Edison http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison • 6: Neil Allision at IWMW12 http://stawebteam.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/iwmw-2012-in-edinburgh/ • 8: Classroom www.flickr.com (michael 1952) • 10: Tape measure www.flickr.com (william warby) • 11: Angry business people: www.iStock.com licensed use • 17: Tumbleweed www.flickr.com (Denise Rowlands) • 18: Our survey said http://paulfarrisentertainment.com/bespoke-game-shows/our-survey-said/ • 21: UX circles model www.nngroup.com http://www.neospot.se/usability-vs-user-experience/ • 23: Witney Hess http://eduiconf.org/whitney-hess-and-stephanie-hay-join-edui-line-up/ • 24: Iceberg www.flickr.com (Marie and Alistair Knock) • 25: Beans on toast www.flickr.com (Robyn Lee) • 26: “Everyone is responsible…” Lis Hubert quote on wall http://t.co/nILAB5oIE7 • 27: Windsor Davies http://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/jan/06/secret-to-motivating-a-team • 28: No sale www.flickr.com (Rich Renomeron) • 29: Old till http://nhab.it/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/old-fashioned-cash-register-isomorphic-view.jpg • 31: Jakob Nielsen www.useit.com • 31: Jared Spool www.uie.com http://www.lingscars.com/who-is-jared.php#models • 32: UX consultant cartoon http://rachelnabors.com/ • 33: Gov.uk logo https://www.gov.uk/transformation • 34-37: Humps road sign http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Japan_road_sign_209-3.svg • 38: Jeff Gothelf www.jeffgothelf.com • 39: UX organisational maturity model http://johnnyholland.org/2010/04/planning-your-ux-strategy/